Happy New Year, everyone!
I decided that the very first topic I would tackle in 2015 would be that of DIETING.
This is the time of year where everyone decides to swing from one end of the dietary extreme to the other.
After 2-3 months (or more) of drinking and eating anything and everything placed in front of us, we now decide that it is time to “clean up” our diets for the new year.
Most people don’t know how the hell to go about doing this.
Hence why they’ve had the same exact resolutions since 2004.
Case in point:
Beth, who is twenty pounds over weight, hears from a friend or family member about a 30 day detox that’s “worked wonders” for them in the past.
She decides to give it a shot.
Over the course of the next month, she loses a ton of weight (mostly water and muscle), but also feels like crap – and she’s starving most of the time.
After that initial month, the weight loss stalls and she gets frustrated; she decides to abandon the plan and continue with her old eating habits.
The weight that she initially lost returns and she ends up right back where she started, except that now it’s March instead of January, and her muffin top is now a cupcake with frosting and sprinkles.
(I don’t know what that means but the point is she gained weight.)
John, who is in pretty decent shape and does Crossfit 4-5x per week, wants to lose 5-10 pounds for “the ladies.”
He hears from his Coach that he should “totally try Paleo, bro!”
His coach is “shredded,” and only eats vegetables and grass fed beef jerky; he also squats 500 pounds and deadlifts his Nissan Xterra on his “off days.”
It obviously works for his trainer, so John decides to give it a shot and completely eliminates all forms of carbs from his diet, except a little bit of fruit here and there.
In the process he not only loses fat, but a sh*t ton of muscle as well.
His performance suffers, his recovery between workouts plummets, his testosterone drops, and he starts getting sick a lot more often than usual.
Not only is John not getting any digits from “the ladies,” but he is now weaker, softer, and smaller than before he listened to Coach.
You see, ladies and gents, don’t be like Beth and John.
Know your goals and know how to go about achieving them.
Everyone is different.
If you have a lot of weight to lose – over 20 pounds – follow a plan similar to the one I outlined in this blog post:
If you have less than 20 pounds to lose, and are a hard training athlete (3 or more days of exercise per week), follow an approach similar to the one outlined in this post:
Remember that no matter what approach you follow, at the end of the day it’s all about calories.
Multiply your body weight by 12: that should be a good starting point for weight loss.
If John weighs 195 pounds, he would want to start consuming 2,340 calories per day, following the guidelines laid out for him in the above post.
Every month, or so, he will want to weigh himself and then re calculate his calories.
If weight loss halts, he can multiply by 11.
(I wouldn’t go below 10x body weight.)
The same goes for Beth.
Start with 12x body weight, and then adjust accordingly each month.
Nutrition is like most things in life: a sensible approach is usually best.
Stay away from the extremes as best you can.
Remember that results don’t come over night.
Any plan or program that promises that is full of crap.
You didn’t get fat over night; and you won’t get ripped in that amount of time either.
Tailor your plan to your specific needs and goals.
If you are twenty pounds over weight and only exercise twice a week, you’re going to have to take a different approach than someone who is 5 pounds over weight and exercises 5 days per week.
Beth will have to eat less carbs and more fat than John.
John will have to eat more carbs and less fat than Beth.
You also have to keep in mind that some people just have amazing genetics: like John’s Crossfit Coach.
Good for them.
People like that can pretty much follow any type of diet and look amazing.
Unfortunately for you and me, that’s not the case.
The two approaches I outlined are designed for the average person with average genetics.
Figure out how many pounds you have to lose and then get to work.
Ignore the rest.