I bet you’ve asked yourself this question at least once. You’re scrolling through Instagram and you see your friend from high school who has a six-pack and wonder how the hell they got there.
Did they have a personal trainer? Were they born with great genes? Are they on a weird diet that you could never stick to?
Maybe all of the above – but, more than likely, it took a whole lot of hard work, dedication, and consistency.
But the thing is, there are so many opinions about how to lose weight – it can be hard to know what’s best.
Some people say you should cut out all carbs, others advocate for hours of cardio every day.
So what’s the truth? What’s the best way to lose weight and keep it off? Keep reading to find out!
The Fad Diet Era
Fad diets have come into the world as a seemingly easy solution for fat loss.
One thing they all have in common is the promise of quick and easy results with little effort on the part of the dieter.
However, these diets are often unbalanced and can actually lead to weight gain in the long run.
They can also be dangerous, as they may not provide all of the nutrients needed for optimal health and performance.
The most common fad diets are keto, carnivore, detox, vegan and raw food diet.
There is a lot to say about all of these approaches to nutrition, so if you fancy learning more, keep reading!
Just last week we published our take on the Ketogenic diet VS IIFYM, so click here if that sounds like an interesting topic to you!
Excluding Certain Foods
Besides fad diets, there is another ‘theory’ about successful weight-loss, and it is based on completely excluding certain foods from your plan.
Many people believe that excluding foods like bread, fizzy drinks, and sugar from your diet is the key to weight-loss.
However, this is not always the case.
In fact, some of these “unhealthy” foods can actually be detrimental to your weight-loss goals.
Why? Because they might be your stepping stone of pleasure and enjoyment of food, leading you to actually stick to your plan!
And so, if certain diets and excluding foods from your nutrition plan are not the ‘key’ to weight-loss… What is?
Let’s start by understanding how the body works!
The Fundamental Principle
Losing weight is hard. It takes a lot of time and effort, and it can be frustrating when you don’t see results.
But more often than not, it is so because most people focus on the wrong things when they’re trying to lose weight, which makes the process even harder than it has to be.
The thing is, there is one simple, fundamental concept for weight-loss, that cannot be worked around.
A concept that you can follow and get results for certain.
That concept is namely referred to as “eating in a caloric deficit.”
When you eat in a caloric deficit, it means that you are consuming fewer calories than your body is burning.
This creates a “deficit” of sorts and forces your body to start burning fat for energy, to compensate for the deficit of energy.
It’s really that simple.
You can use a macro calculator like the one on traininginthebay.com where you can get information for your maintenance calories and a suggested caloric deficit (around 500 calories per day less than maintenance.)
However, you should know that this is just an approximate calculation.
To determine the exact calories you need to be in a deficit of 500 calories, you need to experiment with food amounts until you reach the point where you lose about 1 lb per week.
And Some Details…
Now, when it comes to weight-loss, calories are not the only important thing.
Macronutrients matter too.
Protein, carbohydrates, and fat are all important for losing weight and keeping it off.
It’s important to have a balanced diet that includes all of these macronutrients.
Think of it this way – protein means recovery, fat means hormonal balance, and carbohydrates mean energy.
Generally speaking, you should be aiming for 0.8-1g of protein per lb of body weight, and about 0.45g of fat per lb.
The rest of the calories remaining after calculating protein and fat can be used for carbohydrates.
However, don’t over-fixate on calculating every single bite that goes into your mouth.
Focus on being active, eating good foods in good amounts, and getting good sleep.
Include Diet Breaks!
When you’re trying to lose weight, taking regular diet breaks can be a good option.
This allows your metabolism to take a rest and avoid any potential plateaus.
However, a diet break doesn’t mean completely neglecting your diet and ditching everything you’ve done so far.
It only means doing everything you’ve done thus far with a caloric deficit, but eating slightly more so that you are at maintenance calories.
That is to say that during a diet break, no significant and drastic changes in weight must be observed.
A diet break can be taken every 3-4 weeks, for 10-14 days, after which, the normal deficit should be continued.
So, if you’re looking to slim down and want to do it the healthy way, forget about all of those gimmicky diets out there that promise quick results.
The only true path to weight-loss is through a caloric deficit, consuming enough protein, fats, and carbs, and exercising well.
We hope this post has helped clear up some of the confusion around weight-loss – now go put what you’ve learned into action!