Thanks for tuning in for PART II of my series on “Is a Calorie a Calorie?” If you missed PART I click HERE to read it.
Knowing PART I, you will know that a main factor preventing many people from weight-loss is abnormal insulin levels — either too high or a yo-yo effect disrupting normal function of the body’s biochemistry.
As a result, what can be done to rectify these energy system malfunctions?
Several things, most of which can be done NOW and it all starts with DIET.
Diet is the First Change for a Reason
The diet is the first thing that must be audited and changed because it is the primary reason why a perons’ biochemistry — particularly their energy systems — is not operating like it should.
(If you don’t know what I’m talking about refer to PART I).
For instance, someone may be consuming apple or orange fruit juice because it has vitamins, which is supposed to make it “healthy” leading to the belief that it is healthy. THIS IS NOT TRUE. Just because something has “vitamins or minerals” does not mean it is “HEALTHY.” Often times, juices have as much, or even more, calories than soda, and the calories are almost entirely SUGAR. I do not care if is packaged as “organic, non-GMO, no added-sugar, and cold pressed.” Sugar is sugar and it will do what sugar does: cause problems.
It (SUGAR disguised as juice in this scenario) causes problems because too many consume it in EXCESS. The American Heart Association, for instance, says no more than 6 teaspoons (100 calories) of ADDED-SUGAR for women and 9 teaspoons (150 calories) for men per day. You drink one glass of juice and you’re past it.
Again, sugar causes problems because it is in almost everything you buy at the store, especially in the typical American diet of processed foods. This is why I have DIET — the foods habitually consumed daily — as the FIRST place to start in the effort to lose excess body-weight (fat) because it has the highest impact on your weight.
The way to improve the diet is to alter the diet through changing one’s perspective on food.
Please read on…
Making DIETARY Adjustments: A Diet Philosophy
As a trainer at a commercial gym, I’ve got to experience many different walks of people. From teenagers to the senior citizens and everyone in-between.
Out of the 80+ people I’ve got to work with so far, 90% of them want to lose weight. Out of that 90%, 75% of them need to lose a significant amount of weight, which, in my opinion, I consider more than 20 pounds.
Based on these numbers, I’ve deduced that most of these wonderful people have been mislead in believing the old dogma of “eating less and exercising more equals weight-loss.”
In many instances, this is completely true! This is the story for many people, including some of the people I’ve trained, and myself making this simple adjustment.
BUT, out of that 75% I said had to lose 20 or more pounds, I’d say about 80% of those people practice “EAT LESS AND MOVE MORE” already. After 4 to 8 weeks they don’t lose a pound, OR…they lose maybe 10, even 20, and the weight-loss hits a wall. It just stops.
No matter how much they, and many others, restrict calories or workout, nothing is really getting better. For some reason the body does not want to lose weight, specifically BURN FAT, even though they have so much available. This problem must be solved and it has 100% to do with what foods they are (or not) eating.
At this point they may become discouraged, and that is when I step in and say there may be more to the story than meets the eye by introducing the underlying issues of their metabolism and energy systems not working properly.
Because these type of diets will aid in controlling insulin levels, which is the primary reason why fat cannot be used and lost.
Also, these diets teach people to eat cleaner, less adulterated, processed food that provide the body with increased nutrition. This means eating better quality macros (protein, fats, carbs) without an abundance of food pollution — pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, steroids, etc. — as well as getting increased fiber, probiotics, and increased vitamins and mineral quantities.
Odds are once they make the switch weight-loss will follow.
Follow Rule #1 with Your Diet
Once a diet philosophy is ADOPTED, remember RULE #1…
FOLLOW THE DIET EXACTLY AS INTENDED.
This means the diet philosophy picked must be followed exactly as outlined. There is no cutting corners. Remember, the diet is constructed and put together in a particular way for a reason. Making “adjustments” (a.k.a cheating) is not allowed. Sure. Have a cheat meal here and there and it won’t kill you. It’s probably going to happen at one point or another, especially early on. I’m not talking about that, and, from time to time, I encourage it. Enjoy any type of “good tasting food” once in awhile and live life fully. That said, however, what I am talking about is any adjustment that you make that occurs day after day negating the full benefits of the diet.
For example, if on a KETOGENIC diet many can get away with eating some fruit, especially berries, from time to time, particularly before a workout. The reason is because berries are lower in sugar, higher in fiber, and any sugar (carbs) you intake will be burned quickly during your workout. It won’t “stay around.” HOWEVER, if you consume some type of fruit everyday, regardless of an activity or not, it is going to be hard for your body to stay and get back into ketosis. That is the whole point of the diet — to be in ketosis to burn fat for energy. CARBS, any direct source like fruit, disrupt this. Thus, the diet must be followed EXACTLY how it is intended.
Hence, RULE #1.
Remember this for Rule #1 to be Successful
In order to satisfy RULE #1 you must have a certain attitude.
What is it?
UNDERSTANDING THAT A DIET PHILOSOPHY IS A TYPE OF PERSPECTIVE ON FOOD.
To expand on this, it means that the “diet being followed” (keto, paleo, vegan, IIFYM, etc.) is a PERSPECTIVE on HOW TO EAT FOR A PURPOSE and not HOW LONG or necessarily WHAT TO EAT.
This is because people far too often look at the word “DIET” as a VERB.
No, no, no, no, no!!!
DIET needs to be understood as a NOUN. As a noun, diet refers to the foods you habitually (consistently) eat on a daily basis.
THIS IS WHAT A DIET IS.
Understand that when a certain diet philosophy is practiced, like paleo, vegan, vegetarian, ketogenic, if it fits your macros (IIFYM), etc., that is a person’s perspective on food and what he or she thinks is best for him or her to be in their best health and/or achieve their goals (at least, at that moment).
As a result, this diet philosophy is practiced consistently over extended periods of time until the person adopts a different diet philosophy and changes their attitude and perspective on food for different goals (i.e. to lose weight or fat, or gain muscle). It’s all normal.
This is why the change to eat healthier, or losing weight, must have a long-term mindset, or VISION, because it is what will lead to positive changes to last (weight-loss, increased muscle mass, better endurance and energy, lower blood pressure, improved cholesterol levels, etc.).
For some growing up, for example, eating sugary cereal for breakfast is normal, even considered healthy! But, maybe that person changes their perspective on food and diet and decides to have a salad for breakfast. CRAZY! (That was me!)
This is because certain things considered normal are only normal because of culture and the way of one’s upbringing surrounding food. This culture and upbringing is usually narrow-minded and only instantly satisfying (the food tastes good and it’s easy).
That is why for any change to happen a change on the perspective and attitude surrounding food must be met.
I must say that I love food, and it’s a ritual that I enjoy and look forward to daily. Whether I’m on what some call a “strict” diet or not, I love the food that I’m eating and feel even better knowing that my food is working for me and not against me (at least most times, haha).
This is why auditing the diet and making proper DIETARY (and MENTAL) adjustments is the first place to start.
I encourage you to modify your diet through changing (either opening and/or expanding) your attitude and perspective on food and what a good, wholesome, and nutritious diet can do for you. A good place to start is cutting out the junk (no McDonald’s cheeseburgers, Krispy Kreme donuts, Starbuck’s frappucinos, Doritos, etc.), and replacing it with foods in their most basic form, as a single ingredient (what you find on the perimeter of a grocery store). Making this simple adjustment is something you do right now. This will help you develop and/or improve habits and rituals that surround eating food. Adopting a diet philosophy will help in this regard and that is why I highly recommend it.
From these adjustments your attitude toward food changes and you begin to think of DIET in the noun sense. This leads to real results that last, potentially, your whole life. This is why DIET is the first thing to address in losing weight, and not exercise or anything else.
This is especially true if you have tried “everything” and can’t lose the weight. It’s likely because there is more to the story like abnormal insulin levels (for whatever reason). Sticking to the old “cut calories and exercise more” mindset becomes ineffective. Good luck with following that…
So…be open and try a diet philosophy that you connect with and give it solid time. I’d say a month at the very least.
Need help? PRACTICE THESE STEPS:
- Audit and review your diet (record every last thing that you eat or drink, including your eating habits).
- Understand where you calories come from by knowing your macro profile (what makes up your protein, fats, and carbs and what foods they come from).
- Make proper adjustments (cutting the sugar, increasing fiber, drinking more water, just eating more wholesome foods, etc.).
- Implement those adjustments immediately and combine it with a diet philosophy (a way of eating explained earlier) that you think can most help you NOW.
Do that and you’ll have success (weight-loss, better health markers, etc.) in some way.
Stay tuned for PART III as I explore other factors that affect your weight-loss and performance in and out of the gym.
As always, thanks for stopping by and reading.
Until next time, be strong and be you.