5 reasons why your diet failed.
On the whole, most of us wished we were slimmer. Be it a bodybuilder trying to get cut or the average person trying to shed a few pounds. It seems like such a straight forward thing to do; eat a bit less, do a bit more…..But it just doesn’t work. So why is it so bloody complicated?
I’ve been doing bodybuilding for a long time. It has a basic premise, in that, the main goal is to grow as much muscle as humanly possible and have the least amount of body as possible. In my years of trying to be good at this I’ve learnt a few things along the way and have seen most people (including myself) make these same mistakes.
Reading everything, believing too much and knowing nothing.
The fat loss market is literally worth billions. Therefore, at every corner there is a new method or tactic we should employ, which has been concocted for the purpose of getting your money. In your heart of hearts you know the answer, it just takes time and effort, and who has the time or can be bothered to do that?
Stick to the basics of portion control when you do eat, don’t miss meals and exercise regularly. The better you are at this the better your results. I’m sure I wont be a millionaire from this advice, but it is the truth.
Changing too much.
This is quite a simple issue and it links in with point 1. Many of us try something for a short time and then move onto something else, or simply, stop all together and revert back to ‘normal’ habits when it doesn’t work.
It takes time for your body to adjust. Your hormones have to regulate themselves before your body will relinquish its fat stores. Your muscles have to learn range of movement and co-ordination before they’ll increase in size and performance, fat loss takes time. Get a plan and stay on it for at least 3-6 months without deviation before you decide whether it’s working or not.
Not enough protein
Most people make poor food choices most of the time and too much alcohol. The government recommends that the average adult needs around 50g per day for adequate health. This may technically be true. However, technically true and optimal amounts to achieve body transformation are two different things. A lot of calories from the western diets come from refined carbs, processed fats and chemically ruined proteins. These are not classic bedfellow to a solid fat loss diet. Protein also helps build lean muscle tissue and has a satiating effect which helps you feel less hungry between meal times.
I would look to prescribe as much as 1g of protein per pound of body weight. There is a lot of argument about what is best, but in practice, this works. For a person looking to add muscle, it deals with the high protein turn over you’re faced with and for the overweight people, it manages cravings whilst keeping calories high and without over stimulating insulin, thus keeping blood sugar levels balanced. As you get leaner you can either increase carbs or replace protein for carbs as your body is better dealing with them.
Dieting too long/Not eating
This is my favourite and probably the most important. The standard running and chicken salad diet works while your body is in a calorie deficit. The issue is you won’t stay in a deficit because your body doesn’t like it. It will just slow all processes down and strip muscle tissue until your calories in matches your calories out. This is what a slow metabolism means. In turn, this means you’re bad at burning fat. It is a constant see-saw of eating and exercising that will keep fat loss moving. You cannot burn fat and stay healthy if you don’t eat. You can however starve and ruin your body.
You must eat. The calorie deficit needed to burn fat comes from exercise and activity. If you eat five large meals per day, then, reduce calories and you eat five slightly smaller meals per day and do more than usual amounts of exercise. This makes a deficit. If you don’t eat, then your body just shuts down. If you don’t eat and you exercise loads, you will run yourself into the ground. After a dieting period (hopefully with some result) you should relax off slowly and let your body recover. You may gain a little weight back, but if you’re in control it should be minimal. This allows you to go at it again. You will then see more results.
The ‘Oh to hell with it’ syndrome
You’ve been really ‘good’. You’ve trained 5 times per week for the last 3 weeks. You’ve been living off steamed chicken and broccoli. You’ve just fit into your skinny jeans. You then get convinced to have a piece of cake as it’s susan from accounts birthday… and BAM! the ‘Oh to hell with it’ kicks in. One piece of cake turns into three pieces, then pizza and wine at lunch then cocktails after work, a fry up for breakfast, miss your training session…….. You haven’t trained in a month, your jeans don’t fit and you’re back to missing meals and eating poorly.
Fat loss is a psychological battle between doing what you should and what you want. Firstly if you’d eaten a bit more in the first place you’re less likely to stray from your diet. That includes carbs! Secondly use a slower approach by eating a little more makes it a less difficult process. Thirdly, allow yourself some treats or comfort food occasionally. Schedule it in and look forward to it. This will make you feel less guilty and less likely to binge. A simple way may be, instead of your usual jacket potato and chicken and veg meal at lunch, ditch the jacket, bolster up on veg and have a chocolate muffin. The calories sort of balance out and you’ve had a guilt free treat.
Take home message
For steady fat loss and a healthy body:-
Have protein in every meal
Use single ingredient food choices to limit processing.
consistency in your training and your food will always yield results
give yourself a break periodically.
Keep on liftin’ Ali ‘Fat Al’ Stewart