How To Make Sure You Don't Hate Your Next Diet

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Apologies for the blog absence as of late!

I've been working on a fat loss blog that quickly turned into a 38 page blog, and of course if I'm going to write a big blog I have to make custom graphics for each section which only makes the process longer

That blog should be all put together and dropping later this week or next, however I thought I'd use a part of that blog as a teaser to share with you all. 

In Section from the fat loss blog we're discussing the different factors to consider when it comes to picking your dietary approach. 

I don't think enough people take into account what personally suits them before they hop on a diet. 

We've all heard the person who described how much they hate the current diet they were on, and we knew they wouldn't stick with it. 

The goal of this blog is to make sure you're not that person!

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1.)Activity level & what kind of activity are you doing ?

Your overall fat loss will be controlled by your calorie intake, however if you’re able to better fuel your activity in the gym and throughout the day you will recover better and allow for more high quality work in the gym.

Being less sore and recovering better can translate to more movement throughout the day, more trips to the gym and an overall greater calorie burn. While the calories expended may be small every advantage in fat loss should be used.

More intense and longer forms of exercise like crossfit or mixed martial arts are going to be better fueled with a higher carbohydrate intake which can will also help with recovery.

Those with a more active lifestyle or job like someone who works in manual labor or as a waiter will also be able to to better tolerate carbs due to their overall activity, and calorie burn throughout the day.

If you’re more sedentary, and hit the gym for an hour a few times per week you’ll do fine with a more even split of carbohydrates and fats, but likely won’t need a higher end intake of carbohydrates.

Those who are very overweight and live a more sedentary life may benefit from keeping carbohydrates lower and increasing fats to help with some initial weight loss and help to remove some of the easier to overeat calorie dense foods.

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2.)What foods do you enjoy eating ?

Your dietary preference, and the foods you enjoy eating is something that needs to be considered when it comes to choosing your diet as well.

Adherence and consistency are the two largest factors when it comes to seeing fat loss results.

If you feel poorly and don’t like the foods you’re eating on a specific diet than your chances of sticking with it are going to be very low.

However if you eat in way that you enjoy, and feel less deprived then it’s much easier to stay consistent.  

Trying to fit a round peg in a square hole is never going to be a good fit, and there’s a multitude of dietary approaches to choose from.

Choose the approach you can see yourself sticking to for a longer period of time.  

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3.)Are there foods you have strong aversions to ?

This could also be categorized in the foods you enjoy section but this on the opposite end of that spectrum with foods that you don’t do well with.

Maybe they upset your digestion, make you feel bloated or you have a full blown food allergy.

Your dietary approach should reflect these needs.

If you’re someone who doesn’t tolerate gluten or grains very well or have a specific autoimmune condition giving the paleo diet a try or even the autoimmune paleo protocol could be helpful.

If you have lots of digestive issues you may need to use an approach such excludes certain types of carbohydrates and nightshades like on the FODMAPS diet.

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4.)Do you like more carbs or fats more ?

Generally people like foods that are going to be denser in carbohydrates or more fatty, maybe an even split of the two.

If you really enjoy fattier foods then going ketogenic may be a good approach for you to follow, but if you prefer more carbs then this wouldn’t be the right fit for you.

When it comes to carbs and fats I view them as a teeter totter meaning if one goes up, then the other has to come down to make room in the total calories for fat loss to happen.

As an example if you increase carbs that means fats need to be reduced,  in the same way that if fats are increased carbs need to be decreased to make sure you’re achieving a calorie deficit.

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5.)Do You Have AnyTrigger foods ?

If there are certain foods that are very easy for you to overeat, or you choose not to use control when you start eating them it might be better to choose a dietary approach that excludes these foods for you, and give clear guidelines to not consume them.

You might need to draw a line in the sand and keep these foods out of the house for a period of time to allow yourself to build some uninterrupted momentum towards your goal.

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6.)Are you heavier or leaner ?

Overall calorie intake and balance will be the main driver of your ability to lose fat at the end of the day.

However your level of body fat can impact how well you metabolize carbohydrates, and your bodies ability to use them efficiently.  

If you have a significant amount of fat to lose, and are very overweight or obese using a lower carb approach in the beginning can be better as your ability to use carbs efficiently will be reduced.

Some people find a lower carb approach to be more satiating, help with hunger levels, balance out energy and curb cravings which are all big wins on a fat loss plan.

The initial water reduction from lowering carbs diets can also be highly motivating for when you have  a lot of weight to lose.

Seeing the number on the scale drop quickly helps you to feel encouraged by the process ahead and seeing progress like that can help with adherence.

Those who are leaner, and have a higher level of activity are likely to do better with more carbs prioritized in their diet.

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7.)Have you had success in the past, and what approach did you use ?

When you look back through your past with changing your nutrition habits or dieting it’s important to think about what aspects of past diets worked well, and what didn’t work well.

From there the goal is to replicate what worked well for you, while avoiding the things that didn’t meet your needs or suit you.

I do this with my clients and write the different qualities of each down so we can use these points in developing their nutrition plan.

Questions to consider:

  • What  diets have you tried in the past ?

  • What worked ?

  • What didn’t work ?

  • What did you like about that approach ?

  • What didn’t you like about that approach ?

If you're not sure where to go next because trying what you've used in the past isn't working anymore click the button below and let's get you on the right path towards your fat loss goals!

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8.)Rigid or Flexible Strategy ?

This is a personality trait that’s helpful to understand about yourself when it comes to developing a nutrition strategy that fits you as an individual.

Rigid: People who are more on the rigid side of things do much better with built in rules like eating certain foods, and avoiding others entirely.

The structure of a more rigid approach allows this individual to be more successful because it serves their black and white mentality with foods. There are foods they eat, and other they avoid which makes it simple, cut and dry.  

As an example someone who restricts avoids cookies, because they end up eating the entire sleeve of cookies once the seal is broken.

Flexible: This is the kind of person who can moderate their intake of foods very well, and is able to enjoy a wide range of foods without feeling the compulsion to overeat on certain foods.

The people who do well with a more flexible approach are the folks who can have a cookie or two because it fits their plan, and then put the package back in cupboard.

This is strictly anecdotal based on my experience but I’ve found that people who do well  on a  flexible approach have a  more analytical type A personality type, and enjoy the numbers game of calories and macros.

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9.)Metabolic Health ?

Metabolic health refers to someone who has a past history of extreme and or crash dieting and has tried every diet under the sun in the pursuit of fat loss.

For those of you who have crash dieted for years, and lived in the diet and binge cycle without any time spent just trying to maintain body weight levels you may not be in a metabolically or psychologically healthy state to go on another diet.

This is the last thing you want to hear if you have a fat loss goal, but if you’ve put your body through the ringer with diet after diet and losing and gaining weight year after year something isn’t working and a new approach is needed.

The ability to maintain your weight is just as important, if not more so than you ability to lose weight. Everyone has lost weight before, however very few people have learned how to maintain their new weight and tend to gain it right back.

You may need to give the body some time to be at a stable body weight, and repair your relationship with food before you consider going on another diet.

Because I don’t know you dieting history it’s tough to say how long you should aim to maintain for but a period of 6 months seems reasonable.

I know this is not what you wanted to read in a blog on fat loss, but if this section has resonated with you, and you’re done banging your head against the wall then it may be time to learn how to maintain before you consider trying to lose fat again.

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10. Whole and Nutritious Foods

While yes calories are going to be the main determining factor of your fat loss, keep in mind that the quality of foods you consume is going to have a huge impact on your hunger levels and overall health/longevity.

Even when people follow the 80/20 principle of flexibility, keep in mind that 80% of someone’s diet is still coming from nutrient dense whole foods.

Enjoying indulgences from time to time is nice, but when it comes to managing your hunger and staying fuller for longer while keeping calories in check whole foods wins that race.

 

Why A Client Got Pissed At Me For 5 Days, But In The End Was Worth It!

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I recently sat down in my office with a nutrition client who'd been having some adherence issues with the plan we agreed on.

This was the first thing she had to say to me:

“You know I was really pissed at you for like four or five days after our last consult, I almost texted you a few times telling you that you were wrong and you just don’t understand”

I knew exactly what she was talking about so I asked  “When I said  you’re always in control, but choose to not use that control sometimes why did that make you feel so angry ?”

She said “I was angry because you made me realize something I knew all along.The idea of always being in control made me accept responsibility for my choices and actions, and it’s scary at first to think you’re always in control, but then you realize it means you have the power.”

I knew where she was going, but I wanted to hear her say it out loud so I asked her “when you realized you’re in control, and the choice is always yours to make how’d you feel?”

Her response was one I want to hear from every client: “powerful!”

You see a  lot of people will say that they “lose control” when they’re around certain foods, but that’s a very disempowering way to view food, and removes ownership of your actions.

Food only holds the power, that you allow it to hold.

You’re always in control of your food choices, you don’t ever lose that control.

You’ve chosen not to eat certain foods a million different times in your life.

Sometimes you choose not to use that self control around certain foods, but that’s a choice, and it’s on you to take responsibility for those actions.

This sounds a little harsh at first, and you may think I’m a dickhead for saying that, but realize I’m trying to cause a shift in the way you think.

My goal is to move you from a disempowered victim mindset to one that shows you’re in control whether you choose to stay on course or deviate.

If you have a victim’s mindset then the reality is you’ll always believe that things are happening to you as a bystander, and you have no control over your daily actions.

If you don’t learn to shift your mindset out of this powerless mode, then you’ll always succumb to temptation and chalk it up to “losing control” rather than saying “I made a choice and am always in control to make a different choice in the future.”

If you feel like you’re having a hard time taking back your control click HERE for a free nutrition strategy session and let’s give you the power you need to take control of your health and fat loss goals.

Play Your Cards Wisely...

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When it comes to fat loss, and getting leaner there are a number of different strategies you can use to keep fat loss moving in the right direction, and even break past a plateau when it happens.

Fat loss plateaus happen to everyone, make sure you keep that in mind to prevent any excessive knee jerk reactions when the scale has stalled for a week or two.

These “cards” include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Cardio

  • Decrease calories

  • Improve sleep habits

  • Refeeds

  • Adjust Macros

  • Walk more

  • Diet Breaks

  • And much more…

The biggest problem I see people running into when looking to lose body fat is playing all these cards at one time.

You drop calories really low, start hitting daily cardio and are logging 15,000 steps on your fitbit and start hammering back a bunch of supplements.

This strategy works really well for 4 weeks but when progress stalls, and there aren’t any cards left to play.

The thought of dropping your calories any lower or doing more cardio or activity makes you want to sit in the corner and rock back forth.

Instead take a longer approach, and play the cards at your disposal wisely.

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Play 1-2 cards at a time and then give it some time to work. Everyone wants results yesterday so the giving it time to work can be difficult for people to get their head around.

It won’t happen overnight, and unless you gained all the excess body fat you have in a few weeks you need to give it more than a few weeks to work and give you the desired effect.

One of the simplest things you can do that will give a large return on investments is to start crowding out some of the less nutritious foods with more fruits, vegetables and lean proteins.

Maybe instead of pizza for lunch or pancakes for breakfast or going out for beers 2-3  times per week you switch and have a salad with a solid source of protein for lunch.

While these kinds of changes seems small and simple, they will provide a large return on investments for most people when done consistently and given the time to work.

You want to  get the maximum benefit of each card before moving on to the next one you play. If you play all your cards at once you’re going to lose the game.

Keep an ace up your sleeve for when you need it and you’ll be happy you did when you think there’s no other options on hand.

If you feel like your current deck of cards is lacking a few key ones, I can help you know what card to play and when and be your ace up the sleeve.

It all starts with clicking the start today button below and filling out the form to get on a call and discuss your goals, and how I’ll help you reach them.


 

Understanding Your Metabolism & Fat Loss

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What Is The Metabolism Really ?

Your metabolism is the chemical reactions that take place inside your body to either build up ( build muscle) or break down  (food into energy) molecules and tissues.

  • Catabolism: breaking down larger to smaller (digesting food)

  • Anabolism: Building smaller to larger ( Building muscle mass)

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Your Metabolic Rate (Caloric Burn)

Your metabolic rate is the amount of calories you burn through the breaking down & Building processes of the metabolism

The 4 components of your  daily caloric burn: The four components of your metabolism that will control how many calories you burn on a daily basis and includes.

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  • Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR): This is the amount of calories your body uses to sustain basic functions. Makes up about 50-70% of  your total caloric burn.

This includes the amount of calories the body burns to support your breathing, organ function, keeping blood pumping and is impacted by your bodyweight and muscle mass.

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  • Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT): This is the amount of calories your body uses for everything not eating, exercise, RMR or sleeping. Based on activity makes up 10-40% of  your total caloric burn depending on your activity level.

This includes but isn’t limited to walking, fidgeting, working at a standing desk, cooking or doing the dishes and any other kind of movement that isn’t for the purpose of elevating your heart rate or engaging in formal exercise.

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  • Thermic Effect Of Activity (TEA):This is the amount of calories your body uses for everything that's formal exercise or sports. depending on activity level can range from 10-20% of caloric burn but be much higher for athletes

TEA is going to include all forms of strength training or exercise, any kind of sports like soccer, basketball or boxing or any kind of running.

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  • Thermic Effect Of Food (TEF):This is the amount of calories it takes to digest the food that you eat. When you eat the body has to use expend energy to breaking down food into the usable molecules in the body. Each macronutrient has a different level of TEF calorie burn, and makes up about 10-12% of your caloric burn.
     

  • Protein: 20-25%

  • Fats: 3-4%

  • Carbs: 4-7%

  • Fibrous Vegetables:15-20%

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Can Your Metabolism & Metabolic Rate Change ?

As you lose weight and diet, each different part of the metabolism has an adaptive component to it that will cause it to change as a response to weight loss and dieting.

We'll be covering how RMR, NEAT, TEA and TEF all change as you diet to lose body fat in the in the rest of this series.

Understanding Your Metabolism & Fat Loss (Part 2: Fat Loss) 

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There is a lot of talk about specific diets that help someone accomplish fat loss and while the food choices among these diets are very different there is one principle they all have in common with regards to fat loss… they help create a calorie deficit.

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What Causes Any and Every Diet To Work For Fat Loss ?

To achieve fat loss you’ll need to be in a calorie deficit, meaning you’re burning more calories than you’re eating.

When this is done on a consistent enough basis assuming there are no special considerations the result is fat loss.

You can create a calorie deficit by eating fewer calories, or by increasing exercise. The reality is that most people burn far fewer calories during exercise than they think.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but chances are extremely good you burn far fewer calories exercising that you assume.  

For that reasons when it comes to creating a calorie deficit and effort is take into account it heavily favors eating fewer calories over trying increase exercise enough to burn way more calories.

On the opposite end living in a constant state of being in a large calorie deficit will cause the body to adapt and find ways to burn fewer calories wherever possible.

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Your Body Doesn't Want you To Lose Body Fat

The truth is your body doesn’t really want you to lose body fat because one of your main evolutionary goals is to conserve calories for survival, and fat loss directly threatens that goal by burning extra calories off your body. 

As you lose body your body will find ways to make this fat loss more difficult to achieve and slower. 

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The two main ways that your body will fight back against your fat loss is to make you move less which reduces your NEAT and burns fewer calories.

Secondly when you’re in a calorie deficit the body will increase your appetite and cravings in an attempt to get you to eat more food and gain back the fat that you lost.

 

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Other Ways Your Metabolism Can Adapt During Fat Loss/Calorie Deficit

There are other metabolic adaptations that take when someone is in a calorie deficit or has lost body fat place such as a smaller body burning fewer calories. 

Decreased food intake resulting in a reduced thermic effect of food and movement/ muscular efficiency where the body will adapt to burn fewer calories for the same movements as done before.

All of these different adaptations are part of the way your metabolism can modify your calorie burn with fat loss, and slow down your future fat loss.

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Is It Metabolic Damage or Starve Mode ? 

You’ve likely heard of “Starve Mode” or “Metabolic Damage” but in many regards those are inaccurate, these are expected calorie expenditure reductions that takes place when someone loses fat, or eats in a calorie deficit for too long.

To what degree and how quickly your body will adapt to fat loss is highly individual, and something we’ll discuss in an upcoming posts. 

Understanding Your Metabolism & Fat Loss (Part 3: Adaptations) 

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The whole reason that you’re able to lose body when you diet is due to stimulus and adaptations. When you’re in calorie deficit the fat loss you achieve is an adaptation to the stimulus of burning more calories than you’re consuming regularly.

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These adaptations that take place as you lose body fat and weight are a completely normal part of the process, but it doesn't necessarily mean that your body is pleased with the situation though. 

When you lose body fat and weigh less you'll naturally burn fewer calories because a smaller body requires less energy to manage and run. On top ofweighing less when you give the body far less energy via food it starts to send the signal to the brain that those precious body fat (energy) stores are getting low which can register as a threat to your survival. 

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When you diet to lose body fat you are mimicking a form of controlled starvation, and your body doesn't know the difference between you looking to get lean or something that could be a threat to your survival. 

As your body fat gets lower your body and brain begin to recognize that the stored calories that are necessary in case of a famine are getting more and more scarce which means it needs to adapt in an attempt to bring you back into equilibrium. 

Most adaptations in the body are meant to bring you back into a state equilibrium and remove you from any form of stress.  These adaptations are meant to help you survive which is the main goal from an evolutionary perspective along with procreation.

Your body becomes much more efficient with how calories are burned and used in the body when you're dieting as a way to ensure your survivalthrough the perceived starvation you're putting it through.  

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Your body'senergy efficiency and adaptations will start to directly oppose your fat loss goals because the body  finds ways to make you burn fewer calories both at rest and during exercise in an attempt to bring you back into equilibrium and protect your fat stores. 

You'll even want to move less to conserve more energy both consciously and unconsciously, and your hunger signaling and appetite will also be impacted in an attempt to get you to eat more.

 Each part of your metabolism is uniquely impact by these adaptations to fat loss and that's what we're be discussing below is the different ways each component of the metabolism is effected. 

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RMR Adaptation:

As we mentioned above when you lose body fat and weigh less the body will have to expend fewer calories to manage and maintain your new lower bodyweight. 

Another consideration is if you've been dieting and haven't consumed adequate protein or been t strength training the body will not be getting the signal to maintain muscle mass and it can be used as an energy source. 

While not hugely significant muscle mass is a more energy intensive tissue to maintain, and uses up more calories than body fat and contributes to a higher resting metabolic rate. 

The main way to ensure that muscle mass is preserved is to use strength training as a stimulus and signal to the body that to manage the stress of lifting heavy things you'll need to hold on to as much muscle as possible. Adequate protein helps to rebuild and repair lean tissue ,and also blunts hunger very effectively. Double whammy!

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NEAT Adaptation:

For a long time people have undervalued the amount of calories we expend daily through NEAT activity, and this is also where people will see the largest reduction in their caloric expenditure when dieting due to a number of factors we'll be covering below. 

A large part of the magic that takes place with NEAT activity is that a lot of it is unconscious things that we don't give thought to like fidgeting, deciding to stand or sit when working or the basic day to day movements that are part of your normal routine. 

As someone gets deeper into dieting for fat loss what they don't consider is that the body will inherently make them move less by encouraging you to sit more, park closer or drive to someplace that they used to walk to daily. While these are small considerations on a daily basis they add to a significantly lower caloric burn throughout the day, weeks and months. 

Another interesting part of the NEAT calorie reduction equation is that even if you do maintain the same level of NEAT activity while dieting the body makes you more efficient by reducing the amount of calories your burn during that activity. 

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TEA Adaptation:

In the same way that your body ensures you burn fewer calories through NEAT when dieting it does the same for more formalized exercise and strength training as well. 

As you strength train for an extended period of time and the body gets somewhat used to the stimulus of strength training or cardio, and the stimulus requires fewer calories because the body and your muscles have adapted to the movements and forms of exercise you've been giving it. 

This reduction in caloric expenditure can be made larger when someone is dieting as the body will strive to conserve calories and become more efficient wherever it can.  Another point worth mentioning is that you'll have less energy in the gym or on the field, and as performance in the gym reduces your intensity which can translate to an even bigger reduction in calories burned. 

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TEF Adaptation: 

This is likely going to be the smallest and least noticeable when it comes to a reduction in your metabolic rate, yet from a psychological perspective having to continually eat smaller portions and less food can be psychologically taxing for many people. 

None the less because you are eating fewer calories and a smaller amount of food your body is going to have to expend fewer calories to digest, breakdown and assimilate those calories. On top of that we we mentioned above when you're dieting part of the struggle is with the reduced caloric burn, but there is also the mental battle. 

You body will actively decrease satiety hormones in the body and upregulate hunger hormones in an attempt to get you to eat more food. In essence the body will make you hungrier and far less satisfied on the same amount of food. 

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