Here we are a few weeks into the New Year and if you are like one third of the population, then you probably made the resolution to lose weight. The problem with this is only about 8% of people are successful with their resolutions. Why do so many people fall short when it comes to weight loss? Why do so many people fail on diets?
The reason is: diets don’t work!
Every year we see some new type of diet that boasts extreme weight loss. We’ve heard, and probably tried, more than one. There’s Atkins, Paleo, The Cabbage Soup Diet, The Grapefruit Diet, HCG Diet, and the list goes on. The problem with most of these diets is that they require you to cut out foods that have necessary vitamins and minerals needed to keep you fit and healthy.
“I’ve tried one (or some of these) and I’ve lost weight”, you say. I am sure you did, along with millions of others. However, how long did the weight stay off before you were trying the next fad? How long were you able to maintain the diet? Probably not very long. Many of these are a quick fix. You will lose weight, initially. Keep in mind that any time there is a calorie deficit, you will lose weight. I could tell you to eat nothing but 2 slices of chocolate cake a day and if you are consuming fewer calories than you were before, weight will come off. However, it will be temporary and you will likely lose as much, or more, muscle as fat.
The key to remember is that even bad diets will give you some results, but they are not the type of results you want.
The weight loss equation is simple: calories in versus calories out meaning consume fewer calories than you expend, i.e. you need a calorie deficit done in a healthy way. The equation is simple, but the practice of it is much more difficult.
Calorie deficit can be achieved in three ways:
- Consume fewer calories
- Increase exercise
- A combination of the above.
Research has shown that significant weight loss can be achieved through proper nutrition, even if exercise is not involved. Proper nutrition means getting all of the food groups, yes this includes whole grains (complex carbohydrates). On the other hand, without a proper, well balanced diet exercise alone is usually not enough for significant weight loss.
Why, you ask? Think about it this way: if you do a workout and burn 600 calories, then you go home and eat a 3 slices of pizza, you’ve just destroyed the calorie deficit you created. Eating properly is 80% of weight loss. This does not mean you shouldn’t exercise! If you want to look your best, exercise is extremely important and will your boost results. The best way to lose the most weight is option number 3 listed above.
If you are still unsure about what proper nutrition is, take a look at this list of some of the highest rated “diets” (they are called diets, but are really plans to help you get balanced nutrition, while reducing calorie intake). Still unsure? Seek out a registered dietician or nutritionist. It’s time to stop following the fads.