“What Works For Others Will Not Always Work For You.”
Something we hear thrown around in the fitness & health industry a lot! It holds true on so many levels, but when applied to dieting people often get heavily mistaken into thinking too literally about this term.
At the end of the day, calorie restriction works for everyone, right?
Correct. For the most part, place any individual on a calorie restricted diet and they will lose weight. However, it’s the METHOD of calorie restriction and the PRACTICAL APPLICATION of that calorie restriction that changes so greatly from person to person, and this is exactly where people often go wrong...
As you've probably heard us say on multiple occasions, the best ‘diet’ for you is the one you can stick to.
Breaking that down, there are a range of factors that contribute to your dietary adherence, such as;
1. Enjoyment - if you love/hate the foods you’re eating.
2. Flexibility - if the diet allows you to be flexible with your choices and approach (being able to chop and change according to preference, availability, appetite etc).
3. Practicality - How practical is the diet? (6 small-meals a day when you only get 1 lunch break on a 12 hour shift?).
4. Ease/convenience - is the diet easy for you to follow? (A recipe based meal plan with no alternate options for someone who hates to cook?).
Type the word 'diet' into google and you will be bombarded with billions of hits. There are more methods of calorie restriction (diets) than I can count, which is where most people get so easily lead astray, or worse, get overwhelmed and give up before they've even begun.
Clean eating, intermittent fasting, flexible dieting/tracking macros and 'keto' are only a very select few of the plethora of methods used commonly in the fitness industry today. Many of these methods intertwine and are used in conjunction or interchangeably.
With social media taking the World by storm, and fitness 'influencers' promoting brands, diet's, appetite suppressing lollipops, slimming tea's and everything in between, it is far too easy to see someone you look up to utilising one method, and think that method will work for you.
Now I personally follow a flexible dieting approach, as does Adam. Meaning we track our macros and eat a variety of foods according to our schedule, appetite, goals and even cravings. Do I think this method is superior? For me, yes. For you, I wouldn't have a clue.
I'm here to tell you that we are all guilty of getting caught up in watching others on Social Media and wanting to adopt their ways in the hopes it will yield the same results.
In the past, I’ve made the mistake of reducing my food portions and 'eating clean', purely because I’ve seen others do so successfully and thought that I would be able to offset hunger and cravings because either way - I’m in a calorie deficit and I’ll be hungry.
Unfortunately, my body doesn’t quite work like that and it resulted in me not only experiencing the normal hormonal cues of being in a deficit (Grehlin aka my ‘hunger hormone’ telling me I’m still hungry, but also having to endure far more unnecessary physical hunger (stomach literally not full) that could’ve been easily avoided if I did what I have ALWAYS done as a flexible dieter. Which is eating VOLUME foods to physically fill me up, whilst also having the potential to reduce hormonal hunger cues.
Now, on the other end of the spectrum, I see a growing amount of individuals follow and look up to particular 'influencers' who can eat A LOT, regardless of their methods, and maintain, or even lose weight.
They plaster their calorie intake across their social media like a bumper sticker, loud and proud. Preaching to the world that they can eat upwards of 300g of carbohydrates every day and still lose weight, and that this is possible for their viewers too.
Unfortunately, from both my experience as a coach and an individual, alongside what the research has to say, this is not the case. Metabolic variability is HUGE from one individual to the next, and whereby some people may be metabolically blessed, others aren't, and will have to diet on very low calories with considerable cardio to lose fat. No matter how hard they worked in their off-season.
At the end of the day, the research stands that energy balance is king when it comes to gaining, or losing weight.
If you want to find out which method best works for you, consider the aforementioned factors such as enjoyment and flexibility. Do your research and review what methods you believe are best suited to your lifestyle and preferences, and most importantly, don't be scared to trial each method to find what you can stick to!
As cliche as it sounds, it's a lifestyle change, not a 'quick fix' that you're aiming for. And if you can't see yourself implementing a specific dieting method for the rest of your life (with the exclusion of competition prep), then it probably isn't going to work for you! So long as the method you choose incorporates a variety of nutrient dense, whole foods, and allows you to get the results you desire without adopting any 'extremes', there is no reason for you to chop or change it just because some fitness guru said so!
If you're completely unsure of where to start, or just want some simple nutrition guidelines to follow, here's a few that are tried and tested:
1. Consume 3-5 Servings of Fruit & Vegetables Each Day
2. Aim to Consume Protein with Every Meal
3. Drink 3L or More of Water Per Day
4. Consume 25-30g Fibre Per Day
5. Aim to Consume 80% of Your Diet From Whole, Non-Processed Foods
6. Eat a Variety of Foods You Enjoy!
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If there's anything in particular you guys would like us to shed some light on within the Fitness, Nutrition, Supplementation and Health spectrum please let us know.