In today’s society, nutrition is one of the most talked about topics, but is also one that has lots of good and bad information out there for people to access. Many gurus will talk about special diets that will help you lose “x” amount of weight in “x” amount of time or say that carbohydrates are bad and will make you fat. They can most likely help you lose weight in the short term, but it does not mean it is sustainable for your lifestyle and something you could do for years to come? There is a need to understand the control of energy balance and how to prevent the regaining of weight after it has been lost. By itself, decreasing caloric intake will have a limited short-term influence.*
With the recent increase in focusing on “fad” diets, many people will make a quick change to their lifestyle because they heard from a certain source that intermittent fasting, Paleo diet, Keto diet, etc. will help them lose weight quick. They suffer through the diet for several months and then once they reach their goal weight, they go back to the diet they were consuming before and they regain the weight because the diet was not sustainable.
Everyone’s needs are different so eating what someone else is eating just because they are “healthy” does not mean it will help you and your goals. We need to adjust and figure out what is best for YOUR lifestyle and specific goals. Yes, it is possible to follow the newest fad diet and lose weight but once you lose the weight can you still follow that same diet for years to come as part of your lifestyle. We need to develop better habits overall and look at a more long-term approach instead of a “quick fix.”
We need to change our habits, but it does not need to happen all at once. We should try to identify the areas that are contributing to weight gain and slowly take them out. It will be a longer process but slow and steady wins the race. Keeping track of foods you consume can be very beneficial to helping you lose or gain weight. Many people become frightened when they track foods and realize how many calories there are in those things they have been eating.
The main goal is to not scare people away but to educate them and show them how certain foods can contribute to their daily caloric intake but also teach them that they do not always need to completely cut it out of their life and they can make it fit. Studies show that people who self-monitor their meals lose more weight and keep it off.** Whatever your goals are, you should focus on developing healthy habits and incorporating strength training into your daily life.
* Benton, David, and Hayley A. Young. “Reducing Calorie Intake May Not Help You Lose Body Weight.” Perspectives on Psychological Science, vol. 12, no. 5, 2017, pp. 703–714., doi:10.1177/1745691617690878.
** “What a Healthy Weight Loss Plan Really Looks Like.” EatRight, www.eatright.org/health/weight-loss/tips-for-weight-loss/what-a-healthy-weight-loss-plan-really-looks-like.