Diets… Keto, Paleo, Bulletproof, Carb Cycling, Intermittent Fasting, Mediterranean Diet, I can go on…
There are some basic principles that explain why diets work (or don’t). We’ll take a quick look here.
Any program that creates a deficit of energy balance, irrespective of it’s health benefits (or lack of), will result in weight loss. A deficit of approximately 500kcal/day will result in a 1lb/week loss of weight.
What exactly are you losing?
In the initial stages of a diet, you’ll lose water weight, which will show as rapid weight loss. Then, it will decelerate. The reduction of water comes mostly from reduced glycogen stores in the muscles and liver, which hold 3-5g/water per gram of glycogen. After that, it will come from either fat (good) or muscle (bad).People are on record losing large amounts of weight eating a diet of nothing but white potatoes. Weight loss? Yes. Fat loss? Some. Muscle loss? Yes. Healthy? No.
Here’s the fact, Jack…
You’d better eat plenty of protein on any weight loss program. You need it, as you want your hormones, muscles, bones, and enzymes to work properly. Cut too much protein, and you’ll lose precious lean tissue, which ultimately results in a slowed metabolism and potential for systemic dysfunction. And, protein satiates you.
You’d also better eat plenty of good fats. There’s a lipid layer in every cell in the body. Cholesterol (a transporter) is derived from fat consumption, and is vital for brain and nervous system function. Wanna feel full? Eat fat.
Fruits and veggies should be the centerpiece of your carbohydrates, with special emphasis on green leafy and cruciferous vegetables. They provide some food energy, but are jam packed with micronutrients for your systems. Need a bit more carbs on heavy training days? Add a slice of Ezekiel bread, a slice of real sourdough break, a bit of white or brown rice, a medium sweet potato, some butternut squash, a small white potato, or some rutabaga.
Eating carbs in general (without fat) will not keep you feeling full, even though they provide plenty of energy in the form of calories. Be aware of that, and add fats and proteins as needed. Eat starch by itself, and you’ll be running for more carbs within an hour or so.
Here’s the deal. If you are feeling, sleeping, and functioning well, you can eliminate a serving of starchy carbs and monitor your progress. As you continue down your healthy weight loss path (remember, first get HEALTHY, then LOSE weight) you can eliminate starchy carbs as needed.
Techniques like Intermittent Fasting and Keto are great, and can be valuable, but you’ll need to first get your regular nutrition practices in order. In other words…
Get it together.
I’m here to help. If you’d like nutrition, fitness, or lifestyle coaching, I’m available. Simply reach out to me here on the blog, on my Facebook page at Renegade Fitness, or on Instagram @renegadefitnessmiami