Here’s a test for you – take out a piece of A4 paper and jot down the five most important specific things your diet needs in order to maintain a healthy and confident body, what would you write down?
If your answers were along the lines of: intermittent fasting, stop eating carbs or give up chocolate, this post will literally change your life.
I can tell you that you’re not alone in the confusion and it’s not going to get easier any time soon.
Now that there are more social media platforms and ‘coaches’ with a voice. With that voice comes one more dietary approach you could follow and add to the laundry list of information overload.
The problem is that the advice you hear is either wrong or not important to the long-term picture of maintaining a healthy body weight.
Your entire weight loss focus is about to get simplified and organised so you know EXACTLY where you should be focusing your energy.
Follow these next 5 steps in order and stop that disheartened feeling with your diet and feel in control.
Side note – this is purely from a nutritional perspective. Exercise, sleep, stress management and drinking enough water everyday are not going to be mentioned even though they are all extremely important.
Step 1) Adherence / Consistency
Would you like me to write you the greatest diet plan of all time? It will have all the nutrients and protein you ever needed.
Absolutely I could… but it would be completely useless.
The most perfectest plan in the world is going to garner you zero progress if you are unable to stick to it.
Life is never that straight forward. Just like a GP who assess patients, he’s not going to give the lady with a chest infection and the teenager with acne issues the same prescription.
Screaming at you that you must eat more vegetables is not helpful without a bigger understanding of what it takes to reach long-term dieting consistency. If your plan is impossible to stick to it’s utterly worthless and your consistency and motivation will go out the window.
I see this a lot with PT’s that look for a quick result and testimonial from a client – dive bombing a clients daily food intake and leaving them no better off when they are finished with their 8 week booty burner.
Sure. You might last 2 weeks. But what happens after you inevitably give in and eat a pizza?
You binge because you perceive the diet to have been ‘failed’
Back to square one.
Some days you will mess up and go over target with your diet. Understand that that’s ok. Sometimes you even should.
If you nail your diet 80% of the time then it’s still going to be better than the gal who binned all her favourite foods and half her calories to only stick to their diet 50% of the time. A human is not a machine – you need to get your consistency in order or you’ll eventually implode because you couldn’t stick to that black and white plan.
Step 2) Calories
Now that adherence is on point and you are consistent with your approach to dieting (without starving yourself.) Then the next phase is to nail a calorie deficit.
By the end of the day or the end of the week, consume less calories than your body expends.
Here’s an example. Please don’t use these numbers as they are likely not accurate for your age, height and weight:
Danielle needs to consume around 14,000 calories per week in order to sustainably lose weight.
Danielle could consume a deficit of 2,000 calories over a day-to-day basis or a total of 14,000 calories by weeks end. I.e. she could have high calorie days and low calorie days. Either works. This gives her wiggle room in case she has a wedding to attend or fancies afternoon tea with cake on Saturday.
Now here’s the really important part.
This can be achieved by consuming 2,000 calories of anything as long calories are met. She wouldn’t be able to lose weight if she overate on her calories but all her diet consisted of ‘healthy’ foods like olive oil, salmon and Granola. If she still consumed over her weekly target of 14,000 calories she’s not going to lose weight.
As long as calories are less than your body is expending you’ll lose weight.
Sorry but whether a food is ‘clean’ or not will not matter in the principle of energy balance.
But make sure to stick around to step 4 to find out why it’s probably not a good idea to only eat biscuits for calories…
Step 3) Macronutrients
Good news. The rest of the steps are optional for weight loss.
Yes I’m serious. If you follow the first two steps you’ll lose weight and be awesome. However if you want to make sure you’re ticking off other important factor such as health and diet variety – check out these next steps.
So now we are going to talk about macronutrients. These make up the food and drink we consume. Everything has a macronutrient number.
Protein, carbohydrates and dietary fat intake are the important ones to know and understand. Alcohol is technically a macronutrient but contains zero nutrition so we can leave that one. Each group plays an important role for your dream body.
Protein is top of the shop because it is the most filling macronutrient and will help you retain as much muscle mass as possible whilst dieting. Go here for more on the importance of protein.
Carbohydrate and fat intake are going to be very person-dependant and will be hard to say for certain a good target is. We teach how to personalise this inside our Ladies Lounge and how to determine which intake will work best for you. With strategies to test out on yourself at home.
However try this out as a general target:
0.5 grams of fat per kg of body weight for a lower fat diet
1.0 grams of fat per kg of body weight for a moderate fat diet
1.5 grams of fat per kg of body weight for a higher fat diet
The remainder of your calories will go to carbs.
Now that we have macros nailed it’s time to master…
Step 4) Micronutrients (Vitamins & Minerals)
Remember I said you’d only need to eat Kit Kats as long as you were in a calorie deficit?
True it would work… but it’s a very bad idea even if it’s guaranteed to work.
Kit Kats are effectively void of nutrients important to your health and vitality. A diet that nutritionally sucks will ultimately affect how you feel and perform. Whilst it’s still vital to ensure you have your fill of vitamins and minerals, when it comes to weight loss it’s not as important as the consistency, calories and macros. Hence why it’s only number 4 on the list.
If you only focus on points 1-3 for your weight loss phase that’s totally fine. Just make sure once you’re at goal weight you focus on your micronutrients. Dieting is tough, let alone having to think about how much vitamin A you are getting.
Ensure that at least 80% of your calories are whole foods, i.e. fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, poultry, whole grains, nuts and seeds.
Now to ruffle a few feathers.
Step 5) Everything Else!
You might have noticed that I didn’t mention skipping a meal, cutting out bread or sacking off your gal pal meals out because they are going to brunch on Sunday.
That’s because everything else is going to make less than a 5% improvement in comparison to the steps above.
Meal timing, meal frequency, food group elimination and funky diet protocols should be the lowest on your list of priorities unless they align with all of the above steps.
Most people will start from step 5 and wonder why they are not making any progress. This goes to all those women that are eating a ketogenic diet whilst fasting and only eating paleo, yet still overeat on calories and can’t seem to figure out whey they can’t lose weight.
That’s because your adherence and consistency is wavering, your calories are well over what they should be and your nutrient profile is essentially rock bottom numb-nuts.
You can fast and still gain weight. Just as the same you can give up chocolate and not lose a pound.
Follow these steps and say goodbye to confusion and feeling disheartened when dieting.