So you get to that point where you decide its time to ‘go on a diet’. You have probably resisted it for a good while as lets face it, going on a diet likely means cutting out all of the tasty treats and dealing with constant hanger. Dieting more often than not means following a short term and highly restrictive plan. Does it get results? Yes. Do these results last? Nope. So you search for another plan/theory/method. Sound familiar? Have you ever typed the word ‘diet’ into Google in a bid to find the latest diet trend? Mind = Blown.
For those of you who have not tried this, I did the research for you and this is just a handful of the options that pop up:
3: Low carb
4: Low fat
8: Ultra low fat
9: Intermittent fasting
10: HCG diet
Some of these diets call for low carb, some high fat, some no food at all for a while but without getting overwhelmed with the details of each diet prescription, I want you to imagine two different dieters. For the purposes of this article each example person is interested in weight loss.
Person one: 30 year old male, 15% body fat, trains at the gym 5 days per week, hikes or mountain bikes at the weekend, has a job that involves being active more often than not – wants to lose 5 pounds just to improve body composition a little.
Person two: 50 year old menopausal female, 40% body fat, sedentary lifestyle, desk job, no active hobbies – wants to lose 30 pounds for general health reasons.
If both of our example dieters worked their way through the list of diets above, what would you expect to see in terms of results? That can be easily answered – a great deal of difference.
Despite the fact that every human on the planet is somewhere around 99% the same as everyone else, that approximate 1% difference is what makes us each unique and because we are all unique, a one size fits all diet plan doesn’t work. So if we consider the examples above firstly we are looking at a male vs a female so there is likely a difference in physical size and lean muscle mass (muscle mass is more metabolically active than fat meaning the more muscle a person has, the more calories they need to consume to feed the muscle), then we have a difference in age which is particularly prevalent for the female as she is at a time in life where major hormonal changes affect the metabolic system. Each person also has completely different energy requirements to fuel their activity level and this is of course just scratching the surface of what separates these two in terms of nutritional needs.
Our male dieter will need more carbs than our female because of his activity level, our female may do well with a higher fat intake and as body composition changes, so does the individuals nutritional requirements. This also highlights how a person’s diet needs to evolve as their body begins to change.
There is no doubt that flash advertising, grand promises of rapid weight loss and pots of pills that promise to bind to the fat you eat and flush it out of your system are attractive prospects. We live in a world where we demand instant results and we have become unaccustomed to playing the long game, to listening to our bodies and to dedicating ourselves to the process of change.
Now you really want to know which diet to pick right?
Well here is the thing, it depends upon your starting point, your health, your activity level, your age, your gender, your environment and of course your goals. Just because person one has great success on a Paleo diet doesn’t mean person two will see results. That is the very reason why as a nutrition coach, I don’t prescribe one particular well known diet plan for every client. I get it, none of us like gray we all want simple black and white answers to how we are going to lose weight but the fact of the matter is, that finding out what works for you is a process of trial and error. The good news is that I have a great starting point for you to create a long term healthy lifestyle which will get you results and if you adopt a lifestyle rather than a diet then guess what, you can break free of the endless cycle of dieting.
Want to know the secret?…
…Eat MOSTLY whole foods (minimally processed) MOST of the time!!
For more information on the Gravitas Nutrition program including details of challenges and workshops visit http://gravitasfitness.com/nutrition