Diets are finished. Its not often that I start an article with the conclusion, and if I thought that was enough to convince you to change your dieting ways, I would leave it there. But I am going to offer you an alternative to the yo-yo dieting, marketing fluff, and restrictive torture of diets that are doomed to fail in every facet except in lining the pockets of the glossy magazine and nutrition ‘experts’.
You see, every day, we are doing personal training in Cork, and everyday, and we get our clients unbeatable results in weight loss, long-term health, and vitality. It then becomes increasingly more difficult for me to accept the next ‘3 weeks to flatten your abs diet’, the ‘cucumber diet’, the ‘2+5’ diet, or whatever other celebrity diet comes out on a weekly basis.
Count your squats, not your calories
Calorie counting is a mistake. If you want to be in the best shape of your life for a long time, do me a favour and stop counting your calories. I am freeing you of the burden of constant mathematics. Instead I want you to focus on eating whole foods. If a food has a label on it, chances are it has been processed, and your better off no eating it anyway. To put this in perspective, the next time you go to the supermarket, and pick up a ready made meal from the well know company that will Watch our Weight for us. Read the label and take not of the low calorie count. Now turn your attention to the ingredients, and count how may of the ingredients you have never heard off, and cant pronounce due to their ‘sciency’ chemical name. Is that what you want to eat?
Eat whole foods in abundance. They are full of nutrients that will do more than simply get you in shape. Meat vegetables, fruits, nuts, water. These are gifts that will keep us in excellent health, and coupled with a tidy training program, you will get lean. If you have a burning desire to count something, count how many squats or kettlebell swings you do in a day.
Starve your cravings, not your body
The next reason that you are doomed to fail on the latest trendy diet is that you are starving your body of the very fuel that keeps it healthy, vibrant, and energetic. Making your body hungry is the equivalent of telling your body that your are in the middle of a famine. When this happen, your body and mind are stressed out, and with good reason. This leads to fat storage, a mentality of depravity, and low energy. Ultimately, it will lead to a crash on the diet, overeating when you decide that enough is enough on the ludicrous new regime, and you will say to yourself ‘I have tried dieting, it doesn’t work’, and will start to get comfortable with the possibility of living the rest of your life our of shape.
On the other hand, what you should starve is your craving for sugar, processed foods, and comfort eating. Take stock of how many bars of chocolate/ bags of crisps/ cans of coke, processed foods etc. you eat in a week, and start cutting them back. Be strict on yourself when you deice on a goal. You need to starve the cravings and the negative habits that are keeping you down, but do not starve your body, as this will only lead to one outcome.
Vision for the long term, action for the short term
The problem with the diets that you see in just about every newspaper, magazine, and health website is that they are created with ‘rapid fat loss’, or ‘drop 2 dress sizes in 2 weeks’ in mind. Dropping a dress size is a nice feeling, but the short sightedness of these types of diets can be crippling to any willing participant when it comes to long-term health.
The first step for all our clients at ACLAÍ Health and Performance is to establish their vision or ultimate goal. What do you see as you ideal weight? What do you really want to achieve? After that, we work backwards and put realistic time on achieving this goal. This is the most effective way of getting to where you want to be, and is like a Ferrari vs a Fiat Punto when compared to the quick fix offered by the diet Moghuls in the media. They do not care about your long-term health. At least not as much as they care that you buy the latest thing that is ‘Guaranteed to flatter your tummy and give you sexy thighs in 23 days.’
So having your Vision for the future is the best vantage point from which to decide what you are going to do about your health in the short term. That doesn’t mean that you set a loft goal and the rest will look after itself. What I want you to do now is take action now, for the short term. Close the computer down and go for a walk. Cycle to work tomorrow. Cut down the dead tree in the garden. Be active!