So… you saw the words “Magic Diet” and clicked. You probably thought I was going to read a list of ‘superfoods’ that you must eat in order to lose weight and achieve that all desired aesthetic looking body.
You may have heard of numerous fad diets which claim to magically drop your body fat and transform your physique. Examples: paleo, keto, intermittent fasting (IM), low carb, low fat etc. These diets are great.. if you want to unnecessarily cut out all foods you love, making this process as hard as possible for yourself. Do you want to be on a strict regime of “I’m not allowed to eat this because it doesn’t fit my diet rules” or “I can’t eat this yet as my eating window for IM hasn’t started yet”.
By all means follow these diets, if they work for YOU, but understand one thing: these diets are enabling you to lose weight through one mechanism: A CALORIE DEFICIT (1).
Understand this and you’ll be enlightened, eating foods you love in moderation enabling you to stay focused, social and healthy.
Keep reading and by the end of this I guarantee, with an open mind, you’ll be able to manipulate your diet and nutrition to suit your needs and lifestyle.
If you’re aware of the term ‘Energy Balance’ then you just need to apply it, you’re also more advanced than half of the zealots who are still worshipping a huge portion of avocado and eggs on toast everyday: “but Harri.. eating breakfast, especially a really healthy breakfast like this gets my metabolism going therefore I burn more fat all day long!” Anyone coming at me with this argument will get the same answer: this is not logical, nor factual – it is simply not true.
Your body will still burn the same amount of calories throughout the day regardless of what time you choose to “kickstart” your metabolism – it requires energy to carry out daily physiological activities – BMR.
Energy Balance is a term that describes the determination of weight loss, weight gain or weight maintenance – I say ‘a term’, it’s THE term, the only term that can control these outcomes.
Depending on your goal, your calorie consumption and expenditure will differ. If you’re looking to lose weight – you must be in a calorie deficit, if you’re looking to gain weight – you must be in a calorie surplus and if you’re looking to maintain your current weight, then maintenance calories are required (2).
These outcomes – weight loss, weight gain and maintaining are dependent on the individual – “no one size fits all”. There are many different variables that determine the number of calories you need to consume for your required goal which can be done with calculations (see my nutritional programming package). These 4 variables are what determine your calorie expenditure (calories burnt in a day) – only 2 of which you need to worry about: number 2 and 3.
- BMR [Basal Metabolic Rate]: The amount of energy (calories) used to carry out daily bodily functions in a 24hr period “ circulation of blood, breathing, cell repair etc) this differs depending on height, weight, age, body composition etc.
- NEAT [Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis]: The amount of energy (calories) used in normal daily movement or non-intentional activity/exercise eg: walking up the stairs, cooking, cleaning etc – MOVING basically.
- TEA [Thermic Effect of Activity]: This is the intentional exercise you will do in a given day eg: weight lifting, cardio, walking, running etc.
- TEF [Thermic Effect of food]: The amount of energy that is used internally to digest and break down food when you eat (protein uses the most amount of energy to breakdown).
What I’m getting at here is, if you understand the principles & mechanisms behind Energy Balance, AND you are accounting for protein and calories, you WILL reach your intended goal. FACT. Also SCIENCE (3).
To summarise,THE MAGIC DIET is one that:
- you can be accountable for
- contains nutritious foods
- contains foods and meals you love
- has sufficient protein and more than 20% is made up of fats (3)
- is calorie RESTRICTED to meet your goal and complement your training
AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, a diet that:
“You can adhere too and adopt as a long term lifestyle change.”
If this is all nonsense to you, just take 1 thing from this: energy balance determines weight loss/weight gain. You do NOT need any special fad diet, diet pills, supplements for weight loss, create a calorie deficit by any means you can, live healthily, happily and keep a good relationship with food!
I hope I have succeeded in my goal to educate on the basic principles of weight management so you don’t waste your money and time buying into these fad diets – instead, look into getting a coach who will [hopefully] teach you how to use the principles to create your own methods and become free with your nutrition and lifestyle.