Atkins, Herbalife, The Cambridge diet, 5:1. There are SO many different ‘diets’ you could try. But my opinion. My honest opinion…don’t try any of them. There is no diet which suits everyone. We are all different. What works for one person may not work for you. The above ‘diets’ have all been tried and tested by thousands of individuals and yes, people have lost weight, but the majority of the time they slowly gain it again as these ‘diets’ are not maintainable. They are not a healthy way to live your life. I can say that as i’ve tried being on a strict ‘diet’. A while ago now, thankfully, i tried the Herbalife diet. I’m not sure if i’ve mentioned this before…sorry if i am repeating myself! If you haven’t heard about Herbalife it’s a shake based diet. You can have up to 3 shakes a day instead of meals, and the occasional Herbalife snack bar. I was very disciplined with it and lost A LOT of weight in a very short amount of time, which wasn’t healthy. I restricted myself on a daily basis and followed the ‘diet by the book. Yes, it worked. But was i happy with my ‘diet’? 100% not. I missed food and i was hungry and miserable all the time. Now i have educated myself with nutrition and completed courses in my personal training relating to nutrition, i can openly say i would never recommend one of the above ‘diets’. The reason i keep saying ‘diet’, with apostrophes, is because i simply HATE the word DIET. It automatically puts you in a frame of mind where you can’t eat certain foods. It gives you a bad relationship with food and i just don’t appreciate the word in general.
So, all the above ‘diets’ have one thing in common. Can you guess what it is? They all put you in a calorie deficit. Which means you will eat less calories then you normally would on a daily basis. So of course you would lose weight. But you don’t have to be on a military style ‘diet’ to lose weight. You just need to know how much you are eating. Be mindful of what you are eating. We all know what we ideally should and shouldn’t eat. Everything in moderation is key. If you want some chocolate one day, have some! Don’t feel guilty for eating something which isn’t the best. You need fats and carbs in your diet. Just a certain amount. Now, i won’t go too far into this as it can get quite complicated. But all you need to know first. Is how many calories you want to aim for daily. There are lots of online calculators which will work this out for you. But if you want a more specific answer. You need to work out your BMR (Basel Metabolic Rate) which is the amount of calories your body needs just to live. So, if you were to just lay in bed all day and not move, you would still burn calories, not a lot, but some, as your bodily functions such as your heart are still pumping. Right, now time for the scientific bit…calculating your BMR. There are 2 equations depending on your gender. This is the Mifflin St Jeor Equation by the way…if that means anything!
Men: 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (years) + 5
Women: 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (years) – 161
Once you have worked out your daily calories, you need to times this number by your activity level. So, if you have a sedentary job and don’t exercise regularly you will want to times your BMR by 1.2. Sedentary job but fairly active, times your BMR by 1.3. Times by 1.4 if you are pretty active in your job and workouts. 1.5 if you are highly active in your job and workout regularly. Once you have worked out your BMR with activity level you will have the amount of calories you should be aiming for on a daily basis at rest. Hope that makes sense? Okay, so the next stage. If you are trying to bulk, you will need to add calories, say 200, to your total, this is to fuel your workouts and gain muscle. If you want to cut, you will need to takeaway calories, again roughly 200 at the beginning of a cut, from your total, meaning you will be in a calorie deficit, meaning you will lose weight. It can be quite complicated so let me know if this doesn’t make sense and if you have any specific questions comment below and i will get back to you ASAP! If you want to know more about how to work out macros (carbs, fats and protein), please also comment below and i will make a whole new blog post about working out macros as it is pretty complicated at first.
Personally i find that using this method, being in a calorie deficit, works so much better for weight loss. It doesn’t just help you lose weight but it keeps you sane. You can still have that bit of chocolate or slice of pizza that you are craving. As i mentioned earlier about macros, i stick with the rule of If It Fits Your Macros, or IIFYM. But as i mentioned i will do a separate blog post on that and how to work out your macros for your individual goals. But for now, if you are trying to lose weight stick with tracking the amount of calories a day you are eating at the moment and then you will have more of an idea if you are overeating. Try downloading an app called My Fitness Pal, which is free by the way guys! Its a great way to become aware of how many calories you are eating on a daily basis and you may be shocked at how many calories are in certain foods. Just a reminder guys, you know i am passionate about health and fitness, specifically mental health. I don’t want you to read this and assume that you HAVE to count calories. You don’t. You do what’s right for you. In my opinion, i suggest to my clients that macro tracking and calorie counting are the best way to get results. But i make sure that people don’t get too obsessed with calorie counting. If you have a bad day, don’t let it affect you. Just jump straight back on it the next day. Health and fitness should be enjoyable and you should have fun doing it! Never do a ‘diet’ which makes you miserable or unhealthy. Enjoy your life being as healthy as you can. Try not to call it a ‘diet’,