Blog Posts

Don't Go On A Diet. Do THIS Instead!

Apr 19, 2024

It's very tempting to go on the latest diet craze whether it's keto or intermittent fasting maybe even carnivore. Some people will get results on these diets at least for the short term. But what happens next? I'm going to tell you what usually goes wrong and what you can do to avoid it.

If you're not planning on doing the diet forever it's probably not the diet you should be doing. Of course there are some limited circumstances where you might want to do a short-term diet in terms of testing for allergies and intolerances.

Perhaps even a short-term goal where you know that you're going to regain the weight like a fitness competition or a special social event like a wedding.

But for long-term weight loss whether a diet is sustainable or not is really what matters the most.

Research shows us that it doesn't really matter what type of diet you go on as long as the calories and generally the protein are equated. They're all equally successful or unsuccessful depending on how you want to look at it. If you can stick to it you're going to lose fat with it.

It's what we called dietary adherence and it's very individual. Everyone has different preferences.

I can't do carnivore because I'm not a huge meat eater. I really only eat chicken and seafood and I don't really want to do vegan either because large amounts of fiber and vegetables actually aggravate my IBS symptoms. And dairy is is one of my favourite sources of protein.

Intermittent fasting doesn't suit me because I just feel like having a Matcha latte and a little bit to eat in the morning. It's not that I couldn't do it but I choose not to. And I can get the results I want while still eating breakfast. And yes I know you can also do intermittent fasting by skipping dinner but I choose to eat throughout the day.

I don't really even eat low carb anymore because my appetite is under control and I can enjoy carbs and even sugar in moderate quantities without feeling deprived. I know that I can get the results while eating the foods that I love and that took me a long time to learn.

Ongoing deprivation is unnecessary to get fat loss results.

Any of these dietary strategies could be a game changer for someone else. It doesn't matter which method you use whether it's intermittent fasting or carnivore or vegan or any other system of eating. If it allows you to eat fewer calories you're going to lose fat. And contrary to popular belief none of these diets have any evidence that they provide you additional health benefits beyond that caloric restriction. This is when I'm going to get all the intermittent fasting zealots coming at me saying oh if you do intermittent fasting you're going to live to 100. There's absolutely no evidence for that.

You're not missing out on anything by not doing these particular diets. You can find a way of eating that allows you to eat your favourite foods and and still lose weight.

Now here's an interesting comment I got under one of my videos. This person said they're going to use keto to lose weight in the short term and then they're going to go off the diet.

"I have no plans of staying keto long term. I'll use the diet to lose weight and if I can reach my goal weight I'll go off of it. It's sad when you can't eat fruits and I miss them already after just 2 weeks."

I'm sure you can see the problem with this idea. They have no plans to do keto long term but somehow they think that they're going to be able to maintain the weight that they lost through that diet even though they're going to do a completely different diet when they finish. After 2 weeks they're already missing fruit. Which is not surprising because fruit is delicious.

What's going to happen is temporary weight loss followed by regain when they go off this method of caloric restriction, the ketogenic diet. There's no real plan to transition to a sustainable eating plan.

Are they just planning to go back to exactly what they were eating before? Because if they do their weight is eventually going to go back to where it was before too. So there's really no purpose of going on keto for the short term and then gaining all that weight back again. Because you have no strategy for eating afterwards you've gained nothing but frustration. And you've given up the delights of fruit and other delicious carbs in the meantime.

Here's another comment I got from a 34 year-old male.

He says he's going to use intermittent fasting to kickstart his results. In the traditional 16/8 method of intermittent fasting he's going to skip breakfast. But again he says he doesn't want to maintain intermittent fasting long term.

But he says something quite interesting. Which is if I maintain the same amount of calories will I be able to maintain my weight. And the answer is yes!

But how are you going to maintain the same amount of calories if you're going to add back in breakfast? Really the only thing that you can do there if you want to maintain the same amount of calories and say you've been eating only two meals while doing intermittent fasting you want to go back to three is you need to shift those calories that you're now planning on having for breakfast. And you need to take them out of your lunch and dinner so you're going to have to have fewer calories at lunch and or dinner in order for those calories to be equated.

I's also why having frequent meals and snacking a lot makes it really easy to add up your calories. And we used to hear a lot of you need to eat four to six meals a day or like you need to eat more frequently to stoke your metabolism. This is very old information now. Like we've known for a long time that the calories that you eat throughout the day is what matters. So you can have them in one meal if that's how you're going to eat them. Or you can have them in six meals and it makes very little difference.

People who have three large meals or normal size meals and then are constantly snacking throughout the day sometimes they're adding a lot of calories two or 300 calories here and there you do that three times a day I mean that could be an additional 1000 calories. Snacking adds up very quickly!

This is the reason that a lot of people do lose weight on intermittent fasting. If you're only having two meals a day then it's harder to get in more calories.

There's a certain limit of how much a person can eat at one time it's different for all of us and I've seen some people consume very large amounts at one time. But let's not worry about that for now.

If you're only having two meals it's harder to squeeze in all those calories so intermittent fasting makes caloric restriction a little bit easier but if you eventually think you're going to want to have breakfast then there's really no point in designing your entire plan around skipping breakfast or doing any other form of intermittent fasting. Restricted time eating.

I actually had someone respond to that comment it was the right answer really.

"Yeah you'll probably gain weight if you stop it is better to pick a regime you can stick to for the rest of your life you'll enjoy long-term weight loss that way."

Big heart on that one!

Because that's exactly what it is. If you want to lose weight short term and then regain it again sure go on a diet that doesn't make sense.

So you're not going to go on a fad diet to lose weight or kickstart anything.

What should you do instead?

Look at the foods that you're already eating. Most people are eating too many ultra-processed, high calorie density foods. Junk foods, as some people call them. Those things add up really quickly and you could just eat "clean" and eliminate all those. But I doubt that's going to last very long.

You basically have to be extremely disciplined to keep yourself from eating those foods and I'm willing to bet that eventually you're going to cave and probably end up overeating. Which is exactly what happened to me for the better part of a decade. Up and down and up and down my weight went.

I was eliminating those foods and then bringing them back big time. And it was a huge problem. I used to manage for weeks or maybe even months and then I end up binging on chocolate and ice cream because those are my favorite things. Then I told myself I was disgusting and I had to stop it feel really guilty and I'd go back to eliminating all those foods. That lasted for a little while until of course the dam burst and I started to eat too much again.

So I want you to avoid this and that means including your favourite foods as part of your plan.

But you'll probably have to include them less frequently and in smaller quantities.

When I finally changed my relationship with food and took a more moderate and guilt-free approach I found fat loss a lot easier and more sustainable. Go figure!

For most people tracking calories and macros at least for a couple of weeks can be really helpful. in my online program The Lean & Strong Academy we actually track for 3 weeks in total to get some nutritional education to learn more about the foods that we're consuming on a regular basis and then we develop our own Fat Loss plan from there.

It does come down to getting into a calorie deficit through reducing your energy intake and increasing your energy expenditure that's the physical activity that you do.

Ivana Chapman