The only people who need to solely focus on number driven results are athletes competing in weight class sports, and physique competitors needing to hit certain body fat % for stage.
I’m going to tell you why…but first let’s look at some research. A recent study reveled women diet 130 times in their lifetime (averaging two diets a year). Wait what? Yup, read it again if you need to.
When you think of the word diet what is the first thing that comes to mind?
I’m sure it’s not sustainability and/or flexibility. Although it should be, sustainability needs to be the first thing we consider when thinking about long term health goals.
Diet by definition:
Food and drink regularly provided or consumed
The kind and amount of food prescribed for a person or animal for a special reason
A regimen of eating and drinking sparingly so as to reduce one's weight
Did you notice restriction is the last definition of diet? Yeah because it is NOT the main goal of a “diet”. A diet is simply the food we eat regularly.
We are what we HABITUALLY nourish ourselves with.
Eat healthy MOST of the time (that’s the habitual part) and leave room for the things we crave and enjoy. This looks something like 80% healthy 20% fun, or 90/10, to each their own.
There is a particular freedom in knowing we have the flexibility to indulge in an ice cream cone or a couple beers at a birthday party without completely screwing our diet up. We’ve missed the mark if we only focus on a weight/number goals versus lifestyle change for long term success.
I’d rather take a year to hammer in healthy, sustainable eating patterns that will last for life, versus 3 months of quick fixes to end up dieting 130 more times.
SUSTAINABILITY will forever be the name of the game.
Let me ask you, what determines a a good diet?
Take time to reach beyond compliance and discipline and look at the contents of the diet itself. This can be things such as food choice and quality, diet enjoyment, healthy eating relationships, flexibility, and overall health.
So what should a diet should look like and most importantly how do we never diet again?
Here are my top 4 approaches for maintainable success:
1. Eat with the goal to maintain or recomp (gain muscle, lose fat).
2. Use body fat percentage as the determining factor of how much fuel your body needs vs. weight loss goals.
3. Find a diet that support muscle growth, which will increase resting metabolic rate (i.e. Eating high quality protein, min. of lean body mass).
4. Spend more time in maintenance than a deficit in order to avoid body fat overshoot (post diet body fat gain).
Goals are reached by staying within the limits of our daily macronutrient goals. We are long past the IF IT FITS YOUR MACROS (thank God) but macros are important for reaching your desired body composition. We know that eating nutrient dense foods is the best way to reach our aesthetic goals.
The main goal for every diet should be sustainability throughout the lifetime.
-Alexis Manning, MA.
Holistic Sports Nutritionist