I googled diet today and it came up with over 147,000,000 links. Seriously…147 million? You’ve got the Low Carb, High Carb, no sugar, high protein, baby food, eat nothing, eat a lot, Palumbo diet, Jenny Craig, the Cut diet, the Anabolic diet, South Beach, Velocity, Keto style, the Zone diet, Weight Watchers …I mean my GOD! It’s no wonder most people are overwhelmed when trying to research the next great DIET.
Fact is most of these diets set you up for failure more than anything else.
Take Nutrisystem for example. They offer “cheap”, proportional meals that are designed to give you a little of all the foods you like sent right to your door step. Sounds great, right? The problem is what do you do when you no longer can afford to order their food? You haven’t learned how to cook the foods you need to eat, plan out your meals accordingly so that you are getting balance in your “diet” and you certainly aren’t taught the do’s and don’ts of nutrition. In fact, 100% of their foods come in dry form, are packed full of chemicals to keep them preserved and most have WAY more sodium than a person needs. More on the effects of sodium in your diet later.
What Nutrisystem and all the other “pre-planned” diets have gotten right is the fact that your meals must be proportionate. Most people eat three large meals a day, sometimes only two, and have “snacks” in-between.
3 meals at 700 calories= 2100 + 500 from snacks…
So the average person more than likely consumes 2600 calories a day.
Now these are rough numbers but they are closer than you think. A recent study showed that over 50,000,000 people in the U.S. alone consume a meal from a typical fast food restaurant every day! 50 MILLION U.S. citizens. Ask.com lists that 25% of Americans consume fast food every day.
I created a typical meal from McDonalds just to see how many calories one of those 50 million people eat and the numbers are staggering.
Double Cheese Burger- 440 calories
Medium French Fries- 380 calories
Medium Coca-cola- 210 calories
= 1030 calories in ONE meal
And this is probably more of a typical meal:
Double Quarter Pounder- 740 calories
Large Fries- 500 calories
Large Coca-cola- 310 calories
=1550 calories in ONE meal
1550 – 2000 calories is about the amount that a person trying to lose weight should eat daily. Yet many people consume that in one meal. I could list example after example of Fast food faux pas but I don’t have enough space on this site to hold such a thing.
Going back to my original point about portions, if a person eats 1550 cal for lunch, just think about what they ate for breakfast and dinner. It’s not far-fetched to guess they consumed over 3000 cal for that day. Since 3500 cal equal one pound, if you consume 3000 cal a day, you’ll gain 6 pounds a week. Even if you eat only 3 fast food meals a week (3000 calories +) you will gain a pound a week.. Crazy stuff.
So forget about diet plans and the like. The best thing you can do for long-term health is to learn how to eat moderately and eat the right kind of foods at the right time. And I can show you how.
You first have to look at your current diet. The first step to recovery is being honest with yourself and looking at what you’re eating. The scary part is you may be one of the 55 million people who consume nearly 3000 calories a day. But there’s another side to this coin that is sometimes missed— You may not be eating enough. 1000-1200 calories is not a lot of food. Seriously, go plug your current diet into a calorie counter and see how quickly you get to 1000. You may get there before lunch. The fact is eating too little can be just has harmful to your health and weight-loss as eating too much.
The next step is looking at when you eat. Do you eat breakfast? Are you eating late dinners full of fried food or carbohydrates? What are you eating after you workout? Are you eating out for lunch and then sitting behind a desk for 4 hours? Maybe you are eating healthy but not eating at the right times or the right amounts?
Again, to answer these questions takes some self awareness and honesty. I’ve tried many times to lose weight and the only tried and true method I’ve found is eating small meals that range between 400-500 calories 3-5 times a day. Yes I said 3-5. If you are trying to lose fat, you may need to increase your metabolize by eating small meals but decrease the portion for each meal. By feeding your body less, but more frequently, you are allowing it to constantly burn what you are consuming and not allowing it to store the excess. Think about it — 2000 calories divided between five meals is still 2000 calories. It’s how your body uses and burns the calories that makes the difference.
But that may be too much for you. So perhaps three meals with two smaller snacks in-between fits your lift a little better. Point is your portions need to be reasonable. Eating a large dinner right before bed isn’t smart. Also, eating a large meal right before your workout isn’t smart either. You have to look at your schedule, plan ahead and think through some of your potential issues. If that means you have to take pre-made (from home) meals with you to work, so be it. If that means reducing how often you eat out, so that you meet your weight goals, the answer is right there.
Portion control is one of the simplest yet most confusing concepts for people to grasp. We all too often eat too much or too little, at the wrong times and our bodies have no idea what we want it to do. So think smart before you eat and let your body do what it does best.