No one and I mean no one loves to be on a diet. Why? Participating in most diet plans sounds so restrictive.
What sounds better to you? Diet plan or healthy lifestyle?
I don't have to ask your answer because I already know. And the odds are if you're reading this and are like 95% of the population (including me), you've tried a number of diet plans that you were on temporarily and gained weight back. Leaving you discouraged and feeling like there's no hope.
By the end of this post you'll have a better understanding of why the most common diet plans are set out to have you fail at reaching the body you'd be proud to go to the beach in a bikini in.
Yep, a two piece (gasp)!
And proud to be in that two piece bikini. I mean walk with swag type of proud in your own skin and that bikini body.
Most diet plans cause rebound weight gain...here's why. I'm going to cover the popular options. You tell me below which ones you've tried.
Most of us have tried to plummet our carbs to drop weight and trim up a bit before the trip to the beach. But there are diet plans out there that beefing up on steak, bacon, and eggs and swearing off most carbohydrate sources for an extended period of time. The most popular plans by far is the Atkins Diet, developed by Robert Atkins, M.D.
With the Atkins plan, phase 1 protocols for only 20 net grams of carbs per day and phase 2 is even more rigid dropping to 5 net grams of carbs per day (1).
Scientifically speaking this plan would leave you with a headache, nauseous, lightheaded, and even difficulty concentrating on basic tasks because your organs and brain have a baseline of carbohydrates needed to even be able to think.
According to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, the human brain requires the equivalent of 130 grams of carbohydrate a day to function optimally—and that’s a minimum. (2).
But the question remains "is this plan sustainable?" Meaning, would you want to forgo carbs for life?
If the plan you're following isn't something you could do for life; you'll have rebound weight gain. ~ Lisa Rooney
In my experience as a nutritionist, it's invaluable to survey the lifestyle my clients. The goal should be to create a healthy permanent lifestyle it's a matter of finding what works for life. And starving the body of carbohydrates in hopes that the body will burn the excess fat stores instead is not a lifetime sustainable plan. The results? Rebound weight.
Considering a goal of losing weight and wanting to get toned and lean:
As a standard nutrition breakdown of macronutrients the ratio of 40% carbohydrates, 40% protein, and 20% healthy fats works well for most people.
But customizing the plan is always best for lifetime adherence and permanent results.
Since we're on the topic of carbohydrates it's important to mention that not all carbohydrates are the same. Carbs tend to get a bad rep because of the amount of them that have the potential to make us fat. Truth be told, there are many great sources of carbohydrates that act as a fuel source giving you the energy you need and not adding to your waistline.
The carbs that will accumulate on your muffintop though are these bad boys:
“We really need to sing it from the rooftops that the low-fat diet concept is dead, there are no health benefits to it.”
The Weight Watchers diet plan may be effective at helping people lose weight but they do not focus on toning and re-shaping the body While you may be able to freely eat whatever type of foods you want you will likely be disappointed with the outcome on your body.
When you focus on eating any type of food without regard to how it acts in the body then your body will respond accordingly.
Staying within a certain calorie range (determined by points to make it easier for you to count) enables you to lose weight. That part is good. But choosing foods that are laden with sodium, and are mostly processed like the microwave dinners will not help you achieve the body of your dreams. It results in a body that is "skinny fat." A term created for someone who isn't obese but their composition of the body is made up of fat. Diet plans based on processed foods will not get you lean and toned.
You might be wondering how to create the body that you want then...the toned, lean look.
I'm glad you asked.
By eating the right types of foods (lean muscle foods) in your nutrition plan and adding resistance type of training, you can tone the body and get rid of the bodyfat covering lean muscles.
This is true no matter how much excess weight you have on right now and no matter what your age is.
Just look at the description of Weight Watchers and say "ditto." While there are some differences between the organizations, the concept is the same. You'd receive meals that say within a certain range but the quality of the foods are not conducive to getting a lean, toned body.
They take the counting out of the picture for you so it's convenient. But convenience doesn't equate to the best nutrition for your body.
The meals are pre-processed and would leave you lacking vital nutrients. In addition to going through many complex processing steps, processed foods often contain additives, artificial flavorings and other chemical ingredients (4).
No matter if it's Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, or another similar organization you can expect to be eating pre-processed foods lacking in nutrients. These foods do not focus on gaining lean, toned muscle and fat loss. Therefore you cannot expect to achieve a full-body transformation from these programs. The lack of a lean nutrition plan will cause skinny-fat syndrome. Diet plans based on pre-processed foods will cause a little weight loss but major disappointment in the way your body looks and feels.
To fully understand the difference of following just a weight loss program, diet plans, and a fat loss program we'll answer the following question:
Weight loss can be achieved by creating a calorie deficit.
3500 to be exact.
The body doesn't really care how the restriction comes about, you can cut down on the calorie density of what you're eating and also add exercise, thereby increasing expenditure. If you're expending more and taking in less, then you'll accomplish that 3500 number. It's typically safe to lose 1-2 lbs. in a week.
How fat loss differs is that when you lose bodyfat it actually burns stored fat and if you do it correctly you can retain lean muscle. This should be the ultimate goal.
And it's the very same reason that so many people get frustrated after losing weight and not getting that toned and lean look that they want.
It's also the reason people feel the need to have drastic measures like tummy tucks and going under the knife to remove loose skin or skin folds that are left after having lost a lot of weight.
These measures really aren't necessary if you lose bodyfat and tighten and tone the body as you lose unwanted fat.
The body has a sense of priority and survival is that priority. For example if a diet plan is followed that doesn't provide the nutrients needed or it is too depleting then muscle loss is inevitable. Basically the body turns catabolic (eats away at muscle) if the amount of nutrients aren't being provided or consumed for the body to be able to perform it's functions.
This is when post-workout nutrition becomes very important. Your body is still in fat burning mode and if it's been hours since you've eaten it will in turn eat away at anything, even muscle (you've worked hard to gain) to survive.
Again it's about survival
You might be wondering the difference between diet plans and a lifestyle nutrition plan.
Diet plans are as temporary as they sound. It typically looks like a diet or restriction for a period of time until you reach your desired outcome (weight loss goal or other goal).
The problem with it is that the diet plan is only followed until the goal is achieved and it's typical to return to what you were doing prior to then.
The mindset is temporary implementation until said goal is achieved. Then resume life as it was.
But life as it was wasn't getting the results you wanted. It wasn't getting you the body you wanted or the health you wanted or energy.
A healthy lifestyle nutrition plan is a strategy that works day in, day out. The nutrition plan isn't going anywhere as it's something you follow as a lifestyle. It's filled with foods you like to have and could stand having daily.
You find ways to add variety with the ways you prepare it. One night you might broil, one night you might bake, the next you sauté. Variety also comes in the way you season your food. But the baseline nutrients and types of foods stay the same.
The nutrition plan is filled with the types of foods that will help you reach your goals and keep them. Travel can be done. Vacations can be had. Life events happen. The nutrition plan stays the same. It's a lifestyle.
On occasion treats can be had or the occasional glass of wine but 90% of the time the nutrition plan is followed. The results you have are permanent because your behaviors and food choices support maintaining your results.
Sounds amazing right?
My clients say the same when I implement a lifestyle plan for them. They enjoy the variety of foods and the consistency in results.
To explain this one, I'll first say we have two major sources of energy through macronutrients. One of them is carbohydrates, the other are fats.
If you take carbohydrates and purposefully manipulate the intake you can thereby keep the body guessing. This purposeful guesswork tricks the body into thinking it's not deprived.
This strategy is one that I implement with most of my clients and programs I've done up in advance for people, like my 10-day toned and lean program.
I use this method because it's so effective at fat loss. It's also a preferred method because the body can't really sense days of low carbs for a length of time which trips the body into storage mode if it goes too long on low carbs. We covered that earlier on the low carb wagon.
By purposefully varying the intake of carbs you can correspond it to your exercise regimen to burn the most bodyfat in the shortest amount of time.
You can absolutely get amazing results in a short amount of time if you implement advanced nutrition strategies with time efficient workout methods (that burn up to 9x more fat).
An easy way to start carbohydrate cycling is to have a day that is higher in carbohydrates and a day that is lower and rotate this the entire week. Monday, Wednesday, Friday could be higher carb days and Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday would be lower carbs.
Carbohydrate cycling and intermittent fasting are not considered diet plans. They are considered advanced nutrition strategies to achieve a lean body. Let's get into IF.
IF is an advanced nutrition strategy for effective fat loss as well. There are different protocols and ways of accomplishing IF.
Some coaches recommend going without consuming food for 8, 12, 24, or even 48 hours.
One way to accomplish IF that I actually implement in my own nutrition strategy is through nutritional cleansing. It's my preferred way because of the type of cleanse I do. The cleanse that I follow still provides my body with the nutrients and minerals it needs to function.
And it's not the type of cleanse that leaves you in the bathroom all day (ain't nobody got time for that). The cleanse I use is a cellular cleanse. It allows the toxins to release back in the bloodstream so I can excrete it out.
Free Guide for Women: Flat Abs Fast + Wellness Wednesday Newsletter
Intermittent Fasting through Nutritional Rebalancing (Consult Only)
I'm going to just say that my posts typically aren't that long but this one deserved some extra love and attention because of the amount of misinformation out there. Please share this post!
Creator of 10-Day Toned & Lean Kickstart Program for Women and 10-Day Shred for Men