Creating a diet and nutrition plan for your fat loss goal can be tricky, but honestly it doesn’t have to be. The problem can be narrowed down to three essential, confusion-inducing issues, all of which this article will help clear up for good.
The Problems: Why Finding the Right Diet/Nutrition Plan is Crazy Difficult
The first problem is that the media over-sensationalizes any new study, finding, Hollywood diet, or transformation, and makes it the newest craze. These are the “latest fat lost diet” that’ll show up in magazines, online, in your Facebook feed, and at the dinner table when you’re hanging out with friends and family. To make matters worse, marketers disguised as fitness professionals/trainers/gurus will feed into this fear, insecurity, and capitalize on the sensationalism. Sometimes this means that really professional looking ‘fitness people’ will put out books, articles, and ads to further the confusion.
The second problem is that many personal trainers will attempt to correct the media sensations by being crude, definitive, and absolute in their teachings. What this looks like in practice is really snarky, short, and “this is stupid” type things. This is hard to avoid because the intended outcome, which is to help people overcome bad advice and thus get great results, is well-intentioned. It just never works out that way.
The third problem? Consistency is the king of them all—every single diet or nutrition plan you’ve ever heard of will get results, if you do it long enough. And therein lies the rub. It’s easy to cut out carbs, or go low fat, or paleo, or whatever for a month. Can you do it for a year? Can you tweak it by 20% to adjust and maintain your new weight? If you can, then it’s the perfect diet or nutrition plan for you! If not, then it might not be the right fix.
Let’s get into the myths, and see how dispelling these will help you get the best, most enduring fitness and fat loss results possible.
Nutrition Myth #1: You Think you Can’t get Results or Ever Change.
I probably shouldn’t lead with this one, because now you’re gonna stop reading and think “wow what a quack”. But, i’m serious. If you don’t believe you have the capacity to change, you’re right. If you believe that you are someone capable of making a sustainable life change, then you will be open to learning, growing, and becoming the type of person who has the body you want.
I’m not going to pretend that it’s that simple, but it is a HUGE first step in getting your diet and nutrition plan right. Once you have the belief in yourself, and the growth mindset, you will be successful. Thinking that everything is going to happen just because you say you’re on a diet is a surefire way to become disappointed.
The Fix: There are several ways to fix this. The first is to simply start believing you can. Okay, now that you see this is difficult to just do, here’s some actual strategies.
- Say, out loud, every day that you can change. Choose the sentence and the meaning behind it, but say it daily.
- Write it down. Write down your goal. Your process. And your plan. Write down your sentence about your newly develop(ing) belief that you can, indeed, change.
- We become our reality. Always talk positive about yourself. Know how some people have the “image” of the _____ friend? The nice friend? The bad friend? The ugly friend? The debbie downer friend? The fat friend? The perfect friend?
Don’t let yourself be okay with a title you don’t want. Even if you have that title, stop using it today, and slowly reshape what you allow. If you’re 80lb overweight and people call you “big guy”, ask them to stop. If that doesn’t work, tell them. If that doesn’t work, then these are probably not people you need in your life. (seriously, what is this, 1995? If someone asks you to stop/start calling them something, just listen)
- Acknowledge your failures as learning opportunities, allow yourself to feel proud of your success, and engage in the process, whatever diet and nutrition plan you choose to follow, 100%. (note: this doesn’t mean follow the plan 100% of the time, but rather to be ALL IN on whatever you choose)
Nutrition Myth #2: Carbs are Bad and Stop Weight Loss/Fat Loss.
The reality is that the right calorie balance for you on your quest to lose weight, look great, and feel great, is the only thing necessary for weight and fat loss. There are several reasons you might believe carbs are responsible for, or at least help contribute to, your diet and nutrition plan failing.
The first is that you think they are addictive. The reality is that plenty of carb sources taste great, but they aren’t addictive. Plus, when you think of addictive foods, usually these “carb-y” (is that even a word?) foods are also crazy high in fat. Most people aren’t going to overeat rice, but fried rice, probably. A plain pancake is pretty vanilla, but cook it using butter/oil, add syrup and butter on top, and BOOM!—50 shades of delicous. High fat, high carb foods are coined hyper palatable foods, and these are one of the real culprits.
If you’re trying to lose the last 5-10lbs, bread might be a hindrance in your diet and nutrition plan. And even that’s a big “might” and is highly individual. But, if you’ve got 10-100lbs to lose, taking out filling, nutrient dense foods like multi-grain brain or brown rice just doesn’t make sense.
If you are like nearly every client or member i’ve ever met, vilifying entire food groups makes your life harder, not easier. Focus on the big wins. Increase your vegetable intake by 1-2 day a day every week until it’s at least 4+ servings a week. Eat lean protein (at least 20-30g worth) each meal. Drink more water. Eat a serving or two healthy fats once or twice a day. Track your nutrition so you know what you’re doing. Drink less alcohol, and make better choices when you do drink.
Nutrition Myth #3: I just need to detox my body.
These days, everyone wants a quick fix. I was just listening to a podcast where the speaker said if a website takes over 2 seconds to load, the likilihood of the user staying on that site goes down by almost 80%. For two seconds! I was shocked an in disbelief, until I remembered that I was pissed at how slow my phone was downloading the very same podcast (it took like 15 seconds and was the size of like 20 songs, which is hardly any time at all). We are a society that loves fast.
It’s not wonder then, that we want a detox that promises 5lbs in a day or two, and twenty in a week. I think deep down we know that each and every one of us knows this isn’t the key to lose fat. I hope that we know that these are designed to prey off of our emotions and make us believe we’re going to get super sexy by drinking 200 bucks worth of shakes. And you know what? If you try it, I hope it works. I hope it jumpstarts your nutrition and you have a ton of success.
But, I know better. I know that’s not how these things go. You crash diet, you pay the pauper back 100%, sometimes more.
Your Move: The desire for quick fixes comes from either not following your diet and nutrition plan, starting it too late, or choosing one that is ridiculously difficult to adhere to. Nutrition doesn’t have to make you a martyr. Realize that these products are designed to catch you in a moment of weakness, steal yo’ cash, and then sell you the next solution to the problem that it didn’t solve the first time.
“Okay, man, cool. I get it. These products are not moving me forward. But can you recommend a way I can jumpstart my diet and nutrition plan before I slide into moderation?”
Why, yes, random Cary or McHenry county stranger, I certainly can. This isn’t a way of eating for the long haul, but if for, say, 5-14 day you’d like a kickstart, do this:
-eat one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight.
-Eat one or two servings of veggies every meal (preferably 3-4 meals).
-Two of those meals, eat one serving of healthy fat options—avocado, eggs, olive oil, almonds
-Before you go workout, add 1-2 pieces of fruit, whole grain bread, a potato, or rice to that meal
-Drink .55 x BW in ounces of water each day.
-Avoid all other drinks.
Now, this way of eating looks a lot like what generic diet templates other places try to pawn off on their clients. This type of diet and nutrition plan is overly simplistic, non-specific to each individual, and tries to take the human part out of food. To that, I simply say “LOL ok”. You don’t need to eat like a damn robot to get results, but if you truly want that feeling of being cleansed, do this and I guarantee you’ll feel awesome. (hint: do this once like, a year. otherwise it’s not a cleanse, it’s an eating disorder when you do this after smashing half a cake and a bottle of vodka on Saturday then “detoxing” during the week)
Nutrition Myth #4: I’ve been on a diet for 1.. 3… 10 years and I still can’t lose weight.
The thing about a diet, or any nutrition plan, is that if it puts you in a negative energy balance for long enough. You will lose weight. And, if you eat enough protein, and do some strength training, most of that weight will be body fat. So you’ll end up looking pretty awesome with this simple diet and nutrition plan. But if you’ve been “on a diet” for several years, and are still the weight you don’t want to be, with a body you don’t love the look of (but you still love your body, right?), then be honest with yourself. Seriously, go look yourself in the mirror and say “I have not been on a diet”. This belief becomes self-defeating because if all your dieting efforts didn’t work, then maybe you literally can’t lose weight on any diet and nutrition plan.
Well, I believe in you too much for that. You can be successful with your fat loss transformation.
Because the belief part of this whole thing that I mentioned first stems from this. If you’ve been on and off of a diet for years, you’re doing all the damage to your body—because dieting is a catabolic environment, which literally means breaking down—without the benefits of, you know, actually becoming strong, happy, and healthy.
Your fix for this? Spend the next 8 weeks not being on a diet. Eat normally, and invite nutrient dense foods, delicious foods, diet foods, fun foods, and all other types of foods, back into your life. If you’d like, learn to track your intake now when you have enough calories to spare. Then, once you’ve gone through a few weeks of just being a normal person, decide which diet and nutrition plan you want to follow, and follow it. Join a gym. Hire a Coach. Read more information and DIY. Just, seriously, stick to something for the following twelve weeks.
Nutrition Myth #5: I can’t lose weight because I don’t eat enough
Through new members at Edge Fitness, our current awesome members, or just someone messaging me to pick my brain, I probably meet with 30-50 people each and every month. Well over 50% of the time, someone will mention that they know they “aren’t losing weight because they aren’t eating enough”. If you’ve ever said that statement, or even thought it, here’s the truth.
Not eating enough is literally the way you lose weight/body fat. Like, seriously, you cannot gain weight from the actual eating of less food.
Or can you?
Wait, no, you can’t. I wish that when I write diet and nutrition plans for fat loss I could just be like “oh shit, you’re just not eating enough! Here eat more, and you’ll be good”. Because, like, then everyone would love me. But that’s just not the case.
Here’s what really happens….
Scenario 1: You under eat calories on the week, and then overeat on Saturday (and possibly also Thursday, Friday, and Sunday, too). When this happens, it’s either lifestyle, feeling like you earned the right to relax on your diet, being frustrated from feeling hungry, or a combination of all three.
Let’s say you need 1500 calories to lose weight each day. On Sunday through Thursday you eat 1300 and are really hungry. Then, on Friday, you do good all day, and go out to dinner. You don’t track or monitor your intake because you’ve ‘been good all week’. Two glasses of wine, helping with the appetizer, three bites of your sweetie’s dessert (except my wife, I definitely will NOT share my dessert), and finishing 80% of your actual meal later, and you’ve over eaten by around 700 calories, or about 2400 for the day.
Then Saturday comes around and you’re busy, so you skip breakfast, grab something quick on your way to Target for something—awesome, probably, since it’s Target—then get lunch between your son’s baseball game and your daughter’s soccer game.
Dinner hits and the hubs wants pizza, so you grab that. The neighborhood family is having people over which is awesome because you can have a beer or three while the kids run around their huge backyard. The neighbors have chips so you have just a few, and you’re not a heavy drinker, so you just drink 2 beers.
No worries, you ate good all week, most of yesterday, and barely ate today. Except Saturday was 2600 calories.
If 1500 calories was what you need to lose 1lb this week, your week should ideally look like this:
1500 + 1500 + 1500 + 1500 + 1500 + 1500 + 1500 = 10,500 calories for the week of consistent eating
1300 + 1300 + 1300 + 1300 + 1300 + 2400 + 2600 = 11,500 calories for the week of what we typically see
This very normal, honestly even tame example of a normal weekend for many of our clients at Edge Fitness. The problem is that weight loss in the second scenario is stalled by nearly a third. Not ideal, and usually there is one more day of extra calories to send this into full blown maintenance mode. No fat being lost here. The way to fix this is to treat weekend days like you would weekdays. If you find that too difficult, and as long as you’re not too hungry throughout the week, there is a second way. Take 100-200 calories each day from your week, and divide them over Friday and Saturday. This way, your have a little extra wiggle room to eat 80% well and enjoy 20%, but aren’t so constricted that you get a severe case of the “fuck it, i’ll start back on monday” ‘s.
Scenario 2: You aren’t aware or tracking correctly
Some of us have a tendency to graze. Often times, I talk to incoming members about their nutrition who tell me they eat eggs and a veggie for breakfast, a salad with chicken for lunch, and a serving of rice and lean protein with a vegetable for dinner. The problem isn’t that I don’t believe them—I do. The problem is that there is some severe omission in this diet and nutrition plan, because it’s not the full story. If you eat a salad but forget to talk about the almonds, dressing, and cheese in it, you’re forgetting about 300-500 calories. If your salad was just veggies, fat free dressing (without crazy amounts of sugar), but you forget about or gave My Fitness Pal the middle finger on the three handfuls of M & M’s you had at the office, there’s another few hundred calories. Finish your kid’s mac and cheese because it was just 4 spoonfuls? There’s another 200.
Things add up.
Tracking 1100 calories but eating 1600 only makes you frustrated, confused, and angry at not making progress. Be honest and mindful, and, if it helps make better choices, eat larger meals so you’re not inclined to snack.
Either way, you’re not going to be making progress. Sometimes, its a combination of many things. A lack of awareness, honesty, over doing it on weekends, and underreporting what you ate. All of these things are far, far more likely than eating too little, because, remember, that’s the way you lose weight in the first place.
NOTE: I know people think your metabolism slows down when you eat too little, and that part is somewhat true. But, it actually only slows down when you’re legit eating less calories than you need. The good part? That the 5-10% difference in metabolic down-regulation is accompanied with progress in the form of fat loss. Nice, right?
Nutrition Myth #6: I can’t lose weight because I have _________ (PCOS, Hashimoto’s, thyroid, etc)
Now, there are certain, very rare cases where an individual might have a metabolic issue that prevents them from experiencing the same amount of success the same version of you without the condition you suffer from would have. And that sucks. This can be anything from what I mentioned above, to low Testosterone in men, to a myriad of other issues. Here’s the thing though: you can still be successful. You might have to eat a little less, workout at Edge Fitness a little harder, and your diet and nutrition plan might need to be more tailored. And the body fat will drop off a little slower.
But it will still drop off. In this case, losing weight is comparable to going downhill on a bike while you’re riding the brakes. You’ll still get there, but a little slower than the perfect, brake-free bike (that is, your friend Becky who tracked macros and lost like 20lbs in 8 weeks….what a Bitch, right? Actually….)
Nutrition Myth #7: My friend did it, but she had it easy because XYZ.
Seriously, this isn’t a nutrition myth. This is a life myth. When someone chooses to better themselves, people with a limited and fixed mindset are usually still encouraging; right up until the person has some success. Then, those same people come up with all the ways Becky had it easy. Do not let them deter your diet and nutrition plan, or ruin the happiness of your success!
“She only has 2 kids, and I have 3”
“Her husband is loaded so she can workout 5x/week and doesn’t have to work”
“Well of course she could lose weight, she gave up going out drinking except once a month or less; I could never do that”
“she likes running. If I liked running, I could lose weight, too!”
Every single one of these limiting beliefs are something you will have to deal with once you experience success. Whether its fitness, your quest for a strong, happy, healthy life, or crushing your diet and nutrition plan, negativity might follow. Don’t muddy the water by being a negative, disengaged person.
Instead, recognize that success is not a limited resource. If you are reading this, you are likely middle to upper class in America. This means you have the ability and resources to level up. Believe in yourself. Be proud of others. Act like a person who gives a damn about your friends, your peers, and, of course, yourself. This growth mindset will take you far, both in your diet and nutrition plan and in the rest of your life.
Nutrition Myth #8: This [shake, apple cider vinegar, eating organic] will help me lose weight
This is a tough one to combat. The amount of people sharing bad information with you all over social media is crazy! At Edge Fitness, our diet and nutrition plan is often first digested with a bit of skepticism. Why? Because there are no pills, no special shakes, no supplements, no detox, no strange eating. You monitor your intake and don’t eat past your daily needs for your specific goal. Fill your day with consistent, nutrient dense, lower calorie foods. You walk, run, bike, and you lift some weights. You eat filling, traditional health foods 80-90% of the time, which means you can enjoy anything you want from time to time. And your body will begin to look pretty darn amazing.
That’s it. Seriously, that is it. You don’t need to mix apple cider vinegar with an organic lemon in body temperature water and drink it every morning. If it makes you feel good, then you should 100% do it (as long as its safe!). But you don’t need to in order to lose weight. All you need is a sound diet and nutrition plan.
Nutrition Myth #9: “I know what I need to do, I just don’t do it.”
Stephen Covey, author 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, is quoted saying “to know and not to do is really to not know.”
When I first heard this, I was shook. I grew so accustomed to telling our members of course they knew…we live in an era with super computers in our pockets. The problem lies in accountability. Now, while i’m confident this is a huge leg up on your quest to lose weight, look great, and feel great, I really believe that admitting you might not know is the first and right step. All too often, I hear “oh I know what I need to do, I just need to avoid carbs” or “my problem is diet coke”. Like changing that one thing will make your diet and nutrition plan perfect. But, really, we know that these aren’t actually most likely the problem. How many times have you said that you know what your barrier is? Too many, I would bet.
And that’s perfectly okay! The next step is to be okay with not knowing where to turn, although hopefully by reading these myths you realize that Edge Fitness might be the place to learn, grow, and accomplish your goals. While not exhaustive, these are nine of the most common nutrition and diet plan myths we hear. Hopefully these and all our other articles help you reach your goals of a strong, happy, and healthy life.