First, time for some tough love, so I apologise now…
It's your fault. You choose what goes in your mouth and you choose how much of it you eat.
Don’t blame anyone else.
But it’s not ALL your fault…
There is endless bullshit in this industry. It’s rife with people talking junk about how to lose fat.
All my clients get briefed right from the off on avoiding these lies and misconceptions, with a PDF list of 28 famous myths. You’d do well to wipe your memory of everything you’ve ever believed and start again.
You’re surrounded by advertising, offers, deals, convenience food, all made to look attractive and tempting. Oh and steroid-using Insta-famous dudes trying to sell you stuff.
Not only do you probably believe a load of lies printed in a magazine or from someone down the gym, you’re peppered with adverts for fast-food and then someone comes along and sticks fancy words on products to make you think you’re doing your health a favour. “5-a-day detox juice”.
That juice that claims to be a natural-organic-detoxing-antioxidant-immune-boosting-cleansing-energy-boosting-magic potion? Well, it’s not, and even if it was, it wouldn’t make you lose body-fat. Got a liver and kidneys thanks, I’m covered.
Every diet works, because you eat less calories than before. Calories? Yeah we’ll come to those in a second.
What doesn't work is;
- you only doing it for 3 days.
- you doing it one day then not doing it the next.
- diets that aren't sustainable so you quit and go back to your habits.
- unhealthy diets which remove food groups and leave you miserable.
- you eating like an child at a party every weekend.
What does work:
Something that sits between being enjoyable enough and healthy enough for you to adopt it long term, get to your goal, and not return to eating like a moron.
You'll probably hear people talk about macronutrients, or "macros".
It's really basic actually. Protein, Carbs, Fats.
Protein means “primary”. So it’s the most important.
Fats are pretty important too, you may have heard of “essential fatty-acids”.
Then there’s Carbs. Them evil little buggers. I joke. They’re fine.
A lot of people jumped on the low-carb hype, and we still live with a belief that carbs are evil. They're not. Low carb diets can work because you quit eating biscuits, cakes, pasta and desserts etc.
What’s all this “clean eating” about then?
Basically means only eating foods that are natural and not made by humans.
Eating from the land, the sea, the sky and stuff that grows in the wild.
Yes, getting the majority of your diet from single-ingredient food is the best, and ultra-healthy, but nobody can navigate through this world without cake.
If you hear someone say “NEAT” it basically means how many calories you burn by moving, not counting any exercise, cleaning the house or walking in to town for example.
Those who move more burn more calories. It’s one of the most under-rated parts of a fat-loss diet.
If you're an active person your diet can be less restrictive and include more. There are 24 hours in a day, and you’re asleep for 8, which leaves 16 hours. Out of them 16 hours, how many calories you burn is determined by what you do.
If you sit at a desk and watch YouTube videos about cats, conspiracy theories or detox diets, you’ll won't burn many calories. (It stands for “Non-Exercise-Activity-Thermogenesis” by the way. Geeky.)
I’m going to keep this short because the word makes my ears bleed.
You cannot tone muscle. There are 3 things you can do with muscle;
1. Make it stronger. 2. Make it bigger. 3. Both.
"So how do I get toned then?" Lose body-fat. The muscle is already there, you were born with it, it’s covered in a layer of fat which needs moving, permanently. “I don’t want to lose any more weight, I just want to tone up”. Same answer, you need to remove that body-fat. Your abs or triceps won’t just appear through a layer of fat. Soz about that, I didn't design the body. Not sure who did, impressive though.
If you haven’t heard of the Ketogenic diet (“Keto”) you have now. Basically eat loads of fat, very little carbs and only a bit of Protein. You’ll never cross another potato again. It’s extreme and unnecessary. It basically preaches that by eating fat you burn fat and become “fat adapted”. It’s right, you will burn fat, but only the fat you’re putting in your mouth, not your body fat. And that’s the aim right, to get rid of that fat that clings to your hips, stomach, legs etc?
Keto warriors claim they don’t need to count calories. Ok dude, go eat 7,000 calories a day of Steak, Nuts, Avocado and Olive Oil and show me how you don’t gain weight. All the best with that.
“I don’t think I eat enough”
If you think you cannot lose fat because you’re not eating enough and have just accidentally fallen in to “starvation” mode, please go to an empty room and give your head a little shake. Track your calories for a day (everything, not just the stuff you want to admit to) and then say you’re not eating enough.
“I ate salad all week?” All weekend too?
For fat-loss? No.
There’s a few things I advocate, but none of them are for fat-loss.
I’m a fan of the odd Protein shake here and there, if it helps you top your total up.
If you hit the gym then Creatine is a good addition.
Caffeine. Because coffee is magical.
Fish-oil (EPA & DHA) because most of us lack enough Omega 3.
“Craig what about fat-burners?”
Really? Would over 60% of the population be overweight if fat-burners worked? Another trip to that room to give your head a wobble.
The Paleo diet:
I used to like the Paleo diet. Then I woke up. You’re not allowed Potatoes!
The diet is predicated on eating foods cavemen would have eaten. Nothing remotely processed, just nutrient abundant food. If you’d find it whilst out scavenging, then you can eat it. Except they still ban some foods. I’m pretty sure you’d find a potato, somehow.
Yes eat naturally occurring foods, just don’t be an idiot and cut out 90% of the worlds food options. Duh!
The Big Picture:
5 minutes people-watching will show you how bad it’s getting. Over 60% of people here in the UK are overweight. Over 25% of kids are now too. And people think this is because they’re missing a juice cleanse? Or it’s their genetics? Or sugar? Sorry but the answer lies with people’s calorie intake. People. Eat. Too. Bloody. Much. Have you ever seen an overweight Japanese person? Me neither.
“Lisa at work says you have to cut out sugar”.
What would Lisa know?
You probably have too much, a lot of people do. But it’s not the issue here. People are now consuming less sugar than previously, yet obesity is still going up. There’s people who say that they’re addicted to sugar. If that was the case people would carry it around with them eating it neat.
"Increasing Your Metabolism".
Whether it’s the latest whacky product or “eating 6 smaller meals a day” to “keep that metabolism firing”, everyone’s on the lookout for a faster metabolism. Sorry but it’s another example of believing more fitness lies. Move a little bit more. There’s no shortcut to this, you weren’t born with a slow metabolism.
Will fasting work? Sure, if your calories are right. Intermittent fasting is a useful tool, and one I like.
If you have a period of time in the day where you simply don’t get hungry, that’s a good opportunity to fast.
Never hungry in a morning? Skip breakfast and start your day with lunch, this will save some calories (yes, that word again) for later.
Can you lose fat whilst drinking alcohol? Hmmm, yes, but it’s going to be a lot harder.
Whilst alcohol is in your body, you’re burning nothing but alcohol in an attempt to get rid of it. It becomes your primary fuel source.
We also make shocking decisions whilst drunk.
“I’ve been eating all day, just necked a load of cocktails and bottles of beer, over-done it for the day, I know, I’ll go get a pizza too.” Not the only bad decision you’ll have made whilst drunk either, I bet.
Meh, the C word. Calories are little units of energy. Basically how much energy is in an item of food. So whilst the world is blaming a slow metabolism, genetics, sugar, carbs and every other excuse in the book, your body counts these. Consume too many, well we know what happens, your clothes get a little tighter. We all need a different amount, we’re unique like that. We’re all different heights, weights and compositions and require different amounts of energy per day. They’re printed on every food label for a reason, because they matter. No escaping them I am afraid. Every diet that has ever succeeded has done so because the person has consumed less calories than their body needs. How’s that work? Well your body uses your fat-stores to make up the difference. Simple really. How did it all become so complicated?
People don’t want to count calories, and the goal is to eat without having to, but whilst you’re losing fat, we kind of need to know.
Many people make a decision to start working towards their goals, but what they’ve really done is sign up until it gets too uncomfortable.
People know there is no “get rich quick” scheme, otherwise everyone would be millionaires.
At the same time people think there is a quick-fire shortcut to losing fat.
Linked to Observation 3, people will believe anything you tell them. “Here, take this greens detox juice and you’ll lose 5 pounds in a week”. Yet tell them the truth is in a calorie deficit and they look at you like you’ve landed a spaceship in their garden. And then say “but I hardly eat anything”.
The majority of people who decide to take action on their fat-loss immediately look to exercise before addressing their diet.
They join an extra class or do a little extra cardio. It’s papering over the cracks.
"How long will it take me?"
You didn’t gain the weight in a week, you’re not going to lose it in a week either, so slow down yeah? You could go on some mad crazy diet and lose weight real quick but you realise what will happen the moment you stop right? Yup, it will all go back on, and you'll have learnt nothing. Back to square one. That’s where the yo-yo dieting starts.
I’m sure you’d rather lose 1-2 pounds a week consistently and get to your goal knowing you will never have to diet again. Imagine that.
If you want to lose body-fat and become a leaner version of yourself, then you need to take action. Unfollow all them motivational quote accounts and just accept that you got yourself here, it’s you that’s going to do the work, progress requires change. All the tools you need are there.
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