The Publix Salad Bar – An Excellent & Healthy Value for less than $7 * This is part of a year-long series called “52 Weeks to Eating better than Ever”. Click on the side bar for more information and to read the previous essays.
In another essay, I wrote about how diets “work”, at least in the short term, because they provide a structure and discipline to your eating which is often lacking. If you get on a low-fat diet and follow that structure and measure what you’re eating, you will lose weight and bodyfat. If you get on a low-carb diet, the same thing will happen. You will lose weight and bodyfat. If you do the Keto diet, then you’ll get results. The same with Weight Watchers, The Zone, a Vegan diet, and Atkins. All supposedly different, but all offering one main component that most of us are missing- discipline.
There was a famous documentary film made, called “Supersize Me” about a man who ate at McDonald’s for a month and gained a lot of weight by eating all that fast food. It appears fast food would be the culprit, and it’s true that you can do better than most fast food. But fast food isn’t the problem, a lack of discipline is. There were other examples of case studies in which people who ate nothing but fast food and they ended up losing weight, instead of gaining weight, if they managed calories! The common factor in these cases is discipline and structure.
I’m not saying calories are all that matters.
I’m not saying you can eat whatever you want and still be healthy and lean.
I’m not saying certain diets aren’t better than others.
What I am saying is that diets help you focus. If you want to lose fat, it’s an all-out war! But wars can’t be fought indefinitely because you will run out of focus and energy. You only have so much focus and energy in each day. If you are hyperfocused on food 365 days per year, you may not accomplish much else. That’s why healthy habits over a lifetime are so important. You want healthy eating to become automatic.
But let’s say you want to lose 20 pounds quickly. Keeping in mind that you can only lose 1-2 pounds of fat per week at the most, aim for a 30-day period where you write down everything you eat. Log it in to an online or smartphone tracking application or site. Do it for 30 days straight. Use any diet you like and that gives you enough energy to exercise. I guarantee you that if you track your intake for 30 days’ minimum or preferably a little longer, 45-60 days, you will lose some fat. Shoot for about 20 pounds in 2 months. Then take a step back and relax and try to even out at that weight and evaluate your next move.
Hyperfocus for a time, particularly on fat loss. It’s not going to come off easy- remember it’s war! Plan your meals for a whole month. Block off time to do 30-60 minutes of exercise every day for 30 days and track your food. You will lose fat if you follow the guidelines of practically any diet. Two of my favorites are “The South Beach Diet” and Weight Watchers. Pick your favorite, or try a new one, but to lose some serious fat, hyperfocus for a short time, a month or two and then settle back into healthy habits. Hyperfocusing and cycling through very short periods of intense fat loss can work well. Just make sure you keep it off.
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