You can’t eat total crap and then bust your butt exercising to magically erase those calories: It’s not that simple. If you want to make longer lasting, healthier changes, what and how much you eat is far more important than how much you exercise.
I could not figure out what I was doing wrong until I started thinking about my eating habits. I confess – they were not they were not up to par. Only then did I understand that a workout was ~20% of the fitness goal, and the rest was my diet.
In various places on the site, I have made the comment that such things as caloric intake and activity will have to be adjusted based on real-world fat loss. For example, in the Q&A on How to Estimate Maintenance Caloric Intake, I pointed out that one of the reasons that I use the quick estimates for such things as maintenance calories and setting initial caloric intakes is that they always have to be adjusted anyhow.
Today I want to talk about how I do that adjustment, note that if you’ve read either The Rapid Fat Loss Handbook or A Guide to Flexible Dieting, this is the same information in the last chapter where I talk about setting up moderate deficit diets and how to adjust them. I’d only note that the same basic information can be used when either small or larger deficit are used as discussed in Setting the Deficit-Small, Medium or Large.
…there needs to be some awareness of the issues related to whooshes, stalls and water balance. This basically relates to how frequently you are going to decide whether your current activity level and deficit need to be examined and/or adjusted in the first place. Folks vary in how much of an effect this has.
Women, on average, have bigger issues but some men also deal with it. If you know that you take 2 weeks before you see a drop, clearly using a single week of measurement to make a decision is a mistake. If you’re a woman with major monthly swings, you may have to only examine true fat loss on a 4 week cycle, using what happens weekly (or daily as is sometimes the case) will not only drive you nuts but be inaccurate.
Dieting or hitting the treadmill no fun? You might be able to enjoy one of the health benefits without the hassle.
Exercising hard or not eating for a while can alter the immune system’s behaviour, suppressing some types of inflammatory response. That, in turn, seems to protect against Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and autoimmune conditions. But what triggers the change in the immune response has not been clear.
While it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be able to chemically obtain the health benefits of dieting and working out anytime soon, the research is nudging us in that direction. Until then you’re still going to have to exercise… 😉
You’ve stuck to your diet today and you feel unstoppable…until your co-worker hands you a cupcake. “It’s just one,” you rationalize, devouring every inch. Guilt sets in. The once promising day is ruined, but not until you polish off a large pizza and a dozen cookies. Does this sound familiar?
Because of leptin and ghrelin’s actions, we annoyingly feel more hungry when dieting and less so when gaining mass. The horrible irony of this means we need some ways to control our appetite, so without further ado:
Before anything else, make sure you’ve covered the basics:
You should not feel hungry at the very start of a well-designed diet.
It might be a good idea to keep your diet flexible, because rigid dieting may lead to binge eating tendencies. Even if you’ve been doing everything perfectly, fat loss increases hunger for biological reasons.
If you still find yourself straying on your diet, binge eating, or fighting your own willpower to stay on track, relax, practice mindfulness and some self-compassion, and discover the root causes.