Fad diets are far too restrictive to be healthy and teach us nothing about proper nutrition.
Calories come from three basic food groups - carbohydrates, proteins and fats. The foods we eat all contain these three nutrients in different percentages. each one of them is important and allow our bodies to function efficiently. Cutting any of these nutrients completely from our diet is the wrong approach to long-term weight loss and a healthy lifestyle.
Proteins are responsible for growth, maintenance and repair of your body. Every living cell and some tissues, such as skin, hair, muscle, tendons and ligaments are made of protein. Proteins also perform various physiological functions, digestion, for example, which is based on chemical reactions controlled by protein enzymes. Antibodies are also proteins. These are produced by white blood cells and help us fight off infections. Proteins are made of amino acids, 8 essential and 12 non-essential ones. The former cannot be made by our body and needed to be provided in our diet. The latter can be synthesised by our bodies if in short supply.
The main function of carbohydrates is to provide energy. Carbohydrates are always converted into glucose by our bodies before they are used as energy by cells. Glucose is stored in muscles and the liver and used by muscles to contract when the exercise intensity is high.
Even if some believe that fats are bad for our diet, they have some very important functions. protection of organs, control of body temperature, repair and development of body tissue, uptake and storage of fat-soluble fatty acids, such as Omega 3 and 6. In particular, the essential fatty acids are extremely important for the prevention of heart disease, blood clots, transport of oxygen by red blood cells, controlling and reducing lipids in the blood. They are called essential amino acids as they cannot be produced by our bodies, they must come from dietary sources.
So it's clear that macronutrients are extremely important for the correct and efficient function of your body. A balanced diet should contain 50-70% of carbohydrates, 10-30% protein and 10-30% fats. The percentages vary depending on the goals you want to achieve, your physical activity, the intensity of activity and to a certain extent age and gender. They should be applied to Base Metabolic Rate as we all have different calorie requirements.
Why Your Diet is Letting You Down
Here is a rundown of the most likely reasons your diet is not working for you.
Your Following a Fad Diet
As mentioned before, fad diets provide quick fixes, nothing else. The weight will drop off quickly, and be piled back on just as quickly. The unsustainable nature of these eating regimes makes them impossible to be adopted in the long run. Aim for a balanced diet that includes all macronutrients the right percentages for your goals. Eat three main meals and 2 snacks to keep your sugar levels up and keep away from irrational food choices when you are hungry.
A quick fix is just that, a quick fix. If you can't see yourself sustaining the diet for the next 3-6-12 months, you are following the wrong diet. To lose weight and keep it off we need to understand the basics of nutrition, our body's daily need of calories and where they come from.
You Eat More Than You Think
Most people underestimate how much they eat. Keeping a food diary is the best way to keep those calories under control. Many calories also come from hidden nutrients, those that we don't take into consideration because they are so minimal we think they are irrelevant. Think low-calorie drinks, even if they contain 10 calories, if you drink 5 per day that's 50 calories and 350 per week. That alone could be the difference between losing weight and not.
You Try To Lose Weight Too Quickly
If you try to lose too much weight too quickly, you are likely to eat too little and set yourself an unobtainable goal. Undereating will leave you feeling exhausted, low in energy, moody and will eventually lead to overeating. Undereating will also send your body into "starvation mode", where it will hold onto fat to survive, exactly the opposite of what you are trying to achieve. Choose a weight loss that is realistic and sustainable. 0.5-1kg per week is reasonable. It doesn't sound like a lot but the weight you lose slowly is the weight you will keep off.
You Are Not Being Kind To Yourself
Break down your total weight loss into several smaller goals and treat yourself when you reach them. If you have 20kg to lose, reward yourself each time you lose 5kg. Celebrate! You have come one step closer to your finish line. This is about feeling good in more than one way. When I say reward yourself, I'm not talking about chocolate cake. Treat yourself to that new shirt, tickets to see your team play or a new gadget or XBox game.
The ultimate way is looking and feeling great about finally managing to change your eating habits for good. learning how to keep your weight under control because you've learned about what your body NEEDS and not your WANTS. It is a huge step forward to a healthier lifestyle, one that you can apply to your whole family.