It seems that each and every week, some expert comes out with a new and improved diet for fat loss. A few of these diets actually have some validity, but unfortunately, the vast majority of them are total scams. In fact, I have firsthand knowledge that many of these so-called breakthrough diets are not even written by fitness or fat loss experts. In fact, they are often created by marketers who know nothing about real fat loss.
While these marketers dont know much about designing a good fat loss diet, they happen to know a lot about what people WANT to hear. You see, before creating a diet, this marketing gang gives surveys to thousands of fat loss hopefuls. They learn what dieters greatest struggles are, and then they try to design diets that seem to solve those specific problems. This may not sound so bad in theory, but in reality nothing is getting solved at all.
In other words, these marketers will say whatever they think people want to hear, regardless of whether it is true or false. For example, if the market research/surveys shows that dieters want to eat cookies all day, they will create the Cookie Diet. Or if the surveys show that dieters want to lose fat while still consuming pizza and beer, then you can be sure the Pizza and Beer diet will be right around the corner!
For the more educated fitness crowd (like readers of this blog), the marketers get extra sneaky. In an attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of the savvier segment of the fitness market, they will pay a fitness expert to put his or her name on the product/diet. Thus, even if something sounds a little too good to be true, you might be tempted to look past your skepticism because of the credibility a trusted name can give to a product. Can anyone say, Sell out? Yeah, thats what goes on all of the time.
I was just recently offered such a deal myself. I obviously turned it down, or I wouldnt be writing this blog post right now! With all of the nonsense out there, to whom should we turn for real, cutting edge information on losing fat the right way? Well, I could simply say ME, but that sounds a little too self-serving! Instead, I will give you guidelines that any good diet must follow in order to allow for maximal fat loss. Here they are:
1) A fat loss diet MUST require you to intake less than you burn. This sounds obvious, but there are many so-called fat loss diets that promote eating as must as you want, as long as youre eating certain permitted foods. This is a ridiculous notion. You cant possibly lose fat if you eating more calories than you are burning. And that simple mathematical fact will never change! In this sense, even though advanced diet design can be quite sophisticated, the basic foundation is rooted in very simple arithmetic.
2) A fat loss diet MUST sustain your lean muscle mass. The mainstream population often overlooks this critical point. Fortunately, the more educated audience is aware of the importance of maintaining lean muscle mass. Maintaining muscle is so critical, in fact, that if it is not properly addressed, you are GUARANTEED to fail. And by fail I mean:
a) gain the fat back that you may temporarily lose
b) lose significant amounts of hard-earned strength
c) look skinny and weak instead of lean and ripped
There are several keys to ensuring the maintenance of your muscle mass. If a diet plan violates any of the following rules, your muscle will surely diminish, and you will be doomed to fail.
– Avoid any diet that isnt coordinated with a well-designed resistance-training program. Resistance training is the key to improving your metabolic rate, strength, and performance. Thus, your resistance training will literally dictate how you look and feel. If a diet guru happens to overlook this point, I suggest you overlook his teachings all together.
– Avoid any diet that consistently decreases calories more than 20% below maintenance levels. Dipping below this caloric intake for any period of time will burn up your hard-earned muscle faster than it will burn your fat. This, in turn, will make any future fat loss almost impossible.
– Avoid any diet that doesnt require you to vary calories and/or macronutrient ratios on a regular basis. Staying at the same caloric level and macronutrient ratios may not pose a problem at first, but soon enough it will result in a significant decrease in your metabolic rate, thus spiraling you into a fat loss plateau.
3) A fat loss diet MUST encourage eating healthy natural foods. As soon as you see a diet that allows junk food, run for the hills. And if they start claiming that Twinkies and Oreos help raise leptin levels, run even faster! Once you achieve your fat loss goals, and you are on a maintenance diet, you should allow yourself some flexibility, for sure. But if an entire diet is based around this silly cheating principle, it is surely a scam, and the creator is simply trying to cater to your desires and steal your money.
4) A fat loss diet MUST not create any nutritional deficiencies. A sound diet will contain plenty of fiber, a balanced fatty acid profile, adequate protein intake and a complete array of all essential micronutrients. In order to guarantee that you get a regular supply of these nutrients, make sure the diet doesnt eliminate any macronutrient for an extended period of time. Make sure the diet contains regular servings of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein sources, nuts, seeds and essential oils. A good diet may contain other healthy foods not listed above, but the foods I mentioned are mandatory and non-negotiable.
Even if a particular diet gets past all the criteria I just mentioned, it may still fall short of being a good diet for you. The last test it must pass is how you feel while following it. You see, training is so important that if a fat loss diet doesnt allow you the energy to train hard, its virtually useless. Trust me, a diet that leaves you feeling tired, weak and depleted will result in dismal results, poor performance and a miserable overall experience. These side effects will result in your not losing much fat at all!
Part 1 of this series may be basic for some of you. But before we move into advanced specific techniques, tricks and methods, we need to understand fat loss dieting fundamentals. Hopefully, this post provided that background information. Stay tuned for Dieting For Fat Loss Part 2 where we will discuss:
Pros and cons to fasting
Vegetarian vs. meat-based meal plans
Is breakfast really the most important meal of the day?
Grains inflammatory and fat producing villain, or fiber containing, energy-generating hero?
If you have any comments or suggestions about what else you would like me to cover in this series (about anything related to fat loss dieting), please feel free to drop a line in the comment section below
Dedicated to your success,
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