If you have poor eating habits and want to lose fat, then you need to improve your nutrition to make significant progress. When people think about losing fat, the first thing that often comes to mind is dieting, but going on a diet is probably not the best course of action. Instead of dieting, work on improving your everyday eating habits, because it will lead to better long-term results.
I believe the whole concept of dieting is flawed and while consuming fewer calories than your body burns is essential for fat loss, traditional dieting results in disappointment and frustration more often than it leads to success. One of the biggest problems is dieting is thought of as the solution to weight loss and people think that once the diet is over, the process is complete.
The reality is that dieting is just one step in a weight loss plan and calorie restricted diets are not meant to continue forever. Eventually all diets must come to an end and if you do not have a plan to maintain your weight loss, then you will likely gain much or all of it back. People often go through cycles of dieting and losing weight, followed by eating normally and gaining weight, which is called yo-yo dieting. This is not only unhealthy, but it makes subsequent attempts at losing fat more difficult.
Yo-yo dieting is really just a symptom of the inherent flaws of traditional caloric restricted diets. These diets are appealing, because they are all about instant gratification and quick fixes. However, they only result in short-term improvements and usually ignore components critical for long-term success. Developing a healthy good-looking body is not about how well you can follow a diet, but how good you are with your everyday eating habits.
The simple truth is that if you have bad eating habits, then you will never have the body you want, unless you have great genetics, including a naturally fast metabolism. Most people experience much better long-term results when they stopped worrying about dieting and started focusing on developing better everyday eating behaviors. Low-calorie diets are temporary, but your regular eating routine affects your body every day of your life.
Personally, I think it would be better if people stopped using the word diet altogether and replaced it with the term “nutritional program.” Nutritional programs and diets are technically the same thing, but the term diet brings to mind too many unhealthy or unwanted behaviors, such as drastic calorie reduction, and it leads people to focus on the wrong things when trying to achieve long-term weight or fat loss.
On the other hand, the term nutritional program tends to make people think more about their everyday eating. A nutritional program is a long-term strategy for improving health and reaching and maintaining a desirable weight and body fat percentage. Therefore, there is no end to a nutritional program the way there is with a traditional diet, although it should change over time to reflect the changes in your body.
Another problem with the term diet is that most people do not like dieting and they view diets as unpleasant necessities required for weight loss. At best, this causes a desire for the diet to be over and it sometimes causes so much stress that people are forced to stop dieting. To make matters worse, people also tend to develop negative feelings towards healthy eating in general, which makes them want to eat unhealthy foods even more.
The longer someone is on a diet, the harder it becomes to fight cravings to eat the foods they are not supposed to have, especially when the diet is highly restrictive. People who are very motivated may force themselves to continue dieting, but they are often just waiting for the time when they can go back to eating normally. Unfortunately, eating normally typically means eating poorly and the more people restrict themselves while dieting, the more likely they will overindulge and overeat when they go off their diet.
Naturally, this approach is ultimately going to fail, because healthy eating is not something you can do off and on whenever you feel like it. Healthy eating is something that must be incorporated into your everyday life, if you want to achieve long-term success. At some point, everyone who is serious about their health and nutrition realizes that you can never eat a lot of unhealthy or high calorie foods and expect to improve your body.
Many people struggle with this fact and try to find a way to hold on to their normal unhealthy eating habits by going on a diet when they want to lose weight. Instead of trying to follow a restrictive diet that increases cravings for unhealthy foods, it is better to follow a solid nutritional program that focuses on improving your bad eating habits, yet still allows you to eat the things you enjoy in moderation.
A good nutritional program is designed to work with your particular lifestyle and it should not feel like a burden. If your eating strategy is not something that can be maintained over the long run, it will ultimately fail and you should switch to a different program. For example, if your regular eating habits are unhealthy and you eat a lot of junk food, then going cold turkey and eliminating all unhealthy foods is not realistic and not a good solution for long-term weight loss.
A better approach is to start with your current eating routine and figure out what improvements you can make, without feeling overwhelmed. Think of your nutritional program as an ongoing project, where you continue to make small improvements over time. By following this strategy you can change your unhealthy eating habits into healthy ones at a pace that is comfortable to you.
Admittedly, making small changes to your current eating habits may not result in a lot of fat loss right away, but your body will improve. Plus, the progress you make will continue to increase over time as you make more improvements to your eating plan. More importantly, since this weight loss occurs as a result of your regular eating routine and not a diet, you will be able to maintain the weight loss indefinitely.
I could go on and on with different reasons why a good nutritional program is more effective than a restrictive diet, but in the end it comes down to one main difference. A nutritional program involves a progressive long-term plan, while a diet focuses on short-term results that are often fleeting. It may seem obvious, but the best way to achieve fat loss is by having good eating habits as much of the time as possible, and exercising of course.
A nutritional program can help you improve your eating habits so you will continue losing fat over time, while a diet will only give you the tools for short-term results and it will probably not even address the problems that originally caused you to gain weight in the first place.
If you don’t change the behaviors that led to your original weight gain, then it will be almost impossible to have long-term success. If diets have failed you in the past, give the nutritional program approach a try. It is definitely more effective, especially if you keep track of your progress and continue making improvements over time.
14 years of experience and education in health and fitness