Here is the other issue with eating a diet designed simply to help you reduce your caloric intake: it’s miserable!
I always say that there is no point in starting any new diet or any new training regime unless you intend to stick with it permanently. If you’re going to diet for a month and then go back to your old shape… then what’s the point?
So whatever diet you’re coming up with right now, the first thingyou need to ask yourself is whether you can feasibly see yourself following it forever.
This is the problem with intermittent fasting diets and it’s the problem with calorie counting. Sure, you can stomach the idea of scanning all your food for a few days, weeks or even months. But are you really going to be doing this when you’re eighty? If not, then it is not sustainable.
And what’s the point of going to such effort to count everything you eat, when we’ve already seen that the numbers are really just a guess at best?
For most people, this will be an effective tool until it becomes dull and they give up because they’re too tired and stressed to stick with it. For others, it might never work owing to other biological factors that prevent them from getting the most from it.
Cast your mind back to the notion of your body going through cycles between anabolic and catabolic. Now ask yourself: what have you been doing all day at work? You’ve been stressed, likely getting into arguments, working to deadlines and struggling with difficult clients. At the same time, you’ve been staring into a screen which is a very bright source of artificial light.
What does all this mean? It means you’re very much in fight or flight. You’re very much catabolic. And so when you get home, of course your body is going to revert to anabolic. Not only that, but your blood sugar is likely incredible low and you need something to cheer you up – something that will release some serotonin. You need to swing that pendulum back to the anabolic, rest and digest state.
And now you’re telling me that you’re going to eat fish because it has the right number of calories?
The good news is that there is a better way…
There are many more important factors that often get overlooked by diets too. One of these is the fact that we tend to eat socially. That is to say that will we often eat something because we’re with our partners, our families or our friends. We like inviting people round for meals, we like going out for fancy dinners and we like surprising our partners with chocolates.
If you don’t join in with this, then it’s actually quite unsocial and we miss out. Again, with all those hormones screaming at you to get some sugar and now the social pressure of eating out… are you really ordering that salad? Forever?
And yes, there is the simple matter of time and energy. Tracking all your calories takes time and energy and as we’ve discussed, those are both factors that are already at a premium. Can you really motivate yourself to count all the calories in that home cooked meal… every day?
And there’s something else that gets not a lot of attention when it comes to diet and that absolutely deserves it: that’s nutrition.
Too many of us view our food as fuel. This is something that the calorie counting approach is very guilty of doing. We look at food as something that we use in order toenable ourselves to keep going and to keep us productive at work. We think of it in terms of something that our body burns in much the same way that a car uses petrol.
But food is MUCH more than that. Not only should food be enjoyable and social as we have already discussed but it should also be thought of as being the very substance that we are made of. You’ve heard the expression ‘you are what you eat’ and well… it’s true.
When you consume amino acids from proteins, your body actually reconstitutes those in order to build your muscle and skin. You are literally recycling the parts of dead animals and plants in order to rebuild your own tissue. Likewise, the micronutrients found in your food help to build your bones and connective tissues, your brain chemicals and even the hormones that help to drive you.
Micronutrients are the tiny nutrients that come from all our food and they are absolutely essential to helping us to perform and feel our very best. These make us feel more awake, more alert, more happy and they even help to elevate our metabolism so that we burn more fat!
If you are feeling depressed, weak, sluggish and slow, then there’s a good chance that it is actually because you have a deficiency in some kind of essential nutrient. These are nature’s sports supplements and they can be instrumental in helping you to get out of the funk you’re in.
And here’s another thing to keep in mind: modern diets are the worst.
The big issue is with modern diets is that they have essentially hacked the very system our body evolved in order to survive with. Remember the way that simple sugars cause a rush of blood sugar, insulin and serotonin to make us feel great but then cause us to gain weight?
Well, all food manufacturers care about is that first bit: making you feel good. They want to sell more of their crisps, their chocolate bars and their cakes and so they have made foods that are practically just sugar. These are constantly and immediately spiking the blood sugar and can single handedly raise your chances of developing diabetes and other health conditions.
What’s worse is that these overly processed foods have removed all of the nutrients that made them so healthy. If you eat a piece of fruit, you’ll probably find that it’s packed with vitamin C, vitamin A, resveratrol and a host of antioxidants which will help you to look and feel more awesome. But if you eat a shop-bought sausage role then you’re barely eating meat. You just get sugar, trans fat and salt! Likewise, if you eat a chocolate bar, you spike your sugar but without getting any useful nutrients.
Remember: this is the stuff that your feel good hormones are made out of. This is the stuff that helps to drive your metabolism forward. This is the stuff that rebuilds your wounds.
So is it any wonder that so many of us are burned out, dried up and exhausted?
- >>Lesson 5: Audio File