The next part of the program we need to discuss is the dreaded “D” word – diet! When people hear the word diet they automatically get visions of eating nothing but lettuce and starving themselves until the lose bodyfat. That is NOT what we mean when we say diet around here. We are using the word to describe your daily food intake. That sounds less awful, right? The catch is that we are going to talk about modifying your “daily food intake” to help meet your fat loss goals.
The problem with writing an article on diet is that there is not one single plan that works the best for everybody. There are also hundreds of fancy and complex plans out there that we are going to completely ignore in this article.
You’ve probably heard about some of these diets with their fancy buzz words that make them sound scientific and magical – you’ve got the Keto Diet, Atkins, Paleo, South Beach, Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem, Intermittent Fasting, Mediterranean, Blood Type Diet, Raw Foot Diet… I could keep going but you get the point. Basically someone comes up with a concept that sounds unique and works for some people, then they put a catchy name on it and try to make it the next big thing.
For someone that is trying to get themselves started on losing weight and bodyfat you don’t need to jump into a dramatic and shocking diet situation, or you are VERY unlikely to stick with it once you’ve reached your goal. In MY opinion it is best to start out with some simple changes to your diet that will get you moving in the right direction.
The first thing we need to do to figure out how to change your diet is to figure out how much food you are eating right now. I suggest spending a few days or a week keeping track of everything that goes into your mouth – write it down and be as detailed as possible. I suggest either going to a website like www.FitDay.com or downloading an app like MyFitnessPal where you can put in your food and it will do the calculations for you. (Note: I have no affiliation with either of those, I have just used both at some point in my life so I know they’re decent.) We need to get a realistic idea of what you are doing on a typical day in order to make some changes. The temptation here will be to eat extra healthy because you are keeping track – but if you want to get good results, you should eat like you have been eating since we know that HASN’T been working. If we know what doesn’t work, we can change it to make it actually work.
The next thing we need to do is figure out how many calories you are burning each day. There are quite a few methods for doing this – if you search online you’ll probably find a few places where you can punch in some basic information and get a rough estimate. If you have a fitness tracker watch or a smart watch there is a good chance it probably does a rough calculation of this for you – so you can use that. A quick search online gave me this site as an option: https://tdeecalculator.net/ – I tested it out and it seems decent. There used to be a calculator here on PTAaron.com, but when I switched it over to a WordPress site the link got broken. Once I fix it I’ll post that link instead.
Compare your calories you eat to the calories you burn – chances are you are going to see that you are taking in more than you are burning, which is why you’re probably here reading about how to lose some bodyfat in the new year! The solution then is simple – try to take in slightly less calories than your body needs per day, and you’ll start to drop some bodyfat. Don’t make a dramatic reduction in calories – you want to start small. A good goal is 1-2lbs per week, although when you first start out if you are cutting down on your carbs you’ll drop more weight initially because of water loss.
You can do this by substituting in food that is lower in fat or carbs than the food you would normally eat. Let’s say you like to eat a bowl of mac and cheese at lunch, maybe make it half a bowl of mac and cheese and add in some broccoli or other vegetable that you like. You’ll cut the calories in half in that meal and add some healthy vitamins. This is a very simple way to get started, and you’ll start to develop better habits when it comes to meal construction.
In the next part we are going to get more technical and in depth with setting up and structuring a diet plan.