So you’re currently failing your 2017 new year’s resolution of attaining that awesome beach body you’d always dreamt of. You’ve tried going on a diet, lost about half a stone but then the grilled meat started tasting dry. The vegetables just didn’t match to what you have for Sunday roast and the chocolate digestive pack at the office kept screaming your name. The local hyper store just opened a doughnut bar and boom – before you know it, diet’s down the drain and you’re a stone heavier. But wait, you’ve lost half a stone so how could you possibly add a stone back on and become fatter than you already started?!

The fitness industry is constantly growing, and coupled with growth comes the evolution of new ideas and concepts. With so much competition, most fitness professionals are trying to find the easiest (and legal) way to build bulging biceps and trim those grease filled stomachs. You see, going to the gym and raking in eight hours of sleep a day is the easy part, but the hardest part of getting in shredded is the diet… And the most confusing part too. But, is it really that complicated though?

The paleo diet, the low carb diet, the low fat diet… And the list goes on. You’ve heard them all and you pick one, try it out and four weeks later you realise it’s not for you. Six weeks later you gain all the weight back on that you’ve lost and before you know it you gain even more weight..

 

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Let’s cut the crap and get straight to the point – scientific research is dominated by the concept of calories in vs. calories out, and time and time again there’s so many studies that back this claim. Here’s why clean eating works – you naturally consume less calories than what your body maintains its metabolism on, and you start losing weight. And if you’re not careful, things could drastically go wrong and that’s when clean eating doesn’t work – and this happens a lot. Here’s why:

 

calorie intake 1

Let’s use this as an example and assume your body maintains between 2000 and 2400 cals. If you consume more than 2400 cals, your weight will go up – and if you eat under 2000 cal, your weight will start to drop. Clean eaters tend to eat at a ridiculously low calorie deficit, which means over time, your metabolism slows down as the brain works in amazing ways and is a master at adapting to change, and senses weight/fat loss as bad. So your week four may look like this now:

 

calorie intake 2

Now this is the give up week – you’re hungry, eating around 1500 calories a day and weight loss is starting to plateau because your brain is smart, a lot smarter than you think. You can’t eat any less as you’ll just get hungrier and your cravings are uncontrollable. Long story short, you give up and start eating back to your old habits n your calorie intake now looks like this:

 

back to normal

Many people disregard a slowed down metabolism and start eating back at the level they previously did, not realising that their brain now thinks they’re eating at a CALORIE SURPLUS. Your body starts pack weight back on until your brain (just like weight loss) adapts to the amount you’re eating and stalls the weight gain process. The key is to slowly increase your calories weekly and try and keep your weight as stable as possible before you go crazy on food. This explains the vicious cycle of dieting and leads to the idea that “Diet’s make you fatter”, which I truly live by. This is why the word diet is awful because it automatically makes you eat in a particular way that restricts you from many different types of foods, and of course over time you can do your body much more harm than good.

Now back to what science says, the simplest method is to track your macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fats) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) and this approach of dieting is called “Flexible Dieting” or “If It Fits Your Macros”. The idea here is to eat whatever you like as long as it fits within your daily targets for the day – and you’d be surprised at how sustainable this method is, and how many people are already becoming successful using this style eating for weight loss. The best part of this is that you could add in your cravings every single day and not feel guilty – and enjoy the fat loss process. An extra bonus is – that you know exactly how many calories you’re consuming, so the eating process is a lot more structured and controlled.

You don’t have to be nerd to start tracking your macros either – check this website for a free calorie and macro calculator, and download MyFitnessPal from the Google Play or App Store to start tracking your macros. Track your weight regularly, and if nothings changing simply tweak your calorie intake for the following week and repeat the process. And the best part is, you don’t need to eat at particular times unless you’re a little hard core like a high performing athlete – simply hit your targets and you’re good to go.

The reason people screw up a plan is through boredom or the diet is too tough, and the end results to that is inconsistency. When you follow a plan that has so many rules and doesn’t allow you to have your favourite foods in moderation of course, majority of the time you’ll give up. Moderation lets you eat ice cream, chocolate and lots of tasty savouries.

So fulfil your cravings and have a chocolate a day to keep fat loss at bay!

Follow @ZainFit on Facebook, Instagram and visit the ZainFit website at www.zainfit.com for more tips on flexible dieting, general nutrition and exercise advice to help you reach your dream body.