I’ve learned in this game that as soon as a coach promises they have this awesome fat loss diet that’s worked well for all their clients, the alarm bells should go off!
There are so many factors that affect the impact a ‘diet’ is going to have on your body that it has never been, and never will be possible to have one perfect diet.
Paleo is the latest craze, but it won’t be optimal for those with a very high volume training schedule.
It also won’t work if you’re a naturally lean, hardgainer body type like me and you want to stack on some muscle.
Similarly, the ketogenic diet is amazing for fat loss IF the person in question is able to handle the hunger and mental battle that often comes with it, especially at first.
Certain diets will work for a lot of people and may work just the same for you.
However, you are a unique hormonal and physiological and psychological make up and if someone is going to coach you to be in the best shape of your life, it will take a constant management, observation and feedback process.
Sure you can just ‘eat clean’ and you will lose fat and feel much better.
But we’re interested in being in mega shape, not just being healthy and average.
Even just eating clean won’t always work as some people’s minds are in a position that sees it as torture/deprivation/restriction.
Again it’s not the ‘diet’ itself that is the problem but the perception of what the ‘rules’ are in their own brain.
Right now these are the diets being followed by some of my 121 clients or group coaching clients:
CLIENT 1: Mum, business owner, trying to shed fat.
Eating one main meal in the evening, grazing the rest of the day.
In the main meal, eat carbs after everything else is eaten but only if hungry.
Pops a protein shake after training.
Lost 2kg in 2 weeks and had Chinese on Friday.
CLIENT 2: Young professional, trying to shed fat.
Eating 3 meals per day of protein, fats and veg with carbs every few days.
She has just got down to 18% body fat.
CLIENT 3: 50+ lady.
Has been sub 20% for months. If she wants to go out and have a meal out as feels right she does.
They have a shopping list and are eating according to awareness and the ‘3 joys of food’.
Before: Am I excited to eat this food?
During: Will I enjoy eating this?
After: Will I feel good about eating this food after (or guilty/sickly/fat etc)?
If the answer to any of these is no on a regular basis, it will push them closer to not wanting to keep up their nutrition plan as without enjoyment, why do it?!
CLIENT 5: Me, aiming to gain size.
Eating high carbs before and after training, high fat the rest of the time. High protein levels all the time.
4 ‘proper’ meals per day with 2-3 weight gain shakes per day.
Up from 88.5 to 91kg in 3 weeks and maintaining circa. 10% body fat.
At other times for a photoshoot, I’ve gone 3 weeks with nothing but protein, veg and water.
This is mentally challenging and most people couldn’t stick it out, which is why most will never get near 7% body fat or below!
Do they care?
Probably not, but that’s what we need to establish because every prize has a trade off!
So what’s the right diet?
That my friend depends on goals, body type, schedule, stress and relationship with food.
That’s coaching as opposed to ‘instructing’ and trying to put the same square peg in round holes.
If something isn’t working for you, it’s not working for you (even if your friend has done really well on it).
I’ve had clients get great results on one, three and six meals per day, dependent on we found works for them.
Does it work forever?
No because the goals tend to change, their body changes and their life and resultant stress changes so we monitor and adapt as we go!
What should you do?
- Stop pretending you can do it alone and ‘figure it out’. Have someone coach you through your own brain and life and manage it as you go.
- Always start with a clean eating plan that will fit your schedule so it doesn’t seem to much of a shock or change at first.
- Be happy with the objective of the next phase and what it will entail. I have no problem with people going for fast fat loss provided they know what it takes, have bought into it and are willing to give it what it takes AND have a quality ‘run off’ at the end rather than just going back old habits. Even when you’re not ‘dieting’ you should be eating clean 90-95% of the time so you don’t just slip back,
- Eating carbs only after training hard is a good place to start because you still feel like you’re getting something of a carb fix but you’re taking them in at a time when your body is more likely to burn them up or refuel the muscles as opposed to converting to body fat.
- From here…tweak. Not losing fat? Drop more carbs. Not gaining muscle and want to? Add more carbs before and after training.