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Oh, diets… There are about 100 of them floating around right now, each with their own claims to fame and unique notoriety. There’s Keto, Paleo, Mediterranean, low-fat, high-fat, Macros, bodybuilder diets, bikini model diets, and the list goes on and on. I know how confusing it can be and how hard it is to find one that works for you.
The truth is that all diets work. Yep. They all work for someone or even multiple someones, but there is no guarantee that what works for someone else is going to work for you. In fact, I’d also go a step further and say it’s almost impossible to replicate someone else’s diet calorie for calorie and get the same results as them.
Could it happen? Sure, I guess. But it’s highly unlikely because EVERYONE’S body and energy needs are different. We all metabolize food differently. Therefore, what I eat to stay healthy and in shape will most likely not be the same thing that you need to eat to stay healthy and in shape. BUMMER. I know. But, don’t worry… There is a silver lining I promise!
You may not know that I actually got started in business as a fitness professional. I worked my way through personal training online and off and dabbled in nutrition by writing meal plans and macro plans for people. I was, and still am, fascinated by the science behind food and how it works for our bodies.
I spent years totally geeking out over what people’s bodies need to perform at the highest level. While most of what I learned and implemented with nutrition centered around athletes, the fact is, science is science, and if you understand how food works in your body, then you will understand what will work for YOU regarding what and how much you should be eating.
Now, I’m not going to bore you with all the science behind why specific diets work for some people and not for others, but I am going to give you some practical advice on how you can choose a “diet” that will work for you and your lifestyle.
So with that, here are some critical first steps that you should work through before taking on any diet in hopes of losing a few pounds! These steps should help you weed through your “diet drama” and settle in on something that is sustainable and creates the best results for YOU long term!
First things first: YOU have to understand why your body is overweight in the first place.
You have to get really honest with yourself and ask some hard questions to figure out WHY you are in an uncomfortable spot with your body. Keep in mind — no one can or should make you feel uncomfortable in your own body. Losing weight should always be a decision that YOU decide to do for you. PERIOD.
If you’re having trouble nailing down the WHY or HOW you got to an uncomfortable place, then I highly recommend you start by reading my article here on 10 Reasons Why You’re Not Losing Weight. Remember that there are many factors to why you may be stuck and not losing weight. Some of these may have nothing to do with your food choices at all.
Now that you’ve taken an honest look at why you are where you are, it’s an excellent time to set some goals.
It’s important to remember and respect the season you are in right now in life. Meaning, being realistic is going to be the very best recipe for success. For example, there was a time about five years ago that my fitness and nutrition goals looked very different than they do now. I was working toward being a competitive athlete, I was in the gym for two hours minimum per day, I was coaching clients, and on my feet all day long.
The nutritional requirement necessary for me to be successful at those goals would not only not work with my lifestyle now (I still work out, but also have a blog and brand and growing business to tend to!), but would most likely have me gaining weight like crazy because I am nowhere near as active now as I was then.
You have to know where you’ve been and where you want to go to achieve the level of success you are after with your body. Being honest with yourself about simple things. How active you are will 100% be the deciding factor between being stuck and getting results.
Alright, now that you’re clear on the why and you have set some realistic goals on what you would like to see results-wise, YOU have to, have to, have to, understand this next part.
Your body’s enemy is SUGAR. It really is the number one underlying cause of most if not all weight (fat) gain. Sugar likes to disguise itself in a ton of different ways, but what you most need to understand is that carbs are sugar. PERIOD.
Things like soda, chips, white bread, and juice are all simple carbs that your body breaks down quickly into glucose and then stores the excess as body fat. If these things are staples in your diet and you are not extremely active you 100% have extra in your body. Now, most people know that sugary junk food is a no-no for weight loss, but what you might not know is that even a so-called “good carbs” like fruit, potatoes, or oatmeal all break down the same way.
They all get metabolized as sugar, they all spike our insulin, and they all cause an unhealthy swing in our blood sugar levels, which in turn triggers our fat-storing hormones! Now, I am 100% not advocating for low- or no-carb diets. Carbs certainly have their place. In fact, back in my extreme fitness days, I had six-pack abs on nearly 200g of carbs/day.
But, as I said, I was burning way more calories then, and little to none were getting stored as excess body fat. This is where being realistic comes in. Are you an athlete? Are you burning 1000 calories in a single workout? Do you have an extremely physically demanding job? If you answered no to those questions, then an extremely high carbohydrate diet is not going to help you lose weight.
A much better approach would be to understand that carbs do play a necessary role in our energy levels and that choosing the right carbs in the right amounts is critical when it comes to weight loss. Furthermore, knowing how to buffer the insulin spike of carbohydrate by regulating your blood sugar is hands down the best way to avoid fat gain and to promote fat loss!
Why blood sugar regulation in your body is important
Now that we know why we are where we are and we have a goal-oriented plan on how to get to where we want to go and we are beginning to understand the role sugar plays in our bodies, let’s chat about some things you can do to start the process of blood sugar regulation in your body. Most people hear the words blood sugar or blood glucose and automatically think diabetes.
While the leading cause of diabetes is insulin resistance caused by unregulated blood sugar levels, that does not mean that people without diabetes do not need to be concerned with regulating their blood sugar levels.
If you think about it… we know that unregulated blood sugar levels lead to disease, so why don’t we practice controlling those levels before we ever get that far? And to add to the regulate your blood sugar bandwagon, doing so can also help us to lose body fat, eliminate bloating, and most importantly reduce painful inflammation in our bodies! Sounds like a no-brainer to me!
Here’s a list of 7 ways YOU can naturally regulate your blood sugar levels to set yourself up for major diet success!
- Exercise often. Some sort of movement every day is highly recommended! When you exercise daily, you kick-start insulin production and help your body to have better insulin sensitivity. Anything you can do to improve the way your body uses the sugar in your bloodstream will more effectively reduce the chance of it getting stored as body fat!
- Eat more fiber. Fiber slows down the digestion of carbs and the absorption of sugar! For me, I like to make sure I have 25g of fiber per day, and I make sure that every meal contains FOUR key things: protein, fat, fiber, and greens! This is a surefire way to make sure you are regulating blood sugar at every meal!
- Stay hydrated. Drinking more water is just an overall good health tip, but as it pertains to blood sugar, being hydrated helps your kidneys to flush out excess blood sugar by making you take more frequent trips to the bathroom.
- Eat healthy fats. There is some common misconception about dietary fat and body fat. They are not the same and eating dietary fat does not equate to body fat. Moreover, there are certain types of fat such as those found in fatty fish, avocados, nuts, and olive oil that work wonders for keeping you full and helping to regulate your blood sugar!
- Take a supplement. I love keeping my body healthy through diet and exercise, but there is a place for natural supplementation as well. As much as we strive to live healthy lives, there’s no way we can control every single thing around us. There will be times that we ingest simple carbs or that we’ve merely had more sugar than what’s good for us. To buffer those times and to make sure that all of my hard work isn’t thrown away with one dinner out, a piece of birthday cake, a few glasses of vino, I take a supplement called SLIM. It’s a powder that I add daily to water that contains gut-friendly prebiotics, supports natural blood sugar regulation, and helps promote healthy weight loss! This is the only supplement that I recommend as I have personally had amazing results with it! And it tastes amazing! I literally look forward to it every morning!
- Get enough sleep. Sleeping the whole night through can help with blood sugar metabolism, but beyond that, it helps with your overall mood and energy. Living a healthy lifestyle requires you to have a willingness and the strength to take it on. No diet or workout plan will be sustainable if you’re too tired to dedicate time to it.
- Get a resource you can turn to. I am a huge fan of Kelly Leveque’s book Body Love! While I’ve practiced her approach on my own for some time, there’s nothing like having an expertly-written book you can turn to for questions and higher levels of understanding. That coupled with the beautifully laid out recipes and seven-day meal plan, it’s just amazing! Matt and I are actually doing her seven-day meal plan now! Be sure to check out my Instagram stories for videos of the meals!
Alright, guys! You are completely armed with some strategies that you can use to start to understand what will work for you regarding losing weight or getting your body to a place that you are comfortable and happy with! Remember, all diets work, it’s just a matter of knowing how foods work within your body and letting go of some stigmas that aren’t serving you.
When you are armed with knowledge, you really don’t need a diet per se, it’s more of a lifestyle that you’ve chosen to live! Once you take the steps outlined above, you’ll notice that a lot of the guesswork is removed from the process. You will have the confidence to make decisions about your food choices in a way that always makes you proud and happy to be in your body!
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