There are many people who seek out changes to their bodies. The issue here is that they seek out change through superficial channels. Whether it’s through a pill, asceticism, sauna suits, weight gainers, binge eating, etc.
I’m here to tell you that none of those things are the answer.
Short term intensity will never outweigh the effectiveness of integration of long term, intangibles.
It’s difficult to integrate these intangibles because you have formed the habits that got you to where you are now.
The good news is that you want to change. The bad news is that it doesn’t happen over night. Hence why the usage of the short term superficials are wholly ineffective.
One of the most popular short term superficial is dieting.
A diet is a specific combination of foods we eat to yield nutritional effect. This combination of foods attempt to increase or decrease our weight though caloric increase or caloric restriction. Yup, dieting is not just for people who are trying to lose weight.
Some examples of different kinds of diets are: the ketogenic diet, the vegan diet, vegetarian, pescatarian, carnivore and there’s plenty more.
The most important thing
The problem is not the types of diets themselves, it is the mindset that arises from our lifestyles.
Our lifestyle is the blueprint through which we navigate our physical world.
For the sake of this article, I’ll describe lifestyle like this, you choose to wake up 30 minutes early to prepare yourself a macronutrient friendly breakfast rather than sleep in then buy breakfast on your way to work.
This is an example of a small comparison of two different components of lifestyle.
To go even deeper than that, let’s expand that example to highlight our sleeping habits.
Since we woke up 30 minutes earlier to prepare our breakfast, we went to bed an hour earlier in order for us to be able get up early to prepare a macro friendly breakfast.
This is opposed to staying up late to binge watch Game Of Thrones which resulted in us sleeping until 10 minutes before we had to leave for work.
You see how these subtle differences in lifestyle impact our ability to align with our goals?
I mentioned briefly the act of tracking our calories through macronutrients by getting up early to make breakfast.
Tracking calories is part of lifestyle.
A person who tracks their calories is a person who is cognizant and conscientious when it comes to the direction they want to take their life.
This is why dieting is not the answer.
When someone asks me how to get the physique they want, I usually tell them to practice journaling the meals they eat along with the amount of calories in each meal for two weeks.
This builds awareness in addition to the skill of tracking macronutrients.
This teaches them that it’s not all about “the diet.” They learn its about the amount of calories in each dish. It is those calories that are going to tip the scale in their desired direction.
This works especially well for hardgainers who swear up and down they “eat a lot.”
When they start tracking their calories for the first time they realize that they aren’t eating nearly enough. They also realize that eating is work. Their biggest realization, similarly to people who want to lose weight, is that the particular foods they eat isn’t as much of an influence as they thought it was. Yes, You can have a cake once in a while.
This goes for supplementation as well. A hardgainer who first starts to track their calories realizes they have to put the protein shake down and consume actual food.
Diet periodization is very important for those who want to lose weight.
This method is key to countering metabolic adaptations aka the slowing of the metabolism.
You see, when you restrict calories your body doesn’t like that. It thinks there’s an absence of food beyond your control so it stores energy in the form of fat. It does this by slowing down your body’s functions to conserve energy. Similar to a an “energy star” energy saver mode.
When this happens, you will even notice that muscle mass retention becomes more of a challenge because the body is using it for energy rather than fat stores.
Diet breaks, of 3–7 days every 4–6 months of caloric restriction offsets metabolic adaptations.
How you do it is simple.
All you have to do is
- Eat at the caloric requirement to maintain your current weight at the time you reached any pre-set checkpoint goal during your weight loss journey. This is why tracking is important. You note all of this information when you first start and track as you go along so you can not only see your trajectory but use this information of other purposes.
- Dial back your cardio by 50% or so.
- Continue to resistance train to spare muscle mass.
Dieting is not the answer. Wholesale lifestyle change is. These lifestyle changes are up to you. Find a way to make tracking calories and getting to the gym as optimal as possible.
When you can do that, you’ll be able to adhere by way of seeing the subtle changes in your body over a long period of time.
There’s no need to engage in short term, superficial, “secrets.”
All you have to remember is doing the right things consistently will always beat doing the wrong things intensely.