Nutrition is not that hard.
I want to let you in on a little secret: You can still eat pretty much what you want and either not gain weight or lose weight at the same time. Diets are still all about numbers. For the most part, it’s a what goes in and what goes out equation that determines if we lose weight, stay at the same weight, or gain weight.
The simple math:
• Calories in < Energy Expenditure = Weight Loss (< means a caloric deficit)
• Calories in = Energy Expenditure = Weight Maintenance
• Calories in > Energy Expenditure = Weight Gain (> means a caloric surplus)
In a perfect world we supply all our energy needs from a quality whole food standpoint meaning free ranged and grass fed meats, organic fresh fruits and vegetables, good fats like olive oil and avocados, and tack on some starchy carbohydrate based on our overall energy intensity needs. But, one thing remains true that based on the above equations you can still eat too much of these and gain weight. The reality is that it’s simply harder to create a caloric surplus from these type foods.
While I would personally love to see everyone build a diet around the foods I mentioned, I know in today’s world its tough. There’s too much temptation, too many events, and too many delicious foods. I want you to know that you can still maintain a healthy “diet” and enjoy these things.
I recently had an online fitness friend eat a burger a day for 30 days to prove that you can eat these things and still lose weight. In his case, he ate whatever burger and fries he wanted to that day and built it around the rest of his calories for the day. I don’t think he tracked anything and that he kept things sensible outside of that meal. At the end of the 30 days he redid a blood panel with zero change in his markers, and actually put on some muscle while losing a bit of fat.
What I see with clients is too much of these heavy calorie foods daily or weekly which can produce frustration with unwanted weight gain and especially during weigh loss programs. Even seemingly “healthy” meals can get you overboard on calories for the day, and if we do that too much…well, just look again at the equations above. The take away from this and the example above is the “keeping things sensible” part.
This person managed to stay in a caloric deficit while eating a food that is known to be super higher in calories on both the fat side and carbohydrate side. I want you to realize that you can still enjoy your life and eat relaxed without consequence especially if you’re smart the other parts of the day. While we need the nutrients that come from a quality food diet, it’s ok to have a burger and fries (or insert any food) every now and again and remain consistent with your health and fitness goals.
Just remember that it’s all still mostly a numbers game and as long as your under the mark you can continue to lose weight or not put any on over time.