Simplifying Weight Loss*

*Disclaimer: I am not a Registered Dietitian in the State of Alaska. This article details what I have observed and worked with personally with success. Check with your Doctor before embarking on a diet/weight loss program.

Weight loss can seem quite daunting and complicated, especially since it is 2017 and there are 1,000 different "diets" out there. Now, I put the word "diet" in quotes because to me, it sounds temporary. When I work with someone on their diet, we are looking to implement permanent changes; changes that are slowly integrated as to ensure that they mesh with individual lifestyles, schedules, and habits.

Anyways, back to weight loss! Thankfully, it really is a simple concept. The amount of calories you take in, whether it is through McDonalds or kale-apple smoothies, must be less than the calories you burn. This creates a caloric deficit. Now, you can achieve a caloric deficit in a few ways. The first way? Eat less! The second way? Burn more! Sounds super simple, right? It definitely can be, but it takes some effort on your part.

Diets such as low/no carb, low fat, all work because when you cut out or significantly lower one of the major macronutrient groups, you are cutting calories and thus creating a caloric deficit. Forget everything you have heard about all diets - you will lose weight if you create a caloric deficit. The trick is to track what you are eating day to day for 3-4 days (it's probably a lot more than you think you are eating!). From there, we will have an idea what your body is used to; what it considers homeostasis (in terms of calories). We then do some calculations and choose a calorie and macronutrient value for each day that is your goal in order to lose weight.

There is a concept known as "If It Fits Your Macros" or "IIFYM" which some of you may have heard of. This concept involves eating basically whatever you want as long as you meet your macronutrient and caloric goals - and it works! Why? Because, as long as you are in a caloric deficit, you will lose weight.

However, just losing weight doesn't always correlate with health. Remember above when I mentioned lifestyle change and integration? Ideally, you can do IIFYM, but do it smart! I have come up with a system which subscribes partially to the IIFYM concept, with a bit of refining to ensure you are keeping things like saturated fats, refined sugars and other health "no-no's" low in your body.

Here's what it looks like:

60% of your daily diet consists of healthy foods that you enjoy.

20% of your diet consists of healthy foods that you don't love, but can eat.

The last 20% consists of not-so-healthy foods that you enjoy (within reason and balanced macro values).

So, what does that look like in real life? I personally prefer and have found that 5 meals a day is doable for most busy adults. That would mean that 3 out of your 5 meals in any given day consists of those healthy foods that you enjoy. One meal would consist of the healthy foods you don't love, but can tolerate. And that final meal goes to whatever you so desire! This works great for a few reasons.

1. It keeps you from eating 100% crap all day as some people are tempted to do with traditional IIFYM.

2. It enables you boost your vitamin, mineral, fiber, and antioxidant intake from that 1 meal that you don't love. But, it's just 1 meal a day!

3. It gives you that flexibility to stray from your tupperware meals and go out for lunch with your boss or go out for dinner with your spouse and use that 1 "free" meal each day.

If you follow those guidelines and track everything, you will lose weight and be healthy inside and out!

Now, I mentioned that there are 2 ways to achieve a caloric deficit. We just discussed the big, important one (diet), but you can also burn more calories. How can you do that? Workout! You can run, bike, walk, swim, stair climb, hike, or really anything that gets you moving and burning calories. Generally, I recommend getting diet dialed in first, and then adding in cardio to burn additional calories only once your diet is on point.

Any questions? Contact Ryan via email or visit my website!


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