To be clear, this is not a metaphoric phrase, or some joke leading to a punch line. I truly mean it when I say, "Eat right, or don't bother!" It's kind of a gut punch, I get it! Half of you are probably saying, "What the heck does he know?" While the other half of you are looking behind your shoulder wondering if I'm talking about you specifically. In my 20+ years in health and fitness, I couldn't tell you how many times I've heard people tell me, "I'm eating the food you tell me to eat, but I can't do that all the time." I've also heard, "Yeah, I follow it the majority of the time; it's more than I did before." My favorite is, "I need a cheat day! I've been following this plan for 8 days now, I need a break!" Hilarious. It doesn't matter how many times I try to tell individuals that altering eating and exercise habits need to be a lifestyle change, they are still looking for the "easy" way.
Eating 1 to 2 (meals) times a day is a joke. Especially if you're somewhat active. Eating less and being active eventually will cause your body to plateau and not change at all. Eating 5 to 6 small meals per day, consistently will allow your body to trust you, meaning it knows you're going to feed it often, so it will use some of those stored foods in your body as fuel. Key words are "small meals," folks.
There are many different "Fad diets" out there (I would exceed my word/character goal in this blog if I listed them all). All of them promise one thing or another. Do fad diets help you lose weight? Absolutely. Will you achieve short term success when implementing said diet, Absolutely. My question to you is, are you only trying to achieve short term success? Is your goal only to lose a substantial amount of weight within 2 weeks or so, so that your social media post boasting about your weight loss has over 100 likes? Fad diets work short term because you've created a shock to your body. Almost every fad diet eliminates a certain macro-nutrient or food group. When this happens you start losing a lot of water, some muscle, and some fat. 95% or more people who get on these popular diets will gain their weight back and then some. Why? Because you cannot trick the body! Eventually your body will need these essential nutrients you are depriving it of. When you do cave in and eat, your body will not let it go. Your body will hold on to it; kind of like survival mode. You ever wonder why people on shows like "The Biggest Loser" lose a lot of weight then gain it back months later? Because you simply cannot do that to your body, and actually sustain it. Getting healthy isn't rocket science. Once you have a plan implemented, you just need to stay consistent.
Setting a goal is key. Know that there is a "light at the end of the tunnel." Say to yourself that you're going to follow a healthy meal plan for 6 weeks straight, for instance. After the 6 weeks of following a meal plan 100%, see where you're at. I believe that if you notice physical changes you'll want to stick with it (becomes a habit). Does this mean you cannot ever stray? Of course you can, but you need to be smarter about what you eat, how big your portions are, and how late you eat.
Like I said this is more of a gut punch to most people, but it's true and sometimes the truth hurts. If you want change in your body remember that food and what you eat are 80-85% of the process. If you're not eating right then you're just wasting time!