‘It doesn’t matter what people say, most important is to find what works for you‘ – me, regarding eating habit.
How many diet, healthy lifestyle, and eating habit articles have you read? If you are someone who are concerned on these issues, I bet the answer is: a lot! Do you find anything in common? I found the dots (not-rocket science, really): whatever the marketing name is, the underlying theory is the same:
- If you want to lose weight: cut down the calories.
- If you want to be lean/lose fat (regardless the weight): pay attention to you macros.
If you want to lose weight, the basic theory is simple: calories in < calories out. Reaching this condition, you’ll lose weight.
You don’t have to cut out specific type of food (e.g. no carbs at all) – you just have to make sure that total calories you consume is less than what you burn. This way, you’ll lose some kgs/lbs.
This been said, it is also true you need to eat the right types of food in order to be in your calories macro, yet not starve. For example, a slice of regular cheesecake is around 350kcal; 250-300g chicken is also around 350g (as long as not too much sauce involved!). The question is: which makes you feel more full?
It’s a different game when you want to lose fat, or be leaner, or build mass. It’s not only about the calories but also your macronutrients (i.e. carbs, protein, fat). For example, if you aim to lose fat while maintaining the same body weight, it might be wise to add more protein and cut some carbs (and moderate fat, of course) to sum up your maintenance calories intake.
Athletes and body builder pay lots of attention on this, in addition to total calories intake. However, I believe, we all have to pay attention on this.
Imagine eating all your calorie quota from crisps or cakes. You can still be in your macro but how unhealthy will you be?
Do what’s work for long term
When you pay more attention on calories, you start to eat consciously. The dark side of this is once you know it, it will stuck in your head forever. The good part is, you start to choose what’s better for your body.
Personally, I can’t cut one specific type of food for more than three days. My will is not that strong, sadly. Thus, I avoid eliminating one type of food (that I like) as I know the sustainability will be low. However, I have been trying (soooo haaaarrrrdddd) to reduce my unhealthy favorite food (i.e. crisp and fried food). I have even tried to schedule these food within my healthy eating plan so that I won’t crave for it and end up eating all at once.
Does it always successful? Nope! At least, I manage to pay more attention on what go into my mouth and I believe this is better than nothing. We all have to start somewhere, don’t we?
In many ways, I pay a lot of attention on calories intake. It’s like an automatic calculator in my head since there was time when I tried to reduce my calories intake to lose 2-3kg. At the moment, I don’t go as low as ~700kcal/day anymore, especially due to my training. However, I try (sooooo haaaarrrrdd) to at least not eating over my maintenance quota on weekly basis.
This pattern works best for me as it gives freedom to eat whatever I want as long as it fits my macros. You can imagine me become pickier since I would consider what I will eat to fit in my macro. Eating cheesecake for afternoon snack would lead to eating a bowl of green salad (without dressing) in the evening – so I still do this habit just not on everyday basis, else I’d starve every night without warm dinner meal.
To me, whatever the diet name, it’s best to do what’s best for ourselves. Don’t cut one specific type of food if it isn’t sustained. Don’t eat lots of meat if you also love pasta for the sake of paleo diet. Remember, everything in moderation is good. Just keep your goal in mind (and more important, in heart) – remember the two basic rules and enjoy your meal!