I like to think of “eating” as fueling and “working out” as training.
It puts things in perspective.
When we mindfully eat to fuel our training, we can’t help but to focus on quality.
There are an abundance of dogmatic diets–
yet, even more abundant, are the options for nutritionally-sound eating habits
Before we really dig in here, let’s get a few things straight:
First, yes, what we eat is called our “diet.” That’s just the way our language works. However, somewhere along the line, *the term “diet” got re-branded to mean the worst thing ever. (I’m not sure whom to blame, but I want to hire them to brand Aly Di Fitness with a positive connotation of equal magnitude.)
However, I would like for us all to agree–right now!–that “diet” does not mean a restrictive, short-term way of eating, with the primary goal of fat loss.
Second, healthful nutrition for a vibrant, exciting, and long life is not necessarily the same as “nutrition for fat loss.” They are neither mutually exclusive nor synonymous.
Third, your diet (read: your method of eating) does not need to have a name.
Phew, alright, moving on.
Are you actively trying to lose weight right now?
Yes? Ok, cool. Then you are allowed to eat a restricted diet for a defined period of time. Feel free to do as you see fit–within reason, of course–in order to maintain a caloric deficit. You can even eat a diet with a name!
Maybe it is best to give yourself hard lines. “Only this. Never this. But, remember, this is eating for fat loss and should have a clearly-defined purpose as such.
Sometimes calorie-counting is a good strategy. Sometimes IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) is a fun way to do it. For some, IF (Intermittent Fasting) might be the ticket. I know that Pat’s Pocket Sized Programming has resulted in outstanding fat loss for those who committed to a mere 10-14 day “Fat Flush.” I tell you, there are more approaches to eating for fat loss than there are stray receipts in my fanny pack!
No? Great. That could put you in a number of camps.
- Perhaps you’ve got this thing under wraps. Carry on. There’s a Sweaty at the bottom!
- Perhaps you just finished a diet for fat loss.
Now it is time to experiment with what feels comfortable, sustainable. Take a look at any food groups you’ve excluded and carefully consider any nutritional gaps you may have created during your period of restriction. Caloric deficit typically doesn’t feel “good” and sometimes feels downright sluggish. Fix that now!
As you go forth, try to have the mindset of using food to fuel your training. Don’t over-consume fuel you won’t use. But also, don’t run your machine on an empty tank and expect that it will perform at its peak. (Similarly, don’t fuel with ethanol-infused gasoline. Believe me when I say that your engine requires diesel. I mean, your engine probably won’t burst into flames instantly, but it likely won’t last as long. And all warranties will obviously be void. Are you picking up what I’m laying down here with this far-too-extended metaphor?)
- Perhaps you ultimately want to lose weight but are just on the hunt for a healthful diet.
As I mentioned above, a healthful diet and a diet for fat loss truly can be one in the same. When one eats to fuel their bodies–consuming nutrient-dense foods to nourish their muscles, bones, and brains–then one will often reach a desirable, healthful body composition.
However, adopting such a pattern of fueling tends to be a rather slow progression. It’s long-term, though, and it isn’t painful! It involves trial and error. It will result in a nonlinear pattern of ebb and flow. Some weeks, you might see a bigger number on the scale while noticing a better fit in your clothes; other weeks, you might experience just the opposite.
[This life-long diet might include a period during which you drink a glass of milk every day followed by the realization that milk doesn’t sit well with you. It might include having bread when you go to a restaurant that has yummy, homemade bread, and enjoying every last morsel–but then not eating bread again until next time–because that’s the balance that works for you.]
So where do you stand? Are you taking a short-cut to fat loss right now or are you kerplunking along on the beautiful scenic route of nutritious eating?
Either one is totally fine. Both serve a purpose. There is a season for everything.
If you aren’t sure where you stand or feel that your lines are blurred right now, reach out!
Pat and I eat this $*** up. <–that’s definitely figuratively, possibly a teensy bit literally, and most definitely with pun intended.
*I can’t decide whether I want to take the route of destroying its negative connotation through intentional use of it with a neutral/positive connotation OR if I want to just knock it out of common use altogether. Thoughts?
Powerful, high-energy squats (think slow on the way down and explosive on the way up) will balance nicely with controlled, technique-focused get-ups (think slow throughout the motion, with eyes on your closed fist, keeping the space between your knuckles parallel with the ceiling). Need a refresher on get-up technique? Click HERE.
Set your timer for 5 minutes and get to work!
10 bodyweight squats
2 unweighted Turkish get-ups (right side)
2 unweighted Turkish get-ups (left side)
Repeat ad infinitum. (Just kidding. You can stop when your timer dings.)