As a health and fitness professional that works with countless clients on their nutritional habits, I’ve noticed a trend. A trend I see in almost every single client before we start working together.
To me, there are two types of eaters… Yo-yo dieters and lifestyle eaters.
What’s the difference between the two?
-Restrict calorie intake well below maintenance level
-Eat nutrient dense foods
-Low calorie options
-Very low energy levels due to high training load and not enough energy to sustain training levels
-Restricted food choices
-No junk food
-Find it extremely hard to eat out and usually restrict alcohol
-Reach a calorie/macronutrient intake aligned with their goals (slightly below maintenance for fat loss or slightly above for muscle gain)
-Flexible with food choices
-Allow treats or foods not seen as healthy in moderation although predominantly eat high quality nutrient dense foods
-Sustainable energy levels and mood
-High quality training performance
-Low stress levels when it comes to eating out or enjoying a social drink
So what’s the big deal? More importantly what do you notice from the two?
There’s a good reason why I call them yo-yo dieters. The reason is that this way of eating is NOT sustainable, which causes anyone following this way of eating to eventually crack, and by crack I mean binge eat. Hence the name ‘yo-yo’ as progress just goes up and then comes crashing down before repeating. Eat ‘clean’ and restrict calories for 5-6 days and then binge on the 6th or 7th (usually the weekend), completely blowing out their calorie intake and often enjoying a few too many alcoholic beverages.
To some, this may seem like a perfectly fine way to live, pushing yourself to the limits during the week and then letting your hair down on the weekend. But does it provide results? Unfortunately not, which is why if you’ve ever fallen victim to yo-yo dieting you probably weren’t satisfied with the changes you saw in your body and found it hard to stick to.
So what’s the answer? Well I’m not going to say that becoming a ‘lifestyle eater’ is the only way, but I will say from my experience (and hundreds of my clients) that it’s provided me with the most optimal and sustainable results.
Lifestyle eating is simple, eat within a calorie goal, include a sufficient amount of fruit and vegetables, eat just enough to either lose weight or gain weight, allow yourself to enjoy the occasional treat when you feel like it as long as it’s accounted for in your calorie intake and see the results you’re hoping to achieve. The reason it’s called ‘lifestyle eating’ is because of the social freedom you have without having the guilt that usually comes along with it.
Feel like some ice cream after dinner? Fine.
Want to enjoy a glass of wine with a loved one? No problem.
Feel fine eating completely ‘clean’ and getting as much nutrients as possible without treats? Even better.
Either way, the results will always be there. No short-term dieting or drastic changes that will leave you miserable and counting down the days until it’s over.
Now I know there will be a few people reading who are either Paleo, vegan, vegetarian, gluten free etc… That’s great! This works for ANYONE, as long as you can stick to a calorie goal you qualify to become a successful lifestyle eater.
In the end of the day this is just my observation and experience in the fitness industry, the decision is completely up to you and it always will be. So all that’s left to do is weigh up which option suits you best. I hope this has helped some of you understand a little better how easy nutrition can be, and in-turn how easy it is to reach your fat loss or muscle growth goal.
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