I grew up in the ‘90s, when if you were one who wanted to dunk a basketball or simply be the greatest at whatever you were doing, you had to wear a pair of Jordan high-tops. That’s what was hammered into my adolescent brain. To this day, I have never dunked a basketball but, damn, if I didn’t look cool trying. I was easily influenced by all the marketing of those flashy shoes because the folks who were pedaling them knew how to make me want their product. They used one of my idols, Michael Jordan, to do it.
That’s what’s happening today in our society as it relates to weight loss. Just follow the diet plan your favorite retired football player is on and you’ll look just like him. Who cares if you have to eat pre-packaged meals? And, you don’t learn about nutrition because you don’t have to think about it.
We have never been more out of shape as a country. The National Institutes of Health reports that more than two-thirds of Americans, or 68.9 percent, are overweight or obese. How is that possible in a society that has the resources and technology to combat this epidemic? As a society, we’ve become skeptical of weight-loss programs, diets, and gyms because “we’ve tried them all” to no avail. An article written in 2012 reported that the average woman has tried 61 diets by the age of 45. That blows my mind! Is it possible that not even one of those 61 diets worked?! You bet it is! This is why marketing companies have brought in professional athletes to push the “latest and greatest” diets.
There is no secret to permanent weight loss. There is, however, a tried-and-true process, that if followed, is sure to help you achieve your weight-loss goals.
First, you want to be sure you’re consuming the correct amount of food for your unique and specific needs. A one-size-fits-all, template-based diet will not yield permanent results. Consuming the right amounts of protein, carbohydrates, and fat based on what your body needs is crucial. Next, focus on meal spacing. I don’t want my clients to live and die by the clock, but rather, to eat when they’re hungry. After a smaller snack, there might only be two hours or so until the next meal, but after larger meals, there might be up to four to five hours between meals. The key is to space out your meals in a manner that supports your metabolism so you’re burning body fat more effectively between meals.
Quality of foods is important as is the quantity at any one meal. How you structure all your meals within a given day is key. Eating enough food to hit your food intake goals for the day isn’t going to lead to success if the food you’re consuming consists of mainly donuts and pizza. If you’re eating three meals per day with dinner being the largest meal of the day, you’re going to be hard-pressed to achieve your weight-loss goals. I have clients who eat four, five, or even six meals per day. I like balance at most meals as well, but there are specific contexts where you can be flexible and bend the rules, while still accomplishing your goals! That’s the perfect blend of structure and flexibility people need to succeed, and that doesn’t come in single-sized packages for every person. Not even Michael Jordan.