The aspect to this entire journey that most people get confused, frustrated & panic about. When it comes to nutrition, everyone always over complicates things. "I need to follow the Paleo diet, I need to cut carbs, I need to avoid gluten, I need to avoid red meat, I need to avoid dairy & fats", unless you have medical conditions or allergies that don't allow you to have these foods, there is no reason for you to avoid them.
Hope this post can help get you the basic information you are looking for!
- Finding something that fits your lifestyle & daily environment.
Everyone's schedule, work environment, preferences and food choices are going to different. While intermittent fasting may work for some people due to their work schedule and preference, it may not work for someone else who gets hungry easily or has a difficult time working without food. This is something really important and is going to affect how long you stay on track.
Food choices & preferences again will depend on what you have available near you unless you're willing to prepare you meals ahead of time and bring it to work. As mentioned in the blog post before this, it's not necessarily about picking the "healthier option" but being more cautious about what's going into that "healthier option".
The best thing you could do is find something that is customisable and reduce the calorically dense option in your meal. For example, a salad bar that allows you to pick your own ingredients would be a whole lot better as compared to a pre-made salad option. Another example would be a freshly made sandwich as compared to a pre-packed sandwich (which usually has a ton of mayo/butter as a base). There aren't exactly "unhealthier" but the difference in calories can be massive and it adds up overtime.
- The Best Diet
There is no such thing as the best diet. It all comes down to what will work for you in the long run and your preferences, something you could see yourself doing/eating for a longer period of time rather than trying to do a crash course and lose weight within a week. While some people could live off of chicken & rice all week if they wanted to, most people could maybe only last for a couple of days before they go crazy and quit.
There are more diets out there than you can count but what are your preferences for food? Could you see yourself eating meats & fats everyday? Eating only "natural" or unprocessed foods everyday? Or are you someone that needs a balance of both healthy and a treat here and there.
The problem with most diets is that they aren't sustainable, you do it for a week or two and start getting really bad cravings, once that builds up, it won't be long till you go into an all out binge and lose all the results you achieved and maybe even end up getting further back than where you started. The third option has been shown to produce the best results over a long run and also a higher possibility of making it a lifestyle rather than a temporary diet that will only last you a month or less. It also keeps you more "sane", allowing you to maintain it for a longer period of time.
- Getting started
Unless you are confident that you could follow "a particular diet" consistently without losing it, the most sustainable of them all would be flexible dieting. When you get started, to ease into the process, just start making more conscious choices with you foods. Start avoiding salad dressings, sauces, knowing your portion sizes, being aware of the calories in the foods you eat often, how big an actual serving actually is (you will be surprised). Doing these basic steps alone should get you some results.
- Getting more precise
Once you start to get a better understanding of calories and portion sizes, you could start getting into knowing your macros and getting more precise with your numbers.
1 - Google "Macro Calculator"
2 - Use any one of the calculators sites and key in your details
3 - Once you get your numbers (try to get 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight in this split, so if you're 170lbs, that would be 170g of protein a day (170x4=680 calories from protein a day)).
4 - As these calculators aren't a 100% accurate & everyone's metabolism etc being different, start off by using the calories they recommend to help you maintain your weight or "maintenance calories" instead of going straight to the lower recommended end to lose weight.
5 - Monitor your weight throughout the week based on this recommended maintenance calories, if you don't lose any weight or start gaining some weight, cut back on the calories by 200 per day.
- If you caloric number given is something really low and you feel that you can't go any lower at the moment. The other option would be to increase your activity. Adding a 10minute walk anytime of the day, outdoors or on the treadmill doesn't really matter, as long as its something you can track and be consistent with. Try doing this 2-3x times a week and see how your weight responds to this added activity.
It may take a while and a few adjustments for you to find the right balance but doing it this way would be more sustainable and easier for you to adjust to your current lifestyle rather than making an extreme switch which most people tend to do when they start a new regime or programme, which they end up quitting after a week. There is no magic pill that is going to get you the results you desire, everything worth having requires effort.