3 Reasons Your Diet Isn’t Working

If you are thinking of beginning a new diet, or you are doing everything right but you are feeling terrible, learn the top three reasons that your diet may not be working.

“Gosh my head is hurting!” This is what my mom called and told me a few days ago. Using a new diet from a well-known company, my mother is hell-bent on being lean and trim for the summer time. The diet she is using has helped her to drop a few pounds, but what she did not know were the health implications that would  come if she did not adjust her approach to nutrition. So what is the problem? Most “diets” that become popular today rely on fads and skimp nutritional information in order to sell a hot new product. What these diets are not intended to do however is make you healthy. If you are thinking of beginning a new diet, or you are doing everything right but you are feeling terrible, learn the top three reasons that your diet may not be working.

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  1. Your Diet is Missing a Macronutrient

Macronutrients are composed of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. In the 1980’s Charles Atkins, the creator of the Atkins diet, made the claim that carbohydrates are the cause of severe weight gain in this country. The ripple effect of that action can be seen today with a milieu of famous diets. Each diet claims that one key macronutrient is the cause of weight gain. If that were the case then you could just drop one macronutrient and be truly healthy right? The truth of the matter is that macros are not the problem. When you severely restrict one type of macronutrient, you lose the benefits of that particular macronutrient. Carbohydrates are your body’s main energy source. So if you are starting to workout to lose weight, why would you stop the body’s main source of energy? A diet with very low carbs can be extremely detrimental and can even lead to death, which was the fate of Charles Atkins himself.

What you should have  is a healthy balance of each macronutrient. Below is a breakdown of each macronutrient and what they are used to do.

  • Fats- promote healthy hormone function and serve as energy
  • Proteins- converted into amino acids when in the body and aid in recovery
  • Carbohydrates- primarily used as energy for the body

When there is a healthy balance between each nutrient, you can ensure that your body is adequately supplied with the nutrients it needs to function properly. Once your body is properly fueled, you will actually be able to recover from the work that you put in when you are in the gym. A simple guide for people who want to lose fat is that

  • Protein should consist of 40-50% of your calories
  • Fats should consist of no more than 25% of your diet
  • Carbohydrates should make up the rest

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2. Your Diet is Extremely Low Calorie

How many times have you heard “I’m on the new 2 peas and a slice of air diet and I have lost 20 pounds in 20 minutes!” I know this is an exaggeration, but is it really? From average joe diets to the diet practices of physique competitors, extreme low-calorie diets are counterproductive and even dangerous. Let’s explain the diet cycle for a second:

  • You are excited to diet
  • You get some crazy low-calorie diet claiming to help you lose a ton of weight
  • You begin the low-calorie diet
  • You feel that you are going to die
  • You binge…. HARD

Does this sound familiar? What is actually happening is your body’s response to stay alive. Your body has what is called a resting metabolic rate. This is simply the amount of calories that you burn at rest. When you consume calories well BELOW this number, your body goes straight into survival mode. Thinking that you are dying, your body sends signals that are recognized as cramping, headache, lethargy, and hunger. These impulses are one of the main factors as to why people binge so hard after an extreme diet. The aftermath is not great either with people gaining upwards of 30 pounds in some cases due to the “rebound effect” (Thats another blog entirely lol)

Do yourself a favor and follow these rules for calories. If you are looking to lose weight, take your current body weight and multiply that number x10. So if you are a 200 pound male then your base set of calories will be 2000kcal (calories). Next you will need to multiply your base calories by your activity level (shown below). THIS number, regardless of what the GURU’s say, should be where you start your diet.

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3. Your Diet is Really a DETOX

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The south beach, lemonade, FIT TEA, etc… all of these “diets” are really detoxes and should be used with extreme caution. These products are extremely profitable and people are sucked in because people do lose weight quickly. I said weight, however I did not say the TYPE of weight. What detoxes are designed to do is expel your body of water and waste that carry toxins. Since most people carry 15-20 pounds of waste in their body at any given time, then it can be proposed that these products do work-but as a detox. If you are using this as a diet then you are on a road to disaster. Prolonged detoxing strips your gut of heathy bacteria needed for digestion. Coupled with the fact that you most likely will return to bad eating habits once those “20 pounds” are off, you will replace your gut with bad bacteria which comes from processed foods. These bad bacteria actually make it HARDER for you to lose weight! Do not be fooled by paid social media models promoting some of these products. Proper nutrition practiced consistently over time is the only proven way to truly see results.

Question: Have you ever been tripped up by these diet blunders? Comment below and let us know!

Looks Can Be Deceiving- The TRUTH about Protein Meal Replacement Bars

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They taste great, they are marketed to be a meal replacement, and they “say” that if added to your diet you can lose weight!!

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Sounds great but is it true? The answer becomes vague once you start to dig deeper….

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Let’s keep things simple here people: If you BURN more calories than you ingest you will become leaner. However the way in which you do it will determine whether you are losing FAT or weight. The former is very important in that losing weight is counterproductive. First losing weight alone isn’t a true indicator of good health because with weight you are losing fat, but mostly water and muscle. Most people have been decived by the media into thinking that losing weight is the number one goal to looking good, but the true is that what most people are looking for is proper BODY COMPOSITION. Proper body composition is the reduction of fat cells within the body which equates to loss of FAT which will also result in loss of weight to some degree. Now you may be thinking, “isn’t that losing weight?” Yes, but the type of weight is extremely different in that you have retained muscle and water while stripping away the fat that is layered on top of your muscle. Once your muscle starts to show this will give you the “toned” look that you are reading this blog hoping to find the answer to achieve!

This brings me to my point of protein meal replacement  bars, especially brands that give unsuspecting people false advertisements that keep them running in circles when trying to drop fat. Keeping calories in mind understand that knowing your personal allotment of calories is the quickest way to drop fat ALONG WITH knowing the proper split of macronutrients you need to achieve a certain body composition. If leaning out (known as losing weight) is your goal, then an uneven macronutrient ratio could BE THE DIFFERENCE between just getting skinny and looking GREAT when you hit the beach.

Abnormal amounts of fat, carbohydrates, and sugar are the top causes for fat gain because after a certain amount that is completely specific to your body, these macronutrients will be shuttled to fat because it is not being used. For you IIFYM people out here this explains why although a calorie is a calorie, the TYPE of calorie consumed makes all the difference.

The reason these protein replacement bars get you in trouble is that if you don’t pay attention to the macronutrient ratio that you are consuming you can be led by false pretenses that you are eating healthy when in fact you might be taking in way more calories than you thought you might be taking in. Take some time to look at the nutritional facts of some of your top generic protein bars.

Lets take a look at a popular meal replacement bar

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Now lets look at a regular sized rice krispy treat

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Now check this out

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Its all on the same aisle!!

Now I’m not saying that you can’t add in meal replacement bars into your diet and lose fat- but you have to be mindful of knowing what you are putting in your body. As you can see you could actually fair out better eating the rice krispy treat!! Also, don’t fall into the trap of “net carbs”. if a calorie is a calorie, then a CARB IS A CARB. If you count your calories then you must add in those carbs regardless of what the packaging says.

Bottom Line- READ the nutrition label and know that everything is not what it seems in regards to food when marketing is involved. Your best bet is to stick with real unprocessed foods and rich protein sources such as eggs and lean meat if you are looking for protein. If you have a sweet tooth then do your self a favor and understand the relationship of calories and macronutrients in regards to body composition. In one cases, you might fair off better with a butter finger than a cliff bar.

The Power of The Knife and Fork: Part 2- The Grocery Games

* SQQUUEAAAK opens up the refrigerator … “whew I just read the Swxller Positive last week and I DEFINITELY need to go to the grocery store!”  If this sounds like something you have said in the past week, no worry this blog will give you the tools to make the proper decisions when going to the grocery store. Keeping in mind that food is FUEL, the view that you have of the grocery store will change forever…. So LETS GO!!

 

1. THE GROCERY STORE HAS REVENUE AS ITS TOP PRIORITY Before I changed professions to become my best self, I was a store manager for a very large grocery chain. Being in that position showed me the secrets of product marketing and the tricks of the trade that we used to get people to BUY products that will boost revenue. However most of these products are not the best options if your goal is to have top-notch nutrition and body composition. 90% of the products sold in the grocery store are processed and manufactured with cheap and/ or GMO filled ingredients that (and sorry to be so harsh) WILL KILL YOU if you eat them exclusively. Everyone loves the cookies, cakes, sodas, etc.. but remember YOU want to fuel your body with nothing but the best food sources available to you.

 

2. SHOP THE PERIMETER OF THE STORE. When you walk into the grocery store you must have a PLAN of action from the very start. NEVER GO TO THE GROCERY STORE HUNGRY. Your hunger will lead you to food sources that are good to you.. but certainly not good for you. The perimeter of the grocery store (in most grocery stores) will be home to the best fuel sources. These areas include the produce department, meat and dairy department, and the all natural section if you happen to be in a more upscale grocery store. Stores such as Kroger, Trader Joes, Publix, etc will have more upscale stores with larger varieties of produce and meats to choose from.

 

3. PRICE IS NOT A SOLE INDICATOR Keeping in mind of the goal of every grocery store, one cannot use price to determine whether a product is good. We have to understand that companies use the tag line and buzz words to lure you in to buy more expensive versions of the same products that you could get for much cheaper. Phone apps such as “Fooducate” are GREAT to help you see the difference between products and which products have a better nutritional value.

 

4. FOOD LABELS ARE ESSENTIAL Always remember to read the food label.  Look below at an excerpt form the FDA to give you a more ind depth look at the food label. For more information  go to http://www.FDA.gov http://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/LabelingNutrition/ucm274593.htm#see5

 

5. THE LESS LEGS THE BETTER The bulk of your money in the store should be spent on lean protein sources and a rule of thumb can be that the less legs the better. Yes grade your proteins from no legged to four legged animals and be sure to get a variety to make sure that you do not get bored when you eat during the week and to receive a wide range of nutritional benefits from each protein source.

 

6. CARBS AS COMPLEX AS A RUBICS CUBE When talking about carbohydrates, complexity is a good thing. Complex carbs take longer to be broken down by the body which gives the body time to recognize the carb and use it for energy rather that automatically store it as fat. Appropriate carb sources are Sweet Potato Jasmine Rice Brown Rice Quinoa Whole Wheat Bread 100% Whole Grain Oats These 6 carb sources have been PROVEN as powerful carb sources and have personally helped me to be ready for competition. Do not think to hard on this one, THESE WORK

 

7. KEEP YOUR DAIRY TO A MINIMUM Yes.. dairy needs to be in your diet but knowing what to buy is key when building your performance basket. Only ten percent of your time should be spent here buying quality dairy sources such as 0% Greek Yogurt Almond milk Shredded Cheese Cottage Cheese and 2% Milk (Rarely.. you are a human,  not a cow) The yogurt, ice cream, custards, and creams are all good however if you want to be your best you will save these sweet treats to only special occasions.

 

8. Healthy Fats should be in a Can SPRAY OIL will be your best choice when discussing the role of fats in your performance basket. Leave the butters and margarine alone and pick up a can of olive oil or coconut oil cooking spray. These options are lighter on your body and will serve as a healthy balance of  fat in your diet.

 

9. EGGS BROWN OR WHITE When buying eggs make sure that they are of a grade A quality. Your best bet is to get your eggs locally grown from a farmer, but if you do not have access make sure to read the label to check the grade. Contrary to popular belief the egg color is determined by the color of the hen who is laying the egg. The GRADE is key. EGG LANDS BEST is a little but more expensive but great quality that I use myself

 

10. Ok Guy.. So what does this list look like? I know by this  time you are asking ” Man How much will all this healthy eating COST”? Not to worry we have provided a grocery list using all the tips above and all for under $100 dollars!! Lets take a look below IMG_7709 As you can see it is possible!! Next week we sill discuss how to cook and prepare meals from this list to plan your performance cart to your performance week!! Be sure to follow the @swxllerco and use the #swxllerfood to show your grocery lists and food choices!!!