Calories In vs. Calories Out is a phrase most people have heard but may not fully comprehend. If you have not heard this phrase it simply means that your body will gain weight if you consume more calories than your body burns. The same physiological principles apply for weight loss, simply put you need to eat fewer calories than your body burns.
Many people including myself at one point or another would blame fats or carbs for weight gain, but as I stated above, calories in vs. calories out are all that matters for weight gain or weight loss. With that being said, I believe along with numerous other health fanatics that there are more and less optimal ways to approach weight loss or weight gain but for this article, we will focus on weight loss. For more information on how to add quality muscle mass click here to view Top 10 Foods For Building Lean Muscle article.
Now let's dive into the different ways people approach weight loss and I'll give my opinion on each approach because I have tried pretty much all different weight loss strategies.
Here are some of the most common weight loss strategies.
-IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros)
Low carb diets can be very effective to drop weight quickly because you will lose glycogen which is stored sugar along with lots of water weight. If you go low carb for long enough your body goes into a state of ketosis. When your body is in a state of ketosis your body will use stored fat and dietary fat as its preferred source of fuel instead of carbs. Low carb diets also dramatically reduce sugar consumption which has been linked to a bunch of harmful diseases such as diabetes, obesity, etc. After your body adjusts to a low carb diet most people experience increased energy and more regular energy without the ups and downs most people experience. Although this sounds like the perfect diet I will explain some of the disadvantages below
Not always a viable option. Carbs are constantly surrounded is each and every day. Whether you are out at dinner being handed free chips or bread while waiting for your meal to be served. In a day or processed foods and delicious chocolate covered desserts, it's simply very hard to stray from carbohydrates. If you have enough willpower or don't enjoy those things then going low carb won't take much mentally to stick with. One other disadvantage to bring to attention is that most people use carbs every day to fuel their body, although the human body does not require we use carbs as our main fuel source it is the preferred method. When transitioning from higher carb diets to low carb diets, people often experience lower energy the first week or so of going low carb. Keep in mind that this is only temporary and energy should actually increase once your body adjusts to using other sources such as fats and protein for energy.
I find no reason to ever go low fat. Fats have gotten a misrepresented reputation since the 90's due to a mythological link to heart diseases. We have seen and studied this topic and shown in numerous studies that fats do not make you fat, excess calories are to blame. Going on a low-fat diet should be avoided for a varied of reasons explained below.
Fats are essential in regulating your body's hormones especially testosterone production for men. Fats pose great health benefits but they also lack a lot of the vitamins and minerals that carbs provide to aid in bodily functions such as digestion.
The upside to following the paleo diet is it requires that you eat real food and pretty much nothing that has gone through any food processing. This means the foods you are consuming to fuel your body are optimal because your body has evolved consuming these foods. Paleo diets typically follow a lower carb, high protein, and high-fat macronutrient breakdown. This is similar to a low carb/ketogenic diet.
Paleo does have a relatively long list of foods that one should not consume while following Paleo. Some of these foods include grains and dairy. Although I do not personally consume dairy or grains that often, I do believe they pose some good health benefits in moderation. They are also good sources of food that doesn't break the bank.
If it fits your macros, is portrayed as the end all be all style of dieting to achieve your ideal body. Although IIFYM works to achieve body composition, it completely disregards your body's internal functions! More onto the advantages of IIFYM, the flexible of no food limitations is appealing to most people. IIFYM does not mean eat anything whenever you want, it's a style of meticulous food tracking and constant mental strength to eat precise portions so the food you consume fits your macro.
IIFYM has plenty of downsides. First off like I said earlier, it does not take into account your body's internal health, only your outward appearance. Although we all strive for a great looking body, it doesn't do much good if your body doesn't function well on the inside. Fitnsimple is dedicated to helping people achieve a great body whose body functions at its full potential. Although IIFYM has no food limitations it does require you to track all food, which can be mentally exhausting. Also if you eat out at restaurants you have no idea how much oils and another thing they add so you can not accurately track your macros.
Intermittent fasting is not necessarily a diet but a style of eating. To learn more about the different styles of intermittent fasting clicks here to view "Intermittent Fasting Styles". Intermittent fasting has grown tremendously popular for the best diet for weight loss or muscle gain. Intermittent fasting is simply restricting the time you eat to a certain time frame. Typically starting in the afternoon and continuing until you go to sleep. During that feeding time you eat as you usually do but since you're cutting out 2 meals and constant snacking, the result is oftentimes rapid weight loss.
Some of the quick and most noticeable benefits are increased insulin sensitivity and increased productivity typically during your fasting period
The only downside to intermittent fasting I have experienced or heard of is the first couple weeks while adjusting to not eating/drinking any calories until your eating window usually 6-8 hour of eating and 16-18 hours of fasting (including your sleep time). After the first few weeks of your body adjusting, it is smooth sailing and the benefits start to reveal themselves. One last disadvantage is that people might think it's weird to restrict your food intake to a certain timeframe.