The only diet you'll ever need to get in shape and become the healthiest version of yourself...or is it?
So.. you saw the words “Magic Diet” and clicked. You probably thought I was going to read a list of ‘superfoods’ that you must eat in order to lose weight and achieve that all desired aesthetic looking body.
You may have heard of numerous fad diets which claim to magically drop your body fat and transform your physique. Examples: paleo, keto, intermittent fasting (IM), low carb, low fat etc. These diets are great.. if you want to unnecessarily cut out all foods you love, making this process as hard as possible for yourself. Do you want to be on a strict regime of “I’m not allowed to eat this because it doesn’t fit my diet rules” or “I can’t eat this yet as my eating window for IM hasn’t started yet”.
By all means follow these diets, if they work for YOU, but understand one thing: these diets are enabling you to lose weight through one mechanism: A CALORIE DEFICIT (1).
Understand this and you’ll be enlightened, eating foods you love in moderation enabling you to stay focused, social and healthy.
Keep reading and by the end of this I guarantee, with an open mind, you’ll be able to manipulate your diet and nutrition to suit your needs and lifestyle.
If you’re aware of the term ‘Energy Balance’ then you just need to apply it, you’re also more advanced than half of the zealots who are still worshipping a huge portion of avocado and eggs on toast everyday: “but Harri.. eating breakfast, especially a really healthy breakfast like this gets my metabolism going therefore I burn more fat all day long!” Anyone coming at me with this argument will get the same answer: this is not logical, nor factual – it is simply not true. Your body will still burn the same amount of calories throughout the day regardless of what time you choose to “kickstart” your metabolism – it requires energy to carry out daily physiological activities – BMR.
Energy Balance is a term that determines weight loss, weight gain or weight maintenance – I say ‘a term’, it’s THE term, the only term that can control these outcomes.
Depending on your goal, your calorie consumption and expenditure will differ. If you’re looking to lose weight – you must be in a calorie deficit, if you’re looking to gain weight – you must be in a calorie surplus and if you’re looking to maintain your current weight, then maintenance calories are required (2).
These outcomes – weight loss, weight gain and maintaining are dependent on the individual – “no one size fits all”. There are many different variables that determine the number of calories you need to consume for your required goal which can be done with calculations (see my nutritional programming package). These 4 variables are what determine your calorie expenditure (calories burnt in a day) – only 2 of which you need to worry about: number 2 and 3.
1. BMR “ Basal Metabolic Rate: The amount of energy (calories) used to carry out daily bodily functions in a 24hr period “ circulation of blood, breathing, cell repair etc) this differs depending on height, weight, age, body composition etc.
2. NEAT “ Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis: The amount of energy (calories) used in normal daily movement or non-intentional activity/exercise eg: walking up the stairs, cooking, cleaning etc – MOVING basically.
3. TEA “ Thermic Effect of Activity: This is the intentional exercise you will do in a given day eg: weight lifting, cardio, walking, running etc.
4. TEF – Thermic Effect of food: The amount of energy that is used internally to digest and break down food when you eat (protein uses the most amount of energy to breakdown).
What I’m getting at here is, if you understand the principles & mechanisms behind Energy Balance, AND you are accounting for protein and calories, you WILL reach your intended goal. FACT. Also SCIENCE (3).
• Food = energy
• Too much food + not enough exercise = body fat (WEIGHT GAIN)
• More exercise than energy from food = body fat used as fuel / WEIGHT LOSS.
Analogy for Calories/Energy Balance:
Think about money, you have a budget of £18 per day, you don’t want to spend all your money in the morning and run out by the evening, you want to save it incase you need it later in the day.
This is the same for calories, calories are fuel yes? You’re on a budget… say you need to consume 1800 calories a day, you can’t go over this number otherwise you won’t lose weight, if you consume 800 calories before midday, eg; breakfast, coffee, snack. Then you have 1000 calories left for the afternoon and evening – to me that isn’t ideal.
What I’m getting at here is that, you need to manage your calories throughout the day, if you want to skip breakfast, do it! If you want 2 big meals a day, great, but do not think that you must eat breakfast to start your metabolism! It simply isn’t the case. I’ll repeat: if calories and protein are accounted for then you will lose weight regardless of whether you have 6 meals a day or 1. Meal times are a SOCIAL CONSTRUCT! They are literally made up… there are no rules on when you ‘should’ eat your meals. You’re a grown up, you can decide when you want to eat.
To summarise, the MAGIC DIET, is one that:
• you can be accountable for
• contains nutritious foods
• contains foods and meals you love
• has sufficient protein and more than 20% is made up of fats (3)
• is calorie RESTRICTED to meet your goal and complement your training
AND MOST IMPORTANTLY:
A diet that you can adhere to and adopt as a long term lifestyle change.
If this is all nonsense to you, just take 1 thing from this: energy balance determines weight loss/weight gain. You do NOT need any special fad diet, diet pills, supplements for weight loss, create a calorie deficit by any means you can, live healthily, happily and keep a good relationship with food!
I hope I have succeeded in my goal to educate on the basic principles of weight management so you don’t waste your money and time buying into these fad diets – instead, waste your time and money on buying into my packages where I will teach you how to use the principles to create your own methods and become free with your nutrition and lifestyle.
1. RL, et al. The effect of a hypocaloric diet with and without exercise training on body composition, cardiometabolic risk profile, and reproductive function in overweight and obese women with polycystic ovary syndrome. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. (2008)
2. Strasser B, Spreitzer A, Haber P. Fat loss depends on energy deficit only, independently of the method for weight loss. Ann Nutr Metab. (2007)
Golay A, et al. Similar weight loss with low-energy food combining or balanced diets. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. (2000)