Your New Years Diet
The New Year is upon us, and it’s time for those New Years Resolutions. On the top of most peoples list is to get rid of the junk food and dust of the workout shoes. Nutrition can be pretty complicated, especially at this time of the year when there are 101 different diets to try. So we’ve tried to explain some of the key ones you might be seeing through January.
KEY TAKE AWAY NOTE: All of these will work because they put you into a calorie deficit. Meaning, you are eating fewer calories than you are burning. There is no magic pill or method, just patience and hard work. However one of these “methods” might make your efforts easier.
If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM) comprises of using a fitness app and tracking your macronutrients which are carbohydrates, fats and proteins. By tracking your calorie intake for a week you can see how much you are eating and if you have lost weight, or changed body shape, while doing so. If you haven’t then its likely you need to eat less, therefore you need to take your calorie intake down by around 10% of your average daily intake over the week. In itself it seems pretty simple, but accurately tracking can take time to master, especially if you eat out or travel frequently.
Flexible dieting still requires you to track but have less focus on hitting every single macronutrient to the gram and just focuses on proteins and calories. However, the same protocol still applies with your weekly weight or body composition check ins.
- Allows for all types of foods
- Great if you want strict guidelines to follow
- Easy to figure out when you are stalling and when to drop kcals
- When you become skilled at tracking, it can be easy to transition in and out of using the method. I.E Can lead to intuitive eating meaning you can make the right portion and food choices without even thinking.
- Can become quite laborious
- High skill level to tracking (if you are a complete newbie)
- Might give you “too much” leeway with foods you are allowed
- You may end up eating “to fit your macros” and not because you actually want to eat the foods.
The Ketogenic diet (Keto) in a nutshell is low or no carb/high fat/high protein. It requires little to no tracking and relies on you eating high protein foods, which will increase satiety and stop you over eating. You are also restricting a whole food group, which in turn will mean fewer calories. The keto diet mainly consists of nuts, meats, dairy & eggs with fibre coming from green and other low carb vegetables such as aubergines and courgettes.
- Easy to follow
- Keeps you full throughout the day because of the high protein intake. Fuller usually equals less cravings
- Great if you are a big savoury lover
- You will see “weight loss” quickly, which can be a large motivator. Note though weight loss is due to a lack of carbohydrates and you depleting your glycogen stores. Not always just fat loss.
- Restrictive as carbs are basically non existent
- Not much leeway when dining out or socialising
- Can make you feel lethargic and reduce performance in the gym
- If you trail off the plan you will gain weight due to an increase in water, which comes from glycogen storage (carbs). Weight doesn’t mean fat but can be demotivating if you are scales driven with your results.
- As it is high fat you might end up overeating. Remember 1g of fat = 9kcal so its easy to eat more of this without even realising it.
- Naturally lower fibre may mean constipation issues
The Paleo diet is based on the paleolithic era, which began over 40,000 years ago. It is trying to take us back to our roots of eating fresh and unrefined foods. This theory is a great one and for most people you will look at the foods of this diet and think that’s just “healthy eating”. In a way you are right. But it is packaged up into a nice neat diet with guidelines and a back-story. The Paleo diet will get you back to eating real foods and coming away from processed product. This is never a bad thing.
- Easy to follow
- Guides you towards high protein
- Allows for all food groups
- Restricts a lot of high calorie foods most of us over eat on.
- Restrictive but not banning carbohydrates
- No room for cakes, biscuits etc so may binge if you fall off the wagon
- May take more preparation for meals, as there are no processed foods allowed.
- High fats like the keto diet so you might end up overeating.
For this you pick a 6 to 8-hour window in the day and you only eat foods within this window. Generally if you are eating food for less hours in the day you are more than likely going to be eating less food overall, meaning less calories and a lower weekly calorie intake resulting in fat loss. All you really need is a bit of will power when breaking your fast not to massively overindulge.
- Good for those who like larger meals
- Can help regulate blood sugars and “hunger hormones”
- Not restrictive on any food groups
- Can stop you overeating at “binge times” such as late at night
- May fit your lifestyle well if you are busy at work in the day or struggle to eat in the morning.
- Can be a pain socially if you doing eat at certain times
- Have to make sure you don’t overeat when you are breaking your fast. Tracking food intake (at least for meal 1) is advised.
- Can cause you to be lethargic or moody while fasting.
- No guidance on protein intake so may make the wrong food choices, even if they are under your calorie budget.
The vegan diet means that you will not eat or use any animal products. This ranges from the usually meats and dairy all the way down to certain food products that might use animal derived gelatine or rennet used for fermenting processes. This diet will make sure you are always getting plenty of fibre from fruits and vegetables which is proven to keep you fuller for longer.
- Pretty hard to overeat
- If managed well all protein and micronutrient requirements can be met.
- Lots of accessible foods are low calorie and high volume which should result in weight loss
- Majority of restaurants cater for vegans.
- If not doing it for reason of belief, it’s easy to flex in and out of your diet if needed. For example eating low fat cheese or a non-vegan protein shake if you need to get your protein up.
- Very high carb intake which may result in overeating if portion sizes aren’t followed
- If not managed well may miss out essential vitamins such as Iron or B12. Likewise protein may be too low.
- Easy to rely on “vegan friendly” foods that are flash fried and maybe not much healthier than the meat alternative (I.E Soya sausage)
Herbalife/juice plus/bootea/soul destroyer and other “cleanses”
I’m not entirely sure if “soul destroyer” is actually a name of a cleanse but it should be. At 180 Strength (and most of the scientific fitness industry) we are not big advocators of these sorts of quick fixes. They are usually overpriced supplements that require you to either replace one or more meals with one of their shakes or bars. That way you are taking out a large proportion of your day’s intake. If your lunch is usually 500kcal and then you swap it for a shake that is 150kcal of course you are going to lose weight. The problem is when you run out of your 14-day detox pack and go back to eating normally again you are putting those calories back in your diet and regaining the weight you’ve lost.
If you really want a meal replacement swap a meal a day for lentil soup instead of a replacement drink. It’s full of fibre, high enough in protein and about a 10th of the price.
- Lower the calories in your diet
- May cause short term weight loss which can be a motivator
- Very restrictive
- Not long term
- Have to come off the diet eventually
- Usually extremely low calories, which will lead to mood swings, tiredness.
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