Losing weight has been the most discussed topic in the world of health and fitness for a long time. Almost everyone at some point in their life finds themselves wanting to lose a little body fat, or drop a few pounds. In today’s society, it seems people are always scouring the internet for “weight loss secrets” or “tips and tricks for losing weight”. Everyone wants to lose weight fast and they want it to be easy. Many people try fad diets that don’t work, or start eating and drinking weird foods and supplements, thinking it will magically shrink their waist. This isn’t to say that all diets and supplements are ineffective, but many of them aren’t necessary and some are actually detrimental to your health. So just what is the secret to healthy eating and losing weight? I believe the best strategies for dieting are based around fundamental concepts. These concepts are my keys to dieting success.
The dieting question that people ask me the most is “what do you eat?” Typically they are expecting me to spew out some strict meal plan, but I usually reply with “healthy food,” which leads to the follow up question “what do you consider healthy?” As soon as I start listing off healthy foods, “broccoli, oats, beans, apples, etc.” people realize they already know that the foods that I’m listing are healthy. So why did they ask in the first place? They thought that I had some special meal plan that takes years of research to come up with. When in reality, I mostly eat foods that everyone already knows to be good for you. You don’t need me to tell you that vegetables are good and candy is bad. It’s common sense. People need to realize that making healthy food choices doesn’t require a degree in nutrition. However, not all common sense is created equal. Something that’s obvious to me may not be obvious to someone else, which brings us to the next key to success.
No you don’t need formal education in nutrition, but having nutritional knowledge is definitely a plus. The more you know, the better. If you are ever curious about something or feel you should know more about a certain topic, research it. Educate yourself.
While common sense can answer a lot of questions, some things aren’t so obvious. Let’s use peanuts as an example. You know that peanuts have vitamins, minerals, and protein, but they also have a lot of fat, and you have always been told that fat is bad. So are peanuts good for you or bad for you? If you do the research, you’ll find that most of the fat in peanuts is healthy fat and that you just need to be careful about eating too many because while they are a healthy food, they do contain a lot of calories due to the fat content.
The big disclaimer here is to be careful about where you get your information. Typically, if you want to learn about something, you will look on the internet or ask someone you know for answers. Very few people actually contact a certified dietician for their nutrition questions, and that’s okay. Just make sure your source is reputable, and always cross check your facts with other sources to be sure.
(P.S. If you're looking to learn more about nutrition in general, I highly recommend you check out NutritionFacts.org. They make very informative and well put together videos.)
The last key to dieting success is self-discipline. You could know everything there is to know about nutrition and dieting, but without self-discipline it wouldn’t matter. You need to have the self-discipline to stick to your diet, the strength to not give in to temptation (an occasional cheat meal isn’t a huge deal, just don’t make it a habit), and the patience to see the results through. In my opinion, self-discipline is the most important key. Most people have the common sense and knowledge to maintain a healthy diet, but so many people lack the self-discipline to consistently make good dieting choices.
If you can implement these concepts in your endeavors, you too can achieve dieting success.