A crash diet is a diet which is extreme in its nutritional deprivations, typically severely restricting calorie intake. It is meant to achieve rapid weight loss and may differ from outright starvation only slightly. It is not meant to last for long periods of time… Importantly, the term specifically implies a lack of concern for proper nutrition. (Wikipedia)
We live in a society of quick fixes, crash diets and fast food. Crash diets may seem like the answer when desiring to see quick results, but here are tips that can help you avoid it and make sustainable fat loss changes.
#1 Prepare for the long haul.
Anyone that has gone to physical therapy knows that it takes time to fix an injury or imbalance. You walk into an office knowing that it will take repetitive sessions, time and sweat to make a change. Our bodies respond better to smart rehabilitation rather than quick fixes. Why should we expect anything else when it comes to our nutrition or exercise? Committing to the process means you expect to make mistakes, but instead of giving up and quitting, keep going and use it as a learning opportunity.
#2 Don’t pick a crash diet. Pick YOUR diet.
Crash diets work. I won’t lie. Many people go on crash diets to lose weight quickly, but every one of them will tell you that crash diets are not sustainable. And most of them gain all the weight back after. We as a society need to move away from easy and quick fixes. Instead of picking the best marketed crash diet, pick the best diet that will work for you and your body type. One that offers results, even if they are not as quick as you’d want. Start with real food. Anything that grows from or walks on the earth will be better than anything that is packaged, fortified, and quick. What some people don’t know, is that eating whole clean foods, is one of the most important tools in changing your body composition.
#3 Lower your starch intake, especially on non-workout days.
Most crash diets have you eliminate starches completely (pasta, breads, grains, legumes and potatoes.) But the key is not to eliminate all starches, but to find the right amount for your body to lose fat, yet still have energy, avoid headaches and the ability to fall asleep. On days you exercise (weight training, interval training, running) up your starch intake with clean and real starches. Tubers (sweet potatoes, colored potatoes), gluten free grains or legumes are great starch options. Saving your starch for post workout will help speed up the oxidation of fat cells in the mitochondria – which means it will aid in your fat loss after a fat burning workout.
#4 Don’t skip on your sleep.
In the days of late night TV and crying babies, it may be hard to get an ample amount of sleep. If your quality of sleep is compromised, it will affect your hunger hormones, your stress hormones and your muscle building/fat burning hormones. Here are a couple things to think through to make sure your sleep is fully restful and restorative.
• Do you have a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep? You may need to eat sooner before bed or add some brown rice to your last meal. If you’re waking up in the middle of the night, try eating a couple bites of starch.
• How are the curtains in your room? Are they dark enough to help you fall asleep and stay asleep? You can find black out curtains at your home improvement store.
• Is the noise level a minimum? Do you fall asleep to the TV and leave it on all night? Do you have loud kids or neighbors? Ear plugs are a cheap and effective purchase.
Finding the balance between quality sleep, eating clean and exercise takes time and practice. Enjoy the journey as you figure out the balance that works for you. New habits take about 4 weeks to form, so stick to it and you’ll start to see physical change.
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