Scanning the interweb the other day, I came across an interesting blog post by fellow trainer Bret Contreras about the most common mistake made when trying to lose bodyfat (you can find HERE). Now, I rarely write about nutrition because I don’t believe myself to be an expert (most of my research is done on the actual training part), but I am 100% can help someone improve their dietary habits and have successful done so with 100s of pounds being shed by my clients. Also, I’m VERY confident I can understand and pick apart research, and the article in our discussion had a very heavy research backing. This research may explain why your “Funcercise” workout DVD isn’t helping you drop those pounds.
In this weeks blog, I’m going to reveal this seemingly obvious AND extremely important way to lose body fat.
Admittedly this piece of research cited by Contreras is a bit old, but the soundness of the testing parameters is pretty outstanding as it applies today. The study has a large sample size, controlled variables, and as objective as can be. Here’s the research article.
The researchers took 208 subjects and were assigned to a dietician and shown a standard educational videotape explaining how to log food and exercise. Out of the 208 subjects, they identified 80 that believed they were “diet resistant” and had abnormal metabolisms. Well, the tests revealed that the subject in fact had normal metabolisms AND were underestimating/underreporting their caloric intake by 47% and were overestimating their physical by 51%. This, the authors explained, is what caused the “diet resistance.”
Although I do believe some people do suffer from metabolic dysfunctions and thyroid issues, I believe tracking your food and exercise is a step everyone should master first if they are trying to lose weight and body fat.
I also do believe that measuring your food can be tedious and is easy to mess up. That’s why I’m a big supporter of meal replacements. You can say what you want that meal replacements are not real food and real food is best, which I agree with. But show me a meal of 350 calories with a better macronutrient and micronutrient profile than a meal replacement. Even if you did find one, trying to duplicate that over and over would probably drive you nuts.
So what’s the solution?
To ensure you are not plateauing in your exercise, make sure the program is getting progressively harder so your body is forced to adapt. For your diet, weigh/measure when you can, and have a meal replacement handy for times when you’re too lazy to record/measure or you’re on the go.