When it comes to learning more about health and nutrition, there is an overwhelming amount of information available all around us. It can be difficult to wade through what is fact and what is fad, especially when the idea of what is the “best” diet is constantly changing. Today we’re simplifying the topic of fat loss with five facts that may answer some of your common diet-related questions.

1 || There is no 'best' diet.

This is the most common nutrition-related question with the most disappointing answer. Diet is not one size fits all, and the best diet for you may not be the best diet for anyone else. The best diet is one that you can stick to consistently. It is one that works with your dietary preferences and your lifestyle, and one that allows you to live your life without feeling restricted and deprived. For some, that may be flexible nutrition (tracking macros); for others it may look totally different. The best diet is the one that helps you build healthy habits and the one you can stick to without sacrificing your lifestyle or the foods you love.

2 || Calories do matter.

Weight loss is all about calories versus calories out. The most important factor in losing weight is being in a calorie deficit, or eating fewer calories than you are burning on average. And all those different diets out there? They’re all different methods of reducing caloric intake.  Paleo = eliminating refined sugars and processed foods (calories); Keto = eliminating carbs (calories); Whole 30 = eliminating processed foods, refined sugars, etc. (calories); Juice detox = eliminating everything?! (calories).

3 || Weight loss doesn’t always mean fat loss.

If you have goals tailored towards weight loss, a calorie deficit is all that is necessary. But if your diet is insufficient in protein, that may mean that some of that weight loss is a product of losing lean body mass. Let’s break that down: Focusing on weight loss means just focusing on the number on the scale decreasing. But weight loss can be the product of losing lean muscle mass in addition to losing body fat, and that’s not ideal. In order to lose body fat (not just body weight), your diet needs to be sufficient in protein.

4 || You don’t have to follow a specific diet to lose body fat.

You don’t need to count calories, track macros, or stick to an approved list of foods to see the changes you are looking for. Just being more conscious about your food choices by changing your habits can help you manage your intake and produce a calorie deficit. Adding more vegetables to your day, eliminating more processed foods, cooking at home instead of eating out, or drinking more water, etc. are all strategies that can help you reduce caloric intake. However, tracking your intake can help ensure that you are truly in a calorie deficit.

5 || Your nutrition is about a lot more than just fat loss.

If we are constantly focused on losing fat, our nutrition becomes an obsession rather than a way to improve our health. There is nothing wrong with having body composition goals, but there are so many other benefits to eating the right way for your lifestyle and your goals. Fueling yourself properly can help you improve daily energy, performance, and general health as well.

Nutrition isn’t simple, but it also isn’t a complicated and contradictory set of do’s and don’ts. Successful fat loss doesn't require sticking to a list of approved foods; it requires building habits that help you manage your diet, and sticking to those habits consistently.

For me, tracking my macros hits all of the points above. It is a sustainable way for me to manage my nutrition. It allows me to be flexible and enjoy my lifestyle while still keeping my calories in check. It helps me eat adequate protein and allows me to tailor my nutrition to my current goals - whether those are performance, fat loss, or health related.

As you work towards your specific goals, try not to get overwhelmed by the vast amount of information available. Keep in mind the points above and remember that the priority should be finding a way of eating that fits with your lifestyle.

Want to learn more about what eating for your fat loss goals could look like? Visit our coaching page for more information about flexible nutrition & coaching services.