Trucking is a fast-paced industry. Everyone in it – from drivers, to dispatchers, to CEOs – are all working hard to keep our economy and country running. But, when you are constantly on the go, it’s easy to let your health slip away.
Due to that, there are too many people in the trucking industry who want to/have tried to lose weight in the past. They’ve tried and tried, but have ended up on a roller coaster of the same three or four fad diets for the past 20 years of their life. And nothing has stuck.
One problem I see that many people have is that they fixate on a certain diet. They swear by it. But what if I told you that there’s nothing special about one diet over another? And that every single diet in the world uses the same principles to help you lose weight? And that consistently following one matters a lot more for weight loss than which diet you actually choose?
Kind of interesting, right? So, how do diets actually work?
I like to think about it as a seesaw.
On one seat, you have how many calories your body burns throughout the day. This comes from exercise, activities around the house, and your body functioning to keep your organs and brain running.
On the other side of the seesaw, you have how many calories you consume throughout the day. This can come from eating food or drinking beverages that have calories.
And as a side note, think of a calorie as a unit of measurement. Like a pound or an inch. It measures how much energy is used for a specific activity or taken in with a specific amount of food. One example I like to use is running a mile. If you compare your times of running a mile downhill on concrete vs. running a mile uphill in sand, downhill on concrete is going to be faster. Similar to that, certain foods and activities can transfer calories more quickly or more slowly. For example, eating 100 calories of doughnuts goes a lot faster than 100 calories of carrots.
Depending on how many calories you consume and how many you burn on a specific day, your seesaw can move in different directions. But in general, if you burn the same amount of calories as you consume, you will stay the same weight. This is your maintenance point. So, if you have been 200 pounds for the last five years, it means you’ve found that balance spot.
If you are gaining weight, that means you are consuming more calories than your body is burning. So, your seesaw is tilted in this direction (see below). This is called a caloric surplus.
If you burn more calories than you consume or consume fewer calories than you burn, you will lose weight. This doesn’t happen overnight. But if done consistently over a period of time, it will happen. This is called a caloric deficit.
And this is what happens every time someone loses weight on any diet.
If YOU consume fewer calories, YOU will be in a caloric deficit. If this is done for a consistent period of time, YOU will lose weight.
So how do all diets work the same? Let’s walk through a couple of examples.
A balanced diet consists of a combination of foods high in protein, carbs and fats. Think of it as a plate that is divided equally into those three sections.
So if you are on a keto diet, the mechanism behind the diet working is that you are cutting out the carbohydrate section of that plate. That causes you to consume less calories. As long as you aren’t eating a whole stick of butter or jar of peanut butter every day, you will lose weight because you are in a caloric deficit; you are consuming fewer calories from foods high in carbohydrates.
If you choose to follow a low fat diet, the same principle applies. You cut calories from foods high in fat on your balanced plate. This helps you consume fewer calories and causes your seesaw to drop into a caloric deficit.
If you decide to do intermittent fasting, you still consume a balanced diet of foods high in protein, carbs and fats. But instead of having three well-balanced plates throughout the day, you are cutting down the frequency of how often you eat. This causes you to consume fewer calories overall.
But what about Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, or even going Vegan? They all use the same principle as well. Counting points helps you to control your portions of each food, which cuts how many calories you are consuming. Making smarter and healthier food choices helps you consume fewer calories while keeping portion sizes the same (think a handful of doughnuts vs. a handful of carrots).
I’m not against you following a specific diet. What I am against is you thinking there’s only one way to get to your goal, because there’s not. There are a million ways to lose weight. What you need to find is which way best fits your lifestyle. Not just your lifestyle for the next 30 days, but the rest of your life. Because your health isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.