The best way to eat and exercise for weight loss | you’re the expert of you

We live in an era of information overload.

Every time we open our e-mail, check our Facebook newsfeed orย open Instagram to see what our friends are up to we are inundated with messages (messages that are often conflicting) about the best way to eat and exercise for weight loss and long-term health and fitness.

High rep strength training, cardio intervals, HIIT, Tabata, Crossfit, Bootcamp, Insanity, P90X, 21-DayFix, hot yoga, barre, Piyo, Zumba. What type of exercise should you do to getย fit?

Should you follow a low carb diet? Eat paleo? Attend Weight Watchers? Cycle your carbs? Fast intermittently? Exercise on an empty stomach? Stock up on Shakeology?

With so many options out there, is it any wonder that newcomers to exercise (or those returning to healthy living after a hiatus…) have absolutely no idea where to start?

(Indeed, one of the most common responses I get from new newsletter subscribers is “I’m so confused about what I should be doing for exercise and nutrition. Help!”)

If you’re like most of us, you’ve probably tried more than a few of the above approaches. Perhaps you’ve stuck with one long enough to see results. More than likely though, you’ve jumped from program to program, attracted by the ‘next best thing’ and it’s promises of fat loss, muscle gains, more energy, six-pack abs and dropped dress sizes.

I’m going to tell you a secret.

the best way to eat and exercise for weight loss

There’s nothing magical about any of the programs I listed above. (Think about it, if there were, everybody would be doing that program to the exclusion of all other programs and those of us espousing a different approach would be out of business ๐Ÿ˜‰ ).

There is no best way to eat and exercise for weight loss.

Unless you’re a long-time exerciser with very specific performance goals, it doesn’t really matter which approach you take.

Stick with any program long enough and you’re bound to become a fitness success.

the best way to eat and exercise for weight loss

The best way to eat and exercise for weight loss (FOR YOU):
  • It doesn’t really matter what workout program you follow, as long as you follow it consistently. For general fitness improvement, the best thing you can do is find something you enjoy and will do regularly. Take a look at the fittest women you follow on Facebook. Chances are some of them are runners, some are barre fanatics and some lift weights exclusively. There’s more than one path to fitness. Find yours.
  • It doesn’t really matter what diet plan you follow, as long as you follow it consistently. When it comes to eating for health (including weight loss and performance gains), the biggest predictor of success is adherence. Find an approach that you enjoy and can see yourself following for years to come. If it feels too restrictive, it probably is.
  • Own your choices and the consequences. Remind yourself that you have control over every single fitness-related decision you make. Those 24-hours in the day? Yours to spend as you choose. What to put in your grocery cart? Entirely your decision. There’s nobody who can do this for you. The good news? When you’re successful, there’s nobody else to share the credit with!
  • Be wary of whom you trust. Sometimes people have an agenda. Many popular fitness and nutrition programs use network marketers to sell their products. You’ll know what I mean if you’ve ever worked with a fitness or nutrition coach who’s required (or strongly recommended) that you purchase a particular nutrition supplement through them or had you follow an exercise program that was designed by somebody else.ย In addition to the money they’re charging you for their services, they’re also earning an income on the product you’ve purchased. Do your research and make sure you’re working with a professional who places your best interests above their bottom line.
  • Be confident in the knowledge that you’re the expert of you. Who’s known you longer than you? If you’ve tried a variety of exercise and nutrition programs, you’ll already know which approaches suit your lifestyle best and are most likely to be sustainable. Pay attention to how your body responds to food and exercise. Don’t be afraid to do things differently than the ‘experts’ suggest. Remember, you’re the expert of you.

Follow the above steps to determine your own unique best way to eat and exercise for weight loss, weight loss maintenance, fitness and general health. Then stick with it, modifying as necessary, for the months and years to come.

Although I offer an online fitness program catering to the specific needs and goals of women in their 40’s and 50’s, my clients don’t follow a cookie-cutter program nor are they required to purchase nutritional supplements to see results. Together, we learn to listen to our bodies and practice ‘being the detective’ to determine our own specific formula for fitness success.

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  1. Love it! You’re so right about this. I wanna scream every time I see #doyouevencarbcycle or hear about who is “fasting” and who is “feasting” today. Believe me, I’ve bought into so many trends and traps and gimmicks, and now I just want women to “keep their eyes on their own paper” and figure out what’s right for her. Your message is spot on!

    • Tell me about it! And so many of the people I see doing these things are doing the next new thing the following month (and never seeing any lasting change in their lives…). Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  2. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect.

    Oh, except that I am not even an expert on me, thus I don’t attempt to be one on behalf of others. Love you, T!

  3. Marilyn Kelly-Clark says:

    Thanks for this. Sometimes all the conflicting choices, articles, programs are overwhelming and I end up doing nothing but reading about them! I am just getting situated after a knee replacement and ready to start my health journey again. This is good advice.

    • You’re so welcome. Sometimes, I think the best thing we can do is just turn off all the noise and do what feels good to us. Move and eat in a way that makes your body feel energetic, light and happy! Thanks for taking the time to read and comment ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. You are so right! I’m coming round to the view that I should approach exercise the same way as I approach my diet- just find a balance. No one thing is bad (or better) but too much of anything is never good. So I try to switch around my training (although mostly I’m a runner) to prevent injury and stay motivated, and I never beat myself up about having a piece of cheesecake or the odd overindulgence in chocolate. I don’t do it all the time and I believe both exercise and food should be enjoyable!

    • Yes! Your last sentence is key, I believe. It has to be enjoyable if you’re going to make it a regular part of your life. I can’t imagine life without chocolate ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. You know I preach this too & have been for years!!! Always & forever no matter how many people forget to listen… eventually they learn or .. not but those that get it will live a happier life! ๐Ÿ™‚ It is all about what is right for you & on my post today too! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Jody – Fit at 58 recently posted…Diet and Fitness Challenges on Social Media โ€“ Good or Bad? Happy Bday!My Profile

  6. I found the best way for me to be fit is from my vegan diet. I have quite afew allergies and since eliminating wheat and lactose from my diet I feel amazing. I weight lifting and run 5_6 days a week and like a 20 yr old.

  7. I drink smoothies every morning because i don’t really have time to eat breakfast. But the way i do my smoothies gets me full till lunch and I’m still full with low calories and no sugar. I use a special meal nutritional replacement only certain doctors use. I love the taste of my shake supplements.

  8. anastasia says:

    Everyone claims to be an expert but what really works is your own judgment. I’ve tried everything from magazines to personal training. What I found out that works for me is a healthy diet and exercise there’s no two ways about it.

  9. well said but what is your view on exercising and not losing enough weight? I am sure that you must have heard about the golden thumb rule for burning excess fat is long duration, medium intensity aerobic exercises. However, many studies have shown that short and very high intensity workouts can lead to increased metabolic rate to some extent after exercise.

    • Julia,

      Thanks for your comment. That may have been the ‘golden thumb rule’ in the past, but we now know that there are many approaches that work and that what works well for one person may not work so well for another.

      That point is the entire premise of this article (and the primary philosophy that underlies my approach to training). Figure out what works for you and do it!

      • The thing is move more eat less. Find the kind of moving that you prefer and do that. There is no magic, no instant fix, no ‘super food’. We have to be responsible for & accountable to ourselves and stop looking to blame external factors and come up with excuses.

      • Thanks for your reply!