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If you're looking to trim weight as an athlete, it’s likely that you’ve been tempted by some fad diet in the past. While some folks may see physical improvements with fad diets, athletes are much better off sticking to an “everything in moderation” philosophy. (Read more about the dangers of fad diets.)
Common Fad Diet Problems
One problem with fad diets is that they typically latch onto an idea and take it to an extreme, basing an entire nutrition plan on one concept. Common examples of this include:
- Atkins – limited carb consumption
- Paleo – limited to foods that a caveman could eat
- Calorie counting – restricted caloric intake
Someone who follows one of these diet plans will likely lose weight. However, every extreme diet has side effects, including a lack of energy, muscle breakdown and poor nutrient intake. To make matters worse, because these diets have so many restrictions, they can be difficult to stick to, which can actually lead to weight gain over time.
The Benefits of Moderation
The “everything in moderation” approach allows you to eat your favorite foods in moderation, preventing a diet-killing binge on foods that you’ve been craving. It also encourages eating a balanced diet by not limiting specific food groups. More variety in your daily nutrition plan makes it easier to get the recommended daily amounts of vitamins and minerals. This will power your performance, stimulate weight loss and improve your overall health.
Eating in Moderation Guidelines
- Your diet should consist of about 50% carbs, 25% fat and 25% protein
- Eat three large, balanced meals and three smaller snacks each day
- Stick to healthy carbs, such as whole grain, fruits and vegetables, and avoid foods high in sugar
- Choose lean protein sources, such as fish, turkey or chicken, over pork and other fatty meats
- Eat healthy fats and avoid fried foods and other foods high in saturated fat
- Limit portion sizes of any unhealthy food that you are craving
- Eat healthy foods 90% of the time and any other food 10% of the time
Read this article for tips on healthy ways to lose weight.