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Why diets don't work and a personal nutrition strategy does. An interview with nutrition expert Nilan from betteryou

Why diets don't work and a personal nutrition strategy does. An interview with nutrition expert Nilan from betteryou

ho really wants to try a "Brigitte sauerkraut diet" that relies on 1200 kcal a day to lose 2 kilos? Hopefully no one. Because diets cause stress, even unhappiness, are difficult to adhere to and do not bring long-term success. Meanwhile a nutrition strategy does, especially if it is developed personally for you on the basis of your body analysis. We observe that 90% of clients make outstanding progress with smart nutritional adjustments combined with the 6-Minute Workout and they are able to stick to their self-imposed regime. Why do diets fail and, in contrast, nutritional strategies based on individual body analysis lead to long-term success?

AURUM: Why people have higher chances of success with your nutrition strategy?

Nilan Fernando, betteryou: The unbeatable advantage of data-based nutrition coaching lies in concrete numbers about your own body, which can be used to develop a nutrition strategy. How good is your body at losing fat, building muscle, dealing with stress? You save yourself from experimenting around and also have a trusted accountability partner who understands exactly what will get you to your goal. And if you fail, he knows what needs to be adjusted in the process to get you to your goal and achieve long-term success.

"If you stick to our plan 80% of the time, you'll have success within 3 months." - Nilan Fernando, nutritionist at betteryou.

Why do people inevitably fail over and over again when they try trendy diets?

If you work with approaches that are not feasible in the long term, i.e. diets that are too restrictive and do not work with the lifestyle in the long term, sooner or later you will give up. Diets that bring short-term success, such as extremely low carb, keto and interval fasting are currently very popular, also because they are seen as the solution to all sorts of problems. These diets are based on restriction and pleasure food is only sparsely allowed. We always work out solutions that can be implemented in your everyday life and try not to forbid anything. Because if you stick to our plan 80% of the time, you will be successful within 3 months.

betteryou has hundreds of satisfied clients. What is the reason behind success?

The personal relationship, the holistic approach and the variety. We don't just give a plan, we take the time to show the customer how their body works, where the problem is and what the connections are, based on data and feedback. We determine these using basal metabolic rate measurement, spiroergometry, caliper measurement, bio-impedance analysis and work-life analysis. When you understand the correlations, it's much easier to implement. Many of our clients also particularly appreciate our approach to eating diversely. This way, they don't feel restricted and have long-term success.

Spiroergometry measures heart, lung, vascular and metabolic system while under physical stress

What do the individual measurement data tell you?

The measurements give us an overall picture of each individual. We see where strengths lie and uncover bottlenecks. As we collect this data from each client, we are constantly learning and seeing correlations. For example, if a woman has more body fat on her legs, we now know that muscular regeneration is a problem. This is then confirmed in each case by the bio impedance analysis with high water retention. From the spiroergometry we see then mostly the cause with an insufficient basic endurance and a high carbohydrate consumption. Due to the poor basic endurance, acid formation occurs more quickly in the muscles, which leads to a constant overload. Through these numbers, we then know where to start with nutrition and training.

Bio impedance analysis estimates water retention in body

"New fitness trend costs a lot and brings little" was the title of the article in the Tagesanzeiger. Metabolic analyses, also known as so-called breath measurements, are often criticized for having a poor scientific basis. Why do they work?

Metabolic analyses are snapshots. But they provide data that, in combination with other measurements, information about lifestyle and everyday life, create a basis from which a nutrition plan can be developed. Unfortunately, too often people are given a list of foods to enjoy and foods to avoid. This only works as long as people strictly adhere to it, which as mentioned is not sustainable in the long run.

Low carb diets are currently experiencing a lot of hype. Are they really suitable for everyone?

Based on the oxygen uptake and the regenerative state, we see how many carbohydrates are needed. We try to cover this need for carbohydrates with "smart" foods, those that are slowly digested and of low glycemic load. Proper selection and timing are critical. If you have a high carbohydrate consumption and fall significantly below this by following a low carb diet, you put your body under permanent stress and break down valuable protein. This can lead to sleep disturbances, mood swings, lack of energy, skin and gastrointestinal problems.

Often people don't eat carbohydrates because many carbohydrate-rich foods are pro-inflammatory.

Inflammation occurs when the body is "repairing" itself. If one eats too few carbohydrates, the body ignores all repair processes due to the undersupply or puts these on standstill. If you give them back to the body, it starts to repair, which leads to temporary inflammation. Sometimes the immune system reacts too strongly in the first step, which can lead to impure skin, water retention or gastrointestinal problems. It is then often felt that carbohydrates are the evil culprits, however the body needs them to complete repair processes. The right amount of carbohydrates is crucial. If there is a deficit, the body cannot repair itself, such as after an intense workout. If there is a surplus, fat gain occurs. Of course, the choice of food is also always crucial.

betteryou does not forbid anything. But if you would advise against 1-2 foods, which ones?

French fries (laughs). Trans fats, in whatever form, because you can't use them for anything. Sugar except around sports, when you burn it right away.... In general, eat as many different foods as possible to support the diversity of the microbiome. That is why a varied and balanced diet is healthier than a one-sided one that relies on restriction. Regardless of our analyses, you should make sure that you set limits on one meal: for men this is about 800 kcal, for women 600 kcal.

If you don't see any difference after 2-3 weeks, you often doubt whether this is the right diet plan for you. Of course, you can often see a difference only after 2-3 months. What is the key to success to stick with the plan?

Any client for whom something doesn't quite work in the first few weeks can contact us and we will coach them accordingly. Our approach is built on constant feedback and optimization. Based on client feedback, we determine what difficulties the person is having and how the plan needs to be adjusted. Between 1st and 2nd, most clients feel an increase in wellbeing. At the 3rd appointment the clients are then super happy that the success then shows in the numbers. They learn to give the body the chance to adapt. This is followed by behaviour change, where new eating and lifestyle habits are acquired and become established as natural behaviours.

Often the problem is not just fat, but water retention. What can one do about it?

Water is needed in the body where there is repair. Repairs are made where there is inflammation and the immune system must work. Water serves as a means of transport. Water retention is observed more often in women than in men due to hormonal differences. Due to testosterone, men have better recovery. What helps is training management: less intense sessions, more workouts for basic endurance and the right nutrients at the right time. Everyday stress also has a big impact, so it's important to consciously pay attention to recovery in addition to nutrition.

How can you tell if you are not supplying your body with enough nutrients?

By craving or binge eating, especially in the evening. Many people underestimate their energy consumption, especially on days when they do sports. In addition, eating often becomes secondary in everyday life due to stress. Those who could eat 3 portions at the end of the day or still need sweets after dinner have eaten too little during the day.

Nutrition coach Nilan Fernando, betteryou: Depending on your fitness level, we recommend training 60-80% at lower intensity, more at basic endurance level, combined with targeted high intensity peaks. AURUM training is an ideal weekly high intensity workout peak.

You advise people who want to lose weight but also those who want to increase their performance. What mistakes do most people make when it comes to their exercise routine?

We see that many people train intensively too often, and by training so often, they only end up at 80% intensity. Accordingly, they fail to provide a high enough stimulus that would be needed to progress, as their muscles are never fully recovered to give 100%. If weight loss or performance enhancement is the goal, in addition to frequent intense training, the lack of low-intensity training, in which the so-called basic endurance is improved, is one of the fundamental problems. For example, a low-intensity session would be jogging, where you can talk to your colleague. Simply put, people don't train enough polarized. Depending on your fitness level, we recommend training 60-80% lower intensity, with more at basic endurance level and targeted high intensity peaks. AURUM training is ideal as a weekly high intensity workout peak.

Can you share 1-2 little tricks that could allow people experience some sort of progress, success?

Anyone who does sports should try to eat a banana, chocolate, rice waffle or other carbohydrates before exercising to see how much more energy they have and don’t feel like quitting. If you don't have breakfast, you should also try it and watch how the energy level changes over the day.

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