Every week, at least five, if not ten, men and women email the Legendary Life Podcast saying that they are following the perfect clean eating diet, but the stubborn pounds just won’t come off.
If this sounds like you, then know that you’re not alone! After 20 years of working with men and women in this situation, Ted got a list of his top reasons why people hold on to unwanted pounds.
In this Real Talk, Friday episode Ted will share his personal struggle with weight loss and what he learned from his experience with clean eating.
Also, he will reveal the most common reasons why you’re not losing weight. Plus, actionable tips on how to break through the plateau and get things moving again. So, if weight loss is feeling like an uphill battle, this is the right episode for you. Listen Now!
- Why clean eating it’s not going to work for you
- Reasons why most diets don’t work and what to do instead
- What Ted learned in the past 20 years about strict diets
- Why low carb, keto or paleo diets don’t work on long-term
- The most important truth about food
- How to lose weight without changing what you eat
- The social and a psychological component of food
- Eating healthy doesn’t guarantee weight loss
- And much more…
Podcast Transcription: I'm Doing Everything Right, but I'm Still Not Losing Weight. What's Going on?
Ted Ryce:Have you ever said to yourself, if you could just eat clean, if you could just cut out the sugar, cut out those foods that you love to eat but know you shouldn’t be eating, if you could just do that, you could easily get and stay in the best shape of your life?
Have you ever said something like that to yourself? Well, today we’re going to talk about why that is total bullshit, and why it’ll never happen, and why the whole idea of clean eating, it’s just never going to work for you.
And most importantly, I’m going to share with you what will work, what works for my clients, what’s worked for me. And this is going to be a bit of a mindset shift, because I keep seeing this come up over and over again.
So, what is up, my friend? I’m health expert, Ted Ryce, coach to entrepreneurs and other high performers, and you’re listening to the Legendary Life podcast. What we do on Mondays is we break down science-based information on how to lose fat, prevent disease, and live a longer legendary life.
And on Fridays, we just have a conversation. It’s called Real Talk Friday. And that’s what we’re going to be doing today. And we’re going to have a talk about clean eating, this idea that so many people have.
For example, I was on Twitter recently, and someone was telling me, “Oh, I did paleo and I got great results with it and I stopped doing it, and I gained all the weight back. But if I could just get back to doing paleo, it worked so well for me.” Oh, that hurts. hurts my heart, hurts my brain. Have you ever said something like that?
So, listen, here’s the cold, hard truth that nobody wants to tell you. If you did something, and it “worked” for you, but then you had to stop doing it because it was unsustainable for you, then it didn’t work, it didn’t work. And the best advice that I can give you is that if whatever you’re doing right now to get in better shape, to lose fat— specifically with diet, but this also is true with exercise—if you don’t see yourself being able to do it for the rest of your life, then it isn’t the right answer for you.
I’m going to repeat that again; it is not the right approach for you. This is why we see such terrible statistics with weight gain, or actually dieting, right? If you pay attention out there, and I’ve cited this statistic before, 95% of diets fail.
And there’s other statistics coming from other studies that show equally dismal results when it comes to losing weight. In fact, if you’re familiar with HAES, Healthy At Every Size, we’ll talk about them in some other podcasts, but one of the things they use to promote their approach is that dieting doesn’t work.
Now, again, we’ll talk about HAES and their approach and why you need to take what they say with a grain of salt. But what they’re saying is not untrue, it just needs more nuance about when it comes to dieting, and that is that when people try to…well, think about it like this, you have a style of eating right now, you have certain foods that you eat on a regular basis, right? We all do. We’re creatures of habit. We eat the same things most of the time.
Even if you’re like me, and you travel to different locations. For example, I was in Brasilia, Brazil, and now I’m in Florianopolis, Brazil. The food environment is different here, the options, the restaurants, a lot of things are different here. I’m in the south of Brazil. It’s got a different culture, a different food environment, different food offerings, different restaurants. But even when I get to this new place, I start to get into a routine.
So, we all have a food routine. We have restaurants that we like to eat at, we have foods that we buy at the grocery store and cook. And what a lot of people think, is that, “Oh, this is what I’m doing and I want to lose fat, so what I need to do is I need to eat completely differently than what I’m currently doing, I need to change these foods.” For example, I have a red velvet cupcake. Now it’s a mini but I have a red velvet cupcake because they’re good—cream cheese frosting, who doesn’t like that?
So, what I need to do is I’ve got to cut that out. I’ve got to cut out the red velvet cupcakes and the piece of cheesecake that I ate the other day, and that steak with the fried polenta, I’ve got to cut all that out if I want to lose weight. I mean, that’s just what you have to do, right? And so, we change our routine to something that we don’t like, but we think is healthy for us. And what happens, “Oh, I feel better. I’ve lost weight, and as they say, nothing tastes better as good as being thin feels.”
But here’s the thing; I want to return to that idea that I emphasized earlier. If you don’t see yourself eating the way that you’re currently eating, if you don’t see yourself doing it in 10 years, 20 years, 30 years, for the rest of your life, it’s the wrong approach. And you might say, “Well, what am I supposed to do, Ted? What are you telling me to do? What am I supposed to do?” Well, I’m going to get to that. I’m going to get to that right now.
And to illustrate this, I want to share something from my life. I mean, I’ve been in this business for almost 23 years now. And when I started out, 22 years old, as a personal trainer, I went down the clean eating route, the Paleo route. I was paleo before it was paleo. I was low carb before you probably even knew what a carb was, or certainly knew what the low carb movement was, before you heard all that stuff that low carbers say, I was doing it nearly 23 years ago.
I ate at organic restaurants and I bought my food from Wild Oats before Whole Foods bought it. That’s how much of an OG I am. Now, of course, there’s people who have been organic for much longer, but I’m just telling you, like, it’s not new to me, this stuff, clean eating, organic, paleo, low carb, not new to me, not new to me at all. Keto is not even new. But I’ve never done a keto diet, so I can’t really…Well, I can actually talk about it, but I can’t talk about it from an experiential point of view.
So anyway, I’ve been down that road. I would only go out to eat at restaurants that they had organic options. And I thought that was the key, like getting rid of the toxic load on my body, from the foods that I was eating, making sure that I was keeping my insulin low by eating low carb, even though I was super lean. I was exercising like crazy, and really needed the carbs to fuel performance. But I thought I was doing all the right things.
I even told a client—I’ve told this story many times before. You’ve probably heard it. I got into an argument with a dietitian because I was telling my client—well, I didn’t get into an argument. She, this dietician, overheard me talking to a client and I was telling my client not to eat carrots because they had a high glycemic index.
So, I was doing this 20 years ago. People tell me now about, “Oh, glycemic index, oh, so important.” I’m like, “No, I was doing that 20 years ago, I read up on the research, things changed, it’s not important if you’re metabolically healthy.” Maybe if you’re pre-diabetic, maybe if you’re Type 2 Diabetic, okay, now we can make an argument for choosing more low glycemic foods, but even then, it’s all about the fat loss and the calories.
All right, so now that we got that out of the way, I got fat when I was in my 30s. I was super lean in my 20s, lean the entire time, abs popping out lean, clients hiring me because the way I looked lean, everybody wanting to be me and telling me how I had such great genetics lean in my 20s. If you’ve seen photos of me from then, I’ve got a couple circulating on my website or on my social media platforms. You know what I mean?
But I got fat in my 30s. What happened? I kept with the same style eating, the model of low carb and eating clean, wouldn’t even eat fruit. Part of it was I was spending a lot of money trying to figure out bit my business and trying to grow my business and fruit was expensive with how much I eat. And plus, I thought every piece of fruit I eat, it’s going to spike my insulin and stored as fat. But guess what? I got fat anyway, wasn’t eating fruit.
I was eating a lot of butter and MCT –Well, actually not MCT oil. I had some but mostly coconut oil and Kerrygold grass-fed butter. Thanks, Dave Asprey, really appreciate it. Bulletproof coffee. Anyway, so I did all that, got fat anyway, and I got super frustrated. I thought I’m doing all the right things. I’m doing these hard workouts. I’m eating healthy fats. I’m staying away from sugars and I’m not even eating fruit. Hardly ever eating fruit.
I mean, yes, of course, I would binge eat a pint of Hagen Daz every other week or so, because my diet was so strict. Certainly didn’t help eating 1200 to 1500 calories worth of ice cream that week, simply because I was so strict, which is very common with strict dieting, by the way, just makes you binge eat. So if you’re following a strict diet and you think that you have some sort of eating disorder because you have binge eating, right, it’s probably not an eating disorder. It’s a disorder of your mind and a disorder of the information that you’ve been receiving.
So anyway, I’ve been down that road, all those roads, I’ve tried all that stuff out. I coached my clients on all this stuff, too. All the time, I was trying it out, I was coaching them on it. And my clients didn’t get great results regularly, to be honest, my personal training clients, and they all had to do with nutrition, even though I had them spend like triple the money on shopping at Whole Foods. Sometimes people would change, sometimes people wouldn’t.
And I just could never figure it out. I thought the magic was in the workouts. It’s like, “Oh,” or it was their genes. And now, here I am, 44, 23 years in the business, almost. And I want to tell you, what does work? Well, you know what I have my clients do and you know what I do? I call them and I teach them the truth about food. And you might say, “Well, the truth about food, what is that? How can we even know that you’re telling the truth, with all the conflicting information out there?”
Well, what I do is I teach, I get my clients to learn about the foods that they’re eating, how many calories are in the foods that they’re eating? That is a fact. Well, actually, there’s some gray area because some of the calorie counts are wrong, but we’re not going to go down that rabbit hole today. But the calories in a food, that’s a fact, it’s a scientific fact, right? Even if the calories are a bit off because it’s a measurement; measurements are never 100%. If you ever took science classes like I did, did all my pre-med requisites, you know measurements are never 100%, they’re an approximation.
But anyway, the number of calories in a food, that’s a fact. Telling someone, “Oh, this is a healthy food. That’s not a healthy food.” That’s not a fact. Okay, avocados, are those healthy for you? “Oh, yeah, they’re healthy. They have healthy fats. I saw that on an Instagram post.” Well, guess what, what if you eat 2000…? I mean, what if you had 1000 calories of avocados a day over your maintenance and you’re gaining fat every week because you’re eating avocados?
It’s not that avocados are unhealthy or healthy. It’s just, if you’re overeating calories, no matter the source, you’re going to get fat. And being fat is unhealthy, pure and simple, folks. And again, we’ll address that idea another day because that’s somewhat controversial to say these days, right? It’s like, “Health at every size, you can be metabolically healthy and obese.” Yeah, there’s actually some new research that says that’s not true. It raises your risk for a bunch of different things. But what we’ll tackle that on another Real Talk Friday episode.
But what I’m trying to say is this, the calories in the food, that’s the truth about food, the macronutrient distribution of food, in other words, how much protein, fat and carbs are in a specific food. That’s the truth about food. And when you know the truth about food, you can make things work. You don’t have to change the food you’re eating right now at all. Now, you’ve got to change the amounts, and you may have to change some things.
And certainly, I’m not promoting eating more processed food, I’m just saying, you don’t have to be as strict. You can still eat everything that you want to eat. You just can’t eat as much of everything as you want to eat. And that’s where the satiety comes in. And if you haven’t listened to my Episode 445: The Absolute Best Diet For Weight Loss. Look, listen to Episode 445.
It is, it’s one of those episodes. You know, I don’t know if I’ve ever shared this with you. But when I listen to my episode, sometimes I hear myself and I’m like, “Oh, man, that’s a little cringe,” right, you know? I always feel like I’m saying something so profound, and then I’ll listen back and I listen to myself, and then I think, “Oh my gosh, that guy sounds like an idiot,” you know? And it’s not just that I’m mean to myself or anything like that. It’s just what I feel that I’m saying, as I say it, and when I listened back, it’s just there’s a discrepancy there.
But in Episode 445, man, I crushed that episode. Again, I just tell you that because some people have an inflated sense of what they put out in the world, right? And I believe that I don’t, but that Episode 445, man, I crushed that episode. Even if you’ve heard it, once, go listen to it again if you’re struggling to lose fat.
I tell you exactly what you need to do. If you listen to it and follow the directions—and I don’t make any money from telling you this, guys, I don’t make any money. It’s free. So go do it, get some results. But I would like you to report back to me if it does work for you.
And so anyway, so that’s what works, learning about the foods that you’re eating, then finding a way to make it work. That’s the journey that all my coaching clients go on with me. One of the biggest questions—I think I already said this, but I’m going to say it again, because it bears repeating—one of the biggest questions that I get about my coaching program, “What foods do I need to eat, Ted?” Because people have this idea that they need to completely change the foods that they’re eating.
And I say, “Listen, I don’t want you to change your foods at all, I want you to freaking track them.” Because the problem isn’t changing the foods, the problem is knowing about the food that you’re currently eating and making that work, learning how to make that work. And if you want to make choices, you want to eat a bit more clean, okay. Cool, we can do that. But completely changing, completely changing your diet in a way that you know you’re not going to stick with just so you can lose some pounds that you’ll eventually gain back, let’s end that, folks. Let’s end that approach, because it just doesn’t work.
It’s like fat shaming, it doesn’t work, telling people, smacking them on the head, say, “Hey, you need to stop being fat, you need to get your act together,” it doesn’t work. I’m a fan of things that work. So eating clean, doesn’t work, it comes from a nice place. Or maybe not, maybe it comes from one of those, you know, very harsh, strict places actually, not a nice place. But it just doesn’t work for most of us.
And it certainly doesn’t work for the type of clients I work with. You know who I work with? Entrepreneurs who are making seven figures or eight figures in their business, right? These are people who travel. I’ve got a client of mine, Damon, shout out to you, totally crushing it in the program. He had a client, a billionaire client, who took him on his private plane to a bunch of different sites that they were going to work on together. And the whole thing was catered by a chef, all the food was already prepared by the private chef, so Damon made it work.
He made it work because he didn’t have to change the foods because we all have those things that come up that we can’t change. And one of the things that I teach my clients is not to be the nutrition weirdo. Let me tell you something; if you’re the person who you show up to your family meetings, or family holidays, your family outings, your family get together, and you’re not able to enjoy your food. You’ve got to be a weirdo who brings your food in a Tupperware. That’s not cool.
Why is that not cool? Because part of the health is our connections with other people. And what does bringing Tupperware do to the connections with the people who you’re meeting? Well, it separates you. It creates a weird sort of vibe. “Why? Is my food not good enough for you?” And let me tell you something, if you’re overweight and you’re trying to lose fat, that one meal with your family, that ain’t your problem. It’s all those other days that are your problem. So that’s what I want you to focus on. Learn about the food that you’re eating.
So, think about this. This is another thing I teach my clients. We all have meals that we don’t care about. Why? Because we’re busy and we need to eat something because we know we need to eat. Because if we don’t eat, we’re going to have low energy, we’re going to be starving and cave into something worse later. And that worst thing is not going to help with our hunger, so we’ll have, you know, it’ll just turn into a shit show. So, we know we need to eat. But we’re not eating for pleasure.
Versus sometimes you’re like, “Hey, we’re going to try a new restaurant,” that’s eating for pleasure. “Hey, I’ve got date night with my partner.” That’s for pleasure. “Hey, my family and I are all going to have dinner over my parents’ house,” eating for pleasure, eating for connection, eating for love. Food isn’t just fuel, folks. It’s one of those stupid things that I’ve said. And the fitness industry tells you. There’s a part of it that’s true, in a biological sense. But as you know, I’m a fan of the bio-psychosocial approach.
So, there’s a psychological component to food and there’s a social component to food, isn’t there? So it isn’t just food. I mean, sorry, it isn’t just fuel. There’s a psychological component, there’s a social component. And again, if you’re fat and you think the one meal that you’re having with your parents, or with your friends is the problem. No, it ain’t your problem. You’ve got even bigger problem than that, because you have a total mindset problem.
I’m not going to get into that one today. I’m not going to go down that rabbit hole. But the problem here is this “all or nothing” approach, this strict approach, this trying to be a monk approach, only works when you’re with other people who are like that. And it’s even questionable, the “healthy” people that never eat anything delicious, it’s even questionable about how healthy that approach is. Because again, health isn’t just biological. There’s a psychological component. There’s a social component.
And one of the things that happened to me during my clean eating days when I would only go out to restaurants that served organic food or a farm-raised – farm-raised? I mean, it’s all farm-raised, isn’t it? What am I trying to say here? Grass-fed beef or pasture-raised chickens, or pastured eggs, free range chickens. I even forget the lingo now because it’s been so long. But one of the things that happened is I isolated myself because I had these strict rules and my social life suffered for it. And psychologically, I suffered for it.
And we even know now that if you want to decrease inflammation levels, it’s not just about eating an anti-inflammatory diet, it’s about having social connections. Because when we’re socially isolated, or feel strong feelings of loneliness, it raises our inflammation. Regardless of the foods that you’re eating, we’ve got to get away from thinking about health from a purely biomedical or biological perspective, we’ve got to think of the psychology involved, we’ve got to think of the social. And because it is medicine, the psychological approach, the social factors, the psychological factors, that is part of the future of medicine, it’s not so much a part of medicine right now.
But it’s part of the future of medicine, is dealing with the psychological aspects, dealing with the social aspects. So, as I say this, what is your big takeaway from today? What is it that you’re doing right now? Is it sustainable? Is it causing problems with the people in your life who you love? Is it affecting your health trying to be healthy? Is it affecting your health psychologically, and socially, in a negative way, but you do it because you think it’s better for you biologically?
Well, I’m here to tell you that you can have your cake and eat it too. You just can’t have thousands and thousands of calories on a regular basis. But what I do with my clients is I teach them how to make it all work. I teach them how to make it all work. And I’ll tell you right now, I’m getting lean again, and I’m eating cheesecake, I’ve got my red velvet cupcake. Not so many today, and it’s not a Cheesecake Factory slice of cheesecake that’s 800 calories, okay? It’s probably 300 calories.
And I know the difference, and you probably don’t, and that is why you struggle. That is why you struggle. You think you’re doing well because you’re eating your salad. But the salad is 1200 calories, or 900 calories because it’s full of dressing and avocado and cheese or whatever else it’s got in there, and bacon, but you think, “Well, it’s a salad.” It’s just the model that you’re using is not accurate enough, it has to do with the calories.
So, if you eat a pizza, and it’s a personal pizza, let’s say you know, a couple of slices worth and it’s 500 calories, you’re better off for fat loss than eating the 900-calorie salad. Of course, it matters what you eat the rest of the day, but just to give you an example.
Look, the quality of the food matters, whether it’s processed or not matters, but pizza aren’t that bad for you and salads aren’t that great for you, depending on how many calories they have, depending on what else they have in it. It’s more complicated than the gurus will have you believe. This isn’t just what I’m saying, this is based on research.
So many of us, we want to live a longer life, and the number one thing isn’t eating any…You know, I had a conversation with a potential client and he was obese, okay, he was obese, not overweight, not a couple pounds overweight, obese! Like, “what the hell are you doing? You need to change” obese. And he told me what he was eating, “I’m eating green smoothie with this and that,” I’m like, “Look, nothing that you’re saying matters, you’re obese, period. It’s okay.”
By the way, I’m not fat shaming here. If you’re okay with being obese and all the risks that come with that, hey, we all take risks. I go cavern diving. I went diving with bull sharks. It’s not exact. I’ve done a lot of drugs in my life. So if you choose to be obese, okay, just accept the risks, except that there’s going to be risks and it will catch up to you and cause problems.
But if you’re trying to make a difference here and you’re telling yourself you’re doing the right things, and yet, you’re obese, what you’re doing is not right. I don’t care the details of what you’re doing, they don’t matter, to build your case, at least. They matter in terms of, “Okay, well, let’s see how many calories you’re eating.” But if you’re over eating calories, you’re obese, whether you’re overweight or you’re gaining weight or you’re obese, etc. Regardless of where those calories come from.
In fact, a lot of my clients, they’re not junk food eaters, these guys, they’re people who eat too many calories because they have no idea how many calories they’re eating, and also usually driven by stress and by also, “Hey, I’m eating good food here, so I can eat as much of it as I want.” Food for thought, folks. I’m not sure if that pun was intended or not; kind of yes, kind of no. But what do you take away from today? What is the big lesson? What are you thinking about right now? What can you do differently?
And hey, if you’re not fully on board with what I’m telling you, I’m not trying to convince you here. I’m not going to try to drag you by the hand and try to get you to embrace what I’m saying. I’m simply shining the way. And if you’ve ever seen the results that my clients get, you’ve heard them talk about their success with me, that’s going to be what convinces you or not. But I’ll tell you this, I would love for you to try to prove me wrong, if you don’t believe me. I love the challenge. I love challenges like that.
I don’t love challenges in general, but that particular challenge, I love, because I know it’s not even that I’m right, but what I’m telling you, it works, okay, it works. So that’s it for me.
Hope you enjoyed it. And again, I would encourage you to think about what is the big takeaway from today? And more importantly, what actions can you take based on the big takeaway to make your life better?
Because that’s what living a legendary life is about. It’s not about “Oh, I’m living a legendary life. I don’t eat dessert ever for the rest of my life, ever. And to family gatherings, I bring Tupperware with chicken and broccoli in it.” That’s not legendary. That’s lame.
Okay, so that’s all I’ve got to say. Hope you have an amazing weekend, and I’ll speak to you on Monday.
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