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What makes a diet successful

With it being the new year, many individuals are eager to start a new lifestyle. We want to take a moment to point out what makes a new lifestyle successful, in regards to both nutrition and exercise.


The best diet is truly the one you can adhere to consistently, for the long-term. There are multiple types of diets that can assist in decreasing excess body fat, such as low carb, low fat, time-restricted eating, high protein, and more. However, what all of these diets have in common is a caloric deficit.

At the end of the day (or week), decreasing your calories below maintenance levels will promote the loss of excess body fat. Many studies have shown that when protein and calories are equated, it truly doesn’t matter what the split of carbs and fats are. Please note, that both calories AND protein were equated, not just calories.

It is important to point out that depending on your lifestyle, goals and preferences, you can build a case for higher carbs, higher fats, more meals a day or intermittent fasting.

Practical Implications:

  • Ask yourself what your diet preferences are and what type of diet or style of eating is closest to what you are currently practicing.
  • Set up a caloric deficit.
    • I encourage you to track your current intake for two weeks, so that you can gather data of what you are currently consuming.
  • After you know your baseline intake, adjust your calories, protein and lastly the carbs and fats.
  • After you know your macros, figure out how many times a day you want to eat, and if you need to consider pre or post workout meals etc.
  • Template a few meals and days into your tracker so you can get familiar with the macros and quantities.
  • Next step is to implement the meal plan.
    • Start by tweaking a few things that are similar to your current eating habits.
      • For example, if you always have chicken for lunch and you notice after tracking you are under-eating protein, then increase your chicken intake by an ounce or two.
      • If you notice that you are always adding oils and sauces to each meal and your fat intake is too high, either reduce how much you are using, or choose other ways to flavour your food, such as herbs, mustards, or a vinaigrette.

If you are looking for help creating your template, that is what our Nutritionist Diane does with her clients. Together you two will create a diet plan customized to your goals and preferences.


Just like with nutrition, the same concept applies when creating an exercise program. Create a program that you can consistently adhere to for the long term!

Building muscle and working your aerobic system (your heart) goes beyond body composition goals. Resistance and endurance training have been shown to improve longevity, metabolic markers, brain health, emotional well-being. It can also reduce your risk of certain diseases, strengthen bones, and reduce risk of falls and fractures. A good exercise routine will include a balance of strength training, endurance training, mobility, flexibility, stability and any other goal-specific exercises.

Today we are going to specifically focus on strength training and how to set up your own strength training program.

Practical Implications:

  • Determine how many days you are going to work out per week.
    • Most beginners can start with 2-3 x per week, intermediate 4-5 x per week, and advanced typically more than 5 x per week or twice some days.
  • See what do you have access to.
    • Are you going to be in a gym or at home, and what equipment can you use?
  • Decide which specific goals you have.
  • Each program, no matter how many days, should incorporate one of these basic movements:
    • Horizontal Push
      • Push ups, DB press, incline BB press
    • Vertical Push
      • BB OHP, SA DB press, pike push ups
    • Horizontal Pull
      • Bodyweight rows, seated rows, pendlay rows
    • Vertical Pull
      • Pull ups, lat pull down, straight arm pulldowns
    • Hinge
      • Stiff leg deadlifts, deadlifts, SL RDL, hip thrusts
    • Squat
      • Body weight squat, hack squat, lunge variations, step ups
    • Rotation
      • Side plank, woodchoppers, pallof press, bird dogs
    • Carry
      • Farmers walk, dead hangs, overhead carry
    • Each program, should work each muscle group (chest, back, shoulders, quads, glutes, hamstrings, core) twice a week.
    • Beginners can start with full body twice a week.
      • 2-3 sets of each exercise for 10-12 reps.


In another email we will go over how to progress your workout program. If you are looking for some assistance either setting up your own program or progressing what you are doing, our Kinesiologist Diane would be happy to sit down with you.


The thermic effect of food (the amount of energy needed to breakdown the food you consume to get energy) contributes 8-15% of total daily energy expenditure. Protein has the highest TEF, at 20-30% compared to fats at 0-3% and carbs 5-10%. That means that if you consume 100 calories of pure protein you will absorb 70-80 calories versus 100 calories of pure fats you would absorb 97-100 calories.