“But that diet worked for her.”

“I’m going to try that diet I saw on Instagram from that fitness model.”

I find it fascinating that so many people pull “diets” from the Internet. If they want to look like a fitness model, six weeks on the diet she uses should get them there. (Pay no mind that the fitness model has never had a baby, doesn’t work a full-time job and is only 19 years old.) Why we think there is one way that should work for everyone is just ridiculous.

NEWS FLASH: It just doesn’t work that way. We are all different. What works for one person will most definitely not work for everyone. There are too many variables that haven’t been considered when doing a “cookie cutter” diet. Not to mention that many diets don’t use a healthy method to diet or get lean.

What variables are we talking about?

Age: Didn’t you notice a change in your metabolism as you got older? Or maybe you are young and haven’t considered the long-term benefits of learning to eat in a healthy way. When we are younger, our metabolism is much higher to help us grow and build our adult physique. At some point, our bodies no longer focus on growth and our metabolism slows. While we can increase our metabolism by adding muscle to our frame, our body no longer has the same needs of our youth.

Gender: Men produce testosterone (and so do women, but not to the same degree). The job of testosterone includes regulation of insulin and glucose, as well as fat metabolism. Therefore, men tend to be leaner and lose fat easier than women. Women’s bodies were also designed to grow babies and a woman’s higher body fat supports the nutritional needs during times of gestation.

Hormones: Testosterone is not the only hormone that plays a role in our body’s ability to get lean. Hormones run every process in our body. The question is: do hormones affect fat loss or gain OR does fat loss or gain affect our hormones? Hormone imbalance can play a huge role in our ability to lose weight. From creating hunger and cravings to causing plateaus, our hormones can prevent us from reaching our health goals.

Body Type: Have you noticed that we all carry our body fat a little differently? Some carry it in the abdominal area, while some carry it in hips and thighs. Some people find it difficult to gain weight, while others struggle to lose it. Different body types and shapes require different strategies in becoming a leaner, healthier physique.

Genetics: Your DNA will have an immense impact on your goal. Just like our eye color, we also receive our body type, predisposition to some health issues and our ability or inability to get lean from our parents. Believing that a “one size fits all” diet can work for everyone cannot take all these differences into account.

While we can’t rely on one nutrition plan to work for everyone, there are a few basic tips that we can all follow that will make a difference:

• Eat clean, whole foods (and cut out processed and unhealthy foods).
• Quality of calories matters.
• You cannot out-supplement a bad diet.
• If you eat more calories than you burn, you will gain weight.
• Drink enough water to help your body flush out toxins and avoid retaining water.
• Tracking your food will teach you about your habits and keep you accountable.

And above all, when it comes to your health goals: “It’s not how fast you take it off … it’s how long you keep it off.” –Melissa Fillmore