Today I was scrolling through Instagram under the tag #weightloss. Once a month or so I look through some posts linked to popular tags to see what’s going on in the minds of people in the health and fitness community. Today I stumbled across an Instagram user who was asking for weight loss help. She was restricting herself to 1300 calories a day and noticed the scale had stopped moving. I shouldn’t be surprised that people are still using calorie restriction to lose weight, but I am.
Weight loss is so much more than energy out > energy in.
For years we have been told that to lose weight we need to go on a diet that decreases our calorie intake to less than the calories we burn. Guess what, we have gotten fatter. If eating fewer calories worked for everybody, by now we should have a skinny population. I’m not saying nobody has lost weight on a restricted diet, but I do not think it is a healthy or safe option.
Your Body Is Not Stupid
Our bodies job is to stay alive. It will do everything it possibly can to keep working. This is why we see people live through unthinkable circumstances and long-term illness. When you restrict your calories to less than your body needs, you may initially lose weight. Over time your body starts to think you aren’t going to feed it and it adjusts to keep you alive. It slows down energy systems and other biological processes to conserve enough energy to keep functioning. When this happens, the weight stops coming off, and many people will further restrict their diet, this either goes on until the person is severely ill or, in most cases, gives up and returns to their previous lifestyle. This leads to years of yo-yo dieting further confusing the bodies processes and sometimes causing long-term damage. This is the same for people who eat way more than their body needs, the safest response is for the body to store it as fat. Your body can’t let all that free sugar hang out in your blood stream, it must do something about it.
Put Down The Scale
Guess what, that number is JUST a number. There are so many variables that go into what you weigh. If you can’t look at yourself objectively, the scale will work against you. There is nothing wrong with using it as a tool of measurement, but it should never be used as a tool of destruction. Your motivation needs to come from something deeper than wanting to look a certain way. It needs to come from something inside you saying, “I want to be better.”
Pick Up Your Fork
I want you to pick up your fork and eat your way to better health. I want you to choose whole foods that leave you feeling satisfied at the end of the meal. I want you to include a healthy source of fat to help curb cravings. I want you to eat lots and lots of vegetables so that your body gets the nutrients it needs to function properly. Weight loss is a side effect of good health, it isn’t the cause. Look at yourself in the mirror and accept where you’re at, and then strive to be better. Love yourself but never give up on improving. Fix your health, and the weight will come off on its own. You can read what I recommend you eat here.
As human beings, we are all unique. Not one is like the other. Why then do we constantly try to copy one another? Our DNA is unlike any other person on earth, but we tend to treat ourselves like we are all the same. We assume that if it works for one person, it should work for everyone. Some general principals work for everyone but to achieve optimal health, you need to find what works for you. Your nutrition plan shouldn’t look exactly like anyone else’s. The foods your body loves/hates are not going to be the same. I am gluten free, that doesn’t mean you should all be gluten-free. I have a friend who can’t eat tomatoes, I didn’t stop eating them just because she did. Therefore, I find out as much as possible about my clients. I want to know how you feel after you eat. I want to know how you sleep at night. I want to know how stressful your job is. These things change the nutrition plan I prescribe. Don’t put yourself in a box, or on a diet, just because other people do.
Eat Your Veggies!