"But it's (weight) just diet and lifestyle right?"
“It’s not just about losing the weight, it’s about losing the lifestyle and mindset that got you there.”
-Steve Maraboli, Motivational speaker, author
Pretty much sums it up. Except change is hard. We can eat those veggies, the grilled chicken (or beans, depending on preference), eat super clean, and then little by little the foods that got us to this place where we realized we wanted to lose weight are back in our diet plan. Or maybe they’re not but now we’re just miserable. We feel like we can’t go out with friends, enjoy a single bit of _____ (fill in your desired food here), or we’ll get bloated/can’t sleep/gain weight, etc. So let’s rephrase- it’s not that it’s hard, is that it challenges who we are, our lifestyle, and those solid brain connections.
This also gets really confusing because even if we feel like we’re doing alright in eating healthy, the scale is tip-toeing down, or hit a plateau, or maybe even went up a pound or two, as we’re thinking about upcoming holidays, birthdays, parties, etc. Like can time just stop so we can get to where we want to be?? Yes, I’ve had these thoughts before, and hear it from others. The concept of ‘eating right and exercise’ becomes complicated because we have we have years and years of living a certain way that we need to change- change what got us here, to get different results. That can bring up our past, comfort in old habits (or comfort food), as we know once we ‘go back’, those same results will return.
So what’s ‘eating healthy’? To further make this more confusing is that what’s healthy for some people may not be so healthy for others. There’s also so many diets out there telling you what to eat and when, that we’ve probably lost touch with how food has really made us feel. Some people can do really well being vegetarian, others feel much better eating animal protein. Makes sense- our heritage and genetics can predispose us to certain diets and foods. However, touted healthy food can also be unhealthy (i.e. substituting gluten-free foods for gluten foods) especially if varieties have paragraphs of ingredients. Fruit too can also be healthy, but if prone to blood sugar issues, cravings, afternoon crashes, and fatigue, then you’re better off substituting protein-containing foods and/or fats (i.e. nuts, avocado).
And you exercise right? Is it the same exercise you’ve been doing forever? Nutrition is about 80% of everything, yet the 20% is just as important. The long bootcamps, hard workouts, all day/every day, etc. can actually stress our body and hinder weight loss. Our body needs time to heal and recover. There many be a day that you’d rather nap than go to the gym. Or take a power nap and then hit the gym! Walking, yoga, and pilates are great balances (our body loves balance!) to our ‘on the go’ lifestyle.
It can also be an uphill battle because fat cells are their own endocrine organ- meaning they secrete hormones and influence our other organ systems to slow down, or hinder weight loss efforts by messing with blood sugar, sleep, stress levels, etc. As in the body sees losing weight as a stress- which is why mindset and gradual change is so important so we don’t alarm all these systems!
Here are some strategies you can implement to have long-lasting results:
Intermittent fasting- This is a great way to reset cravings, as it’s the time between meals that you do not consume calories. Aim for at least 12 hours between dinner and breakfast (the next day), and work up to 15 hours most days of the week. And at least 3-4 hours between each meal. Side note- men do tend to adapt/handle this better than women, but like anything it can be done. Knowing that we’re putting our body in a fasting state (no different than when we go to sleep), helps us tune in and listen to if we’re really satisfied with our food choices (i.e. enough protein? fiber? fats?)
Drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water- Get a water bottle that is at least 20 ounces. Then drink 4-5 of those per day, starting with one of them in the morning with a squeeze of lemon. Our thirst and hunger signals are the same. And most importantly, regardless of how ‘healthy’ we’re eating, chances are we’re not drinking nearly enough water. Yes.. you can over do it on healthy foods, which brings me to my next point.
Minimize and/or nix the liquid calories- Fruit juices, alcohol, soda these are high in sugar and/or chemicals, and extra calories we don’t need (and alcohol gets metabolized right to sugar). Even diet soda that doesn’t have any calories has chemicals that inflame our body and tell it to focus energy on detoxing these foreign substances instead of chilling out and losing weight. Weight is lost at a calorie deficit, and to take it a step further, the sugar that comes in from these drinks can be overload to our cells to the point they refuse to accept it. What builds up in our bloodstream is reflected as triglycerides, hemoglobin A1c, and glucose on our blood test. If we don’t get sugar into our cells, we may crave more of it because sugar is what’s used for energy, hence eating more that we should to feel satiated. You can do tea or coffee, or have a pitcher of water with any combination of berries (help balance blood sugar), grapefruit, lemon, orange, and/or cucumber (let it sit for a few hours).
To some extent it can be as simple as eating healthy and exercising, but the issue is that what’s good for one person may not be good for the other. Depending on how long an issue has arose, then there’s seriously an uphill battle! And battles can be won :) On the emotional side we go into why it’s hard to change topics, and physiologically we’re activating our primitive brain that wants to keep us safe and saying, ‘sorry, this isn’t working, I need to change.’ And those pathways go on the fritz. If you’d like some more tips to boost your metabolism and avoid ‘going on the fritz’, check out my complimentary guide for you HERE.