f you’re planning on a New Years weight loss resolution, PLEASE do me a favor and address the actual issue.
What not to do:
A. Purchase a “boat load” of supplements
B. Drastically cut calories
C. Obsessively count macronutrients
D. Aim to lose more than 2 lbs per week/10 lbs a month
E. Work with someone who doesn’t know what the heck they’re doing (aka zero nutrition background)
A. Most supplements (protein shakes, meal replacements, pre-workouts, etc.) are made up of “NON FOODS” that your body doesn’t recognize and cannot process well. Supplements are a great way to NOT eat and then cause your body to gain weight when trying to return to “actual” food. Unfortunately, most supplement companies are only in it for monetary gains, meaning they do.not.care.about.you. They want you to feel RELIANT on them so you keep buying and they keep raking in the cash.
B. Drastically cutting calories may cause you to lose weight because your body is STARVING. Yes, people, starving leads to weight loss. It will also cause your basic bodily functions to SUFFER.
Systems affected by malnutrition: nervous system (brain fog), digestion (constipation, diarrhea, leaky gut, overproduction of flora), immunity (prone to illness due to lack of defensive nutrients), hormones (fertility, thyroid health, adrenal health/stress), muscular system (inability to recover, excessive soreness, fatigue regardless of sleep/rest)… the list goes on.
Cutting calories teaches your body to survive on less calories, which may cause metabolic damage. Basically, go back to a normal caloric intake, and you may temporarily experience excessive weight gain because the metabolism has slowed down. Years of yo-yo dieting may cause long-term damage to the metabolism.
C. Calorie counting/macronutrient counting have some inherent value simply to draw attention to what is actually being taken in to the body. I recommend a food diary short term to people who really want to change their eating.
Unfortunately, the fact is that there is a very fine line between recording and obsessing.
There are SUCH mental, emotional, and often spiritual components to eating and exercising. Physical health is immensely important and, therein, immensely complicated. Losing weight (especially if its after years of being overweight) is not just about moving more and eating less. Addressing the causes for unhealthy eating habits is the key to long term success. Mindset and change are super challenging to modify and, unless there is some type of catastrophic event, they almost never happen overnight.
For many of us women, counting calories is a life long habit (perhaps on and off) that has led (and will lead) to a battle with guilt. When guilt and food become intertwined, food is an enemy, rather than a source of nourishment.
They say that the death knell to a relationship is often resentment between the two parties. If you obsess over and resent food, there is so much more work to be done than simply eating less.
Although there is much more to this element, I’ll leave it at this:
Counting calories and macros is a damn slippery slope. Know yourself and be ready to admit if recording and analyzing everything that goes into your mouth will be detrimental to your goals.
D. Weight loss may happen over night. Fat loss CANNOT happen over night. If you lose a lot of weight quickly, you are losing water, muscle, waste, and maybe some fat. When you do gain that weight back (whether it be next month or in 12 weeks), you will have gained MORE fat overall and lost more muscle mass. Muscle allows your body to utilize the nutrients you take in, so, although many of you ladies say you only want to “tone” (insert eye roll here), muscle is your FRIEND when it comes to achieving a healthy body composition.
1-2 lbs per week is healthy weight loss. It’s sustainable. Be very very cautious with anything more.
E. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Pyramid marketing schemes and companies that rely on them have ulterior motives. If you truly want to improve your health, work with someone who knows what they’re talking about: education, degrees, and the reputation to back them up.
If your trainer is writing you a meal plan, ASK QUESTIONS. What qualifies them to do this? Do they know the macro and microntrients your body requires for optimal function? no? Is it all chicken and rice? and maybe some broccoli? with some meal replacement shakes 1-3x per day? Nope.
What is their motivation? Their return from the supplements they push?
Question everything, take nothing for granted.
Be healthy out there, people!