I get asked on a weekly basis about my nutrition. I am NOT a dietition nor do I have a background in nutrition. I kind of wish I was because I have learned a lot over the years but I am not an expert, so please don’t take me for one. But I will say that when friends and family ask me for tips on how to lose “the last 10 pounds” or how to shed the “layer of fat” or perhaps to help “chisel their abs,” I don’t have any magic to pull out of a hat for them. If I did, I’d patent it and be super rich 😛 . Nevertheless, I thought I’d compose a post about the top reasons I think most people are unknowingly sabotaging their efforts at weight loss.
- You aren’t eating enough. Not consuming enough food will cause your body to retaliate. Your body will sense that it’s not getting enough and it up-regulates your digestive system causing your metabolism to slow. If done for a long period of time, often the metabolism effects are irreversible.
- You are eating too much – you may think you aren’t but secret culprits sneak in. You take the last bite of your kids’ food, or you don’t count the bite size Reece’s as part of the days’ food intake, or you add too much butter, oil, and other fatty condiments to foods. Little things can sneak up or you just plain eat too much. Also skipping meals can lead to overeating at the next one.
- You don’t consume enough protein – I don’t follow IIFYM (If it fits your macros), BUT I do know that .8 grams of protein per pound of your current weight is minimum to intake per day for weight loss. Protein makes you feel satiated. Satiation curbs cravings. If you are a 125 lb. woman, .8g of protein per pound is 100g of protein per day. I actually take in 1g/pound a day. Protein is crucial and helps with muscle recovery, as well.
- You skimp on carbs – We are in a no/low carb society. Here’s how I look at it. If you sit at a desk all day, don’t work out, except maybe for walking to the mailbox or the occasional dog walk, a lower carb lifestyle is a good idea. Your body really doesn’t do that much to need a lot of them. But if you are moderately active, workout 3-4 times a week, carbs are crucial. Not a ton, but carbs with each meal are okay! And if you workout intensely 5-6 times a day, it’s a no brainer, they are a requirement. Eating too few carbs while working out at high intensities will actually depress your thyroid and stall weight loss. *** My best advice to people is to just start tracking what you eat over a few days on My Fitness Pal for a week and look at your macronutrient levels in general for a pattern. See what your protein-fat-carb ratio is. Oh and fat – it’s vital to live. If you don’t take a minimum amount in, you’ll notice lethargy. Again you don’t have to track forever, it’s just to get an idea of where you’re currently at. (and if you don’t eat a ton of processed food, tracking isn’t difficult).
- Alcohol – some mixed drinks have upwards of 800 calories. Also, when buzzed or drunk you are likely to make poor eating decisions and eat even when not hungry. Also, the day after a night out with alcohol you are less likely to workout.
- You are trying to lose weight via exercise alone. Working out is great and a great tool to assist in weight loss but you are going to see the fastest, most dramatic results from making changes to your diet! It’s also the hardest to do!
- Your social life – Wine Wednesday, Thirsty Thursday, Friday Funday and the like can wreck havoc on your weight loss goals. That doesn’t mean you have to become a hermit but you are best off telling your friends and family of your weight loss desire that way they can try to help support you and not try to peer pressure you into succumbing to the temptations whether they be food or drink.
- Your significant other – sad to say, your partner may not like the idea of you losing weight. You carrying a few extra or not having a six pack is likely a safety thing for them and the idea of a “new and improved” you may scare some. (Not all). So not all significant others will be on board with your fridge makeover. Others may just not have the same initiative to lose weight and don’t want to change their lifestyles and when they don’t support you, that makes losing hard. When you’re making healthy food and they are ordering pizza, things can go south fast.
- You think way too much about food/exercise and weight loss – you have taken this goal of yours to extremes. You’re thinking about lunch at breakfast… you’re worried about how you are going to get today’s workout in. If something derails you, you freak out. You are likely way too stressed about it and your cortisol levels are high. Cortisol is not good for weight loss. Not good period. It’s good to have a schedule. It’s not good to let it schedule you.
- You think extreme is best – no doubt cutting out carbs, sugar, dairy, alcohol will help you lose weight in the short term. A lot of weight. And if you have a lot of weight to lose, it may be the jump start you need. But is that a way to live? Is that going to be a type of lifestyle you can maintain? What will happen when you bring those things back into your life? Weight gain. Unless you are prepared to live a life without them and unless you are a 20 year old runway model, I doubt that you are (maybe the alcohol part for some). I call this type of mentality the Oprah method. You’ll yo-yo, no doubt and likely cause metabolic damage.
The lower your body fat, the more your abs will start to appear. The easiest way to lower your body fat is through diet. Exercise is like an accelerator. After reading these, are you guilty of any of them? Or do you have any to add? I’d love to know!