How not to lose weight this new year.
Chantielle Harris, Nutritionist
First, I would like to say that If I could compare nutrition and weight loss to anything, I would compare it to rocket science. It takes some trial and error, some understanding of your body, a full metabolic work up, allergy and intolerance information, hormonal knowledge and many other factors. There are, however, 3 things that can make the process of weight loss a total bust.. These 3” Don’ts”, as I call them, are common mistakes I have come across in my experience working directly with weight loss clients.
#1-Don’t try very low calorie diets
Very low calorie diets don’t NOT work– however you should be under the supervision of a medical professional when utilizing this type of protocol. The medical provider should monitor you weekly, with a specific goal for a short amount of time. After this time has ended you will still need to do exactly what I will be suggesting at the end of this blog in order to not regain the weight immediately. With that being said, understand that following a very low calorie diet or VLCD,without any guidance can cause a plethora of issues. The first issue could be binge eating. When utilizing a vlcd on your own, you will become extremely hungry and eventually give into these cravings while mentally trying to make up for all of the time you spent ignoring your hunger. Eventually vlc diets can cause the body to store fat. Science is not wrong, a calorie deficit is definitely necessary, but let’s not forget for the normal middle aged adult the calorie intake is about 2000 calories, so eating 800 calories and burning 200 more with exercise leads you with little to no energy to do daily life tasks. Long term, this could actually backfire. Your body can enter “starvation mode”. I have read countless articles where fitness individuals argue that starvation mode is not a real thing, but I am here to tell you it is.
I am an advocate for explaining the mind-body connection- and starvation mode is one instance where it can not be denied. The mind overrides the body in the instance where it feels like you may be in danger then begins to send signals to make the body conserve energy (which means it will burn less calories) in order to protect you from starving. The scientific name for this process is called adaptive thermogenesis. I see clients every day and have for the past 3 years and I have personally encountered individuals who run into this issue more times than I can count. When they finally decide to eat more- they are surprised by how they begin to lose weight. If you are an athlete or someone who uses your body for work, for example a fitness instructor, landscaper, factory employee, you will also experience extreme fatigue and a loss in strength due to not fueling your body correctly.
#2-Don’t purchase diet pills, magic weight loss drinks, and other supplements that claim immediate weight loss with no work.
There is NO MAGIC or QUICK fix for weight loss.
Successful weight loss is not easy, it is a time consuming process that requires a solid plan, specific goals, motivation and willpower. Keep in mind that anytime you make a slight change in diet and or add physical activity you may see an immediate loss. If using a product, it can make you urinate a little more causing water weight loss. This weight loss will be regained quickly. Detox trends are great to help with cleansing toxins from the gut microbiome, however they should not be used as a solo source for sustainable weight loss.. You still need to l eat healthy during and after a detox and hydrate well. Inevitably all roads lead to the necessity of healthy eating and behavioral change.
#3-Don’t Embark on your weight loss journey blindly
The one mistake I see the most is when people embark on a weight loss journey with no specific plan and no clear guidelines other than eating salads or drinking some type of concoction or pills hoping for the best. If there is no clear plan how can you be productive. Where are your salads coming from? How nutrient dense are these salads? Lettuce is 96-98 percent water and contains 0% of all vitamins and 11 mg of potassium, which is not a lot. Then the lettuce is topped with salad dressing which is full of saturated fats, sodium, and sugar. Another mistake is not eating. As described in the 1st part of this post, you now understand how that does more harm than good. All 3 of these weight loss tactics may lead to a loss of 3-10 lbs. However this weight loss is highly unsustainable. One binge session, or one week back to your normal routine will add the weight lost, plus an additional few pounds.
Focus on the following instead
Overall behavior changes
Some behavior implementations may include the following:
- Move more than you sit
- Try to change up your grocery list and prepare healthy meals daily. For example If you currently eat fried foods and heavy starches every evening for dinner- begin to bake or grill your proteins and opt for lighter sides for dinner.
- Make sure your plate always has green vegetables.
- Eat 2 fruits daily.
- Go for a walk on monday and weds. Mornings before you shower.
- Instead of meeting a friend or business partner for drinks, meet them for a walk, swim, or fun cardio based exercise class.
You will need to make time for your health. I suggest penciling in workouts, meditation, and meal prepping into your weekly schedule to ensure it happens. For me- if it’s not on my schedule it usually doesn’t happen. So I have to meet myself in my yoga studio every morning at 7:30 am. It’s a standing meeting with myself for my sanity. This is a behavior I added about 6 years ago.
Learn & ask for help
Learn what eating healthy in general means, a calorie deficit of 500 calories only. Losing 1 pound weekly is the best way to go so you should plan your time frame and set goals accordingly. Learn what foods carry what nutrients. When you look at your plate- you should be able to know what the food on it will give you. For example; when eating an apple, I know I will get fiber, vitamin c, and potassium.
Set goals for yourself using the SMART method.
- Time based
An example for a smart goal is listed below.
“I will lose 20 lbs in the next 5 months by removing soda, white sugar, fast and processed foods from my diet and using my stair climber for 30 minutes Tues, Thurs, and Sat. I will go grocery shopping and prep m-weds meals on Sunday. Then Prep thurs-sat meals on Weds.” I will weigh in every Monday Morning, starting Next monday. I am doing this so that I can walk up the steps in my home without breathing heavily.
It is specific as to how many lbs they will lose by using specific actions. It is measurable as they will be weighing in. It is attainable since they have given themselves 5 months time to lose 1 lbs per week. It is relevant to their health since they feel as though they would like to not be winded going up the stairs. Lastly, it is time based (5 months time)
This New Year, focus on the above three tactics and you will find success reaching your goals. If you would like more help with coaching refer to the services tab and book a consultation today. Happy New Year!