Weightloss. It's not you, it's your diet.
I have seen an increase in the pushing of weightloss products, clubs, regimes in the last couple of months – all promising to help you come out of lockdown feeling lighter.
Often we are told just to eat less and exercise more – easy right?! But the thing that is often missed is that it’s not you. It’s your diet failing you and not the other way round.
Shocking, stressing or restricting your body to lose weight may only get your so far and is often hard to maintain in the long-term. How many times have you been on a ‘diet’ only to ‘fall off the wagon’ or try out a different diet a few months down the line. Statistics show that those who go on restricted diets are more likely to put ON weight over time than too lose weight.
The diet that you are on is not meeting your physiological needs, your emotional needs. Over time we tend to become less sensitive to insulin and are more in fat storage mode. After the age of around 35 your hormones start to change in the run up to perimenopause and menopause and shift more towards fat storage. Key point here – eating less and exercising more will never fix hormonal and blood sugar imbalances alone. No matter how little you eat, you will not correct the underlying drivers of weight gain. Intense exercise increases our stress hormones in a body that is already stressed from hormone imbalances will shift more to weight gain. So what you eat, when you eat and how you eat it that will have the BIGGEST impact of weight loss. Calories are a really small part of the picture. My biggest advice is to stop calorie counting and count nutrients instead.
What is often missed from the calorie counting programmes is the importance of certain nutrients and the understanding that food is not just about fuel but helps us create, form and function EVERY SINGLE CELL, HORMONE, NEUROTRANSMITTER, TISSUE! When we just cut our calories or count our macros we are often missing the essence of maintaining health and supporting weight loss – our body needs to feel safe and secure, well fed with nourishing food in order to shift the weight long-term.
A calorie is a way of measuring the energy in food. And yes, it is important for weight loss. To reduce our weight, we need to use more calories up than we eat. However, they are not the whole story.
We do not want to just be eating doughnuts, cakes and crisps for our daily calorie allowance. We still need all the nutrients from vegetables, fruits, fish, grains....
For example, fructose and glucose are 2 types of sugar found in foods. Fructose is high in baked goods, sugary drinks, and ready made foods. Glucose is high in honey, dried fruits, and fruit. They both provide the same number of calories. But fructose has far more negative effects on hormones, appetite and functions within the body.
Unfortunately due to society’s crazy and unrealistic standards of beauty, having your body look a certain way is often framed as more important than making sure it is nourished and strong, but let’s take a moment to get realistic here. Skinny is not an option for everyone, and why should it be? Some of us naturally have more curves than others and some of us are naturally leaner. We all have different body shapes, individuality is beautiful and the fact of the matter is that you can’t turn a circle into a square.
As soon as we start to label food ‘good’ or ‘bad’ we end up craving and wanting the ‘bad’ food. When you start to understand the impact of this food on your overall health, hormones, immune function etc this ‘bad’ food doesn’t become so appealing.
I do not endorse restrictive diets at all and instead choose to opt for myself and as a recommendation to clients an 80/20 approach. It brings balance. I stick to my own healthy eating principles 80% of the time, while allowing for a few of life’s indulgences in the remaining 20. For me, this 20% still centres around natural sugars (rather than added or refined). Instead of banning or labelling this food as ‘bad’ why not start crowding your plate with a colourful variety of foods, try a new food/vegetable a week, include a source of protein (plant/animal) and healthy fat (avocado, olive oil, nuts, seeds, oily fish etc) with each meal and I assure you that you will soon start to find those once ‘craved’ foods unappealing.
Strive to be the healthiest you can be for your body shape, if shedding a few pounds is what’s going to be the best thing for your health, then that’s what you need to do – make sure you are eating healthily and doing it right and that’s what’s going to happen. If you’re naturally skinny don’t feel the need to gorge yourself on unhealthy foods in an attempt to gain those curves you have been longing for – Nourish and love your body and I promise you, you will look and feel the best you have ever felt.
Some tips to start putting this into action:
1st Tip - How many veggies are you eating a day? Ideally the World Health Organisation recommendation is to aim for 10 different vegetables and fruits per day. Most clients I speak to get around 2-3 per day. Or if you don’t want to count vegetables and fruits then count how many plants per day you are eating, this includes legumes, beans, grains, spices etc too. To keep our gut microbiome healthy we should be eating 30 different plants per week to keep out gut microbiome healthy and balanced.
2nd Tip - Download my Free meal plan, I have 3 available on my website, download one and see the difference it can make to you.
On top of everything we have discussed I wanted to touch on other aspects that can contribute to weight gain or hinder weight loss. These are often not talked about or even considered but play a HUGE role in this sphere. Stress, lack of sleep, thyroid imbalances, gut microbiome imbalances, medications, hormone imbalances, genetic factors all exert influences to different degrees for different people.
That is why I believe it is so important to take an INDIVIDUAL approach to health and weight loss so that balance can be address and you, your body and your physiology can be supported appropriately. If you would like a personalised and individual approach to your health journey then send me a message today either using the contact me function on website or via social media.