YES! You need to eat to lose weight!
When I say this to people they look at me like I have four heads. They thought all along that eating has been their problem and that’s why they are gaining weight. Then they say “Oh yeah, I need to eat 5-6 small meals a day….I’ve done that and I haven’t lost weight.” Well, it’s just plain old not that simple!
Whenever I am approached with a new training client the very FIRST thing I have them do is create a food journal. One of the resources I use for most of my clients is My Fitness Pal – it’s an online program that is free and provides an invaluable resource – your food history. I often receive a bit of resistance from clients when I tell them to log their food. They roll their eyes, shake their head, tell me they don’t have time and more reasons why doing the ONE THING that may take a little time now will save them lots of sweat in the gym.
But logging food has a different purpose other than just tracking calories!!! See here for the top 5 reasons for logging your food.
I have met more overweight and undernourished people in the years I’ve been training others. When I first started to train people I didn’t understand the importance of nutrition but in my “later” years I can see I missed a BIG part of training as well as a huge success factor for my clients. I heard for such a long time “I barely eat!!” or “I am staying in my calories!!” or “I am only taking in 1000 calories a day!!”
Well, I’ve got news for you – ALL CALORIES ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL AND IT’S NOT ONLY ABOUT CALORIES!!!
You need to EAT to lose weight!
Through logging I am able to pinpoint what is missing in their nutrition or what they are over-consuming. Also, I am able to pinpoint what types of foods work for your body and what types of food cause a number of symptoms making weight loss EXTREMELY DIFFICULT.
Through food journals such as My Fitness Pal you can recognize poor nutrition habits and lifestyle habits. Many people cannot tell that their lack of food is the reason that they gain weight, feel tired and lethargic, feel depressed or anxious and even cause dull skin and hair.
o Are your days so busy and chaotic that you skip meals? Or do you eat fast foods because you are always on the go?
I think it’s interesting that the food journals of mothers have the biggest issue with skipping meals or eating “bars” for breakfast. Then one day they just crash – literally they feel exhausted, depressed and weak and they blame it on everything under the sun except their LACK OF FOOD.
o Does most of your diet consist of high-carbohydrate/low fat, processed and refined foods? Does most of your food come from a box or is it in the form of a bar?
Another words, does your nutrition consist mainly of yogurts, cereals, rices, sandwiches, breads, crackers, pasta, etc..?
Whenever I see this type of diet I also notice that the person is a cardio madman!! Or madwoman!! One time I walked up onto the wellness floor where I work and I saw a woman on the ARC Trainer and an hour later she was still there!! Kudos to her effort but I wondered what was driving her and was her effort really worth it? After speaking with her she said she gained about 20 lbs. in 4 months and she was trying to burn 600+ calories to “get the weight off”. But, she was still gaining weight. Why? Her eating habits had led to a damaged metabolism because she did not give her body what it needs to function properly.
o Do you purposely eat a low- carbohydrate diet or low-fat because you were told that carbs or fats are “bad”?
Extreme low carbohydrate diets can be dangerous to your hormone and insulin balance. Cutting out a major nutrient isn’t the answer to speedy weight loss success – but it is the answer to damaging your hormones and metabolism. You need to eat to lose weight and eat "right"!
o Do you have eating binges?
My clients often tell me that sometimes they just can’t control themselves and before they know it 90% of the pantry is gone!! Then after the deed is done they skip a meal or two to compensate only to binge again. Often they have binges at a certain time of the day – 3pm-7pm being the most common time to MINDLESS SNACK.This is NOT how you eat to lose weight!
The above are just a few things that people do to themselves thinking that the effects aren’t “THAT BAD” but little do they know that over time it is CUMULATIVE and suddenly their body changes and they do not understand why!! After all – they have been eating this way all their life!!
If any of this rings true with you – what is the first thing you should do? I always say to just “DO THE NEXT BEST THING.” The next best thing is to get a good picture of your nutrition habits through my fitness pal or some other tracking device that shows the major macro-nutrients.
This is the best part – the week after a new client has tracked their food. I had one woman come up to me and give me a big hug just because she is now AWARE of how much EXTRA food she is taking in and how she is taking in about 60-80 grams of sugar ABOVE her daily allowance. All she kept saying is “I don’t eat sweets!!” (I have a lot to say about sugar but that is left for a post of its own.)
Through their journals I am able to show them how imbalanced their nutrition really is. They are either WAY OVER on carbohydrates while WAY UNDER on healthy fats and protein.
They are almost ALWAYS over on sugar:
– which when under control can easily trigger weight loss. Some people are doing reasonably well in most areas but go WAY over on fats.
- And trust me, the fats they are taking in are NOT your healthy fats but instead they are often trans-fats which wreak havoc on your system.
Do you realize we take better care of our automobiles than we do our own bodies? Think about it...we know a car needs gasoline so we fill the tank. We know a car needs oil so we change the oil and keep it clean and fresh. We know it needs a variety of fluids because if it is deficient in any level it affects the overall functioning ability. What happens if we ignore changing the oil? Eventually the engine seizes. If we don’t give the car gasoline it stalls.
But we expect our bodies to keep going on sub-par nutrition!!! We are often deficient or over-doing it in one MAJOR MACRO-NUTRIENT yet we still expect our bodies to respond!! That’s CRAZY!
PROTEIN, CARBOHYDRATES, HEALTHY FATS, FIBER and SUGAR are ESSENTIAL macro-nutrients!! They are our gasoline, oil, anti-freeze, etc...
The BEST thing you can do to take a step toward weight loss is to start a food journal, analyze your macro-nutrients (learn how here) and this will set you on the road towards balancing your hormones which will allow your body to release fat. You must eat to lose weight and balance this out!
Your body is no different than a car – if your macro-nutrient levels are not balanced your body will freeze. If you don't properly eat to lose weight, either you will crash in the afternoons from fatigue or you will be resistant to weight loss or you will do severe damage to your hormones if you haven’t already. Worse yet, you will become sick with diabetes, high blood pressure, etc..
But the GOOD NEWS is – it’s all reversible with balanced nutrition. Food has a purpose and it can heal your body.
I promise you that if you learn how to eat to lose weight but with a balanced approach--you WILL lose weight and you will not need to spend any money on fancy programs and false promises.
I also promise that if you eat to lose weight according to these guidelines that you will feel better and you will look back in amazement at how BAD you used to feel. This one change can trigger a multitude of changes – and not just weight loss. After all, once you feel better and eat to lose weight...you are UNSTOPPABLE.
So what are you waiting for? Let’s get going...