Okay, so you’re eating fewer calories. Maybe even a 500-calorie deficit. You’re tracking all the things in My Fitness Pal. Oh, and you’re hitting the gym often. At least 5 times a week, plus some.
And the scale. is. not. moving. Cue the frustration.
So first of all, I hear you. It’s beyond frustrating to put in so much effort and see very little (or zero) change on the scale, or even how your clothes fit.
Here’s the thing though: eating less and exercising more isn’t a good strategy.
I know, it’s supposed to be…I mean, it’s what everyone always says. It’s what your doctor recommends. It’s what many trainers will recommend. It’s what My Fitness Pal tells you to do!
So, how can I say that it’s not a good strategy?
There is no evidence from research showing us that successful weight loss is sustained for more than 2 years from an approach of eating in a calorie deficit and burning more calories.
And beyond the research, think about your own life: do you know anybody who lost weight (maybe a lot of weight) and actually kept it off for more than a year or two after the diet they did was done?
Or maybe you’ve lost 10+ pounds in the past. How long were you able to keep up with the demands of being super aware of how many calories you were eating and the workout routine? My guess is not super long.
So, now that we’re on the same page about the “eating less and moving more” strategy being kind of useless – let’s talk about what you can do instead:
#1: Eat PHFF
Protein. Healthy fat. And Fiber. Eating meals focused on these three things is an excellent strategy for weight loss because:
1- It keeps you full! Instead of focusing on calories and staying in a calorie deficit, you’re just focused on creating balanced meals that turn off your hunger hormones. You’re not scouring the pantry at 9 pm every night or thinking about food all day long.
2- It balances your blood sugar. Protein, healthy fat, and fiber all buffer the blood sugar response when we eat starchy carbs like pasta, bread, chips, etc. and this is very helpful for weight loss! When our blood sugar levels are balanced, the body is able to stay in a fat-burning mode vs. fat-storing mode. Why is this?
When our blood sugar levels rise after meals (especially those higher in starchy carbohydrates or added sugar), our body uses the hormone insulin to bring those levels back down to normal. This is a totally normal process in the body – however, insulin is a fat-storing hormone. When insulin is out doing its job, the body is not able to prioritize any fat burning at this time.
So, when our blood sugar levels are more even-keel throughout the day (by eating PHFF meals), our body is able to be in a fat-burning mode a lot more often! This is excellent for a weight loss goal, and bonus: we feel a lot better when our blood sugar levels are balanced!
When we have drastic spikes and drops from eating carbs with enough protein, fat, or fiber to go with it, our energy is going to vary a lot and it’s going to lead to those annoying cravings we might have at certain times of day.
Continue this blood sugar conversation with this post we have over on IG!
3- PHFF helps you eat to support your metabolism! Drastically cutting your calories we know is not sustainable and does not lead to lasting results. Focusing on balanced meals that keep you full and satisfied supports your metabolism so much better. A happy metabolism = successful fat loss that lasts.
#2: Focus on building muscle, not burning calories
Okay, let’s talk about that “move more” part of the “eat less, move more” strategy.
Yes, moving and staying active is really important not only for weight loss but overall health as well! The problem with the “moving more” strategy, though, is that it makes us think we have to exercise a lot more than we actually have to.
Successful weight loss does not come from burning the most calories in the gym. It comes from having a high metabolic rate + consistent healthy habits.
How do you increase your metabolic rate? You eat enough food (go back to #1) and you build more muscle. The more lean muscle tissue we have on our bodies, the higher our metabolic rate is, and the more calories we burn at rest.
This means you burn a lot more calories all day long vs. just the calories you burn at the gym. You burn more calories watching Netflix at home and while you’re sleeping vs. sweating your butt off on the elliptical.
I choose building muscle vs. burning more calories – how about you?
The best way to build muscle is through consistent strength training. The frequency depends on your fitness level, but anywhere from 2-4 times per week can yield great results for body composition and supporting a better metabolism.
Remember: strength training is lifting heavy weights! Pilates, barre, or any cardio/strength combo class is not true strength training. Yes, they are great workouts, but if your goal is building muscle to eventually burn body fat, focus on intentional strength training and lifting as heavy as you can.
#3: Learn how your metabolism works overall
Okay, but seriously, nobody taught us some of this stuff. How to do taxes, how to change a tire, or how our metabolisms even work!
Because it’s not just calories in vs. calories out. I really wish it was that simple.
Our bodies aren’t calculators. We have different needs every single day. If I eat the same amount of calories as you and do the same workouts as you, my body might respond completely differently than yours.
It’s incredibly important to understand how our bodies respond to the way we eat, move, sleep, digest food, respond to stress, etc. Because it is all so connected!
I have had clients who do “everything right”, but they were not managing their stress at all, and it had a huge impact on their results (until we addressed it!).
I have also had clients who were eating all the right foods, but they were doing the wrong workouts for the results they wanted. Knowing what their metabolism needed to thrive was essential!
One of the most common scenarios I have with my 1:1 clients is significantly under-eating from the classic weight loss strategy of “eating less and moving more.” They come to me eating 1200-1400 calories a day and exercising almost every day. It’s not until the client understands how their metabolism is able to thrive that they see the results they desire!
Are you ready to support your metabolism in a better way?
Are you ready to go back to basics to achieve your best metabolism?
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