I spent so many years dieting that I, like many women, caused metabolic damage. This is when you restrict your body in calories and nutrients to the point you body believes it’s starving. Most women I talk to about health are restricting calories and are over working their bodies, causing an even bigger calorie deficit then they think. The old idea for weight loss that only calories in/calories out works is not helpful and in turn causes a lot of damage. I remember thinking and being told that 1200- 1500 calories was MAX I could have to lose weight. This caused me to under eat, over workout and then binge eat because we all break down at some point on this restrictive type of dieting. THEN to top it off I would feel guilty for over eating/emotionally eating and believe that it was my lack of self-control that got me there. The truth is that when we are restricting what we eat, not living a life of balance and eating dense nutrition our bodies and minds are being punished. We are creating a viscous cycle that must be broken.
When I am working with someone who wants to make health changes we start with their relationship with food, their ideas around dieting and what they believe is true of “healthy choices”. We all start at different health levels, some clients come to me at the basics and some have been dieting or following different eating styles for years. They have tried everything; every fad diet, juice cleanse, colon cleanse, Atkins, vegan, low carb, low fat… and had some success but nothing that was sustainable. The point is, that we need to learn to trust our bodies, we need to break the cycle of “hangry”, get our bodies detoxed off the process foods that have us chemically addicted and dependent.
Wouldn’t it be amazing for our day to not revolve around food? That we could stock our pantry and fridge with foods we know are good for us, keep us full and without crazy cravings? That we didn’t have to worry about a lack of self-control or falling victim to binge eating?
There is work to be done to heal our relationship with food and heal our bodies from the damage we have done dieting. I love working with clients on this and guiding them to the point where food doesn’t have a hold on them and they are able to lose weight easily. I would love to do a free consolation with you to lay down a game plan for your health!
The point of this blog is to help you realize first that restriction doesn’t equal healthy weight loss and that weight loss plateaus are signs you body is giving you to re adjust what you’re doing.
FIRST- Don’t compare your body and your worth to others! We all have different body types and different genetics. Genetics aren’t all fixed, we work on lifestyle changes, sleep, exercise and nutrition to beat genetics. Just because your family is overweight and has diabetes doesn’t mean you will. You might not be a small framed person with lots of lean muscle, at YOUR healthy weight. So, work on that idea. If healthy means your body is 5 lbs over your minds “ideal weight” then that’s okay! If your body doesn’t look like the girls you admire for having a strong healthy body, that’s okay too!
SECOND- Health is a continual process. WE must adapt and make healthier choices as our body expects more. Health is not a destination per say. We start slow, make changes, feel better and then we make more changes and feel even better! Once you’re at the weight you wanted to be or are feeling really great you can’t stop there. We are aging, growing and changing so our health habits do to! I promise this gets easier and the changes aren’t drastic!
THIRD- Screw the scale. Yes you heard me. Scales play with our heads. They chain us to the idea that our worth is a number. I personally don’t own a scale. In the last year I went from a size 10/8 to a size 4/2 and only lost around 8 pounds. What matters is I was consistent, I lost inflammation/toxicity and visceral fat! If I would have been on the scale daily or weekly I would never have watched my body change in other ways. My energy, mood, brain clarity and inches lost all shifted while the scale stayed the same.
Simple Changes- common reasons you’re experiencing a weight loss plateau
1. Water intake does matter- Yes, I know it’s simple and you drink a lot of water! Are you though? Are you consistent in drinking half your body weight in ounces of water a day? You need water to detox your body, for energy and cell function. It is a basic, but an over looked basic. It doesn’t have to be plane water. I recommend 24-32 ounces of tea a day. Herbal tea (Traditional Medicinal, is my favorite brand) I love the benefits of dandelion tea, nettle, turmeric, green tea and their blend called Gypsy Cold Care. You can have a cup of warm tea in the morning and then use the same tea bag, put it in 8 oz. of warm water (I use a large mason jar) once it’s steeped pour in 24 or more ounces of cold water. I drink I throughout the day.
2. Cut out process oils, limit your processed/packaged foods- Cutting out canola oil and any synthetic oils is a MUST. It damages your cells and causes a lot of inflammation in your body, which is turn leads to cancer and other diseases. Check labels of processed foods, most contain these oils. When you’re cooking at home use avocado oil, coconut oil and olive oil. Through it out. Seriously. Margarine, butter spray, or butters that you put in the fridge that spread easily aren’t good for you. They contain these oils even if they say they don’t. BELIVE ME. So instead use real butter. Non-GMO/organic brands are best, you can also use coconut oil as a butter substitute or Ghee! Packaged foods are convenient but usually contain preservatives, oils and chemicals you don’t want to ingest. They are fortified with synthetics that cause inflammation and in general contain lots of sugar and sodium. Also, the packaging contains chemicals, specially plastics and aluminum cans. If you buy these products look for BPA free cans, non-plastic wrapped and buy in bulk when you can.
3. Gut health and hormone balance are necessary- You can absorb the foods you’re eating properly if you don’t have good gut health. You need to be eating foods that support healthy gut bacteria. This in turn will help balance your hormones which are necessary for weight loss. Choosing fermented foods, Kombucha (low sugar kinds), pickled foods, sauerkraut, kimchi, plane Greek yogurt, non-dairy cashew keifer and coconut yogurt! Talk with your naturopath or integrative health Dr. about supplements to help balance your gut health also. I have to say it, pooping daily is important. Being constipated or having loose stool is not “normal”.
4. More healthy fat- I could go on and on about this. You need healthy fat in your life. Daily, abundantly! You need it to be able to burn stored fat, you need it for cell repair and brain function. You need it for hormone balance! Healthy fats for the base of all your meals, moderate protein, fiber and carbs only from veggies and natural sources. That is a great place to start. You won’t get fat from fat. You get fat from too much carbohydrate turning into stored insulin in your body!
5. Work out less- Like I said before most of us are in too big of a calorie deficit, we have busy lives and then workout too long, doing the wrong type of workouts. This is causing us to burn our bodies out. Now this is not an excuse to not workout. My point is that cardio needs to be limited. You need to get your heart rate up by doing sprints not cardio for 45 minutes or longer. This puts your body into a stressed state and you hold on to fat instead! So short HIIT cardio is best, only 2-3 times a week. Then lift heavy things 2-3 times a week for a max of 45 min in the gym. The most important thing here is that your resting. Letting your body recover and build muscle! You want to be at the gym intentionally, work out with intensity and be done. I recommend 3-4 days a week. The other days go for a simple walk outside, do some yard work, play with your kids or do yoga. Stay active but don’t kill yourself in the gym!
6. Sneaky sugars- Pay attention to the amount of sugar you consume a day. Staying away from drinks that contain sugar, coffee that has sugar. Look at your sauces, dressings and packaged food in general. I shouldn’t have added sugars. Natural sugars are one thing, but sugar added to apple sauce, yogurt, pasta sauce, condiments etc. aren’t unnecessary. There are lots of great brands out there that don’t contain them! The more you cut out the sugar the less your body craves it. I tell my clients to start by cutting out the extra sugar then cutting down on the natural sugars. Lowering your carbohydrates and cutting back to one serving or fruit a day is a great start! Don’t fall victim to the sugar free sweeteners. The chemical alternative to sugar is even worse for you. If its made in a lab your body doesn’t know what to do with it.
7. Intermittent fasting- Yes FAST! Meaning, go a period of time without eating. Let your body burn stored insulin, repair your immune system and give your organs a break from digestions. There is a ton of science to support intermittent fasting. There isn’t a once size fits all approach to this so do your research, but I know what works for me and so many others, reach out and we can chat more specifics.
I could go on and on, but there is a starting place! Remember these are starting points. Set up a consultation with me, find a local nutritionist or naturopath. Most importantly please understand that Dr.’s do not study nutrition, they don’t and can’t know everything. They are specialists in their field and nutrition is not apart of that. Work with someone who is a specialist in nutrition!
I am a Doula, Childbirth Educator and Primal Health Couch. Essentially I am a women's health nerd. I have struggled with Autoimmune issues for the last 10 years, and more recently fertility issues. This along with my birth work, has driven me to self research. I have added a blog to my site in hopes of giving resources to clients or those interested in these topics. I would love feedback and comments.
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