Nutrition 101: The Simple Truth About Weight Loss

 

I am a Nutrition Coach. I have heard every reason, justification, rationalization, and excuse in the book when it comes to losing body fat. We are all busy. Eating right is hard. Making the right choice day in and day out, month after month, is exhausting. We've all been there. We all want to eat ice cream and Cheetos. But there is a simple truth about losing weight. It is true whether we want it to be or not. It is true despite the weight loss myths that continuously pop up to lure unsuspecting folks into spending hard earned money on fad diets. No matter what you eat, how you eat it, when you eat it, whether it has carbs or fat or protein- if you aren't losing weight it is because you are eating too much. The bottom line is this: You have to consume fewer calories than your body needs to lose weight. It is very simple. But it isn't easy.

Here is another truth. It doesn't matter what you think you are doing right. It doesn't matter if you think you are eating less. It doesn't matter if you are eating less than yesterday or last week or last year. Your body is telling you the truth. There are no magic food combinations or tricks. If you aren't losing weight, you are eating too much. 

As I mentioned in Lesson 1, you MUST create a negative energy balance (eat less than your body needs) to lose weight. a calorie deficit can be established in 1 of 3 ways:
1. Restrict your calories. Eat less. Consume fewer calories than your body needs. This is called a negative energy balance. Your body requires more energy than you are giving it so it must use stored energy (fat) for fuel. If your body has to rely on stored energy for fuel, YOU WILL LOSE WEIGHT. 

2. Eat the same but move more. Consume the same amount of calories but increase physical activity. Now, you may have to increase physical activity A LOT to actually create a deficit. And you will probably be hungrier doing so. A lot of people end up eating more unintentionally when they increase exercise. But if you consume the same amount of calories and increase your activity enough (operative word is ENOUGH, you must increase activity enough to create a deficit)- YOU WILL LOSE WEIGHT.

3. Consume fewer calories than your body needs AND increase physical activity. This is the most aggressive plan. Restricting calories and moving more can lead to quick weight loss but you must be careful not to run your body into the ground. There are strategies you can use to preserve your muscle and get rid of fat on a restricted diet. RESTRICTED DOES NOT MEAN STARVING. You can accumulate a calorie deficit over a day, a week, a month, a year. It just depends on how quickly you want to shed the fat. The faster you do it, the less sustainable it is. But a few weeks of calorie restriction and increased exercise can jump start your efforts. If you have questions about how to do this safely, contact me.

Most people don't want to believe that this is the bottom line. Because hunger sucks and not having what you want when you want it is hard. Saying no is hard. Being different than your friends and family members is hard. Not dining out is hard. Now, if you choose to eat whole, clean food you can actually eat a lot of volume and still create a calorie deficit. But the rule still applies. If you are making good choices but still eating too much, you won't lose weight. 

If you feel like you are doing everything right and still not losing weight, you are eating too much. Reduce your food volume. Continue to make healthy choices that keep your body nourished. A big salad with protein will fill you up faster than a ham sandwich for less calories. But remember, even salads can be too big. IF YOU AREN'T LOSING WEIGHT, YOU ARE EATING TOO MUCH.