I call these the Six Saboteurs. Let's unpack these and see if maybe some, or all of these are what's keeping you from living your best health.
Focusing on calories. It has long been drilled into us that in order to lose weight you must count calories. The philosophy being that if you can simply burn off more calories than you take in, the weight will come off. And that can work. For a time. Any diet will work at the beginning. But will it work in the long term and will it allow you to achieve and maintain your goals for life, is the bigger question. The reason focusing on calories in vs calories out won't give you the long term results is because counting calories doesn't equate to nutrition or balance. Simply put, all calories are not created equally. A grande vanilla latte from Starbucks and three ounces of grilled chicken with roasted veggies and spinach salad both have about 250 calories. Drinking the latte and skipping breakfast or lunch (or both) deprives your body of nutrients at a cellular level. On the other hand, opting for a black coffee to go with the chicken and veg fuels your body with vital nutrients, it also creates hormonal balance, stabilizes blood sugar and allows the body to release stored fat. Which, if quality, balanced calories were selected regularly, would also turn on metabolism.
Eliminating food groups. All foods we consume can be categorized as one of three macros, protein, fat or carbohydrate. Protein helps build and protect muscle. Fat is important for our brain, is necessary for vitamin absorption and helps slow digestion and prevent blood sugar from spiking. Carbohydrates, carbs, are our energy source. All pretty important wouldn't you agree? The problem is that over the years we've been given conflicting and incorrect information. Remember back in the 80s when we were told how bad fat was and we should eliminate it from our diet as much as possible. Probably one of the biggest disrupters to our health in recent memory. People started looking for “fat free”, which resulted in a huge increase in consumption of processed carbs. Which then resulted in demonizing the carb, the next piece of bad advice. Along with protein, we need fat and we need carbs. And the good quality ones. Healthy, whole foods in the right portions create health and stimulate the body to release stored fat, whereas the processed options trigger the opposite.
Deprivation. Food should be seen as a source of life and health, something to enjoy not as something to restrict, limit, and deprive yourself. Life is full of occasions and celebrations and more often than not, food will be involved. The trick is to know how to indulge in a way that won't bring guilt and knock you off track from achieving your goals. Which bring us to the next point.
No plan. We've all heard, “No plans to fail, they simply fail to plan.” And really it's just that simple. Those who take the time to plan ahead, get some tips and put a few strategies in place are setting themselves up to win with their health and weight loss goals. Start the day with a balanced breakfast or protein shake. Pack a lunch and take enough healthy snacks to last until you're back home. Some like to do a prep day for the week, others prefer to do the night before, or morning of for that day. However you decide to do it, putting this simple plan in place to have PFC (protein, fat, carb) foods with you will keep you properly fuelled and energized all day long.
Need to be perfect. I always tell my clients, “no perfect people allowed”, simply because none of us is perfect. And that's ok. Diets require perfection in order to get results. Having a program and a plan that works with your life means you get to be your perfectly imperfect self and still get results. Truth.
No support. Not everyone has a supportive family or spouse and feeling like you're going it alone won't get you very far. There are many great groups out there that you can connect with and find your tribe. Like attracts like. Healthy people are generally happy people. They know what it feels like to be sick and tired of being sick and tired and now that they are feeling so good, many just want to share what they've learned and help others feel good too.
So, stop counting calories and depriving yourself. Start following a program and make a plan. Give yourself grace when “life” happens – because it will – and find your tribe. You'll be amazed at the results you'll see and feel in just a few weeks. If you haven't yet found your tribe, you're invited to join the 8 Weeks is All it Takes group on Facebook.
Kelowna Nutritionist STOP dieting, start living! Lose the Bloat, Melt your Belly, Love Your Life!! Last thing, last time, believe it! Sign up to receive my bi-weekly FIT Nutrition blog, and get started today.