Have you ever tried to lose weight in the past? Yes? Let me guess, you did it by eating less? I can see why you'd think this could work, but did it?? Initially it might have, but did it stay off? For a minority it does in the short term, but for the majority it doesn't. And more importantly most people who lose weight put it back on within a year of losing it.
Let me explain why...
Eating less food is more likely to make you HANGRY as hell, annoy everyone around you and have you reaching for junk food by day 3. Simply eating less food isn't the answer for long term weight loss because our body's physiology isn't compatible with under eating. Ok, initially you may lose some weight to start with but then your brain kicks in. It wants to protect you from your shrinking fat stores because it doesn't realise you have made a conscious decision that you're all good in the fat store front. It doesn't know you don't need so much fat anymore and actually it's starting to cause discomfort when you walk, or make you feel down. It just recognises fat stores are down, and it prompts you to eat. Stoopid brain!
Here comes the science bit;
Understanding why this happens is a key part of you owning your weight loss journey. If you know what's happening in your body you will be less likely to panic when you hit a plateau. So read on for a more informed approach to weight management.
Essentially, when you lose weight, an uncontrollable physiological reaction occurs. Your brain will release hormones that make you feel hungry in an attempt to slow down weight loss. We try our best to ignore these rumbles in the tummy, determined to lose weight. After all, we know we have plenty of fat in the tank. I mean, for God's sake, why can't our body just burn that off and not eat for a while?! Well, because breaking down fat is hard work and actually needs some energy to do it. The body would much prefer if you just ate.
Even if you're as stubborn as my 3 year old (!), with great will power that you manage not to eat despite feeling ravenous, your brain will take another approach to stop you losing weight. It will slow down the energy you burn at rest and make you want to sit about more by making you tired and sluggish. This is called Adaptive Thermogenesis. Normally we have a set amount of energy we burn at rest as we Netflix our eyeballs off, but if you're trying to lose weight, this will decrease. This essentially means you will have a slower metabolism and your weight loss journey will slooooooow dowwwwn and plateau! WHAAAAT?! I know! Your brain will make you burn off less energy. Again, thanks brain!
So, if eating less isn't the answer, what's IS I hear you cry?
The secret to long term sustained weight loss is to EAT MORE and MOVE A LOT.
More food?! Really?
Hang fire, don't whoop just yet in celebration of being able to eat 'ALL THE FOOD', or slam down your phone or laptop screen in disgust at what seems to be incorrect advice. I'm not suggesting you can eat just any old rubbish. And I'm not trying to trick you, I don't mean you need to eat 'more like' a bird, or 'more like' an infant. What I am telling you is that you need to be clever, to out think your physiology and eat in a way that means you burn fat. You ned to override your body's desire to sabotage weight loss, but how?
How to override your body's drive to stop you losing weight?
You need to eat more of the foods that fuel your body well, keeping you fuller for longer (such as slow releasing carbohydrate, protein and good fats) and you need to eat less of the foods that encourage you to crave more, eat more, have unstable blood sugars (processed foods, low fat foods, quick releasing energy foods).
You need to move and burn off energy as much as you can. This doesn't need to be in a structured exercise programme (although it would be great if it was). But it could just be making sure you are on your feet most of the day. Walking for the school run, doing housework, mowing the lawn, walking to the shops, taking a bike ride.
This isn't new or novel information. Nor is it something that is going to send the internet into a tizz wazz as everyone starts a new 'eat more' diet. This information has been available for a very long time, it's just, it's not sexy information, it's not something that seems faddy enough or has celebs hashtaging on instagram so it doesn't get the press! BUT it is what works. It's also the 'secret formula' and underlying principle behind all weight loss fads/regimes. So save yourself some time and money, appreciate and understand what's happening in YOUR body, fuel it well, enjoy food and don't worry about eating less. If you manage this you will lose weight slowly and it will stay off. Why? Because you won't crave sugar or carbs, you'll feel less hungry, you can eat good food, and you will have energy to do all the exercise and activity that will keep you burning fat.
Let me leave this with you...
IF you find yourself saying "I need to lose weight, and I actually know where I'm going wrong, I eat too much crap". Do yourself a favour don't eat less crap and expect to lose weight. Eat MORE wholesome food, enjoy that food and watch the inches come off without feeling like you're on a diet.
Give it a go, and get in touch to let me know how it goes or if you have any questions. I'd be happy to help.