Just in the last few weeks I’ve had 3 women laugh at me when I told them to eat more to lose weight. I am pretty sure I know why they think it’s funny, but I’m not quite sure why they don’t believe me. Let me first be clear by saying I’m not an expert, this is just purely through experience, research and learned behavior, plus a little experiment of my own over the years.
Metabolism. Your inner fire. And probably the reason you won’t lose weight. Ladies, the equation for weight loss is not as simple as “calories in versus calories out.” For some, yes this is a great way to start…but it’s not the long-term answer. Why won’t you lose weight? Because you aren’t eating enough. You have successfully turned your metabolism into the left over embers of the day after a beautiful bon fire… Those glowing little chunks of used-to-be-wood underneath the ashes. You are putting your fire out.
I found myself in metabolic damage. It sucked. Sure, I was eating tons of good food, but my actual calorie intake was so low, and my workouts/calorie output was so high that my metabolism began to turn into those little glowing embers instead of the wonderful roaring flame it used to be. The worst part? Once I figured it out, it took 7 MONTHS to fix! Because when you do things the right way, there’s no easy button. Layne Norton, AKA BioLayne on YouTube is an excellent source for metabolic damage and rehabilitation, BTW.
How do you rehab a metabolism? Well, that’s not a simple question and there’s not a simple answer. I had to understand that calories in VS calories out was not the answer. The quality of your calories, both going in and going out was the answer. I started with a baseline set of macros, slowly added carbs and fat, and sometimes protein, and I switched up my workouts to better intensity. Better quality. You can do this with or without a trainer, but not all trainers are well versed in metabolic damage or how to fix it.
Steady state or low intensity cardio workouts have a place, but they don’t always have a purpose.
Carbs are not the devil. Neither is sugar. *GASP!!!* What did I just say??? No. Sugar is not the devil. Most food is not the devil! Have you ever seen me around a bag of Cheetos?? Amazing. I know this is not the first time you have heard this, but moderation is key. Moderation will spare your sanity because we all need to be able to eat what we want. I refuse to deprive myself the amazing creations of such cheesecakes, smores while I’m camping, or sneaking Halloween candy out of my son’s stash.
You probably aren’t eating enough. I know for a fact that if I tried to eat 1400 calories a day now like I was eating (on a good day) when I was in metabolic damage, hangry wouldn’t even come close to describing me! If you’re an active woman, and you’re trying to lose weight on 1400 calories a day or less, you are fighting the wrong battle my dear. I don’t think a day goes by where I eat less than 2400 calories, but that didn’t happen overnight. There was a lot of work, slow and patient work that went into that but ohhhhh man was it worth it!
Track it. If you’re not sure what you’re eating, or if the intensity of your workout is adequate, write it down or find an app (I use MyFitnessPal and MapMyFitness in conjunction with a Polar heart rate monitor to measure intensity). Know your basal metabolic rate (BRM), know your target heart rates, and know what you eat (carbs, fats and proteins specifically).
Change the language. New Year’s Resolutions are right around the corner and I really encourage EVERYONE to make fitness-related or health-related goals instead of weight-loss goals. Change the language away from weight (see the next section) and focus on some really neat ways to improve different health and fitness aspects of your life. Some examples? Maybe you have run a 5k once or twice… Make it your goal to beat your time! When you do, then try to beat that time or find a 5-miler or 10k to push yourself. Maybe you notice you are tight and sore all over… Make it your goal to incorporate regular stretching a few times a week, or try yoga. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be flexible to do yoga! Maybe you deep-down know you don’t lift/strength train/cross train enough… Find a way to make that your goal! This is my goal! Strength train/cross train 2 times a week in 2016.
On that note…STOP WEIGHING YOURSELF. There’s more to life than that number. I used to have my trainers track three measurements for their clients: weight, body measurements, and a fitness test. WHY? Because there are going to be times where you don’t lose weight, but maybe you can pump out a mile faster than 5 weeks ago… Maybe you gained 0.25 inches in your legs but you can do 6 more box-jumps in a minute than when you started…Maybe, just maybe, when you die, your weight will not be published in your obituary so who gives a crap! Yes, it’s good to know about what you weigh, but stop making that the end-all-be-all of your goals! I’m serious!
I guess instead of trying to write a post about why you won’t lose weight, I really just am passionate about health and got inspired to share some bits of knowledge I have picked up along the way.