If there is one thing every single one of my clients have in common it is that they are working towards changing or improving their body in someway. They want to move better, feel better and look better. Do you fall into any of these categories?
While exercise and movement are essential I want to talk food today and the common mistakes people are making in terms of eating and nutrition that are halting fat/weight loss.
Mistake #1 – Not Changing What Isn’t Working
One of the main problems I see is that individuals are not changing what isn’t working. If you do not see some decent progress within, let’s say a months time, maybe it is time to change what you are doing. Don’t get me wrong, huge change can take years, but if you are doing the same thing now as you were a few months ago, and you have not noticed any change, progress or improvement, something you are doing simply is not working.
Progress can come in all forms, in strength, in feeling better, in weight lost, in inches lost, in higher energy, but what I want you to ask yourself one question right now. Is what I am doing working? It’s a simple yes or no.
Mistake #2 – Following A Meal Plan
I have been there, done that and followed a meal plan to a T! But the truth is most people do not get LASTING results on a specific meal plan written out or the latest sugar detox, low carb or even clean eating plan. Wanna know a secret? In college I did the slim-fast diet for about 3 months. Shake for breakfast, shake for lunch, meal for dinner, fruit in between. You know what happened? I got really skinny (probably skinny fat) and one day I had a realization! How am I going to go back to eating real meals? I will gain all my weight back. I can’t drink shakes for the rest of my life.
That is EXACTLY the problem with meal plans. They are not sustainable. What happens when you go off it? Will you be able to maintain it? What if you go to a BBQ? What if you have dinner at a friends house? What if it’s your birthday? You can find all kinds of meal plans online, in magazines and I could write you one right now that will look exactly like those. But truth is will you follow it? For life? No, you won’t and I don’t blame you because I wouldn’t either and life is to unpredictable and you want a way of eating that works ongoing.
Mistake #3 – You Are Eating Too Little And Exercising Too Much….And It’s Actually Ruining Your Metabolism And Messing With Your Hormones
I know, I know you are sick of hearing this and think there is no way that is the problem in changing your body and losing fat. I hear from many people that they do not feel they are on their way to fat/weight loss unless they are hungry all the time. But there is potential that you are just driving your metabolism down a deeper hole that will be hard to get out of. Check out this video by Metabolic Effect who explain their model on how to change your body while not destroying your metabolism.
Mistake #4 – Not Eating Enough Protein, Carbs or Fats Or The Wrong Combination
Why is this important? Lets keep it simple. I am going to throw some numbers at you but I want you to just keep them in your mind as a general guideline.
Protein – Protein helps build lean muscle and keeps muscle which will help your body burn fat efficiently. Repeat that, more muscle will help your body burn fat more efficiently. A good guideline is to eat .08- 1 gram per pound of bodyweight.
Fats – While it is still important to be aware of your intake, fats are not the enemy we have made them out to be. Fat is also a major fuel source for your body and variety of fats help reduce inflammation, regulate hormones and actually assist in fat loss. A general guide is to eat .5 grams per pound of bodyweight. If you weigh 150, that would be about 75 grams of fat. Really? Yes I’m serious. 🙂
Carbs- The rest of your diet is carbs. Especially if you are active carbs provide energy to the cells in the body. They are stored glycogen in your muscle and give your body useable water and energy. Often when diets are low in carbs, people overcompensate with fat and cannot find a balance between the two. A high carb and high fat diet is the worst combination.
Solution: Ok, I don’t want you counting calories or macronutrients for life but finding the unique formula that fits you, does take some work in the beginning. Because everyone is individual I cannot give one piece of advice to everyone who is reading. I will continue to research until I find the magic formula that works for everyone but until then here is what I have for you. 😉
Now keep in mind you can try simply eating and exercising moderately and monitor your hunger and craving levels to make sure you have a proper amount of energy for the day. It can be that simple for some people but if you need some numbers and you need some tracking and accountability, this is what I suggest. It may require a little tracking in the beginning but will hopefully become effortless over time. That is my goal for you! To have your way of eating become effortless for you while maintaining the body you want. If you have no idea where to start I suggest the following.
Week 1- Become Aware.
Use the myfitnesspal app and set your calories and macronutrients at 40/30/30 (40% carbs, 30% protein, 30% fats). This is a basic percentage to the numbers above, but the point is that you need to start somewhere and alter it to what works for you! Track it for a couple days just to see where you are. You may find you are eating way to little or too many calories or way too little or too much fat. Find the 40/30/30 balance. Try to adjust your diet to get close to these numbers for a few days.
Week 2&3 – Track and be patient.
Once you are there you can try to eat to meet these numbers for 2 weeks. Evaluate your progress and see how you feel. Do you have energy? Are you seeing any results? Are you starving all the time? Sometimes you might need less calories, sometimes you may need more. Sometimes you may need more carbs, sometimes you may need less. Then adjust. Myfitnesspal has a little chart that will show you exactly where you are.
Week 4- Adjust.
Low on energy? Perhaps add more carbohydrates and reduce fat. Not seeing any physical changes? Perhaps lessen carbs. You know your body better than anyone. Use your instinct but if you have no clue where to go shoot me an email and I will help you. 🙂 You must find YOUR individual plan however I do want to give you once last piece, ok a few pieces of advice.
Trust yourself. And the process.
Be gentle with yourself.
You are more than your body and how you look but you do want a healthy body.
You are doing your best and you know more than you think you do.
If this does not work try again. Be persistent.
Remember if you have any questions you can contact me via email here: firstname.lastname@example.org. I love talking health and fitness and I love to help.