Who out there has struggled with weight loss or weight management? Are you someone working out 6-7 days a week and experimenting with all the latest diet trends but still not seeing results? Welcome to the 20% of dieters who start off overweight and end up losing weight only to unsuccessfully put the weight back on. I hate to trample on all of your good intentions, but weight loss is more than just eating healthy and working out. There are so many more factors to consider when trying to lose weight or change eating and exercise habits.
The truth is, there is no “one-size-fits-all” when it comes to someone’s weight loss, fitness, and wellness goals. Each human is so unique; physiologically, biochemically, and psychologically. Every person knows what to do when it comes to taking care of their health but it takes a certain mindset to get there and stay there.
Personally, I have never had a weight issue. I’ve stayed about the same weight my whole life. I’m not saying this to brag, I’m just telling you this because it is possible to maintain and sustain a healthy weight for life. You just have to set your mind to it and prioritize.
I must preface by saying that I do not consider our total body weight as the standard measurement for optimal body metrics. It’s actually healthier to focus on body fat % and lean muscle mass which encompasses part of our total body weight. Other healthy measurements to consider are how your clothes fit, how strong you feel, and how healthy your lipid profile, insulin levels, and vitals are. But for the purpose of this article, weight loss goals are what most clients hire me to help them with.
So what are the 3 major factors that I believe impact your weight loss goals?
Here are my 3 key weight loss factors, none of which listed will be of any surprise to you or new revolutionary scientific impacts, but they are very important if you want to reach your health and wellness goals.
1. Metabolic Function
Metabolism. What is it? The simplest definition is how quickly you burn calories, fat or the conversion of digested food into energy. Why is this important in weight loss? Well first, you need to know your Basal Metabolic Rate or Resting Metabolic Rate to figure out what your body uses to carry out basic human functions, like breathing. If you want to lose weight, it’s helpful to calculate your BMR, which you can either use a formula designed by scientists or you can get it tested in a lab. For more information on BMR and RMR calculations, click here.
But ultimately, metabolism in my professional opinion is one of the major influencers in weight loss and control. So how do you alter a slow metabolism to a well functioning one? Build muscle! Push, pull, lift, weights or use your own bodyweight as resistance. Contrary to popular belief, muscle doesn’t weigh more than fat, it’s just denser tissue and requires more thermogenic energy to burn, which is why you want to increase muscle so that you are burning more calories at rest.
2. Sleep Habits
Seriously you guys, this is crucial in reaching weight loss goals and in keeping weight down! Based on what I hear from my clients, this seems to be one of their biggest roadblocks.
Here’s the thing, if you aren’t getting at least 7-8 hours of shut-eye regularly, your brain isn’t able to make good decisions. Poor sleep habits also interfere dramatically with cortisol levels, which as some of you may know, is the hormone that controls blood sugar levels, helps reduce inflammation, regulates metabolism, and assists with memory function. It’s ok if you experience sleep deprivation a few times a year, but lack of sleep on a regular basis is a little like being drunk all the time. The frontal lobe is the part of the brain responsible for decision making and impulse control. Which means you’re less likely to say no to the macaroni and cheese at 11 pm or the doughnut at 7 am. This is where sleep affects metabolism, and vice-versa! Can you see the correlation and how important sleep is for overall health?
3. Nutrient Timing
What the heck is nutrient timing? Humans thrive and literally thrive when our bodies are on a schedule, like an internal clock, which is called our “circadian rhythm”. So just as what we eat is important, the timing of when we eat is also key in keeping our metabolism and body-weight regulated.
An example of food timing would be, “eating specific nutrients (such as carbs or protein), in specific amounts, at specific times (such as before, during, or after exercise)”. (Source)
Let’s take a look at two ways to incorporate this into your life, either in post-workout (PW) or anytime meals (AT), implying that these meals should be eaten at different times of the day.
PW meals are higher in carbs, such as the faster digesting starchy carbs like potatoes or rice or fruit.
AT meals are lower in carbs, focusing more on lean protein, healthy fats, and high fiber veggies. (Source)
In addition to food timing, I will advise that you increase your protein intake. Adequate protein uptake for a sedentary man is 56g and for a sedentary woman is 46g. Note that this amount is for a sedentary person. Eating protein has a thermogenic response to our digestive system. To learn more about how much protein is adequate for healthy metabolic function, click here.
I hope this information was useful! Please feel free to email me with questions. Also, if you think a friend or family member would benefit from this article, please feel free to forward on!
If you struggle with weight loss and weight management, let’s chat!