Losing weight can be hard. There’s so much conflicting information that it will make you want to pull your hair out.
Are you someone looking to lose weight?
A common piece of advice that’s frequently passed down, maybe from a trainer, a friend or some article like this on the internet is just to eat less or that it’s your fault that you aren’t tracking correctly.
Today, I’m here to tell you it might not be your fault!
Is the overconsumption of food an issue for some people? YES.
Are some people crappy at tracking what they put into their body? YES.
Some people, however, hit all these fundamental areas, they track consistently and eat less than what they need on a daily or weekly basis.
So why aren’t they losing weight?
To understand this, we will delve into some metabolic processes that occur when we eat less for a period of time.
Calories are king. To lose weight we must be in a deficit.
The question lies in: what is our actual individual deficit?
Our metabolism is not a fixed point, rather it moves frequently. If we move more we require more energy from the form of food. If we eat less we start unconsciously moving less as a consequence we may blink slower, talk slower and decrease our basic movements e.g. walking around.
If we take a person that weighs a certain weight e.g. 90kg. This person might have a resting basal metabolic weight (BMR) which is a fancy way of saying they could eat this amount of food or calories every day and not gain or lose weight. So our 90kg person may have a BMR of 2500 calories per day.
Now if this person loses 10kg dropping to 80kg, they’re BMR (how much they can eat without gaining or losing weight) will change as well. While the actual number may change to keep this example simple let’s assume from dropping the 10kg their BMR drops by 500 calories. Meaning they can maintain their new 80kg weight at 2000 calories per day instead of 2500.
Typically when a person is required to lose weight 200-300 calories will be sufficient. So if we minus 200-300 from 2000 we now need approximately 1700 calories per day to start losing weight.
This is not factoring in our movement.
Let’s say we have a Holiday or Christmas period and we gain our weight back, we might lose our motivation and spiral for a while. A common issue is that people re-gain their weight they once lost. Now we’re back at 90kg feeling depressed that all our hard work has been undone.
Now we should be able to say ok well we lost all these calories previously by going to 2200 calories because our BMR was 2500. Only this isn’t the case anymore. Our BMR does not change as rapidly as our weight can fluctuate.
This means our BMR might still be around the 2000 calorie per day mark even though our body weight has gone back up by 10kg. Now we must eat less and less to lose weight.
I wonder how many people reading this have done one or more diets. Chances are many of us have done a few, jumping from diet to diet. What happens in this instance is that it now becomes much more difficult to lose weight.
Just dropping more and more calories over and over is not sustainable. Research suggests we must reverse our dieting strategies to reduce the stress on our metabolism.
First, you’ll need to ask yourselves a few questions to determine what to do next.
What is the length of your diet attempts
If you have been dieting for over 3 months or have tried a series of diets in the past couple of years then it is time you take a break from diets.
Take some time to focus on eating good quality foods think of unprocessed foods, whole foods from a variety of colors. Look to create habits such as having protein at every meal, aim for 4-6 serves of vegetables per day, and at least 1-2 serves of fruit.
How are your other lifestyle factors (sleep/stress)
Sleep and stress are keys in losing weight!
Leptin (feeling of fullness or satiation) and Ghrelin (hunger hormone) are 2 well-known hormones that impact our ability to curb our hunger. There are a number of others but the gist is that sleep and stress both impact these hormones.
Studies indicate that someone with 4 hours of sleep vs someone with 8 hours of sleep could eat the same meal in terms of calories and have 2 completely effects due to the impact of your hormones mentioned above (plus others we haven’t gone into). The former person with 4 hours sleep will still feel hungry, the later feeling like they had a good meal.
How much do you exercise?
Do you reach the current physical activity guidelines? A lot of Australians don’t unfortunately.
Currently, the guidelines are that every person should complete the following weekly:
Complete 150-300 minutes of low-moderate activity e.g. walking each week.
Complete 2 resistance training sessions per week.
Moving is a large contributor to losing weight. Don’t neglect this factor in your journey to lose weight!
If you want to read more about this you can check out our blog HERE.
So, what can we do?
If you are looking at tracking your calories you may:
- If using apps like MyfitnessPal – try saving meals or using pre-set ones if you eat consistent foods across your week.
- Another useful option can be mapping out what you are going to eat prior to eating it e.g. tracking before you eat – this prevents you from consuming too much.
If you need to improve your metabolism
- Look to having a refeed or practicing reverse dieting – this means if you are dieting, have periodic breaks with days you eat more or weeks you eat more. It can involve process where you increase your calories by a couple of hundred PER DAY in excess of your normal maintenance calories. A good period of time to perform this task is approximately 10-12 weeks.
If it’s an area of your lifestyle that you are struggling with you could:
- Improve your sleep hygiene – aim for 7-8 hours per night
- Manage your stress by practicing mindfulness, doing activities you enjoy, and getting regular sunlight and nature exposure.
Find a good quality coach, someone who will take the time to listen to you, understand you, and work with you!
At Move Right EP we do just that!
Reach out to us today so we can start you on your journey to being a happier, healthier, YOU!
Contact us directly at – firstname.lastname@example.org