Weight loss, it’s such a tricky subject to maneuver. As a society it is accepted and considered fit to be slim and lean. There is an enormous amount of pressure from the media, especially social media, to live up to this expectation. We live in a society where men and women strive, and take drastic measures to be at their lowest body fat percentage. This means following restrictive diets, eating too few calories, exercising like crazy, or taking pills/supplements/gimmicks to get there.
I get it, I understand! I tried over exercising, undereating, living of coffee, eating only protein and vegetables, and following other diet companies.
AND YES! I LOST WEIGHT!
But you know what? I am not going to teach those methods to my clients, because the weight doesn’t stay off. Unless you keep doing what you are doing to lose the weight you will not maintain it in the long run. For me, as soon as I ate any carbs again after restricting them for so long, the weight came back!
So I could write this blog to you and tell you to work out everyday, cut your carbs right down, load up on protein, use caffeine to keep yourself awake etc. But I know, that one day that weight will come back. I know at that time you will feel shitty about yourself, you will feel guilty, you will feel like a failure, and once again you will jump to some other program to make you feel how you did when that weight was off. And I also know that while you do those things your brain will get foggy, the joy will be zapped from your life, you will lose your libido, you will have so many thoughts about food and exercise that you won’t have mental space for love, relationships, and a stellar career in your life.
SO INSTEAD! I am going to give you my rules for weight loss. These rules will help you take weight off (If it’s there to take off in the first place), but not only will you lose weight you will create sustainable lifestyle practices that will allow you to keep the weight off forever.
On a side note- it’s natural for our body to fluctuate. 5-10 pounds in certain seasons, and on certain weeks is normal! In the winter maybe you move more, or choose fewer salads, or more hot chocolates! And that’s ok. There is no need after winter to follow some crazy diet or cleanse, just bring it back to my rules for weight loss and the body will naturally stabilize itself.
My Rules for Weight Loss
Before you get into the rules, I need you to promise me one thing. Before you go trying to lose weight you need to be HAPPY NOW, HAPPY WITH YOUR BODY NOW. When we try and lose weight out of hatred, disgust, or that something is wrong with our body, everything about that is so negative! You work out cause you hate your body, you deprive yourself of food because your belly is too big…none of it is good and positive. INSTEAD- love your body now. Love every darn curve, every extra roll, all those pieces that make you unique. Then decide that you love your body so much you are going to make it healthy and fit as you want! Exercise for the sake that you can, you love feeling stronger, you love that you know you are fit to do anything. Turn down a slice of cake at work because you know that sugars aren’t good for this sexy body! Limit the wine you drink on the weekend because you know your liver is your metabolic engine, and the more you overwork it with booze, the less help it will give you for it’s regular functions 🙂 Having a positive approach to weight loss is the key.
And on that note….here are the rules.
1) Move your body everyday and as much as possible.
2) Participate in structured activities that raise the heart rate 3 times a week for 30-60 minutes.
3) Participate in heavy strength training 2-3 days a week.
4) Do a stress management technique daily for 20 minutes (yoga, meditation practice, journaling, deep breathing, progressive relaxation), you need to decrease cortisol in your body to lose weight.
5) Master your mindset. Anger, blame, guilt, frustration, sadness, lack of self confidence, lack of self worth, worry, lack of trust, pessimism, feelings of inadequacy etc. are all emotions that fester in the body and prevent weight loss. They show up in cravings, overeating, making poor choices, deciding not to exercise, lacking motivation to do what needs to be done to be healthy. Coaching, therapists, support groups, journaling, having a friend who actually listens and supports are all great tools here.
6) Laugh, smile, and have fun. Hormone optimization is key to encouraging weight loss. By maintaining joy and good hormonal status in the body you encourage weight loss.
7) Eat your meals slowly, focusing on chewing, enjoying the food, with no external distractions (work, TV, cell phone etc.).
8) Include 2-3 vegetables in every meal you eat.
9) Control your carbohydrate intake by having them in the morning, before and after workouts. Choose non-processed carbs 90 % of the time (fruit, sweet potato, quinoa, potato, barley, spelt, kamut, rice etc.).
10) 7-8 hours of sleep per night minimum
11) Ensure your protein is adequate and you are at least getting 1-2 palms of protein in 1-2 meals per day.
12) Make good choices 80-90 % of the time.
13) Have 1-2 tbspns of good fat with each meal (coconut oil, avocado, butter, olive oil).
14) Limit deserts and caloric drinks to 1-2 times per week.
15) Eat 3-4 meals per day, when you feel physical signs of hunger, and consume your food until you are satisfied. This doesn’t mean eat the whole meal you made.
16) Get to the bottom of your cravings. Cravings aren’t normal. They are an emotional or physical sign that something is lacking in your body. Your body will tell you if you actually listen, or you can work with a naturopath or nutritionist to figure this out. Generally as you balance out your entire health ALL (AND I MEAN ALL) cravings will go away. I used to crave and binge on peanut butter all the time. This was at the same time that I was only eating about 1500 calories a day, and very little fat. My diet was lacking fat, I was starving myself, and my hormones were out of whack, and as a result my body desired peanut butter! Now that I eat plenty more than 1500, eat fat regularly, and have perfectly balanced hormones I eat my peanut butter in moderation 🙂
17) When deciding to have something delicious & indulgent, first decide “Is this what my body really wants and needs right now? Am I eating this because I am tired/hungry/bored/unhappy?”. If you are truly having an indulgence because you indulge in moderation and love the taste, then enjoy it! Love it! Lick off every last drop, and then feel great about it after. Guilt gets you nowehere.
18) Make every effort possible to get processed foods out of your diet. Processed foods lack minerals and vitamins, and are generally empty carbs. By removing these foods and filling up on whole foods you nourish your body on fewer calories. As you build a body made of whole foods instead of processed foods you will naturally look and feel healthier.
If you are reading this and decide to completely ignore what I wrote, and continue to do something restrictive, I salute you to that, and I hope one day you come back to me and my blog to help guide you into something sustainable, rather than continuing to destroy your body.
Precision nutrition does a fantastic job of breaking down what it TRULY takes to be as lean as you want, and what are the costs and benefits to it. I highly recommend you take a look. http://www.precisionnutrition.com/cost-of-getting-lean.
On that note if you aren’t losing weight with my rules I want you to check in with two things:
1) Do you really need to lose weight? Are you at an appropriate weight for your body? Are you trying to fit into a society ideal that doesn’t work for you? Are you perhaps looking to strengthen your muscles so that you don’t look as high body fat, and instead look ‘toned’?
2) If these don’t work it’s time to visit a naturopath to ensure that everything in the body is running optimally. This means looking at hormones, vitamin and mineral status, and overall health of the body. An unhealthy body is going to hang on to weight.
I hope this article got you thinking, and shed some light on some tools you could use to lose weight.
Let me know your thoughts,