Do you feel as if you’ve been doing everything right in your efforts to lose weight, and yet you’re still not seeing the results you were hoping for? It’s time to take control of your weight loss goal once and for all!
Just when you think you’ve been killing it in the gym, getting enough sleep, drinking enough water and taking the time to relax, you step on the scale for the first time in a month expecting some world shaking results and the needle hasn’t moved one millimeter. Sound familiar? What’s up with that?!
Though we’ve been led to believe weight loss is as simple as calories in versus calories out, unfortunately the body is not a math equation. There is far more that goes into weight loss than the “eat less, move more” slogan. Proper sleep, hormone balancing, and stress management are all important pieces of the weight loss puzzle, but let’s not ignore the elephant in the room.
Before any weight loss happens, you have to be in a caloric deficit (not to be confused with those who chronically live in a state of undereating/borderline starvation at 1000 calories a day, in which case the body WILL NOT expend calories it doesn’t have in the first place, and therefore the scale won’t budge in this situation either). Without a strategic calorie deficit, even the best workouts won’t shed the unwanted pounds. This brings me back to the aforementioned unmovable scale – the vast majority of people are not in the consistent caloric deficit that they need to be in in order to lose weight.
Let’s say you do a workout and burn 500 calories, but then after you go to Starbucks and eat a couple of muffins and a sugary drink en route to work (1000 or so calories in the form of empty sugar calories), sit at your desk for the next ten hours straight, and then drink a few glasses of wine later that evening. Weight loss probably isn’t in the cards for you, no matter how great of a workout you did at the gym earlier that day!
There are a few adages that would apply to this: “you are what you eat,” “you get out what you put in,” and, my personal favorite, “you can’t out train a bad diet.” All of these couldn’t be more spot on. Let me also set the record straight; I’m not a boiled broccoli and baked chicken guy as most of you already know, and I love a good pizza now and then. After all, we’re human, and food is meant to be enjoyed! That said, there is a time to have your indulgent treats (like that oh so sugary and delicious Starbucks frap) and a time to stick to your goals, exercise some willpower, and make progress. I’m sure you can guess that the latter is the motto that should represent over 80% of your diet.
The good news is most of the time it’s not your fault! You heard me right! Our society is perfectly designed for weight gain opportunities, and failure of getting back on track. Our jobs are predominantly sedentary, lives are far too busy, and calorie dense sugary addictive foods are omnipresent. Why should we walk into Staples to get an ink replacement for our computer and get bombarded by row upon row of candy at the register? Are they trying to make us fail? You can thank sugar corporations for that, and their incessant push to keep us addicted to sugar and fuelling this multi billion dollar industry.
Sugar is absolutely addictive and in most processed foods (and seemingly healthy foods like breads and granola bars too!). The company scientists call it the “bliss point;” the perfect mix of sugar, fat and salt that lights up our brain pleasure centers like a pinball machine. It is knowingly pushed on people and our health is the victim. Most people are aware that processed foods are not good for them, but eat them in abundance anyways. This is the habit that needs to be changed.
I mentioned that it is not your fault, which is true most of the time, but this doesn’t mean that it’s not your responsibility. It is up to you to do something about it! One question I like asking is if you’d like to have the phrase “but it’s not my fault” on your tombstone? It doesn’t matter at that point, what matters is that you do something about it because no one else will. The health risks of obesity are widely available and undeniable. As soon as you take personal responsibility for whatever situation you’re in and begin to act, you will have the power to make change. From there a plan of action will help guide you on the journey to improving your health.
The vast majority of people are simply taking in too many calories compared to their expenditure. The good news about this is that it can be reduced as long as you come in with knowledge and a plan. I believe that tracking your calories for a short period of time and intermittently to follow up on your caloric expenditure and intake is key to maintaining or progressing on a weight loss goal. Imagine not knowing how much gas was in your tank or how much you were putting in the vehicle and trying to do a road trip. Without knowing this you have to wait and see if the food you’re taking in is too much for your activity level. Why wait to see that number on the scale keep going up, before you realize you’ve been taking in too much food to match your energy output.
Working out in the gym is usually the easy part of getting healthy. Having the willpower to eat a healthy diet the majority of the time takes practice and discipline. Our bodies don’t know the difference between a Monday or a Saturday, so keep in mind that a lot of people sabotage their weight loss efforts simply from eating too much crap and drinking in excess on the weekends.
There are many resources available (including us!) that can help take a more structured approach to your weight loss goal. The first step is realizing the true cause and addressing it if you truly want to change.