Hey! Quick little note: did you know the average person that constantly diets ends up gaining 11 pounds back? What’s worse is the majority of us want the instantaneous results like yesterday, so we end up white-knuckling our way through periods of starvation and end up destroying our bodies in the process.
When we choose to diet hard and quick, our muscle slowly gets eaten away and guess what happens when we gain those 11 pounds back? Yep. Most of it is fat and then what do we do? We repeat the cycle yet again.
Muscle on average burns 7x’s as many calories as fat, so when we crash diet we end up gaining more fat long term which of course slowwws down our metabolism. The worst part? We then have to deplete our calories even more to just maintain our weight. Sorry, I’m not trying to be a Debbie downer by any means, I just wanted to shoot it to you straight with no B.S. because yes, dieting sucks.
If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I’ve been on both extreme ends of the spectrum so when it comes to yo-yo dieting, I feel you and I get the pain and suffering that goes along with it.
I’ve been here——->75 pounds.
and here—->185 pounds
Haven’t you ever known someone who was very overweight and said they don’t eat that much? Many times this is caused by their excessive yo-yo dieting and living off extremes of too much or too little. Because of this, their metabolism runs at a snails pace and therefore they rarely feel hungry.
Here’s the thing, it’s not always so easy to just say, “Oh calories in and calories out.” Many times the key to weight loss and keeping it off long term require some adjustments and fine tuning to begin to see some changes in our physiques.
- First, we need to automatically reduce our appetites not by white knuckling it and starving ourselves, but by fixing the wonky hormones that are behind the drivers seat causing more hunger and overeating. This is why I’m against over-exercising and this is what I see all the time. You can see the workouts I’m doing now here.
A) Increase in hunger from longer and more intense amounts of training.
B) Weight gain due to an increase in our calories and cortisol. Our hormones literally drive us to eat more because we’re in a constant state of stress.
C) We begin to crave carbs, sugar, carbs, sugar and repeat. We cannot seem to get enough and we feel hungry ALL the time. I remember I would exercise constantly and you know what my diet at night looked like? A normal dinner, then full on binge mode. Cereal with milk, graham crackers with peanut butter, banana with peanut butter, a yogurt and maybe some eggs and toast. I know right? It’s no wonder I wasn’t losing any weight!
2. It’s uber important to begin to increase our metabolism so we burn more during the day. Sometimes this gets sticky because like most diets, we’re taught to be hungry and starve which again, causes a slow metabolism.
Here are the six reasons why we gain weight and specific ways to quit the yo-yo dieting cycle for good!
1. Using our willpower is bullshit.
There’s a science behind our hunger and it’s not something we can just ignore. When our tummy growls (Ghrelin) it’s often hard to ignore it. We want to eat and if we wait too long we’re usually starving, crabby and ready to knaw off an arm. Unfortunately, most diets (eating less) will trigger hunger and we can only hold out for so long. Our bodies are ridiculously smart and they protect us from starvation (even when it’s self-induced). Look at the pictures above and that’s a prime example of what happens. The 75 pound picture was in 1999. The 185 pound picture was 1 1/2 year later. Crazy I know and it’s unreal what the body does to protect itself.
I can speak from my own experience, when I started eating again, I couldn’t stop. We would go get a full meal at a restaurant and I would be back at home eating a whole pizza an hour later. I was so afraid of feeling hunger again and so I went to the extreme.
How can we keep our appetite in check?
+eat enough to satisfy your appetite, I like my #fullnessfactor method so eating until I’m at an 8 on the fullness scale.
+eat protein at every meal. protein is proven to help with our satiety levels and that little bit of protein goes a long way!
+Get a good balance with your meals. Aim for a combo of carbs (moderate), fat and protein to help keep your blood sugar levels in check.
Fat,protein and fiber are key!!
2. We solely focus on calories in and calories out.
I get the whole scientific approach to calories in/calories out and I do agree to a certain extent. However, if we’re only choosing to eat fried cheese, bagels and pizza to met our daily calorie needs we’re setting ourselves up for failure. Not all calories are created equal.
Some calories make you fat (think high sugar, high carb), some calories make you thin (think protein, veggies and fiber). What we now know is that any foods that spike insulin (sugar, flour and even excess grains, fruit and beans) can trigger a shift in our metabolism. What does insulin do? It drives all the fuel in your blood from the food you just ate into your hungry fat cells (visceral or belly fat). Ever notice when you eat a high carb meal like a huge bagel or a piece of cake and we find ourselves hungry again an hour later? Our body thinks it’s hungry again as our insulin levels drop after all this sugar and carb-laden foods.
How can we prevent highs and lows of our insulin levels?
a) Make the big movers in your diet consist of lean meats/grass fed beef and pasture raised eggs, lots of green veggies (broccoli, spinach, kale, etc), seeds and nuts (not too many as these are high in calories) and some fruit like apples, plums and berries.
b) Use grains and beans in small doses and always eat these with protein to prevent the blood sugar spikes.
c) Be mindful of all the sugar. Even that agave nectar we think is healthy is still full of sugar. If you need it, use it very sparingly.
d) Don’t use artificial sweeteners – they trigger sweet receptors, hunger and slow metabolism leading to obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Ever notice you eat more when you’re sipping on a diet drink during your meal? That’s why.
3. We continue to eat a low-fat diet.
For years I’ve been telling my best friend that her mom isn’t losing weight because she’s still fixated on the low fat boxed foods. Times have changed and we need the fat! So many of us think we need to knick the egg yolks and coconut oil to drop the pounds and that cannot be further from the truth. Of course we need to be mindful of how much we’re eating of it but we need the fat to lose weight. I know fat is more calories per gram than the other macronutrients but we have to have them for proper hormone function, fat loss and brain support.
Just think back to the 80’s and 90’s when the low fat diet was the best invention ever! Tab, low fat cottage cheese, Snackwell’s cookies and more. Ha! What we failed to observe is the amount of calories and sugar on the box too. Today, we’re fatter than ever (70 percent of us are overweight, to be exact) and now, 1 in 2 Americans has pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes.
FAT DOESN’T MAKE YOU FAT. SUGAR DOES!!
Harvard scientist Walter Willet reviewed all the science on low fat and weight loss and found that it is not eating fat that makes you fat but sugar. Other studies show that by eating more fat and less carbs you can increase your metabolism by 300 calories a day (eating the same total calories a day).
What do we change? EAT MORE FAT.
No need to be afraid of fat, I promise! Prime example, I had a client who was petrified of gaining weight and her diet every day for a year was: chicken, plain salad (no dressing), egg whites and broccoli. I tried to tell her the importance of fat, how it would help with her inflammation, weight gain, etc. After a year of no change in her body composition, she finally decided to eat more fat and what happened? Yes, she lost weight and felt so much better!
Fat will make you feel full, speed up your metabolism and help assist in fat loss so make sure to eat some at every meal. Some of my favorites include: avocado, nuts, seeds, oils, coconut oil, ghee, hemp seeds, organic egg yolks, grass fed beef and omega 3 fish like sardines and salmon. One of my recent posts in Instagram talks about the benefits of fat here.
Some of the major causes of weight gain or resistance to weight loss is things that cause inflammation. I feel this gets overlooked in today’s society because of all the foods, air toxins, and body products we use and we’re not even aware of what we’re ingesting. Remember that inflammation from anything (foods, stress, excessive exercise, etc.) that triggers weight gain will make our insulin skyrocket.
What causes inflammation?
Believe it or not, some foods cause inflammation, even ones we think are healthy. I remember when I was having tons of gut issues, my diet consisted of strawberries, watermelon, salmon, avocado and more. I thought I was eating healthy this whole time but I quickly found out I was sensitive to all these foods and I was eating them everyday! I suggest looking into an ALCAT test which can test for hidden allergies, etc. This is especially important if you’re experiencing more bloat, gas and overall uncomfortableness.
Of course some of the big rollers for inflammation are wheat and dairy but just because something says gluten free doesn’t mean it’s healthy for you! Often times those breads and desserts are laden with tons of sugar and other ingredients to make them taste good. Most of my go-to’s are tubers like sweet potatoes, quinoa, Mary’s Gone Crackers, black rice and some organic corn.
Our guts play a HUGE role in our health and wellness. The microbiome – the 100 trillion bacteria in our guts play a massive role in metabolism and health. If you have bad bugs (from eating refined, high-sugar, carb, low-fiber diet or taking antibiotics and acid blockers) they can either trigger inflammation or alter how your food is broken down and absorbed. What’s crazy? Fecal transplants from a thin to an obese person will change their metabolism. Say whatttt???? I know right. The microbiome is a huge topic when we’re discussing gut health and I highly suggest you read up on that topic.
Let’s also not forget about all the toxins we inhale, digest and lather on our skin on a daily basis. Science has discovered that common environmental chemicals (pesticides, household cleaners, lotions, make up, skin care products, pollution and heavy metals) can be “obesogens.” Chemicals that make you fat. In animal studies, giving rats a toxin caused weight gain even if they ate the same amount of calories and exercised the same.
Here’s my suggestion:
Try an elimination diet. Not eliminating calories but getting rid of inflammatory foods. Start with gluten and dairy. I would do this for about 3 weeks and see how you feel. Then, if you feel the need to have them again (I doubt you will want to) then slowly integrate one at a time back into your diet.
Next, fix your gut. Get those fermented veggies in your belly and knaw on some sauerkraut if you wish. Lately, I’ve been loving on some Bubbies Pickles, omg, so good! Also, make sure to avoid gut damaging drugs like antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and acid blockers as these are known to disrupt the healthy bacteria in our tummies. Finally, cut back on all the sugar! One thing that helps me is I will ask myself, “Is this going to help my health?” If the answer is no, I don’t eat it. (And sometimes I do. Just being honest.) Also, detox your body and your life! Remove toxic people which no longer serve you (emotional vampires as I like to call them) or those that are just incredibly negative. Check yourself too because often we can create our external environment by our own perceptions and thoughts.
5. Commit 90 days.
I know, 90 days sounds like a long time but it the big scheme of things, isn’t your health worth so much more long term? In order to truly see benefits, we have to give ourselves at least 90 days to see a change. Nothing worth having comes quick and cheap. We have to work for it and be willing to put in our efforts to make progress and live a life worth living. Health doesn’t just happen to us, we have to make the effort and have a plan put into action. So many of us fail because we go at it with the approach of “I’ll get to it” or “Once I get this ____, I’ll do it.” Health has to happen now and it’s all about taking those small action steps each and everyday to make it happen.
Find what works for you but don’t expect health to happen. You have to plan for it!
Maybe that looks like putting an action plan together for yourself with post-it notes or a challenge board with stickers. I do this for my ShapeHER Coaching Ladies all the time! They love it and we love feeling rewarded for something good, don’t we?
6. We over-exercise.
This one took me a LONG time to work through. For most of my life, I thought I had to do more in order to get better results. No. I cannot tell you how many times I got myself into a negative feedback loop when I would over-exercise, feel exhausted, spike my cortisol, jack up my hormones, gain energy again and repeat. I’m so dang hard headed and if you’re like me we want our way of doing things to be different don’t we? I created 10 free HIIT workouts that I swear by. They are challenging, results-driven and highly effective for fat loss and hormone balance. –>You can get them here<–
I hope this helped debunk some myths you had on diets and weight loss!