Doing everything right and not losing weight? There is nothing more frustrating than feeling like you're doing everything right and not seeing the physical progress for your work.
Not losing weight despite doing everything right is something I frequently hear from my clients. They feel confused, defeated and even like they want to give up.
There's two camps of individuals I typically see in my nutrition practice.
One camp are those individuals who have not realized yet that they need to work on their habits (what I call the BASICS) and change their approach to losing weight to something sustainable.
This camp of clients have found it difficult to eat nutritious foods, move their bodies consistently and they view food as good or bad. Their relationship with food is a struggle.
The second camp of clients I see are those who do eat healthy foods, have a healthy relationship with food and move their bodies regularly.
Both these groups have one thing in common. They feel like they're doing everything right, but are not seeing the weight loss results to show for it.
In this podcast episode, I discuss with you the steps to getting yourself unstuck. Hint, it's not about eliminating certain foods or calories!
You will get the secret sauce to your lasting success that you've been missing all along.
Also, you will hear three things in my 80 pound weight loss journey that I had to give up to lose weight and keep it off for 15+ years.
In this Dish on Ditching Diets Podcast Episode, You Will Hear:
- Two Camps of Clients I Typically See
- How Perception Is Not Reality
- 9,800 Calorie Deficit vs. 16,100
- Why You Need To Upgrade Your Mental Operating System
- What Screw-It Eating Is
- How Stress Makes You Fat
- Are You Associating Doing Everything Right With Being Perfect
- Three Things I Had To Give Up & Change To Lose 80 Pounds
- Why You're Exercising & Eating Healthy & Not Losing Weight
- The Secret Sauce To Losing Weight For Good
Related Dish On Ditching Diets Podcast Episodes
Not Losing Weight Doing Everything Right Podcast Transcript
Hello ladies! So… you’re doing everything right, but you’re not making progress.
There is nothing more that sucks than feeling like you’re doing everything right and you’re not seeing the physical results for it.
I’m going to break this down for you today so you can figure out what might be going on for you.
But first I want to share with you a message that I received on Instagram a few weeks ago and what this woman messaged me was...
“what advice would you give for somebody who wants to lose 5 pounds and close still feel tight and everything has stalled in a calorie deficit and counting macros especially protein. Just so discouraging!"
5 pounds is not a lot to lose but makes a difference in how my clothes feel. So, not really concerned about the 5 pounds on the scale, I just need my summer clothes to fit.”
My response to her was well, it depends. It depends how long you've been in a deficit because you maybe need to be more patient. You maybe need to add more daily movement.
You may not be tracking calories accurately if you're not weighing and measuring food in grams using a food scale.
You may need a break from your diet and bring calories up to maintenance to remove the stress from your deficit. You may need to reduce other stressors like poor sleep, too much training, etc. It depends on a lot of things!
When I get messages like this from people, it’s clear they are frustrated and want answers, but the problem is I can’t give you answers on social media or even an email.
For me to give you a prognosis, I would need to do a full health and diet history review with you to ask more questions and understand what might be going on.
I would also need to see food journals. I can only give you possibilities for you to investigate unless you are a client of mine.
This individual responded back to me and said she is weighing and measuring her food. She did not tell me over what timeframe she was talking about though.
She never said if it was 1 week, 2 weeks, 4 weeks, 6 months. She never gave me a timeframe.
Then she said well if I need to increase my calories to maintenance what should my maintenance be? Ah-ha! Do you see the problem here.
How would you figure out your calorie deficit if you didn’t know your maintenance. That would be like saying I’m going to drive to Seattle, but I don’t know where I’m starting the drive from.
My response to her was well I don't know your maintenance calories because I don't know you and I’m not working with you, but you should know what your maintenance calories are because how did you figure out what your calorie deficit is if you don't know what your maintenance is?
So, the reason that I'm highlighting this topic today is because it goes perfectly with the topic, we're talking about today about doing everything right.
For this individual, I suspect she may not have given it enough time in her deficit, or she needs to spend more time in maintenance and building muscle or she’s not really in a deficit.
If you're not getting results that you want then something needs to be adjusted or you need to give it more time.
In this person's case, I have no idea how she figured out her calorie deficit if she does not know what her maintenance is. You have to know where you are currently maintaining your body weight in order to calculate a calorie deficit.
The vast majority of women I have worked with they have said similar things to me like I'm in a calorie deficit and nothing's happening and what I have seen happening for those individuals were one not being patient enough. Not giving it enough time.
They were expecting something to happen in 1 or 2 weeks and nothing major is going to change in 1 to 2 weeks. Even 4 to 6 weeks you may not see a ton of change especially if you only have 5, 10, 15 pounds to lose.
You’re not going to see dramatic change in that short period of time and remember what I said in podcast episode 78 if you’re using the scale, the scale is not a good measurement of losing body fat. Women need to stop using the scale so much to judge if things are working.
Measurements, how clothes are fitting, how you are feeling like feeling less bloated, having better energy, feeling mentally better around food are just a few examples of other ways to measure progress.
Number two is most individuals are inconsistent when they are in their calorie deficits and don’t realize it. What I mean is you may be in your deficit of 1400 calories Monday thru Thursday, but then Friday, Saturday and Sunday let’s say you’re eating 3500 calories.
If 1400 calories is your goal for your deficit, 1400 multiplied by 7 equals 9,800 calories for the week. But if you’re now eating 3500 calories 3 days a week If we do the math by multiplying 1400 by 4 and 3500 multiplied by 3 and add the two together, now your total calories for the week are 16,100. So, you are not in a deficit.
Mentally, you feel like you’re dieting but you are not in a deficit. 9,800 is the goal for the week and in actuality you are consuming 16,100.
Most women don’t realize they are doing this because they look at their calorie counting app day by day and they never look at their averages. On average over the last 30, 60, 90 days what have my calories been?
I have had women come to consultations with me saying they are doing everything right and some of them I’ve asked them what’s your deficit been and what have your averages been the last 30, 60, 90 days. They couldn’t tell me. Why?
Because they weren’t tracking because they felt like things should be working with just eating healthy and exercising or if they were tracking, when they did go back and look, they realized they weren’t in a deficit.
They were actually overconsuming and not evaluating the averages over time properly.
Again, a lot of individuals are eating more in a surplus just like the example I just gave and don’t realize it. They are mentally dieting, but physically they are not dieting.
This is why when you are in a planned calorie deficit you want to be in it for a short timeframe and tracking the right data.
Also, we need to spend less time dieting and more time chasing muscle building muscle, getting stronger, fueling our bodies with nourishing foods, spending a lot more time in maintenance and not always chasing weight loss because the more that we chase weight loss the more mental fatigue happens.
I’m not sure why everyone seems to think it makes sense to constantly be dieting. I want you to remember that a calorie deficit and dieting is slightly starving your body.
Why do you think that it makes sense to slightly starve your body for a really long period of time? I just had this conversation with a client the other day.
We were planning out her fat loss phase and talking about when to start and end. She told me I’m going to start now and end next January. January is 8 months from now and I said to her that it way too long to be in a calorie deficit.
There is no way you can be so dialed in and consistent with a deficit for 8 months and there is a ton of mental fatigue that comes with that. This is the best way to set yourself up to fail is to plan a deficit this long.
No one can be consistent for 8 months in a calorie deficit and mentally there is a fatigue that will set in. Not to mention the metabolism is smart and will downregulate within those 8 months. You are on borrowed time in a deficit.
Women think it’s normal to do these things because the only thing they know is crash dieting. It’s really scary to see this stuff guys.
But with this client case, I guarantee if she tried to do a deficit for 8 months at some point her weight loss would slow because the metabolism downregulates, and she would begin to think I’m doing everything right and nothing’s working.
Right, because the approach you took was not a good approach.
The person I was telling you about earlier with the calories saying she's in a calorie deficit but doesn’t know her maintenance.
If you do not know what your maintenance is then you don't know what your calorie deficit is. Like I said, some people just need to give it more time and be more patient because you're not going to see a dramatic change in just a few weeks.
But you may feel like you're doing everything right, but if you’re not getting the results then something is off.
So perfect introduction for the topic today to give you guys some examples but again, I know the feeling there's nothing more that really does suck than feeling like you're doing everything right and you're not seeing the physical results for everything that you’re doing.
I want to break this topic down by talking about two camps of individuals that I typically see.
One camp are those individuals who keep trying to lose weight and don’t realize they need to change their habits. They keep trying all the extreme diet things that lead them back to square one.
Drinking shakes, drastically reduces calories, doing Optavia, Nutrisystem. Signing up for a doctor led 800 calorie program.
Or they skip meals and try to willpower their way through hunger and not eat until they binge. They don’t know how much protein and fiber they should be eating.
They don’t know how to balance their plates and eat all foods without feeling guilty. Maybe they track calories or have done WW but have never dealt with the emotional reasons why they’re eating in the first place.
They’ve done all these things, but none of those things were TEACHING them new habits.
They haven’t changed their approach and what I mean by that is they haven’t mentally accepted that they have to change their habits and upgrade their habits to get the results they want.
Let’s say you do a shake program. You never work on changing your habits. You never learn what is adequate protein and fiber for you.
You never learn how to eat foods in balance and have more control around them.
So, you do the shake program, lose weight and then you have nothing to go back to accept the bad habits that created your weight problem in the first place.
A lot of women do believe the previous diets they did worked because they lost weight, but something didn’t work if you gained it all back. You didn’t change.
You didn’t change your approach, you didn’t learn anything and you didn’t change your habits.
And a lot of individuals think well I lost weight doing this diet so it worked quote-on-quote. I just need to go back and do it again but this time I need to be more disciplined. That’s always the mindset people have.
If what you did in the past didn’t work, what’s going to make it work now? You lost weight fast, which is awesome but as soon as you got off track, you went back to old habits and the weight came back.
You didn’t change your habits; you didn’t learn, and you didn’t change mentally. Maybe you even had a great, nutritionally balanced plan that WAS sustainable.
But mentally you did not change. You are still mentally running on an old operating system.
It's like our phones and computers. Our devices have these apps and the apps are equivalent to your habits. Your protein, your walking, your strength training.
The BASICS of taking care of your health that I talk about all the time. But you know with our devices every once and awhile we get these notifications to upgrade the software.
And if you don’t upgrade the software, some of the apps stop working. Right, because you need to upgrade the software to keep the apps running. Overtime if you neglect to upgrade the software stuff stops working.
That is why what you’re doing to lose weight works for a while, but if you are operating on an old operating system, just like your device, you will stop doing your habits.
Because you didn’t change. You could have the BEST diet plan or BEST diet but if you are still operating as an old version of you then the habits will stop working.
The old version of you doesn’t work with your upgraded habits.
That’s what I mean when I say you have to mentally change if you want to be healthier, fitter, have more energy, lose some body fat, feel confident in your body. You must change! Upgrade your default operating system. This is what I call mindset.
So yes, you feel like you’re doing everything right, but you’re approach, your habits, your perception of what it means to get healthier and lose some body fat hasn’t changed.
You can’t expect to keep weight off long-term by drinking shakes, eating one meal a day and making excuses about why you can’t move your body every day and get a walk or some type of movement in.
You have to change how you view weight loss and what it means to become healthier version of you because long-term change doesn’t happen from temporarily doing a shake program.
You also have to address the emotional and mental reasons why you eat, and diets and calories don’t teach you how to do that.
People always ask me how I lost 80 pounds and kept it off for 15 years. They always want to know what I ate, how many calories I ate, what foods I cut out, if I fasted and I’m like those are all the wrong questions.
What you should be asking me is how did you change Megan as a person to lose 80 pounds? What changed for you that allowed you to lose 80 pounds?
You know what changed? I started mentally asking myself what does a fit and healthy person do? Does a fit and healthy person skip meals, or do they fuel their bodies with nutrients?
Does a fit and healthy person do extreme stuff with food and try not to eat anything unhealthy, or do they try to figure out how to balance the foods they enjoy with more nutritious foods?
Does a fit and healthy person walk or move? I started asking myself better questions.
What changed first was not what I was eating. I had to overcome my thinking first in order to start doing new things. I had to upgrade my operating system.
Please listen to me guys, if you don’t change what goes on between your ears, you will never change what goes into your mouth and if you can’t change what goes into your mouth the outside of you won’t change.
The first thing I did was stop picking diets that I couldn’t see myself doing until I was 85 years old. Very often you end up picking diets that teach you what your internal language is going to be about yourself.
So, if you’ve done WW and gone to the meetings to do your weigh-ins. You are literally getting on the scale waiting for someone to tell you if you did or didn’t do it this week.
You are literally handing over all your self-esteem thinking am I going to feel proud or not. Not one time I bet did anyone ask you well, how did your week go?
Oh no, it’s more like you need to do better. What did you do wrong?
Very often you pick diets that teach you what your internal language is going to be about yourself. So, now after doing many of these diets you are talking to yourself this way and thinking it’s normal.
You think after you lose weight that you earn the right to be proud of yourself. Then you get to be nice to yourself. If you gain or maintain, you have to be awful to yourself and strict.
What I realized when I was losing my 80 pounds, was that I was going to have to pick things to do that baby stepped me into a new version of me.
And all of those baby steps, required me to talk to myself differently.
That’s the trick… picking small things that you decide ahead of time to do so in the moment even if you don’t want to do it you can talk yourself into because it is so small.
When it’s really difficult things, that voice will have a thousand reasons why you can’t do it. When it’s small, usually the only reasons that will come up are it will take forever at this pace and it’s not enough. Those are two thoughts I had to give up in the beginning.
I started with just a 10-minute walk and every day the voice in my head would say this isn’t enough. It’s not good enough. I had to give up thinking like that to make the baby steps to help myself change. Every time I would think it’s not enough, I would say that’s old me thinking.
New me thinks what’s not good enough is sitting on the couch thinking of something that’s harder to do that I would never do anyway. I knew I would never go to the gym for an hour, but I could walk 10-minutes.
So, I asked myself every day what can I do every day that’s a little better than yesterday. I didn’t make huge changes. Small ones. Small wins and that was how I increased my confidence.
I knew logically that small wins over time would equal weight loss. The emotional side of me didn’t believe that, but I had to use my intellectual side of me to talk to the emotional side of me to remind it that small changes over time would get me there.
You see a lot of you want to believe in yourself before you even get started. You don’t have to believe anything to get started. You’re not special just because you failed diets.
You’re like the rest of us and all of us who have lost weight, we feel your pain. We had the same pain on day one. It just could no longer be the thing we focused on and that is the difference.
We learned to tell ourselves I’m walking in the direction in weight loss and that’s all I need to believe right now. I’m changing little by little and that’s all I need to believe right now.
I don’t need to worry when it’s going to happen. If I’m moving in that direction, it logically is gonna happen.
This is what I mean by upgrading your operating system. Most of you are still operating mentally the way diets have taught you.
Mentally you need to change otherwise you’re always going to be caught in the trap of losing and gaining.
The other thing I had to change to lose my 80 pounds, I had to stop cutting out foods I liked. Let me say it again for the woman listening to this who’s doubting me who thinks she can’t eat certain foods.
Your mindset is wrong. If cutting out all the foods you like worked, you wouldn’t be here listening to me. It’s not worked.
I don’t care if you lost 100 pounds. If you regained it, it’s because you didn’t develop a relationship with food you like.
All the foods I liked before losing 80 pounds I still like, and I still eat it. I just don’t have to eat all of it in excess and feel terrible about myself whenever I do it.
I now just eat them when I plan for it, when I’m really going to enjoy it and I no longer eat it because I had a bad day or eat it out of guilt or binge eat overeating it.
I wanted a relationship with food that I trusted that I liked and that I knew I could do for the rest of my life. I had to give up thinking that the only way to reach my goals was to cut out everything I liked. Only eat nutritious foods.
At the end of the day, the real problem was not what I ate. My real problem was how much food I was eating every day because I was sad, anxious, wanting entertainment, bored, worried I’d miss out, scared I’d waste it, thinking one day I wouldn’t be able to eat this, so I better eat a ton of it now because I’ll never get it again. It was the guilt around the food that was what was causing all my screw-it eating.
Screw-it eating is when you eat something you like and you start freaking out thinking that you shouldn’t have eaten something, I already messed up I might as well keep going, I’ll start over Monday, why bother trying.
Screw-it eating is when you take a moment of eating something and you blow it out of proportion. You catastrophize it and you build up so much anxiety and shame that your only option is to keep eating to shut out what’s going on in your head about the food.
Instead of learning how to have a relationship with food. Learning how to calm yourself down in those moments. I had to practice eating these foods without guilt.
Just like a normal person who sometimes eats pizza. I didn’t need to eat all the pizza for fear I would never get it again. I had to really practice this.
Practice eating foods I loved and you’re going to feel weird at first. You will still feel all the guilt and shame, but you have to learn how to talk to yourself differently, so you don’t catastrophize it. Unlearn fearing foods.
Unlearn fearing hunger. Unlearn feeling guilty. You have to learn today at your current weight how to do this.
You don’t have to get rid of the foods you enjoy, you had to learn how to eat them in new ways. Instead of thinking ooh, I’m not going to get this ever again better eat it all right now, OMG I’m being wasteful if I don’t eat this, what if I get hungry later.
When feel wrong about eating pizza, chips, cookies, ice cream, French fries dieting and losing weight won’t fix that. You have to practice. Practice building a relationship with these foods. Most people are really good at practicing cutting them out and then at some point they overeat them. What is that teaching you? To be a binge eater? It’s not teaching you to build a relationship.
The last thing I had to do was learn what to do emotionally when I changed my food. I had to learn how to give myself what I NEEDED in the moment. What a traditional diet does, is it forces you to give up your favorite foods, eat less calories and if you have been emotionally eating then what’s going to happen is in the moments when food was your friend and food was your comfort, when food was relieving your Mom guilt in the evenings and food was the only way you know how to wind down and relax from the day at night or food is the only thing you know how to turn off all the noise in your brain… if food is the only way you know how to handle yourself when you angry at your boss or overwhelmed at work or with your family.
You are going to be sitting there trying to do feel like crap and also not eating, which is going to feel like crap.
So, it’s not enough to just lose weight and go on a diet. You not only need to know how to lose weight, but you have to eat in a way that allows you to comfort yourself in the moments when food has been used as your comfort.
I had to learn how to talk better to myself in those moments, how I needed to have more grace with myself in the evenings instead of sitting on the couch thinking how I didn’t do enough that day and how I wasn’t enough.
At night I was emotionally exhausted from my own terrible self-esteem, I couldn’t just take away ice cream.
If I was not going to eat ice cream, I had to learn how to talk to myself differently in the evenings. I had to learn how to reassure myself, I had to learn how to change the internal conversation.
Most people are overweight because they are emotionally eating to some degree. They’re eating because they’re tired, bored, stressed, sad, when they want to celebrate, to reward themselves, I deserve it eating.
When you stop that kind of eating and figure out how to emotionally be there for yourself without food, weight loss becomes a lot easier. If you don’t know how to enjoy your life without food, you will want to eat and just losing weight doesn’t fix that.
You have to learn not just how to lose weight, you have to learn how to create the life you need. This is why I say you need to upgrade your operating system because it isn’t just about calories, walking and the foods you eat.
Whatever you do will always be a throw away, if you don’t upgrade your operating system.
This is one camp a lot of people are in. A lot of my clients are in this camp and this is the one I was in for a long time. It’s a frustrating place to be and often the mindset piece is the missing ingredient.
Before I lost my 80 pounds. I would eat carrots, celery and cantaloupe for a few days until I couldn’t do it anymore and be like what’s wrong with me that I can’t just eat this little and feel good, have good energy, be mentally focused, be fit, lose weight until one day I realized that’s just not how this is done.
But before I had that realization, I truly felt like I was doing things right. But I really wasn’t because I wasn’t changing. I mentally was not changing; I wasn’t changing my approach. I wasn’t learning. I wasn’t changing my habits.
I was not shifting to become someone who lived a balanced lifestyle because I was always doing the extremes. I was not changing. I know that’s hard to hear for some of you to hear, but for the people in this camp, you have to work on your BASICS and your mindset before you lose weight.
You have to focus less on the outcome of losing weight and more on the basics of taking care of your health first and upgrading your mental operating system. You can’t operate on an old mindset and expect permanent results.
The other camp of individuals are those who know what quality foods are, you exercise regularly, you pay attention to protein, you eat quality foods, you pay attention to calories and the quantity of food, sleep, water, daily walking. All the things, you do them!
But you’re frustrated because you aren’t seeing the physical results. I’m doing everything I should be doing, but I don’t have the physical results.
So, the assumption you have is I just need to try harder. But it creates this internal battle inside of you because on the one hand you’re like I know I should just try harder.
But on the other hand, you’re like, why should I bother trying. If I’m doing everything right and I’m not seeing the results I want, why should I keep doing everything right? If I’m going to stay stuck, I’m going to stay stuck and have fun! What’s the point of trying?
This is the why bother mindset and this why bother mindset is so detrimental. Could you imagine saying ugh, I didn’t have time to shower today so why bother ever showering again? I mean no!
No one would ever say that’s because you don’t view showering as this thing, you’re on or off with. You view it as something you need to do for your health and if you miss showering you just shower the next opportunity you get.
You didn’t get all hung up on OMG I forgot to shower I’m a moral failure at life.
The harsh truth is your mindset is flawed. You were probably thinking coming into this that I was going to tell you the missing ingredient, the secret sauce with nutrition and exercise to get you unstuck.
But there is none. The secret sauce is your mindset is flawed.
If you have the mindset that I’m doing everything right, it sets you up for all or nothing thinking. Right or wrong thinking. Black and white thinking. Like who’s to say what’s right or what’s wrong?
And what metric are you using when you say nothing’s working? Is it because your scale weight hasn’t budged? Is it because your body fat % hasn’t gone down?
Also, how long are we talking about? Have you been doing this for two weeks, 6 weeks, 6 months, 2 years? What’s the timeframe?
Could you imagine going into work each day, walking into your boss' office and saying, "am I getting a raise today?"
And then doing that over and over again, every single day. It's like ground hog's day. Am I getting a raise? Am I getting a raise? Am I getting a raise?
How do you think that's going to land with your boss? Probably not well. Think about how raises happen...You show up each day. You do your job the best you can.
Sometimes you even go above and beyond. And you keep doing that consistently over a long period of time until your boss says hey, I appreciate all the hard work you've been doing this past year... here's a raise. That's how weight loss works too.
Anytime I hear from someone say I’m doing everything right and nothing’s working, it’s a red flag to me that something’s off with their mindset. Because it’s always subjective.
I had a client who’s been in a calorie deficit. She’s 4 weeks in and she came to a coaching call disappointed even though her measurements are down a solid 2 inches, her body fat % is down, her scale weight was down.
I mean - it’s only been 4 weeks and everything’s trending in the right direction. Progress IS happening and she was trying to convince me it wasn’t good enough.
The problem is we are not objective when it comes to ourselves. My job as a coach is to help my clients shift their mindset because that mindset is flawed and it’s one that often can lead to self-sabotage or quitting.
The real problem though is you’re likely associating doing everything right with being perfect. And you’re likely measuring progress only by the scale and being impatient. We’re all in impatient. Even I’m impatient.
But being impatient with results is often a direct side effect of trying to be too perfect. So, you say to yourself why bother? This is so much work for so little results to show for it.
So, you set yourself up for failure because perfection is unachievable. No human can be perfect.
This is why so many justify quitting either because they made a mistake or because they’re not seeing the results they expect in the timeframe they expect. What a terrible way to live your life.
Not just a way to lose weight, but a terrible way to live your life. Always expecting perfection from yourself. No one wants to be 100% perfect all the time. It’s completely unsustainable.
Traveling, enjoying birthdays, the holidays, whatever…. You can’t do that and be 100% all of the time. It’s impossible to do that and you’re setting yourself up to fail with that mindset.
The thing that’s most often overlooked as a result of this mindset is the internal environment, you’re creating for yourself.
I have to be perfect all the time or do everything exactly right all the time which is a high standard and creates a lot of stress. You are setting this stressful standard for you to meet.
Nearly all the client cases I’ve seen over the 10 years that I’ve been working with clients - the clients who tell me they’re doing everything right and aren’t getting results are trying to eat very little food and are overtraining.
So, we’ve got stress from always trying to eat very little. We’ve got stress from overtraining, lack of recovery and poor sleep. We’ve got stress from your high, perfectionist standards.
Then every day you’ve got the mental stress from thinking about how you don’t like the way you look, how your clothes don’t fit, how frustrated you are with your lack of results.
That’s stress too. So, you’ve got stress plus stress plus stress plus stress.
This equals zero results. Of course, your body is not progressing! It makes sense you’re stuck!
The #1 guaranteed way to stay stuck and not make progress is to put too much stress on the system. This is the number one disruptor of homeostasis in the body.
Now I will say a lot of women come to me and tell me they have too much stress and they think stress is why they can’t lose weight. Yes, but not in the way you think this happens.
I’m gaining weight Megan because of stress. No, you aren’t gaining weight because you’re stressed. Think about starving people in Africa. You don’t think they’re stressed every day thinking about where they’re going to get their food from.
Where they’re going to get water from? Feeling extreme hunger pains throughout their body? Feeling scared for their survival or if they are going to get attacked? I guarantee people starving in Africa are stressed but they are not gaining weight! Why? Because they have no food around to overeat.
So… very commonly clients who are in these types of scenarios are trying to eat something like 1300 calories. Very low calorie.
They’ve been trying to do that for like the last 2 years. 1300 calories for two years. They’re also doing a lot of training.
And they have a lot of snacks, and the snacks are not accurately accounted for. They are not weighing and measuring in grams on a food scale every little snack or food they eat.
All the goldfish crackers, gummy bears, chips, chocolate or leftovers from their kids’ plates. All that mindless eating goes unaccounted for, or they don’t account for it accurately using a food scale, so they end up overeating calories, but their perception is not the reality.
They eat healthy and exercise. That’s the perception they have. That’s all they see. They don’t see the hundreds of calories in snacks they are consuming.
So, I started a calorie deficit in April because I want to reveal some of the muscle I’ve been working to build and before I even started, I simply tracked all my food to see how much I was currently eating.
I eat very healthy and yes, I eat chocolate most days, but I didn’t realize until I began weighing my chocolate on a food scale that I was eating over 400 calories of chocolate every day. 400 calories of chocolate alone!
Here I’m thinking how healthy I eat, which is true BUT the amount of chocolate I was eating was something I was overlooking.
I was mindlessly eating chocolate. My perception was not my reality. My perception was I eat healthy, I don’t understand why my belly’s getting bigger. But the reality is my belly was getting bigger because over the past year I’ve been mindless eating 400 calories several times a week.
Not a ton of calories, but enough for slight weight gain to creep in. You see when you get honest with yourself using a food scale, you begin to see how far off your perception really is from your reality.
The point is you are not in Africa where food is scarce. You are not starving because if you were really starving you would be withering away and losing weight.
Someone who’s trying to be so perfect and follow 1300 calories (or very little for their body) and overtrain it’s very unlikely they are consistent with the 1300 calories.
And I would argue like how that is helping you. Why do you think you should do that? How does that make logical sense? To constantly be pursuing starving your body?
Eating in a caloric deficit to lose body fat is slightly starving your body. Slightly, you are depriving your body of energy by restricting food intake.
You are essentially starving your body so what makes you think that it makes sense to try to starve your body eating only 1300 calories for 2 years? TWO YEARS!
I’m using this as an example to highlight what many of you do. You’re constantly in the pursuit of starving your body for years and then you wonder why you don’t have the results to show for it.
If you’re constantly chasing weight loss for a long period of time and you have food around you that’s accessible, you’re not starving like people in Africa, then it will be very easy for you to periodically over consume calories. Mentally you’re on a diet.
You have the perception that you are dieting, the perception that you work out regularly, the perception that you eat healthy foods. But the reality is you’re not in a calorie deficit and that’s why you don’t have the physical results to show for it.
Calorie deficits should be a short-term intervention of a few weeks. Not years!
But the reality is you’re not eating 1300 calories because if you’re overconsuming food periodically that is driving your calories up so you’re not consistent with 1300 calories.
Your perception is I’m doing everything right, but nothing’s working.
Your body isn’t stressed and just making you fat. That’s not what’s happening, and I think a lot of women think that. But that’s not what’s going on. The constant pursuit of eating so little creates these times where you overeat which negates any calorie deficit you were in.
It could be stress eating from dealing with day-to-day life or overeating from hunger hormones rising because you’re not fueling your body adequately or from too much training and not fueling properly for training, too little sleep.
Stress from not seeing results so you go into the why bother mindset and say screw it I’m just going to eat.
Instead of doing all these things, why not do the opposite? Why not spend more time properly fueling your body. Learning simply how much food you need to maintain your weight. How much food could you get away with eating without gaining weight?
Spend more time in maintenance and homeostasis. Remove the stresses of overtraining, under fueling your body and remove the mental stress of constantly trying to restrict your food and starve your body. A calorie deficit is starving your body.
Why do you think it’s normal to be doing that for 6 months, 2 years or 6 years? It’s not normal. Calorie deficit is a deviation from homeostasis. It’s the exception not the rule.
Earlier I spoke about the individuals in the first camp who need to stop focusing on weight loss and only focus on their basics, their habits. Work on habits first.
I mentioned that they need to upgrade their operating system. Upgrade their mindset. You can’t change your habits and expect them to stick permanently without a mindset upgrade.
Those of you in this second camp need to do the same. You need to upgrade your mindset too! Because your mindset of constantly pursuing dieting like it’s normal needs to change. Your mindset of constantly thinking you must be perfect, striving to be perfect all the time must change and looking at things as black and white must change. Thinking that starving your body is the way must change!
You are stressing yourself out with that pursuit, with that mindset and THAT mental stress is why you’re not getting the physical results you want.
It’s also why you are not consistent and deviate from the plan even though your perception is not your reality. That is why you feel like you’re doing everything right but are not seeing the weight loss.
It sucks to feel like you’re doing everything right and are not getting the results you want. It’s a huge emotional drain and the reason why many do give up.
The client I mentioned earlier who is in her calorie deficit and losing weight even though it’s not as fast as she wants, that client we spent many months getting her calories up and staying there before we even started a deficit.
She was blown away by how much she really could eat while maintaining her weight.
So maybe, just maybe spend more time at maintenance and learning what maintenance is for your body and your activity requirements.
Stop aggressively pursuing weight loss like it’s your part time job. It’s not normal to constantly be in the pursuit of starving your body.
Learn how to let go of being perfect all the time and give yourself some grace. It’s a terrible way to live your life expecting perfection all the time.
Not just weight loss, but it’s a terrible way to live your life in all aspects. No one wants to be 100% perfect all the time. It’s completely unachievable. Imagine how much better your results would be if you let go of this mindset of being perfect.
Be a little imperfect with how you eat. Let go of the rigidity. Find the middle ground that works for you. For some people this will scare them greatly. They think they’ll be so out of control if they let go. For other people, this will liberate them.
If you can’t enjoy all foods – nutritious and less nutritious without guilt and shame or you can’t eat foods without making them diet friendly or macro friendly, enjoy an unplanned meal and move on without judgement or feeling like a moral failure, then the truth is you’re living in a self-imposed diet prison, and you’ve got work to do.
If you like where you are, you like your lack of results then stay there.
But if you don’t like your results, then you need to change and that change begins with your mindset. Whether you’re in camp one or camp two, it begins with your mindset.
Upgrade your operating system. This is the key to everything and getting unstuck!