How weight loss works is a common question I receive from my clients. They often believe a specific diet like Paleo, Fasting, Keto, Opativa, Whole30 drives weight loss but the food plan is not what drives weight loss.
Of course, eating adequate protein (especially for women over 35) and higher fiber meals is going to keep an individual fuller and these foods are healthy, nutrient-dense foods that are generally lower in calorie.
The more an individual plans their meals like this and fuels their body regularly they will simply have less hunger, better energy and fewer cravings.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of society has gotten so far away from consuming nutrient-dense, balanced meals and following fad diets that now they have no idea how to eat.
When you couple that with a goal of losing weight, it becomes confusing for many individuals as to what to follow or what to do.
As a result, many individuals end up doing unsustainable diets then gain the weight back and feel frustrated and confused. If the diet wasn't sustainable, as in something you can do until the day you die, then of course weight regain is inevitable.
Sustainability is important when weight loss is the goal and I believe as a nutritionist that many women are doing whatever they have to in order to lose weight because they are emotionally in such a bad place.
But those methods cause more harm and put them in the position of regaining weight and making it harder to lose weight down the road from the metabolic damage and muscle loss caused by those attempts.
I constantly receive messages from women over 35 via social media telling how frustrated they are and that me they can't lose weight.
In this podcast episode, I explain two things women need to understand about weight loss and why investigating their weight gain (or why they continue gaining weight back after dieting) is critical to stop this vicious cycle.
I also share how weight loss occurs through a calorie deficit and why getting into a calorie deficit for many women over 35 is easier said than done.
Unless it is your very first time dieting, it's not as simple as calculating your calorie needs on a website and following those numbers.
There are always more nuances to be considered and for some women, attempting a calorie deficit may not be appropriate right away.
It may be more appropriate to spend a period of time restoring resting energy expenditure of the metabolism, building muscle, working on meal composition and consuming adequate protein first.
For some women, they need to go through this process before getting into a calorie deficit and it will make weight loss easier at a later date.
Often women don't want to do this pre-work because they're scared of gaining weight or they're so tied to the scale that they want to jump right to losing weight.
This ends up causing more damage to the metabolism and keeps a lot of women stuck in cycles of restrictive dieting. This is based on my years of coaching women and my observations.
In this episode, I will share more on calorie deficits and how weight loss happens. How not all sources of calories are created equal and impact hormones the same way. Why learning proper meal composition is so important for sustainability and long-term health.
How exercise has an incredibly small influence over weight loss. Why a calorie deficit is as much of a science as an art.
I also share with you two messages I received on social media from two different women about being stuck in their weight loss journeys and my response to them.
This is a great episode packed with a lot of information. I hope you enjoy it!
In this Dish on Ditching Diets Podcast Episode, You Will Hear:
- 2 Messages On Social Media I Received From Women & My Response To Them
- Why Investigating The Cause Of Your Weight Gain Is Key
- Why SUSTAINABILITY Is Everything to Keeping Weight Off
- How No Specific Diet Or Food Plan Drives Weight Loss
- How Little Exercise Influences Weight Loss
- How Different Diets Drive Weight Loss
- What A Calorie Deficit Is
- Why Not All Sources Of Calories Are Equal
- Should You Count Calories
- Why A Calorie Deficit Can Be Tricky For Certain Women To Get Into
- Why Pursuing Weight Loss Might Not Be The Immediate Solution For Some Women
- What To Do To Heal Metabolism & Make A Calorie Deficit Easier
Related Dish On Ditching Diets Podcast Episodes
- Hormonal Weight Loss Recipes
- What Your Sugar Craving Really Means
- Is the Scale Ruining Your Progress
- The Dangers Of Optavia
- Free Weight Loss Masterclass
How Weight Loss Works Podcast Show Notes
Hello friends! Today I want to explain to you how weight loss works and the reason why I want to talk to you about this topic today is because I talk to a lot of women who tell me they want to lose weight but that they feel very frustrated and confused.
And what I’ve noticed is that when I talk to these women, they always tell me that they’ve lost weight and gained it back multiple times.
And they will tell me all about their exercise routine or they will tell me they’re not exercising at all.
So, two things here. First thing is if you keep gaining the weight back, why are you gaining it back? What were you doing while losing weight that you are no longer doing when you started gaining weight? What did you stop doing?
What did you start doing more or less of while you began gaining weight that you either were or were not doing while losing weight? If you didn’t have a weight problem until 10 years ago, as an example, what happened 10 years ago?
I recommend you sit down with a paper and pen and write this down and critically analyze what’s gone on.
Women always tell me things like this – a family member was sick, I was the caregiver of someone and it was very stressful, my children left the house, and I was alone, I was in a stressful time in my job, I was traveling a lot, I had peer pressure from friends to drink alcohol every night, I lost my job, I got a divorce, I had a child, I was in an abusive relationship, I stopped making meals because my kids no longer live with me.
These are the type of things I generally hear, and they are triggers for why people overeat or over drink. The real problem isn’t the weight gain though.
The real problem are the triggers and you not being aware of your triggers and dealing with those things emotionally.
And I think many women struggle to see that losing weight often isn’t the real problem to solve. Clearly, you don’t have a problem losing weight.
The real problem to figure out is why do you keep gaining it back?
Many women are so hyper focused on losing weight and the scale that they get caught in the cycle of dieting and restricting, that they’re missing this important, key question.
Why do you keep gaining weight back? What causes it to come back? Why aren’t you focusing on simply healthy habits?
And truthfully, I believe dieting for some women has become such a huge part of their identify that they don’t even know who they are if they are not constantly on a diet and pursuing a weight loss goal.
So, they get into these cycles of eating all the food, overindulging, and not paying attention to how they fuel their bodies then doing a super restrictive dieting and hyper focusing on how they eat.
Like every 3-6 months they’re doing some different thing with food. It’s like swinging back and forth on a pendulum. They’re either on a diet or off and there’s really no healthy habits with food or in between.
You have to create healthy habits while losing weight and that does require you to learn new things before losing weight.
Like learning what foods are a protein, fat and carb. Learning how to balance your plate for your blood sugar with your protein, fats and carbs to keep your body fueled and to keep your hunger hormones in check.
They don’t teach us in school about basic nutrition, so you have to learn these foundational things in order to lose weight for good.
But what most women have are all a collection of stupid rules they’ve learned from all the diets they’ve done or things they’ve heard on social media and now they have a collection of all these bad food rules in their head.
No eating after 8pm, fruit and potatoes make me fat, can never eat pasta, sugar is evil, oatmeal spikes blood sugar.
Like would you ever think to tell your children you should eat fruit, potatoes, or oatmeal because it spikes your blood sugar? No!
That is the most ridiculous thing ever. But that’s what I mean – we have this collection of food rules from years and decades of dieting, and we would never think to scare are children into not eating fruit, but we do it to ourselves. Guys, it doesn’t even make sense.
This is the sustainability part of weight loss many people overlook when they start a new diet. How am I going to keep this weight off for the rest of my life?
What healthy habits am I establishing in my life that I can keep doing until I’m 85 years old? What skills am I learning like what foods are a protein, fat and carb so I know how to nutritionally balance my plate until I’m 85 years old?
I would argue that the vast majority of women are not looking at losing weight like that.
They don’t look at a diet before signing up and critically think through whether or not that diet is going to set them up for sustainability with healthy habits for life.
I believe a lot of women tell themselves they will just do a diet to get results as quickly as possible AND then they will learn how to eat healthy.
They tell themselves they will do this diet and be disciplined no matter what the cost is to their metabolism, hormones or psychology in order to lose weight.
And in their mind, they think I’ll just lose weight and then I’ll will learn to eat better and start creating healthy habits. Ladies, sustainable weight loss doesn’t work like that. That’s backwards.
You are going to regain weight all your weight if you keep trying to lose weight backwards because that is what you’re doing.
Oh, so a little story. I was on Instagram awhile back sharing my very strong opinions on Optavia and how it is the worst diet on the planet.
You are paying for an eating disorder doing when you sign up for that diet in my opinion. I did a podcast on Optavia - the danger of doing this diet back and how it downregulates your metabolism by 28% in podcast episode 83. Go listen to that if you haven’t!
But anyways…I received a message from a woman who did Optavia and here is what she said.
“I did Optavia and lost 50 pounds. I kept it off for 3 years, BUT the weight returned as soon as I stopped buying and using their products. Now I’m trying to undo all the stinky thinking I have from that program. I found your page on my quest to truth. Loving your podcast!”
You see what she said here – she gained the weight when she stopped buying their pre-packaged food. She stopped buying their pre-packaged food and when she stopped doing that she didn’t know how to eat. Exactly.
Because buying pre-packaged food doesn’t teach you anything.
This is the sustainability part of weight loss I’m talking about. Can you really keep buying pre-packaged food and following that diet until your 85 years old to keep your weight off?
I mean I guess you could, but it would be a miserable way to live your life.
So, this woman now gets it. She understands now after having done Optavia that this isn’t how sustainable weight loss really works.
Listen ladies. The diet industry is a multi-billion-dollar industry. These trendy diet companies are going to do whatever they have to do to get you to lose weight rapidly at any expense it has to your body, to your metabolism, to your psychology so that you think it was a “success.”
But it wasn’t truly a success if the diet damaged your body, put you in a position where weight regain is very easy, if you gained a disordered relationship with food, and didn’t learn healthy habits or learn nutrition and mindset skills that you can apply for the rest of your life.
These companies are not sitting down with you and teaching you what is a protein, fat and carb and how your body loses weight with a calorie deficit. How to eat foods in balance, how to approach weight loss from a sustainability aspect.
These companies are not teaching you how to build a sustainable lifestyle you can do forever and how to navigate the reality of our lives.
Going out to eat, dealing with nighttime eating, stress eating, travel eating, being around friends and family who overindulge.
Weight Watchers is probably the only thing out there that somewhat does this, but I have two problems with WW. One they generally put women on too few points like Optavia. This is why you do WW the first time it works pretty well and then you keep going back and the results are slower and slower.
I also believe the program is silly because their point system is merely a way of counting calories. Like why not just count calories? Why are you paying to learn how to count WW points? Are you going to count WW points forever?
How is learning their point system actually helping you long-term keep weight off? Most food labels do not have WW points on them. They have calories on them.
So, while I love that WW promotes a healthier lifestyle it’s not setting you up from a sustainability perspective when it’s teaching people to count their point system and putting people on so few calories.
Several my clients have done WW and come to me saying how they’re starving. Yes, this is the physiological response the body has to eating too little food.
Here is another message I recently received from someone.
I am 65. In my younger years I was always normal/slim. Since about age 45, I have gained and lost 20 pounds 4 times using WW, Slim4Life and a local bariatric doctor’s program using protein shakes and bars. I am currently up to about 155 and feel much better at 130-135. I have been told by an RD that I should listen to my body and losing weight as a goal may not be the best thing for me. My question is, if I sign up with you, can you help me lose weight and would you support that as a goal at my age?
Notice how this woman is asking me if I can help her lose weight, but she doesn’t have a weight problem. She has a regain problem. A few questions I would ask her would be why do you keep regaining weight?
What happened 20 years ago when you were 45 that caused this weight?
How did your eating and activity change at 45 compared to before? Are you eating more food than you were before? Were the plans you did to lose weight previously sustainable?
Did those plans teach you healthy habits or simply how to be a chronic dieter?
She’s done all these diets and clearly, she can lose weight. Clearly the problem is not weight loss. The problem is she keeps gaining it back. So, I would be asking her a lot of questions to get to the bottom of that and many of you need to do the same.
My guess is her approach to weight loss has never been sustainable. And honestly, when someone writes me this kind of letter what goes through my mind is that this person likely has a disordered relationship with food and a wrecked metabolism after doing all these things.
If I were talking to this individual, I would be telling them that if they were going to work with me, we first need to work on improving her metabolism and relationship with food before thinking about losing weight.
I tell some women this in my free consultations who are in these scenarios, and I know that’s not what they want to hear.
But my job isn’t to tell women what they want to hear. My job is to them what they NEED to hear to reach their desired goals.
So, my first point is for you to really dig into why you keep gaining your weight back. People don’t have a weight loss problem. They have a weight regain problem.
And if you do some digging, I’m going to guess that sustainability is probably the real problem for most of you.
Whatever you did previously to lose weight was not sustainable, did not teach you proper nutrition and likely set you up to gain weight later on. If you can’t do it until you’re 85 years old, you’re guaranteed to gain the weight back.
Okay so second thing when it comes to how weight loss works, and I want you to really listen up here!
Weight loss is about energy balance. You have to have a calorie deficit to lose weight.
This is the law of thermodynamics which means you must take in a less energy from food than the energy your body requires. This has been proven scientifically for decades.
I know that’s not particularly helpful to say you need a calorie deficit, but there is a lot of misinformation out there and people and some doctors out there saying that calories don’t matter.
Calories do matter for weight loss, and I find my clients either are completely clueless about calories or they’ve done calorie and macro counting a bajillion times and know a lot about it already.
So, there are a lot of people out there, particularly the low carb, carnivoire and Keto community who proclaim it’s just about carbs.
However, the research simply does not support this. Research tells us that in controlled labs where the quantity of food was controlled with participants that it does not matter whether you do a high carb diet or a low carb diet to lose weight.
What matters is that you are in a calorie deficit. I talk about this in my free weight loss class. If you have not taken my 1-hour masterclass, I recommend you do that. The link is in the show notes!
This is good news. I mean most of you don’t want to give up carbs until the day you die so this means you can stop overcomplicating what you eat so much!
So, it does not matter what diet per se you follow as long as you have a calorie deficit. This goes back to my point earlier; all these crazy diets women do are not teaching you these fundamentals of losing weight.
So, a calorie deficit means you have to eat less energy (because energy comes from food) than what your body needs for energy. That is how you lose body fat. And remember just because your body burns fat does not mean you are losing fat.
There is a lot of misinformation being spread on that these days too. That should be a red flat to you if you see someone promoting something that burns fat.
Run away and don’t listen because it doesn’t mean you will lose fat. Two different things!
So, if you do Paleo you need a calorie deficit to lose weight. If you eat Whole30, you need a calorie deficit to lose weight. If you do low carb or Keto, you need a calorie deficit.
If you fast, you need a calorie deficit to lose weight. So, let’s taking fasting as an example. You’re typically cutting out a meal.
That’s how you could get into calorie deficit. You’re reducing calories by skipping a meal. There’s nothing magical about fasting from a weight loss perspective.
With low carb and Keto, you are cutting out a food group. That creates a calorie deficit. But a lot of women tell me they fast or do low carb or keto as an example but aren’t losing weight, it’s because they’re not in a calorie deficit and are eating those calories back somewhere else to make up for what they cut out.
If you do WW, their point system is just a complicated way of counting calories to get you in a calorie deficit.
If you do Optavia, that program puts people on 800-1100 calorie diets by having them eat 1 meal a day with tiny snacks throughout the day. That is an example of an extreme calorie deficit.
If you do a shake program, you are reducing calories by replacing meals with shakes. Are you catching on here? All these diets are merely ways of getting you into a calorie deficit.
But here’s the trick – if you want to make this the last time you ever have to lose weight then you have to find a way of eating that is SUSTAINABLE.
It must be satisfying to you and something that you could keep doing until the day you die to keep the weight off. Otherwise, you lose weight and then you gain it back.
None of my clients ever tell me they would like to cut out ice cream, pizza, fruit, rice, chocolate, oatmeal until the day they die.
If that is you and you want to be able to eat these foods in a mindful way and keep weight off, this means slowing down during weight loss and LEARNING how to balance these foods into your diet.
So, if you do Optavia, you will have to continue doing that program until the day you die otherwise you are guaranteed to gain the weight back.
Because you never changed your habits, you’ll just go back to how you were eating before you did that program and will regain any weight you lost. Hopefully, this makes sense.
So, calories and energy balance are key. But not all sources of calories are equal. Some people say not all calories are equal but that isn’t true.
That’s like saying a 25 watt light bulb is not the same as another 25 watt light bulb. The measurement is the same they’re both 25-watts. So 100 calorie apple is the same measurement as a 100 calorie small candy bar.
The apple may have as many calories as a small candy bar, but the apple and candy bar will do very different things to your energy levels, your hunger hormones, and your satiety.
If you consume an apple, it’s unlikely that you’ll continue going back to eat more apples. I mean no one ever tells me they just can’t stop binging on apples.
But if you eat a candy bar, it's more likely you’ll go back and eat more and more and more. It’s very easy to overconsume calories depending on the sources of your calories.
Make sense? So, those two foods may have the same measurement of calories, but the calories do very different things to your hunger, satiety and energy.
What this means is that the composition of your food, or the macronutrients you consume are important for controlling hunger. So just paying attention to calories is not enough. It’s not as simple as calories in and calories out.
You must pay attention to macronutrients and when I talk about learning how to balance your plate this is what I’m referring to.
The foods that keep people the fullest are protein, fiber and produce and guess what? Those are the best health promoting foods too.
Beans, lentils, rice, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins with some healthy fat sprinkled in.
So not only are you going to stay fuller eating more of these types of foods they are also incredibly health promoting.
Also, when you add a lot more of these type of foods to your plate and build your meals around these foods you can very easily get into a calorie deficit.
For some women, they can get into a calorie deficit easily just by eating healthier. If you look at the meals on my website, Skinny Fitalicious.com you will notice they are built this way.
Not many individuals can do that because of their chronic dieting history and what they’ve done to their metabolisms though. Now that said, getting into a calorie deficit is easier said than done.
If this is your very first-time dieting and you simply reduce your calories, you will notice weight loss will be pretty easy – assuming you are tracking everything properly.
However, if you’ve done multiple diets and have lost weight and gained weight many times over the course of your life, you’ve lost muscle mass and your metabolism has downregulated now getting into a calorie deficit is more tricky and often requires you to go through a process that I call metabolic priming where we get calories back up and maintain calories at that higher level to allow the metabolism to adapt up.
This is what I do with several of my clients. You will notice if you do this pre-work upfront that losing weight and getting into a calorie deficit will be a lot easier.
A lot of women don’t want to do that though because it’s counterintuitive and they’re scared of gaining weight. I’ve never seen anyone gain a huge amount of weight doing that.
But I mean if you’re in a situation where you’ve chronically dieted and put your metabolism in this compromising position, then you don’t have a great option.
If you’re eating 1300 calories on average and maintaining at that level and your average stature then in order to get into a calorie deficit you would need to eat like 800-900 calories.
I mean you are going to find that to be extremely difficult to adhere to and your body will increase hunger hormones like leptin and ghrelin to fight back. To your body, it’s a survival mechanism. It senses danger. I’ve seen women in these scenarios too many times and weird things are going on.
Night sweats, hair falling out, brain fog, getting up and eating in the middle of the night, blood sugar problems, feeling overly worn down and tired, no energy, mood swings, chronic injuries, digestive problems. All this dysfunction is a result of an underfed and undernourished body.
But this is where the psychological damage of dieting shows up because women sometimes don’t want to eat more food to repair the damage.
They often feel more comfortable continuing doing the thing that’s causing the damage and their fear holds them back. I had a client who was doing this a few years ago and she was constantly complaining of extreme hunger, lack of energy, bloating and inability to sleep.
I kept telling her we needed to up her calories, but she refused to because she wanted to lose more weight.
No matter how I communicated to her that she was harming her body by eating too few calories for too long she just couldn’t accept what I said.
Our bodies are not meant to be in calorie deficits indefinitely or for years until we lose all our weight.
We have to take breaks from the deficit periodically to remove the stress from the human body that occurs from being in a calorie deficit. A calorie deficit is stress on the system.
So, figuring out your calorie deficit especially if you’re someone who’s chronically dieting or who’s very active can be tricky. It’s not as simple as plugging your height and weight into an online calculator.
The calorie deficit is as much a science as it is an art and that’s why working with an expert can really help remove the confusion and frustration.
Now let’s chat about calorie counting for a minute. You now know that calories and energy balance from the foods you eat are what drives weight loss. But that does not mean you need to count calories.
Well, it depends. If you’ve never counted calories ever in your life it would be a good educational exercise for you to do that for a few weeks. But maybe not. It really depends.
The majority of women I have worked with have years of yo-yo dieting and a disordered relationship with food, disordered relationship with their bodies, they fear eating certain foods or eating more food, they’re obsessed with the number on the scale, they’re horrible to themselves...
They talk negatively to themselves, they judge themselves harshly and they always should all over themselves – never giving themselves credit for small progress, just always focusing on the fact that they didn’t do enough and they’re not at their goal yet.
If that sounds like you, I wouldn’t recommend calorie counting right now. You must first work on your relationship with food, your fear of food, breaking up with the scale, learning new habits, learning a new mindset, learning better self-talk and learning how to balance your meals with your macronutrients.
You literally have to unwind years and decades of diet nonsense in your head and learn how to treat yourself better, learn how to not be so tied up in the scale.
I mean a client recently told me she had been getting on the scale for the last 27 years and I asked her - has the scale actually been helping you and she realized it really hasn’t been helping her.
What I see a lot of women doing is diving into something like calorie counting and then it just becomes like another restrictive diet, and they yo-yo with it.
If you have all this other baggage mentally, you have to work through that stuff first and I gotta be honest with you. I’ve seen clients struggle with having to put that before losing weight.
It’s really sad to see from where I am how obsessed women are with losing weight and are doing things to themselves at any negative cost to their health, body, hormones, metabolism and mindset.
The truth is many of the women I’ve worked with in my practice are trying to do things like calorie counting or have tried it but are absolutely, nowhere near ready for that yet.
They try to jump to calorie counting without having sustainable, healthy habits consistently down and it ends up perpetuating the disordered eating behaviors and creating more psychological damage when they jump to something like calorie counting.
The other thing with calorie counting is that you have to weigh and measure your food on a food scale. I did an IG video on this a few weeks ago and people were blown away. If you’re not weighing and measuring your food on a food scale, your calories are not accurate.
A half a cup of rice could really be 2/3 of a cup or ¾ of a cup. A client of mine recently realized that she was eating 100 calories extra of peanut butter because she wasn’t measuring it on a food scale.
It’s very easy to eat an extra 500 calories a day when you’re not weighing food on a food scale and you’re just measuring with spoons or measuring cups.
So now you’re tracking your calories and thinking your calorie deficit isn’t working when really, you’re just not weighing and measuring correctly.
So why bother tracking calories if you’re not weighing and measuring.
The calories you’re tracking are not accurate if you’re not weighing and measuring on a food scale and I see a lot of individuals making that mistake.
What’s the point of tracking calories if your calories are not accurate because you’re not weighing and measuring your food? There is no point.
You’re just setting yourself up to feel frustrated and eventually give up. And we know from studies that people under report their food up to 30%.
My point is that most women are not ready calorie counting yet.
It just adds to the layers of stress when we try to add calorie counting on top of metabolic damage from all the diets you’ve done and the psychological damage you have with food, body image and the scale.
Now I do believe calorie counting is a very educational tool. It teaches you a tremendous amount of information about what foods are a protein, fat and carb and how many calories are in certain foods.
I do believe the majority of people on the planet could greatly benefit from tracking calories for just 2 weeks. It is so eye opening.
Don’t change how you eat. Don’t try to eat healthy. Don’t try to be perfect with your diet. Simply track everything you put in your mouth and of course, weigh and measure things.
If you eat out, take your best guess. Then at the end of the 2 weeks access how many calories you ate, where was your protein at compare and use the free calorie calculator on my website to compare to the data you captured.
Analyze what you learned and see where you have opportunities to improve. Treat it as an experiment!
The trick is to figure out how to get yourself in a slight calorie deficit with a way of eating that keeps you full, makes you feel satisfied and that you can sustain until the day you die because the only way human body loses fat is through a calorie deficit.
Now I spoke about it not being as simple as calories in and calories out and I mentioned how important that macronutrient balance.
I can’t stress enough the importance of protein intake especially for perimenopausal and menopausal women. You are losing muscle mass year over year ladies and the thing I see repeatedly is women under consuming lean protein.
Muscle mass is the engine behind your metabolism. It is very easy to gain weight during these years due to that muscle mass loss so eating sufficient protein is important to counteract that.
Also, you will lose some muscle in a calorie deficit.
You need to retain as much muscle while losing weight as possible and as you age. I think there are some women who believe eating more protein isn’t necessary and that people like me who harp on it are going overboard.
But I will tell you in my practice, the women I see are often not even eating the daily recommended amount of protein. They are deficit in protein – they have a nutritional deficiency.
I only ever recommend moderate protein intake with my clients because unless you are a body builder or very active it’s just not necessary to eat a vast amount of protein, but for most of my clients they aren’t even eating the bare minimum to keep their body and hormones functioning properly and there is a cascade of problems that happen in the body as a result of insufficient protein intake one of which is higher sugar cravings.
I spoke about sugar cravings and protein in a previous episode which I’ll link for you. That is just one example of how inadequate protein intake shows up as a symptom.
But the message here is protein and calories are the two things to focus most on for weight loss.
Now I want to talk about the scale a bit. I talked about the scale not being a true measurement of fat loss in episode 78 and I got a lot of messages from you guys how eye-opening that episode was for you. I could drink a glass of water right now and go weigh myself and I would be 2-3 pounds heavier on the scale. That’s not fat – that’s water!
The scale is not great at reflecting fat loss and body composition change. And so many women are so tied to the scale and not realizing that the way they are using the scale is simply not how weight loss works.
I believe that majority of you are not ready to be on the scale and that you should simply focus on health promoting habits like eating more protein and balancing your plate and break up with that scale because what I see is women abusing the scale and using it as an excuse not to take care of their bodies and it just perpetuates the disordered relationship with food and body cycle.
If you really want to lose weight permanently and heal your relationship with food and your body, stay away from the scale.
Your just not ready for it and like I said in that previous episode, it’s not a great tool for measuring fat loss.
So, now you know!
Calories deficit and protein intake are key to fat loss. So don’t let your cubicle buddy at work tell you there’s something magical about the latest diet trend they’re trying, or your best friend or family member proclaim what they’re doing is the right way.
There is nothing magical about any of these trendy diets out there. Carnivore, Keto, a shake program, Paleo, or cutting out oatmeal or fruit.
Nothing magical at any of those things. They are all in my mind over complicating weight loss.
And in fact, a lot of these diets you can still overeat or eat at maintenance and never see fat loss. I hear that from women a lot who did Paleo.
I mean you can eat within the guidelines of Paleo, but if you’re not in that caloric deficit you will not achieve fat loss.
So, you must have a calorie deficit to lose body fat and what I have found works for most women is what I call hormonal weight loss.
That is eating for your hunger and satiety hormones. That is NOT eating for reproductive hormones ladies.
Again, this is what I talked about earlier. Eating sufficient protein, fiber, produce with complex carbs and healthy fat is a simple, balanced way of eating that will reduce hunger and cravings and improve energy and is also health promoting.
I talked about that in episode 56 and you will notice when you build your meals mostly around the principles, I teach in that episode that you will be less likely to snack and overeat.
But again, you still need that calorie deficit and not all sources of calories are created equal and for some women figuring out their calorie deficit can be tricky after years of chronically dieting.
Your metabolic rate decreases every time you lose weight and gain it back.
Research tells us it is approximately a 28% decline in metabolic rate. At one time if your maintenance was 2000 calories, now it’s 1440 calories. This is why losing weight gets harder and harder over time.
The good news is that damage our bodies can repair itself from that, but that requires people to eat more food and often women are too scared to do that, so they stay stuck perpetually dieting and doing more damage.
So yes, figuring out what your calorie deficit can be tricky and for some of the clients I’ve worked with they just want to jump in and start losing weight right away, but they have no idea how to balance their plates, no idea what a protein, fat and carb is, they have a boatload of food rules, an unhealthy relationship with the scale, are fearful of eating more food and have a bunch of psychological damage from years of chronically dieting.
You can’t jump to the weight loss part until you address that stuff first.
Now last, let’s talk about exercise works with weight loss.
Exercise is very insignificant to losing body fat. I don’t think women understand that exercise does not drive weight loss. It’s an extremely small % of the weight loss equation.
If you have taken my free weight loss class, I speak of the weight loss equation and how exercise is the smallest % of that equation.
So, if your goal is to lose body fat then it doesn’t make sense why you’re focusing on the smallest piece of the weight loss equation.
That’s not to say people should not be exercising.
Exercising to build muscle which supports the metabolism and exercising for cardiovascular health and mental health is super important. But in and of itself, exercise is not the driver of fat loss.
The thing that does drive fat loss is energy balance, or the calories you are consuming from food.
Because all food has calories, and our bodies require calories to function and keep you alive.
And what’s interesting is when I speak to women, they never tell me their calories, or that they’re weighing and measuring their food consistently.
Never, ever, ever, ever, ever does that happen.
But THAT is the most important piece and that IS the thing that drives fat loss.
What that tells me is that a lot women truly do not understand how weight loss works.
Because if you understood how weight loss works, why are you telling me all about your exercise routine? Why aren’t you telling me about your food?
Because that is the thing that really drives fat loss.
If you go and exercise and let’s say you do 30-minutes on the elliptical.
Let’s say you burn 200 calories. Do you know how easy it is to eat back 200 calories? VERY EASY!
And truthfully, our bodies get more proficient with calories and exercise.
So in the beginning maybe you burned 200 calories on the elliptical, now you’re only burning 170 calories. Why? Because overtime, our bodies get better at exercise.
So, you never ever, ever, ever want to rely on exercise to create a calorie deficit.
Think of this way. You are driving a car. Does the passenger drive the car or does the driver drive the car?
Sometimes the passenger helps out – we all know who those people are lol, but ultimately, the driver is in control of navigating the car. Make sense?
So, your nutrition and the number of calories you consume are driving the car. Exercise is a passenger in the car.
It can be helpful in directing the car as in building and retaining muscle mass to support the metabolism, but ultimately, it’s not the driver of the car.
Okay, to recap how weight loss works.
A calorie deficit is how humans lose body fat, but not all sources of calories are equal.
No dietary method magically creates weight loss without a calorie deficit, but the KEY is to find something SUSTAINABLE for you.
Eating higher protein and fiber meals will keep you fuller and more satisfied. Exercise does not drive weight loss and is not the thing to focus on, the nutrition and calories are most important.
And last, take some time to figure out why you keep gaining weight back!
I hope this episode helps. Talks to you soon!