Everyone has been told that to lose weight it's a numbers game, consume less calories than you burn. However, for anyone who has been tracking their calories, you may already know that it is not so simple. And here is why...
Weight loss has been sold to many of us as calories in verses calories out, and while this is the overall idea of maintaining weight, many of you may already know that it isn't that simple. It is so easy now with today's technology to track your daily consumed calories as well as being able to calculate how many calories you burn. Now you can see how many calories you consume and alter your movement to burn extra energy. So you know you are burning more calories than you are consuming, but why aren't the kilos shifting?
Unfortunately it gets a little more complicated than calories in vs. calories out.
Yes, you can do all the tracking in the world but your weight doesn't vary much. In fact in some cases you may well be starving yourself and you are gaining weight... What? It does get confusing, but don't worry, I've got some simple changes below that may just help you reach your goals and start living a life of health and vibrancy.
No matter how much we restrict ourselves in order to survive we must consume food. So rather than restricting and constantly counting your calorie intake, why not start implementing these changes?
Not all calories are equal! 600 calories consumed from eating a steak will have a very different effect on the body than 600 calories of cake. Although on paper the calories are the same, the body reacts in a very different way. Consuming high carbohydrate food will activate the insulin response. The role of insulin in the body is necessary and not something that needs to be avoided however a continuously high spiking insulin response can have some very interesting effects. Not only does continual levels of insulin increase the rate of fat storing but it also makes it harder for one to loss body fat. Continually high insulin spikes can also be very dangerous as this can lead to insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes.
How to implement? An easy way to increase food quality in your diet is to generally avoid processed food and increase your intake of real, whole foods.
We have been sold the idea that eating small meals regularly or grazing throughout the day is the best way to consume food. I like anyone else followed this way of eating not only because that is what has been advertised but promoted but also because I love food and eating. Breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and dessert. It seems a bit excessive that we would now consume 6 different meals when as hunters and gathers one meal a day would have been a blessing. Continuously eating food is a horrible idea, especially when we are consuming large loads of processed sugary carbohydrates. As I mentioned earlier, eating high carbohydrate foods will activate an insulin response, this response activated continuously throughout the day is a terrible idea if you are trying to lose weight. Not only are you adding food constantly but you are also triggering the body to hold and store fat.
How to implement? The best thing you could do here is to practice going without food for a period of time or intermittent fasting. Now this doesn't mean that skipping breakfast each morning is healthy, but reduce the non necessary meals in your day or only eat when you are truly hungry.
We all know that in order to lose weight we need to burn more calories than we consume. Burning calories is something that is continuously occurring throughout the day whether it be through breathing or a gym workout. The amount of calories that are burnt throughout a day however vary from person to person (everyone has that one friend who looks at a treadmill and the fat falls off). This section will touch on a couple of simple ways that you can become more efficient when it comes to burning calories.
Yep, you heard right, you don't need to do an extra sweaty session, I want you to sleep. Sleep is super important for a number of life factors one being weight loss. One study showed that getting an adequate amount of sleep will not only have you feeling better rested but increase your rate of fat loss by up to 50%. That means you could get to your goal weight in half the time! Another reason you want to get better quality sleep is that you will find you have more energy and will find yourself moving more and burning more calories even if it is just through fidgeting.
How to implement? Create a sleep schedule and stick to it. If you are someone who doesn't sleep well you will also want to create a sleep ritual. Some things I love doing is moving away from electronic devices, sipping a hot chamomile tea, having a shower and reading in bed before I turn the lights off.
When you feel stressed the body's biological reaction is to produce cortisol. Cortisol is a good and very healthy hormone to have running around your body, however in its elevated state for a sustained period of time many negative side effects can occur. Including weight gain. This is because cortisol has the ability to reduce the burning of fat and begin storing it. Think evolution, if our hunter and gatherer ancestors were stressed it was probably because food was scarce, so their body did its thing to help you survive and helped you retain fat for energy later. Ergo, in today's stressful and busy society with plentiful food many are putting on extra kilos and struggling to lose them.
How to implement? You need to start looking into what is causing you stress and practising some stress reducing activities, such as; meditation, yoga, reading, long walks or really whatever calms you down after a stress filled day.
If you are struggling to lose weight no matter how much you move or how little you eat you may want to consider looking into the other components of your health and make a few changes. Restful sleep or food quality may be what is ultimately holding you back from a gorgeous, more energetic and lighter you. An overall healthy, balanced lifestyle will not only have you looking great but feeling great too so what have you got to lose?