6 Solutions To The "Eat Less, Move More" Myth
Alright, we have spent the last 2 weeks together learning about:
Body Weight (mass) = Energy In - Energy Out
There are 6 big issues to this approach. Problems you have to expect to encounter when you're trying to manipulate your body fat levels. Let's recap, and look at the solutions to help you avoid these problems.
Issue #1: You have to absorb calories for them to “count”. Eating a bunch of highly processed foods and smoothies that have been blended up? Those are going to be easier to digest which means you absorb more of these calories. (Not to mention the nutrient content may be lack luster)
Solution: Eat more unprocessed whole foods to absorb less energy from the foods you eat while also burning more energy to digest them! You'll be stocking your body with more fiber and nutrients to keep systems happy and healthy.
Issue #2: Calorie counts are just rough guesses. What's the point of precise math if our margins for error is a 20% swing in either direction?
Solution: Don’t get too hung up on the numbers because it’s impossible to be super accurate here.
Issue #3: You can’t know your ‘Energy Out’ because you can’t know how much energy you’re burning through digesting your food (TEF) or staying generally “active” throughout the day (NEAT).
Solution: Focus on staying active through non-exercise activity (NEAT) like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking instead of driving, or playing a game of tag with the kiddos. You won't know exactly how much you burned, but you will be adding good, stress-lowering movement into the mix (which means less alarm bells from your brain).
Issue #4: Increased Hunger and Cravings.
Solution: Don’t be overly restrictive of calories. Eat satisfying meals made up primarily of minimally processed foods that keep you full longer and reassure your body that you will not starve to death and are getting enough nutrients. The more we restrict the more we see an increase in physical AND psychological mechanisms designed to keep you alive.
Issue #5: Stress response ramps up as you lose weight, making it harder to lose.
Solution: Trust the process and don’t be too hard on yourself so you can manage emotional stress. Don’t be too extreme with calorie restriction or punishing workouts as this is more stressful to your body. Expect it to take longer than you want and be kind to yourself about your circumstances. Nobody ever got the body they wanted in one workout. If you miss one workout, you won't lose all your progress.
Issue #6: Your brain is always one step ahead of you and will stave off weight loss as a survival mechanism.
Solution: Recognize that the harder you push, and the more extreme your plan, the harder your body will fight you on it. Be reasonable, strategic, and work WITH your bodies’ natural responses, rather than against them. Accept the fact that whatever strategies you use to get the results you want are the things you will likely have to keep doing to STAY that way. If you prioritize sustainability you will never reach a point where you feel like you have to stop. If you never have to stop, you will eventually reach your goals.