Excess body weight is an increasing problem in our society. With the abundance of overly processed foods, the staggering availability of fast foods and the convenience lifestyle that many of us gravitate towards – it’s no wonder that obesity rates are on the rise. Excess fat isn’t just an aesthetic problem either, it causes serious health concerns including things like:
- Decreased mobility
- Poor circulatory health
- Increased risk for heart disease, strokes & cancer
- Increased odds for stress fractures
- Poor body confidence & mental health issues
Being overweight can and does seriously impact every facet of life. I say this not just as a Nutrition Coach but as someone who was obese. I can absolutely relate to virtually all of the items on the list above and I know I am not alone. To get a clearer perspective on just how much of the population in different countries is, take a look at the graphic below.
Beyond the health of it all, losing weight – fat specifically – improves the quality of lives and makes people look & feel better. But losing weight is tough. As a society, we don’t exactly have a great track record with respect to losing weight. The average person tends to go on a minimum of 3 fad diets a year – often without any long term success. Even modern advances in medicine like bariatric surgery have a success rate of long term weight loss/management of less than 10%.
So if you are wondering how you go about successfully losing weight, most diets will tell you that you need a calorie deficit. Or rather, less calories going into the body than are being used by the activities you are doing everyday. However, when we go on a very restrictive eating plan our bodies think that we are starving them so they prioritize storing our fat and lowering our resting metabolism. Often within 1 – 2 days of starting a new, restrictive diet. In addition, the body’s response to calorie deprivation makes rebound weight all but definite once the diet has been discarded. Because many popular diets focus on calorie restriction over healthy eating, this often means that instead of losing fat, people are losing muscle instead – and when they ditch the diet, they become fatter than ever. Lean muscle helps increase our metabolism and without it, not only does our body increase fat stores but with a sluggish metabolism, we are much less likely to lose weight in general.
If you are interested in proven strategies for weight loss, I recommend the following:
- Workout at least 3-4 hours per week
- Eat a diet rich in whole and unprocessed foods
- Sleep 7 – 9 hours per night
- Manage stress effectively
- Stop trying fad or extreme diets
- Be mindful of clever food marketing
- Stay active (outside of workouts) everyday
It sounds like a lot. And it is – especially if you try to do ALL of those things at once. If you want to not reach a body weight goal but also maintain it over time, it takes patience and being consistent with all of the elements above. I always advise my clients to start with one habit at a time and work on making that habit a consistent part of their lifestyle. Once they have successfully done that, they can add another so that over time they create a strong base of healthy habits which support their body weight goals and overall lifestyle.
If you struggle with some or many of the above habits, just know you aren’t alone. Many people need more than just a cookie cutter diet – they need someone who can help them and tailor a program to fit their lifestyle and overall goals. This is where I come in as nutritional coaching is what I do and its how I help people take a daunting list of habits and break it down into manageable steps that my clients can implement successfully. Sound like it might work for you? Check out my coaching page and let’s chat!