Would you consider yourself a chronic dieter or someone who is constantly trying a new fad to lose the weight because the one you tried before didn’t quite workout? Well, lets talk about a few important issues that relate to this yo-yo dieting effect.
On average, men require a MINIMUM of 1500 calories a day and women require a minimum of 1200 calories. If you throw in some exercise, now your daily minimum caloric intake has increased. Some diets can be too restrictive on calorie intake, which sets you up for longterm failure. The diet will naturally allow you to drop a few pounds in the beginning, and maybe more, but it will eventually leave you feeling too deprived leading to uncontrolled binging, fatigue and frustration. When you’re not taking in enough calories, your body will innately protect its fat stores and you will begin to lose weight from other sources. Eventually, this catches up to you leading to binging or uncontrollable eating and cravings. The weight comes right back with a few extra pounds than you started with and a side of GUILT and frustration. This tells us that eating too few calories can be just as destructive as eating too many calories.
Chronic dieting teaches us to ignore our inner signals of being hungry, and chronic overeating teaches us to ignore the signals our body sends when we are full (not stuffed). Over the next week, and longer if you can, I challenge you to do the following:
1. Keep a diary of EVERYTHING you ate for at least 5 days. This will allow you to put what you’re eating into perspective. I really like the free ap “My Fitness Pal” to accomplish this. It is very user friendly and offers a huge database of food. You might find that your consuming too many or not enough calories. Either way, we need to be aware of how much or how little we are actually consuming.
2. Drink water with every meal. This aids in the digestion process, and helps with reaching that state of fullness without overeating.
3. Eat slower and with purpose! Sometimes we go to the fridge or sit down at the table in a state of extreme hunger because maybe we aren’t eating enough throughout the day, which causes us to eat like we are never going to see food again. Don’t skip meals and eat small healthy snacks to avoid binging. Chew your food slowly to give your body time to digest it and fire off those “I feel full” signals. Eat with purpose and because you’re hungry, not just out of boredom or because the food is available.
4. Think about how you felt after your meals and food choices. Did you feel guilty or proud of the decisions you made? Repeat the choices that feel GOOD!
5. Eat balanced meals full of fruit, veggies, lean protein, healthy fats and whole grains. The more the food has to offer you in the way of nutrition, the more your body will appreciate it. Sometimes we feel hungry because we are eating too many foods that don’t provide our bodies with enough nutrients, so it just keeps asking for more. Your glucose levels can rise and drop quickly when we eat too many carbs (or simple sugars) and don’t balance it out with a bit of healthy fats and protein. Balanced meals and snacks will stabilize your glucose levels a bit more efficiently, thus avoiding the repeated feeling of being hungry.
6. Eat breakfast. We wake up in a fasted state which slows our metabolism. If we avoid breakfast, come lunch we are likely to overeat in an effort to make up for the deficit. Eating breakfast turns on your metabolism and gives you the energy you need to start the day off right.
Behavior change is so important to longterm weight management. You can diet over and over again, and the contstant loss and regain of pounds can actually increase you risk for things like cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some cancers. Sometimes, you will actually gain back more than you lost. We need a solution, not a fad or a temporary bandaid. Hope these tips and info help you or someone you know. Feel free to reach out to me ANYTIME!