WHY EATING LESS AND MOVING MORE DOESN’T WORK
Are you as tired as I am of consistently trying to count calories, move more, eat less and yet still eventually making it back to your original weight? Don’t worry you are not alone. Research shows that yo-yo dieters are 82% more likelyto have an unhealthy BMIs and are risking their health. That’s scary. To me it sounds like the people who are trying to make healthier choices are the ones who are going to fail. So why try at all?
Instead, you should be focusing on what you eat, how you feel, improving your overall health, and making small changes that are maintainable. As you may know, dieting is not usually sustainable. Nobody likes to feel deprived or left out of eating delicious foods at parties, restaurants, and events. Nobody wants to be that one person. I’m not saying to go ahead and eat all those less-than-ideal foods all the time, but I certainly don’t want you to feel restricted. Feeling restricted can only lead to a binge and then negative feelings of guilt and anger that you allowed this to happen. Instead of focusing on losing weight, focus on preventing weight gain. Also, weight loss should be slow. Remember, slow and steady wins the race.
I specialize in working with clients in their 30s and up. Many of them struggle to maintain their weight. To help you get started, here are some of the tips that I give them.
1) Find Better Alternatives
The key is to switch from more refined devitalized foods to foods full of nutrients that your body needs. Food is fuel for the body and gives your body what it needs to be healthy. When we are eating lots of refined and convenience foods, then we are not giving our body what it needs and that can eventually lead to disease. Here are some alternatives.
Rice:Choose Brown over White. Or better yet, replace your carb option with more vegetables on your plate.
Flour:Choose almond or coconut flour.
Meat:Choose more grass-fed, pasture-raised, and organic meats. Also limit the refined meats, such as deli meats, bacon, and sausage.
Dairy: There are many non-dairy options you can try, such as almond, oat, hazelnut, and coconut milk. My favorite is almond milk.
Bread:Choose whole grain sprouted wheat varieties over white bread.
2) Hara Hachi Bu
The Japanese have a saying, “Hara Hachi Bu” which means to eat until you are 80% full. Not overeating may be one of the reasons for the large number of centenarians in Okinawa, Japan. You may have already heard this, but it takes your body around 20-minutes to feel full, so if you stop at 80% full, then you will likely feel 100% full if you wait a bit. In addition, overeating increases oxidative damage, which speeds up the aging process. Instead, start meals like the Japanese and say, “Hara Hachi Bu” to each other as a reminder.
3) Improve your health
I have always liked the saying that you shouldn’t lose weight to get healthy but instead get healthy to lose weight. Often, when we aren’t taking care of our health in other ways (such as sleep, exercise, stress management and more), then our bodies like to hold on to fat and not let it go. This can also lead your body into wanting to store more fat. In the end, you are fighting your body, and guess who will win?
4) Find your Why
This one is important to help keep your motivation going. It is one of the very first things I have my clients do before we do anything else. It’s so easy to “fall off the wagon” and go back to all the less-than-ideal foods when we get bored of the healthier options. I am going to sidetrack here, but it is important to know that our taste buds are used to more hyperpalatable foods. Hyperpalatable food is food that is full of fat, sugar, flavors, and additives to make it taste amazing and stimulate the pleasure center of the brain through a dopamine release. As we change our eating habits, our taste buds will become more used to healthier and more natural foods. Eventually you may even crave vegetables. Gasp. I know but it’s true.
Back to your why… I don’t mean something like, “I want to lose 10 lbs.” or “I want to fit my size-six pants.” I want you to dig deep and figure out why you want to do this. For me, I see my patients and family members suffer and live short lives when many of them could have lived longer, richer lives had they made healthier choices. As a nurse, it is hard to see my patients have cancer or have lots of pain and suffering. I have had my own health issues that I am still working on, and they are part of my why. My why is that I don’t want to suffer. I don’t want my family to see me suffer. I want to inspire and help others to live full healthy lives. I also want to live to an old age, still be able to get around, not be on lots of meds, and remain mentally sharp. Your why could be that you want to lead by example to your children and family. It could be that you no longer want to depend on insulin. It could be that you want to become more active and you don’t feel well enough to.
One idea that I usually give my clients is to put your why on a notecard and carry it with you everywhere. Before you eat or order anything, pick up the card and read it. I even give my clients a list of questions to put on the other side of their cards. These statements remind them of Hara Hachi Bu, ask if there is a healthier swap they can make with the meal, and ask them if they are providing their bodies with needed nutrients with that meal. Both sides of your card can help you to make better choices with your meals.
I want to empower you to take control of your health and not give it completely to a doctor and medication. You do have options. You can improve how you feel, your energy levels, and your weight.
To your health,
Katelin Gates, BSN, RN, CPT