Often times, I hear people say things like:
“I have gained weight. I gotta get back to the gym.”
“I’ve been going to the gym every day for weeks and nothing is changing!”
My first thought in response to these statements is:
“Tell me about what you’re eating. How is your diet?”
I hear over and over that weight loss is 75-80% based on diet. Not the type of diet like, I am on a diet. Rather, the type of diet that is a lifestyle; what we are eating to sustain ourselves and give us energy. The foods we are feeding our bodies to promote cell growth, prevent chronic disease and promote overall wellness. To fall into that healthy weight category for BMI (body mass index).
Because for real:
The CDC states that 37.9% of Americans are obese and 70.7% of Americans are overweight.
This is not good. Just being overweight significantly increases a person’s risk of high blood pressure and diabetes, along with all of their various complications including heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, loss of eyesight and poor circulation leading to non-healing wounds and infection. NOT GOOD. Check out my series I’ve started on these topics for some more insight.
What does overweight look like?
Well, a BMI for someone my height (5’9”) is 25. I become obese when that BMI reaches 30. For someone of my height, I am overweight at 169 pounds and obese when I hit 203 pounds. You can see recommendations for yourself here: BMI Calculator
Now, this DOES NOT mean that you should go out and try to drop 50 pounds in the next month. It is unrealistic to think that is possible and if you have found a way it is likely a very unhealthy approach. That is the whole reason that diets as we traditionally think of them tend to fail. They aren’t sustainable, they are restrictive and they don’t teach our bodies what it means to be healthy.
Here’s the deal: YOUR BODY NEEDS FUEL TO SURVIVE! It evens needs calories to burn fat and lose weight. It just needs the right calories. Clearly, I am a big advocate of doing this with the Whole30 or a Paleo-based diet. That is my personal favorite because I don’t tolerate dairy well and sugar is an addictive life-suck, but you don’t have to go that route. You can actually eat a balanced diet while eating all the food groups. Here are some key points to consider that will help you:
- Stop with all the processed foods. This is anything that comes in a box or a can. Fresh is Best! You can definitely buy frozen fresh vegetables and fruit from the freezer section if that is better for you and your budget, but steer clear of anything that is premade. All of these items are full of chemicals, preservatives, sodium and sugar.
- Avoid unnecessary sugar. This includes anything purchased from your grocery store bakery or off store shelves including cookies, cakes, sodas, Gatorade and like-products and all those oh-so-delicious Starbucks lattes. Sugar is super high in calories, has no nutrients and is addictive. I could do an entire post why our bodies hate sugar, but I will leave it simple for now.
- Avoiding the excess sugar doesn’t mean you should or need to deprive yourself of a homemade cookie now and then. Just don’t eat 5 and if you make them yourself, cut the sugar in half. Start there. Trust me, they don’t need as much sugar as the recipe thinks…
- Read nutrition labels! Don’t know how? Google it, or let me know and I will write a post about that. Almost everything you buy off a shelf that is not fresh has sugar in it. Why tho?? Unnecessary.
- Choose whole grains whenever possible and investigate the serving size. For example, a serving size of pasta is usually 3/4 cup, cooked. Not the 2-3 that often comes in a standard American dinner. This difference brings your calories down from around 600 for the pasta to around 200. It also brings the carbohydrates down to a level your body can feasibly break down with the insulin you are producing in your pancreas (the inability to do this develops overtime and causes diabetes).
- Eat your veggies! Instead of filling up on 2 slices of bread, choose one slice and supplement with fresh veggies. Vegetables are full of fiber to keep you full longer and stimulate your digestive tract. Choose nutrient dense veggies such as: spinach, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, squash, peppers, Brussels sprouts, asparagus and tomatoes. No, corn and green beans are not nutrient dense 😉 Excellent healthy recipes are a dime a dozen now-a-days on the internet AND I’m posting healthy food options weekly here on the blog.
If you have suggestions about what you’d like to hear more about or need some direction with, post them in the comments below and let me know!