10 hard truths about weight loss that you need to accept and embrace
I don’t need to tell you that losing weight - and more importantly, keeping it off - is difficult and frustrating. But understanding why weight loss is so difficult and embracing the hard truth - can help you stop frantically looking and trying the best new thing on the market.
Social media is blasting you with pictures of perfect human beings with no body fat on them at all.
“It isn’t fair! Why can’t I look like that?”
Your best friend can stuff her face with delicious food and never gain weight. But you smell a donut, and you gain 5 pounds!
Listen, I know how it feels wanting something so badly but not wanting to change anything. You try and fail, try and fail - and every time you fail, you become more and more desperate to find something that will work. New diet, a new pill, new detox - you are willing to try anything to lose weight, but nothing sticks. With every setback, you are beating yourself up, falling further into the rabbit hole.
I know how it feels to listen to advice on ‘how to’..... But if you don’t hear what YOU want to hear, you will disregard the legit advice and keep searching for something else. Preferably something that doesn’t require too much work and promises fast results.
This blog is not meant to be scary or discouraging - on the contrary. ‘Knowing your enemy’, knowing what you are up against - that’s the key to success.
Forget the commercial bullshit about gimmicks and face the scientific facts about weight loss.
Truth 1: Your body will fight the change
When you decide to lose weight, be prepared to fight not only your cravings but also your body! Yep, you heard me correctly.
Australian researchers found that weight loss decreases the hormone leptin, which signals to your brain that you’re full, and increases the hormone ghrelin, which stimulates hunger. This hormone imbalance continues long after you succeed at weight loss, making it even harder for you to keep the pounds off, according to the study.
Truth 2: Increased metabolism will help you burn calories more quickly
Metabolism is a chemical process that converts your body’s fuel (food) into energy. It is powering your body to be able to breathe, move, and think. It’s the way your body processes and breaks down food for fuel.
If your metabolism runs fast, it’s like a power furnace quickly burning through fuel. With a faster metabolism, you may find that you naturally have a lot of energy and possibly even a speedier heart rate, too.
Sabrena Jo, director of science and research content for the American Council on Exercise in San Diego teaches, that “if you cut too many calories too quickly, your metabolism will slow down”.
One thing that stuck with me when I attended her course was: “If you cut calories drastically and as a result, you drop a lot of weight fairly quickly, it’s likely that you’re losing some muscle. Muscle is really the engine of metabolism, so that contributes to a slower metabolism.”
This is why some people are slow and sluggish. Feeling slow and sluggish often leads to loss of vitality and willingness to engage in any kind of physical activity.
I read a very good article written by Michael Zemel, PhD, professor emeritus and former director of the Nutrition Institute at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. In his research, he explains that our ancestors (cavemen) were hunter-gatherers who often didn’t know when their next meal would come.
Their bodies held onto the calories in food as a matter of survival. But it also made them slower and less alert. I bet you know what happened to them! Survival of the fittest! And because only the fittest people lived to pass along their genes, modern humans probably evolved from those with slower metabolisms.
Truth 3: There are no quick fixes or magical potions
Next month is your high school reunion or your wedding, and you want to lose 30 pounds. I understand that! Who doesn’t want to look their best on a special occasion?
I said this many many times before - and I keep saying it until it gets ingrained into your brain:
There are no magic pills or miracle cures that can make it happen!
I get it! It’s hard to be patient when you are trying to lose weight. But if it took you months or years to gain that weight, what makes you think you can lose it in a couple of days? I also understand the temptation of doing something drastic for a short while rather than a lifelong lifestyle change.
Quick starvation diets can wreak havoc on your metabolism, and they can damage your weight loss efforts for the long term. As you start your weight loss journey, remember that slow and steady weight loss - one to two pounds a week — is the easiest to achieve and maintain. And the achievement of a small goal every week creates confidence and momentum to continue this journey.
Truth 4: Diet supplements do not work
Those little colorful pills, detox teas, or drops that claim to supercharge your metabolism are tempting, but there’s little evidence that they work. In a review published in May 2012 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston followed thousands of dieters and found that liquid diets, fad diets, and over-the-counter diet pills were NOT LINKED TO weight loss.
Only prescription weight loss medication has guaranteed effects. Please make sure you are taking them under medical supervision!
Truth 5: Fad diets do not work for long
Avocado. Bacon. Grapefruit. Maple syrup. Cabbage. Apple-cider vinegar. Lemon juice. All these “miracle” diets are supposed to help you melt pounds and trigger fat-burning.
Let me lay down the hard facts for you: Fad diets (or any dietary changes) work in the short term through calorie restriction, but fail to deliver long-lasting results.
Sabrena Jo states that the problem is that people typically lack the desire to sacrifice entire food groups or severely limit their caloric intake, so eventually a more inclusive, calorically dense way of eating returns. And with caloric dense food, pounds you lost will return as well - and they might bring a few extra friends.
Truth 6: You can not out-train a bad diet
Yes, exercise helps you lose weight and keep it off - as a report from the National Weight Control Registry found. According to this research, people who maintain their weight loss exercise for at least 60 minutes most days …. BUT ….
But it’s nearly impossible to lose weight from exercise alone!
Grab your calculator: A 135-pound person biking 60 minutes at 12 miles an hour will burn 369 calories. A post-workout protein bar or shake has the same amount of calories, or even more!
To lose a pound of fat - you have to burn 3,500 calories more than you consume.
Generally speaking, to lose one pound a week, you would have to put yourself in a 500-calorie deficit every day.
It simply means that you can bust your butt while working out - but if you don’t adjust your eating habits, you will never have the body you always wanted.
Truth 7: Exercising helps to lose weight and keep it off
I did my research! According to the 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, published in November 2018 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, adults should get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity (or a combination of both) spread through the week. In addition to two or more days of strength training.
These guidelines should help most people lose weight, but obese people or people with a lot of weight to lose the need to be even more active, working up to at least 30 minutes per day overtime.
My workouts are anywhere between 20 to 50 minutes a day.
I know that the majority of people who are trying to lose weight (especially women) think that cardio is the key to calorie burn.
cardio does burn more calories per session, but weight (strength) training increases your long-term calorie burn. Muscle burns more calories resting than your body’s fat tissues. Besides, weight (strength) training supports the joint health and function you need to do all that cardio!
Get the best of both worlds and combine cardio with weight training!
Truth 8: One diet does not fit all
I get it - your friend, your coworker, your mother, some stranger on social media, or your neighbor can’t shut up about their “amazing diet” that helped them to lose weight. And I’m very happy for them.
But I’m here to tell you that everyone’s body is unique, so the ‘diet’ somebody else is doing might not work for you.
When you are deciding on the best way to lose weight, there are a few factors you should consider before you start:
- your health and family history
- your metabolism
- your activity level
- your age and gender
- your likes and dislikes
When you’re trying to lose weight and keep it off, it is absolutely crucial to allow yourself to eat foods that you enjoy. Deprivation rarely works. If you know you can’t eat something, all you think about is ‘forbidden fruit’.
That’s why I am a firm believer and living proof of portion control.
I teach my clients how to eat appropriate amounts of food (sweets and alcohol included) by using color-coded containers. 90 percent of my clients lost weight and kept it off!
If you feel deprived, you are less likely to stick with an overall healthy eating plan. For a lifelong weight loss success, make sure that the ‘diet’ fits your lifestyle, not the other way around.
You need to accept that one diet won’t work for everyone!
Truth 9: Men can eat more than women
I’m not a feminist, but I think it is unfair that men can eat more than women and still lose weight.
I understand that our physiology is different. Men tend to naturally burn more calories than women, because of their larger size, muscle mass, and elevated levels of the testosterone, which promotes muscle growth.
Side note: This hormone is also the reason why women can’t “bulk up” (read: attaining the shape of a bodybuilder) when using dumbbells. Ladies, please don’t be scared of the dumbbells - they are your friends!
Furthermore, the male body is genetically designed for more muscle and less fat than the female body.
This is in our genes. Cavemen were hunting and protecting- cavewomen were bearing children. Hence the female body stores energy to increase fertility, even long after we moved out of the caves.
Once you stop focusing on the fact that your male partner can eat more than you (even though it is unfair) - you can start your own unique journey.
Truth 10: Lasting lifestyle change
Losing weight and keeping it off does require some changes.
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” Albert Einstein
You need to make changes in your behavior, your habits, in your relationship to food, in your food choices. And not only until you reach your goal weight.
You know what happens when you are ‘off the diet’.
I teach my clients to create sustainable lifestyle changes by showing them that it is possible to eat their favorite food and lose weight (and keep it off). No matter the occasion, no matter where they are - my clients are sticking to their new lifestyle. No more yo-yo effects, no more worries about losing the “vacation gut”.
So what works? You know exactly the answer to this question. There is no magic to dieting. The real magic happens when you combine better food choices and exercise.
You might think that my blog is a bunch of bs because I didn’t tell you what you wanted to hear, and you go on searching for the “best way to lose weight”.
You might think, “pff, what does she know?” Well, I know a lot! I dedicated the last 20 years to educate myself on fitness, nutrients, and wellness. I spent hours and hours interviewing and talking to professionals in this industry.
I’m not here to make friends - I’m here to educate people about a lifetime of feeling happy, vital, healthy, and confident.
Once you get tired of trying the shortcuts, I’ll be here. I have nothing but time and a desire to help you.
So, what is it going to be?
I knowYOU CAN! Do you?