Here’s a rough transcript of a Q&A I did recently with some clients, then my response on what they could do to resolve their problems. I thought it would be perfect to turn into an article, so here’s my thoughts on how you should be eating…
Is the best way to lose weight to eat less and train more?
Nope. Consistently being in calorie deficit will slow down your metabolism. The knock-on effect to this is you might struggle to lose weight long term. Your body might store fat and cannibalize muscle, your training might have little effect, you might start to suffer from fatigue and you might slip into overtraining syndrome.
Is the reason I eat too much a lack of willpower?
Again no. Cravings might be closer linked to fluctuations in your blood sugar levels. The more your sugar levels fluctuate the harder you might find it is for you to resist cravings of sugary or carbohydrate foods. When you become so hungry you binge eat it might be because your body is trying to tell you something. Have you been consistently under fueling or are you missing a crucial macro/micro nutrition from your diet.
I eat all the right foods and in the right amounts but I never lose weight, how comes?
What you eat is only half the equation of good nutrition. How you eat is the other half. When you eat your food in a rush, the physiological stress-response might have a dramatic rise in nutrient excretion and a deep decline in calorie burning capacity.
I do everything the experts say but I never lose weight, why?
Unfortunately, experts don’t know you. Most experts base their advice on their qualifications, which need to be constantly updated to stay current, or experience, to which unless they have worked with you, might not be relevant to you. What works for one person, might not work for another. The best thing is that you have the answer inside you, your body will tell you if something is working or if it is not.
What am I missing?
Metabolic enhancers are typically thought of as food, but these enhancers are of a different category. They are; relaxation, quality, awareness and rhythm.
How fast do you eat? If you are anything other than a slow eater you should try changing it. One way to do this is to always aim to be the person finishing last while eating. Rather than focus on what to eat, it’s time to get clear about how to eat.
Become and slower and more relaxed eater by reminding yourself to breathe. Try not to eat any meals while distracted, don’t engage in tense conversation and be more present to enjoy your food.
At least three times during your meal ask yourself “how is my breathing?”. Then deepen your breath with as little effort as possible, don’t force it, it should feel comfortable.
No matter what food you eat, choose the highest quality version of that food and limit these:
- Man-made fats – hydrogenated oils, margarine, fried foods, crisps, biscuits etc.
- Refined sugar – syrups, white sugar, artificial sweeteners, soft drinks etc.
- Gluten – wheat, rye & barley; bread, pastas, biscuits, cakes, cereals etc.
- Dairy – cheese, milk, yoghurt etc.
- Poor quality meats – meat that isn’t free range etc.
Exercise: Make Quality Food Choices
Think about what you are putting in your body. You and your body deserve the best tasting and healthiest food possible. Say goodbye to foods that leave you feeling lethargic or nauseous and choose quality! It doesn’t mean you can’t have crisps or chocolate again but choose the ones with the highest quality ingredients that are produced in the best possible way.
Be aware of how your body responds when you eat. Do you feel poorly, slow or tired after you eat? Does your stomach become upset, does it rumble or do you need the bathroom more? Does your skin breakout or do you experience any other negative side effect? If any of these are true, something is not right! What you eat should make you feel great, if not make a change.
Exercise: Be Awake
Really become present with your food. Notice who good it looks, how it feels, how it tastes. Notice the company you keep when you eat. Enjoy the moment and know that what you are putting in your body will have a positive effect on your wellbeing.
Once you get your mind and body in sync with what and how you are eating the results will be immediate. The last two exercises will help you find that balance.
Exercise: Eat Regularly
Plan to eat your meals in a calm environment, somewhere you can really enjoy it. You may need to get up earlier to enjoy more time eating at the table with your family, or find a quiet part of your office to relax.
Exercise: Balance Meals
For every meal, you should be able to look at your plate and recognize where you are getting each of the macro-nutrients from, ask yourself “where is my fat, protein and carbohydrate”. You shouldn’t aim to eliminate any of these. Eat a balanced meal the leaves you satisfied, not full nor hungry.