Tag Archives: dieting

Weight Loss: Dieting vs. Lifestyle Change

Weight Loss: Dieting vs. Lifestyle Change

As we ring in the New Year, many will also ring in a new diet…cause that’s what you’re supposed to do come the New Year, right?! I’m sure if you are reading this right now, at some point in your life you have been on some kind of “diet”, whether it be a New Year’s resolution diet or some other time of year diet. And by “diet” I mean restricting certain foods/food groups and/or calorie counting with the goal of weight loss. To diet is defined as “restricting oneself to small amounts or special kinds of food in order to lose weight.”  We could all share stories of success and failure when it comes to our dieting endeavors- whether we’ve done Atkins, Keto, Whole30, Paleo, the blood type diet, veganism, among many more. 

According to the CDC in 2017-2018, 42.4% of Americans were categorized as obese. Obesity is an epidemic that is plaguing many Americans. And along with this epidemic comes a lot of people trying a myriad of diets to try and lose weight- some successful and some not. It is estimated that 45% of Americans go on some sort of diet each year. What most diets have in common is the thinking that if you eat less calories, you will lose weight. But time and time again this has proven to not be the case (for many). 

What is the difference between “dieting” and making lifestyle changes?

Obesity and being overweight can lead to several dangerous and life threatening health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, some cancers, and diabetes just to name the most common ones. Oftentimes doctors and medical practitioners will tell their patients it is imperative to their health to make lifestyle changes- healthier eating and more physical activity. 

The difference is that a diet consists of making temporary changes (and often drastic, unrealistic changes) to how you eat. A diet is very input output focused. If I eat this certain way or eat these certain foods, the outcome will be weight loss. 

Lifestyle changes take into account a person’s psychology, behaviors, budget, and values when developing a sustainable plan. Lifestyle changes involve looking at the whole person and every aspect of their life. You can diet all day but if you are a highly stressed individual who emotionally eats and continues to fall into this pattern after a hard day at work, no amount of dieting will truly help you overcome this behavior that is rooted so much deeper. In a situation like this, we need to first address it from a psychological standpoint and help decrease stress or find other coping mechanisms outside of eating.

Why do lifestyle changes have a higher success rate than dieting?

Lifestyle changes have a higher success rate because it’s liveable. It’s balanced. It leaves room to enjoy life and leaves room for grace when unexpected things arise. The goal is to implement changes that can stand the test of time, changes that can be maintained for the long haul and won’t get “old” or “boring”. We have to implement changes and live a lifestyle in which we can get back on track once we have fallen off or we know what we need to do and can execute it after a weekend or a vacation where we were a bit more lax on our diet and exercise. 

The main focus and goal of dieting is weight loss but when this is the main focus, we miss out or give up on other changes in your life that could have positive effects and be beneficial- such as decrease in stress levels, improved health markers, sleeping better, and feeling more energetic. These positive benefits will help someone maintain and sustain those lifestyle changes long-term because they feel better and when we feel better we are in a better mental state to make positive, healthy choices.

4 Ways to Make Sustainable Lifestyle Change

  • Change your Mindset: I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, our mindset and perspective is everything. Knowing WHY you are doing something is necessary in order to maintain said behavior. Oftentimes we view eating healthy as restrictive and boring and exercise as dreaded and torturous. Instead, what if we viewed healthy eating as a way to fuel our bodies and we viewed food as medicine? What if we viewed exercise and moving our bodies as a gift instead of grueling? Changing our expectations and setting realistic weight loss goals is important as well. Sometimes we don’t need to lose as much weight as we think we do in order to be healthier and to see our blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, and other important health markers go down and in the right direction. Setting a realistic weight loss goal can help you to feel motivated and give you confidence that you can achieve that goal versus setting a lofty goal and feeling like you will never get there, get discouraged, and then quit. 

 

  • Consistent Eating Patterns: I like to live by and encourage my client’s to live by the 80/20 rule where 80% of the time you eat healthy, whole foods, and the other 20% is left for eating out, drinking alcohol, having a sweet treat, etc. It is near impossible and quite miserable to eat clean and healthy 100% of the time with zero sugar, zero wine, zero pasta, zero steak. It’s simply not sustainable. With 80/20 eating, you are consistently eating the same way but it allows enjoyment of life and enjoyment of food without guilting ourselves or feeling like we derailed all previous success. The key with 80/20 eating is to get right back on track after an evening of eating out or going to a party. 

 

  • Move More: Perhaps the thought of working out 30 minutes to an hour 5 days a week sounds daunting and overwhelming to you. Don’t let this fear of formal exercise scare you away. Just start moving your body more. Stand as you work. Take your meetings outside and walk and talk. Park further away. Do squats and lunges as you stand over the stove and sautee your vegetables for dinner. Take the stairs. Walk instead of using the moving beltway in the airport as you travel. There are so many creative ways we can incorporate more movement into our days. A body in motion stays in motion. The more we move our bodies and begin to feel more in shape, the easier it will be to transition into an exercise class or get to the gym for weight lifting. But movement doesn’t need to be formal to be formative. Simply move more and you’ll be amazed at how your body feels and responds. And maybe before long, you’ll find yourself taking exercise classes because you truly enjoy moving your body. 

 

  • Slow and Steady Wins the Race: Research has proven that slow and steady weight loss is the ticket to keeping it off. You may lose a significant amount of weight doing a fad diet, but the question is will you be able to keep that weight off long-term? Don’t get discouraged if it is taking you longer than anticipated to lose weight. It is hard work and takes time, but it is so worth the wait to be healthier and feel WELL!

 

The weight loss industry is definitely not suffering with it being valued at more than $66 billion. We are bombarded with products and programs that offer promise after promise to help us finally lose the weight and reclaim our lives, especially this time of year with New Year’s resolutions on the rise. Don’t get me wrong, there are some supplements and programs that are highly effective, but, it is so individually based. And oftentimes, people think by popping a few pills or adhering to a strict program for a short amount of time means they will see the results they want and can then go back to how they were living before- all while maintaining those results. This is why we see yo-yo dieting and people losing significant amounts of weight and then gaining it back or we see people giving up on their New Year’s resolutions come February. Lifestyle changes seek to mitigate this yo-yoing back and forth and help individuals lose and keep the weight off for optimal health for the long-haul. 

 

If you are interested in learning more about weight loss through lifestyle changes, feel free to email me (Meghan) at hello@homebodysoul.com. I offer a FREE 30-minute consultation. 

 

Have a happy and healthy New Year everyone!

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach
Certified Personal Trainer

Don’t Beat Yourself Up Over Weight

All I need to do is lose 5 lbs of weight, I am only drinking alcohol on weekends,  I am going to drink a glass of lemon water before each meal, I am only going to eat lettuce for lunch yep, these are the things I would tell myself over and over again every Sunday Night for the last couple years.  

About 6 years ago, I lost over 40lbs from a weight loss program.   I was finally at a weight that I was comfortable with maintaining. I had gained tons of self confidence and felt great about myself.  I was 100% committed to losing the weight and it was a top priority for me.  

I knew that I would have to move into the maintaining phase once I hit my goal weight.  However, maintaining that goal weight was even harder than losing the weight. I had to still follow the program and it was really tough. It’s even harder than losing because this was now my life. 

So, over the last couple years I have gained about 10 lbs of my weight back.  However, every week I would struggle with trying to get my body back to that magical number that I was at when I hit my goal.  I stressed over this….every week I would try to get back on the wagon and by Wednesday I would fall off. It affected how I left about myself and my self confidence.  I would beat myself up over it all week. 

And then I realized that  I just wasn’t 100% committed to being at that magical number as I had been years ago.  It was an unrealistic goal for me. I will probably never get back to that weight… why? Because right now I like to enjoy myself.  I like to have a drink some nights. I like to have pizza with my kids, and I like cake. I am running kids everywhere and my lifestyle has changed.  

However, what it comes down to is this… back then weight loss was a top priority for me and now… I have other priorities.   It does not mean I can not do it, however It would have to be the top priority for me in my life. Back then, I would have spent hours meal planning and prepping for the week.  Today, I spend hours shopping with my teenagers, running to sporting events, socializing with my friends, and writing about my life…it’s all about priorities and what’s important to you. 

I realized I could beat myself up for it every week or just come to terms. I was not putting in the work needed to reach that goal each week.  I had to be realistic and not expect to magically lose a lb each week when I was not following my eating plan. Especially when my dinner consisted of popcorn and wine.  Weight loss is hard and you do not magically lose weight without a consistent plan and a lot of self control. I had to finally be real with myself.  

I am happy with my life and my body.  I am healthy and I still workout every day.  I think I have mentioned before about how exercise is just part of a routine for me, so that is routine in my life.  However, I set little realistic goals to keep me satisfied with where I am at…like starting to drink water before each meal or I started not eating after 8pm during the week.  

I added in these small little goals each week and that made a huge difference.  I was proud of accomplishing those instead of setting unrealistic goals of losing so many lbs every week.   

I am not at that magical number on the scale and that is ok. I have a range that I continue to stay between and that works for me.  I have learned to not beat myself up every Monday morning because of what I indulged in over the weekend. I have learned to be happy with how I am and enjoy my life.  

-Snarky

https://www.snarkydivorcedgirl.com/

My Love Affair With Food

I could stand to lose a few pounds….ok, more like 60 pounds. I have a very strong love for food. Everything and anything….I have always enjoyed cooking and baking and am really, really good at it. In my younger years I could graze all day and eat full course meals and never put a pound on, now I just look at food and BAM! Some would say I eat to cope with certain emotions, or stress. I don’t know if I agree with that….maybe occasionally but overall I just LOVE food. Taste, texture, trying new things, different ethnic foods, comfort foods, ALL OF IT.

My father was a farmer’s son and as some of you may or may not realize, it’s no joke when there is a spread at every meal. My mother continued the tradition of large meals. We may have not had a lot but we always had a meal on the table…I even challenge myself now to continually cut my grocery bill and to be creative for a family of 5, not so much out of necessity but out of-where can I save $$? I find it fun and like I said, a challenge-but that is for another time. I cook a lot from scratch, which is good if you are going about it the right way! 🙂 And of course I fail to do it the healthy way….there is always a fruit and veggie but generally the veggie is made with butter and includes some bacon, or generally just anything to make it not taste like a boring. old vegetable. Cheese…OMG CHEESE! Need I say more? And who are we kidding? It’s expensive to eat healthy!

Here’s the problem, I can no longer eat this way without feeling like crud, my knees are starting to ache and I have absolutely no energy at the end of the day. I don’t sleep good at night, for lack of actual exercise, and my cholesterol is out of control!

This is going to be a tough, tough one for me…but it needs to be done! Weight loss! Next week I will begin this journey and hope to keep you updated on the ups and downs.Wish me luck, and anyone that wants to join me, please do. I always find doing tough things are so much easier if you aren’t alone! And I would love to hear from you.

What’s completely ironic about this is that I am typing this as well as drinking a cup of coffee with the greatest peppermint creamer ever made and eating a cosmic brownie.  Told you it was gonna suck!

 

Love to All-Kim

Low Carbs or What???

Ask almost anyone what they need to do to lose some fat, and they’ll probably say: “Cut back on the carbs.” As a coach, I’ve heard this what seems like 1000X.

While the low carb movement has had its up’s and down’s in popularity since the Atkins revival of the late 90s and early 2000s, most people now assume that carbohydrates are inherently fattening.

Health-conscious diners order bun-less burgers, skip the baked potato side dish, and send the bread basket back to the kitchen. (Or eat the bread, and feel guilty about it!)

In the past few years, I’ll know you’ve heard at least one of the following:

  • Carbs spike your blood sugar and insulin, which slathers on the body fat!
  • Carbs; especially sugar and grains, cause inflammation.
  • Carbs are not an essential part of the diet like fat and protein.This just seems to sound simple, and logical. And that is the problem.

 

These “simple” statements regarding what we perceive as “good foods” and “bad foods” ignore our biological complexity, and the bigger picture.

So let’s review some truth:

1.) Do carbs increase insulin levels?

Yes, they do.

2.) Does increased insulin after meals lead to fat gain?

No.

(Insulin is also a satiety hormone, meaning, it makes you feel full, so the idea that on its own it leads to fat gain doesn’t make sense.)

3.) Are carbs inflammatory?

That depends. Ask the correct question, are we talking about processed corn syrup? Then it probably is.

But if we’re talking about whole grains, not really.

4.) Are carbs less important than protein, fat, and the multitude of micronutrients that contribute to our health?

Well, if you’re talking about processed carbs, the answer is a BIG yes.

But if you’re talking about whole, minimally processed carbs, that’s a different story.

5.) Can a low-carb diet work to help people lose weight?

Of course it can.

Is it because it is low in carbs?

Well…maybe, and maybe not.

6.) Can eating an appropriate amount of carbs actually help you look, feel and perform your best?

ABSOLUTELY yes.

The problem with not eating carbs, as a weight loss strategy, cutting carbs (while reducing the total number of calories) clearly works pretty well for some people. If it didn’t, then Atkins would have never been popular in the first place correct?

Ponder this though: Carb reduction costs us.

You see, most of us require some level of carbohydrates to function at our best over the long term.

Sure, we can cut carbs temporarily if we need to lose weight quickly. But for most of us, keeping carbs too low for too long can have disastrous consequences.

This is especially true for those of us who work out, and train to stay as healthy, and fit as possible.

If you’re sedentary, your carb needs are lower. So you might be able to get away with greater restriction.

But if you like to exercise regularly and enthusiastically, restricting your carb intake too drastically can lead to some of these problems/issues:

  • decreased thyroid output
  • increased cortisol output
  • decreased testosterone
  • impaired mood and cognitive function
  • muscle catabolism
  • suppressed immune function.

In other words: Your metabolism might slow, your stress hormones go up and your muscle-building hormones go down. Sounds awesome right! Heck NO!

You feel lousy, spacey, sluggish, cranky… and potentially sick.

Most annoying and frustrating: You probably don’t even lose that much weight in the long term. Remember life is a process, not simply an event.

If you’d like to no more, and how carb restriction could affect you, and your lifestyle, contact me and we can inexpensively create a plan that works for you.

Carter

unleashthechampiononlinecoach@gmail.com

Stop Counting Calories…

Stop Counting Calories…PLEASE!

Math?

To plan dinner?

Can’t there be a better way?

 

Yep… Just take a look at your hand. Use your fist, palm, cupped hand, and thumb to practice calorie control, while avoiding the hassle of counting calories.

 

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times:  The best, maybe even the only, way to lose weight is to count calories.

 

After all, it’s a pretty simple equation: Calories in vs. calories out. Eat more calories than you burn, and you gain weight. Eat fewer calories than you burn and you lose weight.

 

Except counting calories isn’t that simple.

The problems with counting calories

 

First of all, on the “calories in” side, you do need to figure out how many calories are in the foods you want to eat.  And that takes handbooks, websites, databases and math. Just to plan your lunch, algebra  Ugh…

Next, you have to assume that the handbooks, websites, and databases’ calorie estimates are correct.  They’re often not.  In fact, research has shown they can be off by about 25% because of incorrect labeling, laboratory measurement error, and food quality.

 

Then, of course, there’s the “calories out” side.  Estimating your calorie expenditure each day comes with another 25% measurement error because of the equipment you’re using, laboratory measurement errors, and individual differences.

A possible 25% error on the “calories in” side, and another 25% error on the “calories out” side.

Is it even worth___:

  • pulling out measuring cups to a chorus of boos from family members;
  • dusting off the food scale while trying to ignore the taunts of friends;
  • wheeling in the abacus from the den to keep up the calorie tally;
  • subscribing to apps and web services to track these less-than-accurate numbers?

 

Sure, we should have an idea of how much food we’re eating each day, so we can adjust based on our goals. But counting calories itself is a drag!  No wonder so many people give up and go back to eating the way they were before.

The calorie counting antidote

Here’s the good news: counting calories is rarely necessary.

No more carrying around weigh-scales and measuring cups.  No calculators, algebra, or smart phones.

*All you need is the ability to count to two. And your own hand(s).

Here how it works:

  • Your palm determines your protein portions.
  • Your fist determines your veggie portions.
  • Your cupped hand determines your carb portions.
  • Your thumb determines your fat portions.

 

To determine your protein intake:

For protein-dense foods like meat, fish, eggs, dairy, or beans, use a palm sized serving.

*For men let’s recommend two palm-sized portions with each meal.

*For women let’s recommend one palm-sized portion with each meal.

Note: a palm-sized portion is the same thickness and diameter as your palm.

 

To determine your vegetable intake:

For veggies like broccoli, spinach, salad, carrots, etc. use a fist-sized serving.

Men let’s recommend 2 fist-sized portions of vegetables with each meal.

Women let’s recommend 1 fist-sized portion of vegetables with each meal.

Again, a fist-sized portion is the same thickness and diameter as your fist.

 

To determine your carbohydrate intake:

For carbohydrate-dense foods, grains, starches, or fruits, use a cupped hand to determine your serving size.

Men let’s recommend 2 cupped-hand sized portions of carbohydrates with most meals.

Women let’s recommend 1 cupped-hand sized portion of carbohydrates with most meals.

 

 

 

To determine your fat intake:

For fat-dense foods, such as; oils, butters, nut butters, nuts/seeds, use your entire thumb to determine your serving size.

Men let’s recommend 2 thumb-sized portions of fats with most meals.

Women let’s recommend 1 thumb-sized portion of fats with most meals.

 

A note on body size:

Of course, if you’re a bigger person, you probably have a bigger hand. And if you’re a smaller person… you get the idea.  Your own hand is a personalized (and portable) measuring device for your food intake. Now once you get the hang of this you won’t look so weird at your favorite restaurant using hand type signals, just kidding!

 

It’s true, some people do have larger or smaller hands for their body size.  Still, our hand size correlates pretty closely with general body size, including muscle, bone, the whole 9 yards.

Meal planning flexibility

 

Based on the guidelines above, which assume you’ll be eating about 3 – 4 times a day, you now have a simple and flexible guide for meal planning.

 

For men:

  • 2 palms of protein dense foods with each meal;
  • 2 fists of vegetables with each meal;
  • 2 cupped hands of carb dense foods with most meals;
  • 2 entire thumbs of fat dense foods with most meals.

 

For women:

  • 1 palm of protein dense foods with each meal;
  • 1 fist of vegetables with each meal;
  • 1 cupped hand of carb dense foods with most meals;
  • 1 entire thumb of fat dense foods with most meals.

 

Of course, just like any other form of nutrition planning, including calorie counting, this serves as a starting point.

 

You can’t know exactly how your body will respond in advance.  So stay flexible and adjust your portions based on your hunger, fullness, and other important goals.

 

For example: if you’re trying to gain weight, and you’re having trouble gaining, you might add another cupped palm of carbohydrates or another thumb of fats.

 

If you’re trying to lose weight but seem to have stalled out, you might eliminate a cupped palm of carbohydrates or a thumb of fats at particular meals.

 

Remember: This is JUST a starting point. Adjust your portions at any time using outcome-based decision making, ask yourself;  “How’s that working for me?”

 

Carter