Tag Archives: weight loss

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

The Journey Of Health

The journey of health..

Have you ever felt like you are swinging on a pendulum- back and forth- in regards to your weight loss journey or in the area of your health and wellness goals? Maybe you have goals of going to the gym x number of times per week, eating this and not that, and choosing self-stewardship over self-negligence. But, oftentimes we find it’s only a matter of time before these well intentioned goals fly out the window, or rather get lost due to our busy and demanding lifestyles. It’s not that we do it on purpose, of course not. We WANT to succeed with our goals. We WANT to be healthier and feel better. Rather, our time and energy are in a tug of war with our self-stewardship and our personal wellness goals. And you can guess which one almost always wins.

This yo-yo back and forth is not only discouraging but also causes us to feel like we take one step forward and three steps back. And when we take three steps back, it’s that much further of a step forward to get back on track.

Can I admit that I struggle with my journey of health too? I love fitness and challenging my body with a tough workout, but there are so many days where it’s a sheer fight for me to get myself out of the house and off to the gym….or up out of bed an hour earlier than before my son wakes up to get it done. None of us can do it perfectly, and those that are doing it perfectly, I would bargain are struggling with some deep seated insecurities or are running themselves ragged and will eventually burn out.

Ultimately, for sustained success, we have to find a balance. So, what does that look like? How do we step off of this unstable pendulum and into a place of grace-fillled routine on this journey of health we find ourselves on? The reality is, our routine will be imperfect- that’s simply the nature of life. But we can find and build a routine that has breathing room for days when we don’t feel well, or are home with sick kiddos, or didn’t get a good night’s sleep before. We need flexibility in our life and in our journey of health, especially if we want to maintain these goals and this lifestyle for the long haul. So how do we get there?

Here are 5 tips for helping you on your journey to health through all the different seasons of life. These tips will help you start right where you are; whether that’s helping you refine your current routine or helping you to get on your feet and get active for the first time. These tips are meant for you, exactly where you are. When I find myself in a season of unpredictability or a season of plateau or boredom, I come back to these exact tips and figure out what I need to do personally to reset my mindset and my routine.

Find Accountability– This is key! And this is what I do a majority of my time as a health coach. I come alongside my lovely client’s and help them to stay on track. Because when we have someone who we know will ask us if we completed that spin class or how we fared at the work party, we are more likely to stay on track because we know we will have to answer those questions. And the only one we hurt by answering dishonestly, is ourselves. Accountability can come in many forms. Maybe you sign up for a boutique fitness studio that only offers Barre classes or Spin classes and if you don’t attend, you are still charged or charged an extra fee for not attending. Or maybe you begin to work with a personal trainer. Another idea is to schedule your workouts with a friend or co-worker and the two of you together can keep each other on track and cheer each other on. Finding ways to incorporate accountability into your fitness and health goals for this year will have drastic effects on your commitment and your progress. If you are interested in working with me for accountability and one-on-one coaching, you can book a FREE 30 minute consultation call here.

 

Find the Why- Before you even begin your new routine or program, I want you to sit down in a quiet place with just your mind or maybe a journal and reflect on a few questions. Ask yourself: Why do I want to accomplish this goal? Why is this goal important to me? How will I feel if I reach my goal? What if I don’t reach it? How will I realistically accomplish this goal or work towards progress? Will this goal get me closer to where I want to be and how I want to live my life? When we assign value and purpose to our goals, suddenly they take on a whole new meaning. People are far more motivated to stick to their goals when they are keenly aware of the purpose connected to their goals. For me, taking care of myself and investing in my health and physical well being makes me feel better, I am more productive throughout the rest of my day, I have energy, and I am a better wife. There are moments where I need to remind myself of my ‘why’ while I am begrudgingly doing my warm up. I remind myself of all of the times before that I felt this way yet still pushed through and how amazing my body and my mind felt afterwards. What is your ‘why’? Find it, hold fast to it, and constantly remind yourself of it. This will help you stay consistent which is key!

Find What You Enjoy- No one wants to do something they despise. I loathe running and therefore I barely run. I simply do not enjoy it. Finding an activity that excites you and energizes you will help you to actually attend and not skip your workouts. You can find multiple activities that you enjoy and switch it up so that you aren’t getting bored with your workout routine. I personally enjoy creating HIIT (high intensity interval training) circuits, teaching Body Pump, and hiking! The main thing is that we get out there, do something that brings us joy, and also helps us make progress on our goals.

 

Find Creativity and Flexibility– Living a holistic and healthy lifestyle is far greater than what we consume at each meal and the amount of exercise we do. If we only do those things, we are pigeon-holding ourselves into a box and missing out on so many little ways to live healthfully and wholly. Each of our daily decisions add up and either help to cultivate a healthy lifestyle or cause us to remain stressed, overwhelmed, and feeling discouraged. Just a few simple, daily decisions we can make that lend to an overall healthier lifestyle include taking the stairs, parking further away at the store, taking a walk after dinner with your family, or getting outside with your kiddos after school and playing tag. If we limit ourselves to only the gym in order to get a workout in, we are missing out on so many joy filled and creative ways to fit exercise and fitness into our daily lives. If you can’t make it to the gym one day, that’s ok. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Maybe when the kids get off the bus from school you all take the dog for a walk or go out back and run around together for twenty minutes. Get creative, think outside the box. I think when we shift our mindset and begin incorporating creative ways to be active into our daily lives, our goals will become more attainable. Remember, progress not perfection. Little by little our daily steps and choices add up.

Find Reason to Celebrate– Celebrate the big and small wins! Baby steps are okay! Changing your lifestyle is not an easy feat. It will take time and many stumbles and falls along the way. But that’s ok- get back up and keep moving forward. It’s important that we celebrate our little victories (and big ones, too) along the way. When we celebrate our progress, it encourages us to keep going. Celebrate by taking a day off, going to your favorite restaurant for a cheat meal, or going for a massage- you deserve it after all! Be cautious not to reward yourself with things or food that directly contradict the goals you’ve set for yourself. Now, I am not saying that you can’t ever indulge, but when it comes to rewarding ourselves for our small victories, we need to be cautious how we approach it and be mindful of the current state of our hearts and minds, for those emotions will either help us in our journey or de-rail us. Even if you miss some steps along the way, that is normal. Let’s not get into the habit of taking an all-or-nothing approach, but rather approach our goals and fitness routines with grace and the correct mindset.

I want to encourage you that our fitness and health goals are a journey, a journey that will last a lifetime and ebb and flow given the different seasons of life we find ourselves in. We don’t have to do it all perfectly- that is a lie. I want you to know that I struggle with some of the same things as the woman next to me, and simply because I am a personal trainer and health coach, doesn’t dismiss me from experiencing these same feelings or barriers. I eat ice cream just like the next person. And I skip workouts too. And I also work hard to stay consistent and make sacrifices to choose stewardship over negligence when it comes to caring for my body. It’s an ever evolving, ebbing and flowing practice for me and for all of us but it’s worth working at and seeking to find what works for each of us. I hope these 5 tips help you to reset how you view your goals and your own wellness journey. We are on this trip together, day by day!

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

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