Is Your Diet Making you FAT?
In my career, spanning over 20 years in the health and fitness industry, there is one thing I know for sure, dieting never works, at least long term. In fact, long term, people who diet usually end up slowing their metabolism down and end up gaining weight and getting fat FATTER ! YIKES!
First, what do I mean by dieting?
When I reference “dieting”, I am referring to any food plan that is restrictive in one or all of the following area:
1. Calories. The energy we get from food.
2. Micro-nutrients. This could be vitamins, minerals or combination of both
3. Macro-nutrients. This includes fat, protein, and/or carbs.
These diets include, but are not limited to low calorie diets, low carb diets, low fat diets, low protein diets, low salt diets, liquid diets, cleanses, fasts, juice diets, vegan diets, and low REAL food diets.
Can you lose weight on any of the above diets? Yes, of course you will…short term.
Will you also feel hungry and deprived? YES! Will also you become cranky and crave sweet or salty foods? YES! Will you be able to maintain this diet for a lifetime? Most likely, NO! You might be able to last for awhile or a restrictive diet, but eventually you will crack and eat the foods you are craving.
In fact, you have about a 1-2% chance or maintaing a restrictive diet for over 2 years. The only people I know that can maintain a calorie restrictive, nutrient deficient diet for any extended period of time are those that usually develop an eating disorder…and well, we all know how Unhealthy that is for you.
Will your metabolism slow down, allowing you to conserve ever bit of energy on a calorie, nutrient restrictive diet? For sure!
Will a slower metabolism HELP you live life filled with vitality, energy and health. No WaY!
Basically, when you eat a low calorie, nutrient deficient diet you are telling your metabolism to SLLLLLOOWWW down. You put your body in a state of starvation and deprivation and it wants to conserve every bit of energy you give it. Your body is smart, when you starve it, it begins to stop or slow down certain systems of your body to conserve energy. These systems include your immune system, hormonal system, detox system, digestive system, nervous system, and your muscular and skeletal systems. All the systems in your body are effected when you deprive them of energy and nutrients.
Once your body learns to use less energy and decreases the amount of energy it gives your body’s systems you get sick easier and more often, your libido decrease, you have trouble procreating, your digestion slows down and you become constipated, your reflexes are slower, you lose muscle and bone development and your body has a hard time removing toxins. In addition a damaged metabolism leads to a lower body temperature (your body temperature should be around 98.6* degrees), decreased energy, poor sleep, weight gain, hormone imbalances, dry skin, forgetfulness, and a slew of other symptoms.
Yes, you may lose some weight (a combination of fat, muscle, tissue, bone and water) along the way, but at what cost…your health?
Metabolic slowing happens with constant dieting. Ever time you “diet” and deprive yourself of energy and nutrients, your metabolism gets damaged. Yes, every time!
The biggest problem with repeat dieting is people never take the time to repair their damaged metabolism before trying to lose weight and diet again. It’s like trying to build a house on a cracked foundation. You have to fix the foundation (your metabolism) before building the house (losing weight).
The best thing to do before trying go lose weight, is repair the foundation (your metabolism) FIRST and then build the house (lose weight). As Diane Schwarzbein says in her book “The Schwarzbein Principle”, “you have got to get healthy to lose weight, not lose weight to get healthy”.
But Kate, don’t you have to eat less than you are burning, to lose FAT? Yes, of course. However, wouldn’t it be smarter to HEAL your metabolism FIRST so that you can burn more. Once your body learns to consume more energy again, all while supplying energy and nutrients to all it’s systems, you will not have to work nearly as hard to lose fat. Doesn’t that sound better…EAT MORE, WORKOUT LESS all so you can lose fat safer and more healthfully.
So what is the solution?!
I am so glad you asked. You have to eat to lose weight! The key is eating the right foods, in the right portions, combining the right amount of macro nutrients, at the right times with the right exercises and of course the right amount of sleep…for you. We are all different and are at different stages of health, so note there is no “one size fits all solution”, there is just you solution.
Yet, here are some general guidelines to live by:
1. Macronutrient ratios. All meals should contain a fat, a protein, and a carbohydrate. Of course, the percentage of each is dependent on your metabolic type, your energy needs, your lifestyle, and the current state of your metabolism.
2. Eat the RIGHT FATS. Organic coconut oil, grass-fed ghee, organic butter, RAW and/or organic dairy, cacao, grass fed meats and free range eggs.
3. Eat the RIGHT PROTEINS. Organic grass fed meats, raw and/or organic dairy, eggs, white fish, shell fish, bone broth and gelatin
4. Eat the RIGHT CARBS. Organic fresh-cooked veggies, tropical fruits, cooked fruits, fruit-vegetables (squashes), root vegetables, raw carrots, honey, and even sugar.
5. Drink water. Drink water to thirst. Drink more when its hot and you are working hard. Consume minerals and sugar with water to replace needed nutrients.
6. Food Frequency. Find the number of meals that works for you to control your blood sugar and keep your body temperature high. Some people may work well on 3 meals, while others need 8-9 meals.
7. Sleep. Try to sleep between the hours of 10pm and 6am, or around those times. Deep sleep is better than longer sleep.
8. Decrease Stress. Nothing suppresses thyroid function (the controller of your metabolism) more than stress. Rest more, work less, smile more laugh more, love more.
9. Weight train. Weight training can increase muscle mass and allow your body to utilize more energy, thus help with fat burning.
10. Be patient. Losing weight properly takes time. Weight loss should be no more than 1 pound a week. If your metabolism is severely damaged, the concentration should be on healing and warming the body and not weight loss. Once the body is in a healthier state, the focus can be placed back on weight loss.
Trying to lose fat does not have to be a constant state of deprivation. YOU can eat. YOU need to eat! YOU can enjoy the foods you love. To lose FAT, you MUST obtain an understanding as to what is going to fuel your metabolism so that your body can continue to work optimally, all the while you are losing fat.
Remember you have to build a strong foundation to build a strong body. If your foundation is cracked (slow metabolism) then you have to fix it FIRST, before trying to build the house (lose the weight)! You need to be healthy to lose weight, not lose weight to get healthy!
Your Optimal Health Coach,
“Disclaimer: I am an exercise physiologist, personal trainer, nutritional and lifestyle coach, not a medical doctor. I do not diagnose, prescribe for, treat or claim to prevent, mitigate or cure any human disease or physical problem. I do not provide diagnosis, care treatment or rehabilitation of individuals, nor apply medical, mental health or human development principles. I do not prescribe prescription drugs nor do I tell you to discontinue them. I provide physical and dietary suggestions to improve health and wellness and to nourish and support normal function and structure of the body. If you suspect any disease please consult your physician.”