Don’t Diet… Nourish Yourself!
I asked a client what his “one thing” is that he wants to focus on this week.
He replied, “Going back to eating low-carb and low-sugar.” (His idea, not mine.) Then he added, “But after the weekend.”
It sounds like he didn’t really want to eat that way, but he had had some success with this method in the past.
The word Diet actually refers to everything we take in and consume. But people generally use it to describe a form of restriction to meet a goal.
It can lead to feelings of deprivation, and this leads to on-the-diet / off-the-diet thinking.
Diets do work in the short term. The problem is that restrictive diets are not sustainable in the long term. Eventually people go back to eating patterns different from the diet that gave them success. And hence the yo-yo cycle goes on.
“Isn’t weight loss about eating less and moving more?” Yes, at the end of the day, weight gain is usually about consuming more calories than we expend, and weight loss is about consuming less calories than we expend (or expending more calories than we consume).
But making that calculation is not a simple equation. The body’s metabolism is a complicated system and not necessarily within our control. The body can lower its metabolism to save the precious energy you are not giving it. So much for eating less!
There are other complicating factors such as stress and hormones which can make fat loss more than just calories in and calories out.
Lastly, does “eat less and move more” sound a little bit like punishment? Is that truly motivating for someone who is looking to lose weight?
In this season of Thanksgiving, harvest, abundance and blessings, it seems very appropriate to propose a change in our thinking. Instead of deprivation and restriction, let’s think about nourishment.
This really was an “aha” moment for me.
Yes macronutrients matter. Calories matter. The amount of processing done to a food matters.
But we need to think bigger picture here.
Here is the key question: What are you doing to nourish yourself?
Are you nourishing your body with sleep? Regular, quality sleep is essential for good health.
Do you nourish your body with movement throughout the day? Movement is medicine. Motion is lotion. Regular movement as well as cardio exercise and strength training is what the body needs to be functional and strong.
Are the foods you eat nutrient-dense? Adequate fiber is important for controlling blood sugars. We need to eat more vegetables… Lots of vegetables as well as lean quality protein, fruit, healthy fats, fibre-rich carbs. With an attitude of nourishing your body, are you going to reach for the box of crackers or are you willing to wash and cut up an apple? The apple!
What other forms of nourishment can you think of?
- Clean water
- Fresh air
- Social connection
Even a really good dessert now and then can count for a dose of the happiness hormone serotonin. (But ask yourself if it is “obscenely delicious” according to Nutrition Coach, Mandy Gefle.)
The point is, health starts from a position of looking after yourself. If your decisions in life go toward this goal, then fat loss will come as a side-effect.
If your body is hanging onto unwanted fat, it is a symptom that there are other things going on in the body. First and foremost, strive to be healthy. Sleep well, strengthen and move your body, fuel it with nutrient-dense food, hydrate with water. Fat loss will follow.
At Vital Active Living, we are here to support you on your journey and inspire you with outstanding strength workouts customized for you. Contact us here to set up a free consultation.