Calories in, Calories out… is that really all it takes? It sounds like a nice plan; and, for those just looking to lose a little weight, it might help… a little. The truth is that the body does actually consider the source of those calories and chooses which nutrients are most readily available for energy, while still safely protecting the body from starvation. Have you heard people say, “I work out everyday and eat right, but I can’t seem to lose any weight,” or, “I’m on the treadmill for an hour every night but I can’t seem to lose these last 10 pounds,”? I wonder if they are really looking to see the number on the scale go down, or if they are hoping to trim their waistline, lose the love handles, etc. There is a significant difference between losing weight and burning fat. Healthy nutrition, tailored to your specific body type and metabolism, is the first step toward lasting weight loss.
Simply eating less and working out more may help you lose pounds, but it won’t necessarily help you achieve your body image goals. At some point, the body will not allow any more fat to be burned if your diet consists of unhealthy, albeit, low calorie foods. Remember the low-fat “Snackwell” craze of the 90’s? Everyone was brainwashed into thinking low-calorie, low-fat, high carbohydrate foods were going to help you lose weight and/or lose fat. That marketing blitz from 20 years ago is still wreaking havoc across America and causing millions of people to make unhealthy choices simply because they are misinformed. I still hear people tell me, “I thought I shouldn’t eat avocados because they are high in fat?” Or, my favorite, “I was taught that I shouldn’t eat eggs because they are fattening.” Really?? Here are the facts regarding those two foods. Avocados contain high levels of nutrients such as potassium, lutein, and folic acid that help prevent heart disease, hypertension, breast cancer and obesity. Thanks to the monounsaturated (healthy) fats, avocados help your stomach feel “full” and reduce the temptation of eating sweets. One egg contains 6 grams of high-quality protein and all 9 essential amino acids. One egg also contains just 5 grams of fat and only 1.5 grams of that is saturated (unhealthy) fat. According to a study by the Harvard School of Public Health, there is no significant link between egg consumption and heart disease. Recent studies show that regular consumption of up to two eggs per day does NOT affect a person’s lipid profile and may, in fact, improve it. Here’s the bonus: Eggs are one of the only foods actually proven to help trim belly fat!
Your body needs specific nutrients to build muscle, burn fat, and still have the proper energy stores available. For those that exercise consistently, but are unable to achieve goals, I suggest taking a look at your diet. Without proper nutrition, the body will turn to it’s own healthy tissues, such as muscle and bone, for energy instead of unwanted fat. At this point, the body actually goes into a sort of “starvation” where fat is stored for emergency use such as actual starvation or “fight or flight”. If the diet is a healthy combination of lean protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates, and you are still struggling, then it would be wise to consider your exercise routine. Are you combining weight resistance exercise, cardio, and other more alternative exercises like yoga, pilates, dance, or martial arts? Are you focused on your mind and body while you are exercising? Or, are you still on the elliptical staring at a bunch of numbers and watching tv and reading magazines just getting through your daily routine?
What I’m really trying to say here is that to change your body, you first need to change your mind…And by that, I mean you have to look at what you have been taught to believe from mainstream media and then look elsewhere. Mainstream media does not have your best interests at heart. Large companies that make millions selling frozen foods for you to eat for the rest of your life have very little interest in you actually losing weight and becoming healthy. Their interest is in selling you frozen food and giving you a support group to lean on when it doesn’t work or when you rebound. I’m not saying that all meal replacements are a bad idea. There are some that are extremely nutritious and very helpful when used appropriately. However, if you take the time to eat healthy whole foods (foods that either come from plants or animals in their natural state with minimal or no processing), that will be your first step towards your ultimate goal.
People find it so easy to use the excuse of “not enough time” to prevent daily exercise that I wonder if they have ever tracked their actual daily schedule. Don’t fall into this rut. Here’s a helpful tip on exercise. You don’t have to go to the gym for an hour everyday. You don’t even have to set aside 30-60 minutes to exercise everyday. If you are looking to jumpstart your exercise and weight/fat-loss routine, START NOW…literally, NOW. Spend the next 5 minutes switching off between jumping jacks, pushups, full-body squats, and squat-thrusts (aka “burpees”). Do them at high intensity. It doesn’t really matter how many you do, but try to do each just until the last one takes considerable effort without compromising proper form and posture. Then, you’re done…for now.
You should do these again 3 more times throughout the day. I’m sure you can find 5 minutes, four times a day to perform these exercises. If you are struggling to find even those few minutes, then please feel free to send me your schedule and I will find those minutes for you. Or, if you really think you can’t, then you’re probably right.
After a few days, you will feel increased energy throughout the day because these short bursts of high intensity exercise improve metabolism and prevent the highs and lows of energy cycles that cause sugar and caffeine cravings. After a few weeks, you will certainly notice physical and emotional results since your mind and body will now be looking forward to those few minutes of intense focus on your body’s movement and increased oxygen levels. This should get you through to mid-February before boredom sets in…that’s the time to change up the exercises but keep the intensity.
If your resolution is to lose weight or change your body composition, the professional staff at Five Phase Wellness Center can help. We have fitness experts and classes to keep you moving, nutritional counseling to teach you about healthy eating lifestyles, tai chi and yoga therapists to guide physical, spiritual and mental balance, massage therapy to work out those aches from pushing yourself to the limit, hypnotherapy to promote positive thoughts and rid yourself of negativity, psychotherapy to bring awareness and abundance, acupuncture and herbal medicine to reduce inflammation, combat disease and detoxify, andfacials and body treatments to show the world your healthy new glow.
Resolutions are a time for commitment and resolve, make the best of this new year by making the best of yourself.