Why Can't I Lose Weight?
An honest opinion!
Are you one of those people that are constantly struggling to lose weight?
You have tried almost every diet out there but are not able to shed a pound of weight!
You have tried eating only home cooked foods, reduced or eliminated all processed foods, gluten, dairy and sugar but the scale just does not budge.
I have my perspective on why this is the case and I have my story to share with you.
I have been one of those people that has struggled with my weight since my late teens. I am about 10-20 pounds heavier than I would like to be. I have always complained that I didn’t understand why I gained weight, and why at other times I lost the weight. I felt that the extra weight made me feel tired and lethargic and although I lead a fairly active lifestyle, I did not feel like I represented a picture of optimum health.
Being vegetarian, I was told by fitness experts in the Industry that it was my diet that was preventing me from losing weight. I heard so many messages:
- Not enough protein!
- Avoid white death - white bread, white sugar, white rice!
- Stop eating carbohydrates!
- Eat only raw foods!
- Become a vegan!
- At least eat eggs!
- Do a juicing cleanse.
- I even considered the Vegetarian Ketogenic diet.
I kept hearing - it does not matter how much you eat, what matters is what you eat. Don’t bother with the calories - just eat clean. When I was in my teens and 20s, I was told that eating low fat foods was the way to go. However, as the times changed, I was told that eating good fats was essential to our good health. Food combination could be the reason for weight gain! Insulin, glucagon, you name it. There were so many theories for why I was not losing weight!
As I tried and experimented with myself, I found I only got frustrated because although I ate good food most of the time - I did have treats too - as I could simply not understand why I could not lose weight. I basically gave up. No matter what meal plan I followed: eating balanced meals, or eating dessert with my pizza, I did not lose any weight - in fact I kept getting a pound or two heavier year after year.
My problem was that I was only listening partially! I thought that as long as a food was a good fat, a lean protein or low in carbohydrates, I could eat those foods in whatever quantities I wanted. My big mistake was that I never planned my meals in terms of calories but only in terms of balancing macro nutrients: is there protein, vegetables and a good fat.
It seems the simple theory of counting calories was too simplistic, too old age, not worth considering. Eventually, I tried calorie counting using myFitnessPal and using the App opened my eyes. When I thought I was really holding back, and being conscious of my intake, I was consuming 1800-2000 calories. I encourage you to track your intake as well.
It finally dawned upon me: maybe I just eat too much. It was a big Eureka moment for me! I decided to actually count how many calories I was consuming and eat 1500 calories or less a day to maintain my weight. The first few days were hard as I was used to eating more - but it is amazing how we can train our minds to do almost anything. And then the weight loss began ..
Although most people hate the idea of calorie counting, I think it is important to do it for a few days - if you really want to achieve change and meet your goals of weight loss. Did you know that if you are a woman you need to eat average 1500 calories to maintain your weight. A sedentary man needs to eat about 1800 calories a day to maintain their weight. Exercise can increase your caloric expenditure and can therefore increase your intake allowance.
So if you are really interested in weight loss, for a moment take a pause and:
- Stop blaming your hormones and truthfully watch your intake
- Stop worrying about the number of times you eat a day
- Stop worrying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day
- Stop blaming yourself for eating dinner after 6pm
- Stop beating yourself for eating that piece of cake
- Just try and count your calories and create an awareness around how much food you are consuming. If you ate a piece of cake earlier in the day, eat a lighter meal for supper.
Maybe all the diets out there have an element of truth to them but no matter which diet you follow, eat within reason and count your calories. If you indulge one day, eat less the next day to maintain that balance or to create a caloric deficit. You will also find that if you eat healthy, lean and clean, you will be able have a wide variety of foods in one day. If you choose to eat burger and fries and donuts, your one meal will have more calories than what you are supposed to consume in the entire day.
What I found surprising in my experimentation on myself is the following:
- Weight loss can be achieved even if you eat grains
- Weight loss can be achieved even if you are vegetarian
- Weight loss can be achieved without eating a gram of protein for every pound of your body weight
- Weight loss can be achieved by eating normal meals - just that you don’t eat huge quantities every meal
I will be following this article with the Traditional Chinese Medicine approach for weight loss as well. Many of my clients have asked me if acupuncture can help with weight loss, and although it can help, you still have to eat within reason. Unfortunately, extra calories are extra calories!
There may also be some other issues such as hormonal balance, water retention, poor digestion and metabolism that may need to be addressed. I will be discussing these issues in future articles.I look forward to hearing your opinions!