I sat down with a friend recently and listened as she told me her story of doing everything right and still not being able to lose weight, or a enough to see a physical difference. As I responded with what she had undoubtedly heard already, I couldn’t help but feel her frustration. Here was a girl doing everything nutritionists and dietitians have been suggesting and getting no results.For the purpose of this post we will call her Karen. Karen shopped the perimeter of the grocery store. She never drank soda or other sugary drinks. She exercised four to five days a week, and on the weekends if she did drank it was only one or two drinks. I couldn’t help but notice how closely Karen’s nutrition and fitness habits paralleled mine. So why was she struggling to lose weight?
Karen’s case was not unique. Many of my friends, both men and women had resolved to write themselves off as “weight loss resistant.” “Weight loss resistance” is the mindset people settle into after quote “doing everything right” and still not getting results There are many flawed models that contribute to this way of thinking: the calorie model which totes calories in and calories out, the low carbohydrate model and just believing that a calorie deficit alone will result in visible weight loss and body change. So, is the idea of being weight loss resistant a real thing? Is it in fact fat or just a faux idea.
Although a calorie deficit is necessary for weight loss, it is not the only thing required to lose weight. There are factors that take place at a much smaller level than what we put in our mouths.
As I took a step Back from Karen’s situation I realized that our conversation didn’t touch on so many important issues that that affect weight loss and muscle growth.
For example, one of the biggest factors affecting weight loss and gain is lack of sleep. Getting 7-8 hours of sleep might sound like a tall order, but it’s often what impedes people from meeting their weight loss goals. Sleep may seem like a facile idea, just get in bed and close your eyes. But many people struggle with getting 7-8 hours of quality sleep. Quality of sleep is often difficult to achieve because of lifestyle habits; drinking coffee to close to bedtime, taking naps longer than 30 minutes and drinking alcohol are all lifestyle factors that affect or disrupt our sleep.
Another factor that hinders weight loss is chronic stress. Elevated levels of cortisol wreak havoc on your immune system. In addition, cortisol also breaks down muscle and stores fat. So try and take some time to relax.
A third and often overlooked factor in the weight loss battle is grazing. Grazing becomes more apparent when someone starts to track what they eat in a food diary or journal. Suddenly people realize that a bite here and a bite there starts to add up quickly! Then the 500 calorie deficit they were aiming for gets more and more narrow. The best way to prevent the effects of grazing is to meal prep and stick to the foods you have prepared.
In short, weight loss and even weight gain is a complex thing and just because we aren’t getting the result we want doesn’t mean that we are predetermined to be heavy or thin for the rest of our lives. We have the power to change and shape our bodies as we see fit. You are only One bite from the person you want to be.
To your continued success,