Happy New Year! I love when January 1st hits. It's a chance for a fresh start, new beginning, and goal setting. I think resolutions get a bad reputation and in some ways, they're not super beneficial; however. if setting a resolution helps you eat better, move more, and achieve more - even if only for a little - I'm all for it, but let's set healthy resolutions that lead to lasting change. But what is healthy?
Around this time I see more and more health articles, graphics, and blog posts surface around social media and many of them share incorrect information. I found this one which tells how to lose 20 pounds in a month with no exercise. Sound too good to be true? It is. Let's talk about why.
Let's go step by step, shall we?
Heading: Losing 20 pounds in one month is not only extremely difficult, but also not sustainable. Unless you have a significant amount of weight to lose, it doesn't come off that fast ever. If you do achieve that, you're setting yourself for the most hungry month of you life and most likely, rapid weight gain.
DO INSTEAD: Set practical goals for yourself that lead to steady weight loss and healthy habits.
Step 1: Not all calories are created equal. A meal rich in nutrient dense fat, quality protein, and a carbohydrate like butternut squash is significantly higher in calories but much better than say, a can of Coke Zero. When we go too low calorie, we drop satiating fat that keeps our energy full for longer, and replace it with artificial sweeteners that throw off our blood sugar and lead us to needing more food (remember, sugar isn't satiating, meaning it doesn't fill you up!). We're then thrown into a roller coaster of eating processed, artificial food and never feeling full. Additionally, 1,100 calories is LOW. Your body needs calories and energy to sustain its processes and brain function.
DO INSTEAD: Consume as many calories of nutrient dense foods as you want, remembering to stop when you're full. When you are hungry again, eat a snack or meal that's made of quality ingredients like protein, fat, and carbs.
Step 2: When we eat five or six meals a day we're overloading our digestive system and not allowing it to properly digest food and assimilate nutrients. When our digestive system doesn't have a chance to fully break down food before we consume more, we don't break down the food particles small enough and they get pushed through the intestines. When we continually have whole or partial food particles in our intestines, it rubs against the microvilli (or the wall of the intestines) and eventually breaks through and enters our blood stream. This is called leaky gut and contributes to decreased immune function, inflammation, and in some cases, autoimmune.
DO INSTEAD: Eat three meals a day to keep your blood sugar regulated and tummy full.
Step 3: I like fruit! I think it's valuable and a great addition to any meal. We already talked about how you don't need to be low-calorie to reach your weight loss goals, so if you're hungry, grab something or make your meals bigger to avoid the blood sugar roller coaster.
DO INSTEAD: If you want some fruit, combine it with a fat such as coconut butter, almond butter, or sautee it in grass fed butter (hello, warm bananas!).
Step 4: Yay for water! I recommend taking your body weight, cutting it in half, and drinking that number in ounces. This keeps your bodily processes moving, hydrated, and it keeps your skin happy! PASS on the non-diet drinks - Diet Coke is still Diet Coke and isn't healthful under any circumstances.
DO INSTEAD: Drink enough water for your body. Get a water bottle you love, add some sliced citrus, keep track on an app - do whatever it takes to ensure you're properly hydrated!
Step 5: When we become enslaved to calorie tracking and point counting, we can so easily develop an unhealthy relationship with food where we only see "good vs bad" or ideas such as "I'm allowed to have __________ because I have calories left over". Your body doesn't reset at midnight and neither should your calorie tracker.
DO INSTEAD: Listen to your body and eat until you're full. Skip the tracking, weighing, and measuring and celebrate your body's intuitive nature to feed itself what it needs. Don't be a slave to My Fitness Pal.
Step 6: Please. Hesitate. I am a fan of supplementation but only when under the guidance and instruction from a certified nutritionist or health care professional. Many supplements are not appropriate for those with compromised autoimmunity, those who are on other medications, and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. There are no supplements that "burn fat". If someone tells you that, they are lying and trying to sell you something. Always check with your healthcare provider before adding in supplements.
DO INSTEAD: Focus on nutrition and appropriate exercise before you head to your medicine cabinet to lose weight. If you don't know what supplements would best benefit you, work with your nutritionist or doctor.
Step 7: I agree with this to an extent! I appreciate setting weight loss goals and checking if you've achieved them but true health isn't reflected on a scale but rather how you FEEL. Is your skin clearing up? Is your inflammation lowering? Is your energy high? Focus on these things instead - we call them non scale victories!
DO INSTEAD: Instead of weighing yourself, spend some time at the end of each week writing down victories you had during the week whether they're physical, spiritual, or emotional and see how you progress in true health!
Step 8: If you're not consuming enough food and need a multivitamin to support your health, we need to take a hard look at the plan you're on. In many OTC multivitamins, there are synthetic forms of nutrients, fillers, preservatives, sugar, starches, and dyes meaning they'll do far more harm than good. Multivitamins have their place, but it's not in place of real food.
DO INSTEAD: Consume a wide range of colorful fruits and vegetables along with pastured meats to ensure you're getting all the nutrients you need.
If you're on a health journey, I'm so glad! I've been there at the beginning, I've stumbled through the middle, and I'm happy to say I've found my groove. Find a lifestyle that works for you and is sustainable, improving not just your weight but your health and wellbeing long-term.
Questions? Just ask!