Canada's obesity rates are shockingly high-according to statistics from 2014 20% of Canadians reported as obese. An overweight classification made up 40% of adult males and 27.5% of adult females. That is mind blowing! What's more, according to The Heart & Stroke Foundation, 62% of adults surveyed reported intentionally losing 5 or more lbs in the past 5 years but failed to keep it off.
Basically the research says that we are increasingly overweight, we are also trying to lose weight BUT overwhelmingly failing to keep it off! What gives?
I believe it comes down to a combination of a few things. First of all, as a nation we are shockingly undereducated on nutrition. Seriously-the average person understands how to fuel their car better than how to fuel their body! And it's not our fault-we simply aren't taught this. Now with a multi BILLION dollar dieting industry taking full advantage of this lack of knowledge while promising a quick fix, it's no wonder we are where we are. Seriously-where I live there is an ad running on the radio promising 1lb of weight loss every day. That is insane! So NOT healthy, completely unsustainable AND at 1lb a day you are losing water and lean muscle-the very things you need to KEEP to maintain a lower weight.
So I've made a list and come up with the 4 things I see the most in my practice. These are things you need to change. If you are guilty of one or more of these mistakes and you turn that around, you WILL see results-I promise. So-lets get cracking!
- You Don't Eat Enough (good) Fat. I know, I know.....the fat free craze got to most of us. And I totally get it-I mean fat making us fat makes perfect sense. Except that it TOTALLY doesn't work like that. Sugar makes you fat. Seriously. When you eat super processed carbs like pastries, white bread, white rice, white sugar, cookies, candy etc your digestion processes them really really quickly causing a lot of sugar to flood the bloodstream all at oce. Cue insulin, who comes in, takes one look at all that sugar floating around, says no way are we going to use it all and tells your body to store it as fat. BOOM. So fix this by eating good quality fats like avocados, olives, coconut oil etc. You ideally want at LEAST 20% of your calories coming from fat and even up to 40% in some cases.
- You Don't Eat Enough. Period. Again, it makes sense that if calories in don't equal calories out we will lose weight. The more the better right? Once again, NOPE! Your body is too smart for that and evolved to survive times of famine (where weight loss was not considered a good thing). Instead of immediately burning up fat stores in times of lower intake, our metabolisms actually sloooooooooow right down and try to conserve as much fat as we can to ward off starvation. Basically-you may lose weight at the beginning of a severely calorie restricted diet, but as soon as you start eating normally again (which I promise you will), you will gain it back and then some thanks to that lowered metabolism. What to do? Figure out how many calories you need for your weight, height & physical activity level (there are calculators on the internet for that, or work with a professional) and don't restrict by more than 20% or so. Slow and steady weight loss keeps your metabolism where it is, making it much easier to keep that weight off!
- You're Bingeing At Night. You know the drill-we all do it: you've been good all day, it's 8 or 9 o'clock and its time to sit down and chill out. Except you are HUNGRY! And tired.....and feeling good about your healthy choices all day....soooooo you reach for the chips, or ice cream, or a bit of chocolate, or wine........whatever your weakness is, because research shows our willpower tanks at night, especially when we are tired. AND our brain craves a reward because we have been depriving it all day. How do you avoid this? Well for one, stop being so damn virtuous during the day! Its actually better to indulge earlier in the day when we still have a fighting chance of burning through the extra energy! If you know you're always craving something sweet by 9pm then try having a little dark chocolate as part of your morning snack and then choosing something like an apple with almond butter in the evening or greek yogurt with fruit. Both us these are much better bed time choices. If alcohol is what you just can't give up then don't. You'll end up sabotaging yourself if you do. Instead stick to one drink and pair it with some nuts to ward off the blood sugar spike.
- You're Falling Victim To The 'Fake' Health Foods. Marketing's a total bitch! Companies are smart, and they know all the buzzwords that you want to hear. No sugar added! Fat free! Natural! Organic! Gluten Free! None of these terms mean ANYTHING good without context! But slapping something like this on a box makes it much more desirable. If you think you may be falling victim here, you're definitely not alone! Instead of trusting labels read the ingredients and check to see how much sugar is in what you're buying. If it has more than 8g per serving-I'd leave it.
Well-that's it! Thanks for reading-I hope this was valuable for you!
Until next time,