It’s common for people to try and out-exercise a bad diet. Come on, I bet you’ve done it! Head to the gym for a hour long cardio session or decide out of the blue to go out on a run...ok, jog...ok, waddle...um, fast-paced walk. We all think that burning more calories through exercise will make the scale move. And it might...or it might not. The thing with exercise is that its weight loss benefits are entirely tied to how much you’re eating. Not eating enough? You won’t lose weight. Eating too much? You won’t lose weight. This is why food comes first.
Weight loss is all about balance. The balance between calories consumed and calories burned. If you don’t eat enough calories in a day to sustain yourself, then your workouts will not result in weight loss. In fact, you will likely hold on to excess fat because your body is convinced that food is scarce. The body is a brilliantly designed machine! It will slow down internal processes to ensure that fat remains available. It’s a matter of survival! If you’re overeating, then you can exercise the day away and still won’t reach into fat stores. Now, don’t get me wrong. Exercise and intentional movement definitely has overall health benefits and promotes well-being. I’m talking about fat loss. And when it comes to fat loss, food comes first!
The foods you eat in a day all contain calories. Your body needs calories to function but not all calories are created equal. There are fad diets everywhere - low carb, paleo, ketogenic, whole 30, weight watchers, lean cuisine - that all have the same goal but go about it different ways. Each of these ranks foods from desirable (low points) to not so desirable (processed/sugary/high points). But each of these approaches tells you what to eat and what not to eat. You don’t make the choices. You follow the plan and you succeed as long as you’re able to stick to it. But what then? What happens after you’ve lost weight and want to start eating “normally” again? How are you supposed to know what to do?
It’s not restriction first, it’s FOOD FIRST. It’s about learning what your body needs in order to perform in a way that promotes fat burn. It’s not about what your neighbor, friend or husband is eating. It’s about learning your food and what will work for YOU. It doesn’t have to come with rules and restrictions. This is why my preferred approach to weight loss and learning your food involves logging your eating and aiming for specific goals. It’s not about only eating certain foods at certain times or eliminating entire food groups. I just don’t think that’s realistic or sustainable. It’s about eating foods you enjoy in a way that supports your goals. Want to lose weight? Let’s start with some boundary lines around how many calories you should aim to eat in a day - specifically doing this by breaking down how much protein, carbs and fat you should eat in a day.
Protein + Carbs + Fat = Calories
If you want to know why I prefer this approach, check out my blog post that explains macros here.
When it comes to achieving and maintaining weight (fat) loss, food has to come first. It might not be the most fun, but it’s the most effective. And it’s something you only need to learn once. Once you learn your food and how to eat, you know it. At that point it becomes a deliberate choice to walk away from all that you know and return to the eating habits that led you to be overweight in the first place. Food first means lasting results. But if you’d rather spend hours on the treadmill or repeat fad diets over and over again, go for it! How’s it worked for you so far?
Email me for more info on how nutrition coaching can help you reach your weight loss goals once and for all!