It’s time to address ‘undereating’.
I am constantly hearing from people who need help because they are stuck at a weight loss plateau. Here’s what I have learned in my 15+ years in this business: for the most part, we are confused, lost, misguided about how to lose weight. Eat this, don’t eat that, cut this, don’t eat this time of day, don’t mix this food group with that, etc…
The ‘diet’ industry is a multi-BILLION dollar/year industry that offers so many plans/programs/schemes to lose weight. How the heck are we supposed to know what to follow? What I have witnessed over the years when someone is stuck at a plateau, is that they are not eating consistently and not eating enough food in a typical day. I wholeheartedly believe that NO ONE should be eating less than 1400 calories/day.
I know that some of you are eating under 1000 calories/day!
That is a starvation diet. I know, I know…we are busy moms. I am, too! I totally GET IT. I have those days, too! When you barely manage to get a cup of coffee in while fixing the kids’ breakfast. Lunch consists of the scraps of fruit and crusts of bread the kids didn’t eat because you don’t want it to go to waste. Which leads to a starving mama by dinnertime who is eating everything in sight while prepping dinner that once she finally sits down with her plate, she’s actually eating her second serving! I know this because I live it. It takes a conscious effort to plan my meals, then plan my grocery list around that. It takes washing, chopping, storing fruits/veggies so that they’re ready when you need them.
Here’s a quick picture of what happens when we under eat:
I like to think about it like a houseplant. When our plant is watered daily, it flourishes. It is healthy. It is a beautiful color and grows quickly. When we water it daily, it ‘drinks’ the water and then rest leaks out the bottom. It is satiated. What if we go on vacation and neglect that plant for a week? What happens when we come home? It’s wilted, brown, near death. We ‘feed’ it (water) and it takes what seems like, a full pitcher before it is ‘full’. It is STORING that food. It is soaking it all in and holding onto it because it was completely dried out. Think of your body in this way. When we are malnourished and then begin to eat regularly again, our bodies will hold on for dear life to what we give it, not knowing when it will get its next meal. In time, our metabolism regulates and understands that there will be a steady stream of sustenance coming in, giving permission, or allowing our body to ‘release’ the excess (in this case, being FAT). Without enough food, our body can’t even perform its basic functions. Now that you are adding exercise into the equation, how can we begin to expect our body to cooperate and release the weight when we are barely giving it enough calories to perform the basic daily activities (move, breath, blink, swallow???). I know this sounds crazy and counterintuitive…”Why can’t I just eat less and lose weight?”
Here’s what I’ve seen over the years:
Most people don’t eat breakfast. They get to work and give in to donuts/muffins/vending machine junk, thinking they’ve ‘earned’ it by saving calories on skipping breakfast. Lunch is either skipped or consists of fast food. Nothing else is eaten all day until dinnertime (6, 7, 8pm), at which point, you are famished and eat double portions of everything.
People then wonder why, when this doesn’t seem like a lot of food, they are gaining/not losing weight.
The biggest lesson I’ve found that my challengers benefit from is learning ‘HOW’ to eat. By this, I mean balancing carbs/fat/protein, regulating portion sizes, training yourself to eat at regular intervals, recognizing hunger cues. So much of this is NOT about ‘what’ to eat. Don’t get me wrong; that is a huge factor as well.
Here’s what I recommend:
Tip #1) Keep a food log. Write down every B.L.T. (Bite, Lick and Taste) that passes your lips, including liquids. Write down the time of day you are eating each meal/snack and your hunger level on a scale of 1-10. I would also encourage you to note your mood (mad, depressed, bored, etc…)
#2) Have healthy food in your fridge/pantry. Washed and chopped fruits and veggies, hard-boiled eggs, grilled chicken, tuna packets, nuts, dried fruit.
#3) Make sure each meal includes complex carbohydrates, healthy fats and lean protein.
#4) Set a timer on your phone, if you have to, to eat every 2-4 hours.
#5) Drink half your body weight in ounces of water daily.
#6) Exercise 30 minutes a day, 5 days/week
#7) Get 7-8 QUALITY hours of restorative sleep each night.
If you are needing more help, please reach out to me. My 21-Day Fix groups offer incredible weight-loss results (average of 8-10 lbs. in 3 weeks). The color-coded, portion control containers show you exactly what to eat and how much to eat each day. It completely takes the guesswork out of it. Here’s a quick video to show you what it’s about. http://beachbodycoach.com/esuite/home/ShellyGonzales?bctid=3124709772001
Please let me know how I can help.