Nutrition is such a big and important subject in weightloss! You can’t lose weight without changing your eating habits! Really! I know all these extreme weightloss programs focus on exercise, you see people running and jumping all day and losing weight fast. Why? Because it’s good and fun television! It’s kinda boring to watch somebody eat their healthy food every day, saying no to cake at work and doing their healthy groceries. I do really love how motivating this Chris Powell is! And not to mention the amount of eyecandyness 😉 The same counts for those online fitness profiles. Don’t get me wrong, I love them too, like Katyhearnfit and followthelita on IG. The thing is that it’s just really exciting to see somebody build their body with exercises. Don’t forget me when you look at their vids!
As you might know, I follow the Weightwatchers program to lose weight. I love it and it really fits me, but other programs can also work. Losing weight is actually really simple, eat less energy than your body needs and it will burn your body fat to compensate for the amount of energy it still needs to function normally. There are so many ´rules´ people came up with and they really complicate things, like: don´t eat after 8 pm, don´t skip breakfast, don´t eat too many carbohydrates (I’ll refer to them as carbs from now on), don’t starve your body, eat more protein, don´t eat carbs for dinner, don’t eat gluten, don’t eat soy, don’t eat lactose, take vitamins, take meal replacements, eat every hour, eat 6 small meals, eat clean, eat paleo, don’t eat sugar, drink applevinegar every morning, don’t use light products, do intermittent fasting, make mealpreps, eat 10 bananas a day, stand on your head while drink a glass of cold water…. All these opinions makes me nuts and really confused. What to do??
Well, for starters, I’ve tried sooo many of these things. I really think some stuff might work for people, but I gotta tell you, most of these things don’t work for me. I like to keep it kind of simple, because if you give yourself so many rules, then there are also so many ways to fail and for most obese/overweight people failure leads to overeating/emotional eating and self hate, so my first advise is: set up something that you cannot fail! How do I do it? Well, I actually allow myself to eat everything. Yes, I can eat cookies, ice cream, pizza, wine, whatever. So, by allowing myself to eat everything, I cannot be mad at myself when I do J You can hear a big but coming… BUT: I track everything and I try to plan it and of course not every day and not in the amounts I used to eat them. I also don’t give myself time restrictions. If I want to eat something at 11 pm, I eat it. If I want to eat carbs at dinner, I eat it. There are some rules I gave myself though, the most important one is to eat enough protein. When you’re losing weight, your body is struggling to get energy and the stuff it really needs. If you don’t eat enough protein, your body might get some of its protein from your muscles and really, that’s the last thing you want when losing weight (less muscle=less energy burned). Protein is also necessary after weightlifting, because your muscles need it to build and get stronger. I also gave myself a ‘1-banana (or any other type of high kcal fruit) a day’ restriction. Weightwatchers lets you eat fruit and veggies without counting them, but some fruits like banana’s can contain a lot of kcal, so I try to eat only 1 a day. The last thing I try to do is to refrain from light products and try to eat as natural as possible (but enjoy my non-natural foods when I eat them!).
What I also learned during my journey is that not everything that makes you lose weight is healthy, and not all healthy things makes you lose weight. You get me? Let me give you an example: Avocado’s are healthy, they contain a lot of unsaturated fat, fiber, vitamins etc. One avocado contains roughly 230 kcal. So, if you normally eat 2000 kcal daily and you maintain your weight like that, and you add a daily avocado, you’ll eat 2230 kcal daily, which will be more then you need and you start gaining weight. So now another example: You eat 2500 kcal daily and you are overweight and maintain your weight with this intake. You want to lose weight and decide to eat 1800 kcal daily. You start making different food choices and take light products to reduce your energy intake and get to the 1800 kcal daily. You’ll lose weight. But… is it healthy? Personally I believe light products are generally unhealthy as they add a lot of chemicals to it and sometimes uses sugar as fat replacement (I’ll talk more about sugar later). With this ‘diet’, you can also eat cookies and donuts every day, as long as you stay under your 1800 kcal goal. So, to conclude, by only eating foods that are considered healthy, it’s still possible to not lose weight and even gain weight. The other way around is also possible, you can lose weight while eating unhealthy things.
There are a lot of opinions and only a few scientific papers about the fact that not all calories are created ‘equal’. I think I’m kind of leaning towards this, instead of ‘a calorie is a calorie’, whether it come from an apple or a burger. Many people follow IIFYM (If it fits your macro’s). Macro’s are macronutrients, in other words; fat, protein and carbs. You count your daily intake and count kcal, fat, protein and carbs. So if a donut fits into your daily macro allowance, you can eat a donut. The same counts a bit for weightwatchers, if you have points for a donut, you can eat a donut. Though I like this idea of eating a donut daily (nomnom), the problem is that it is full of refined sugar and carbs. I’m not a carb-hater, really, but refined carbs I try to avoid as much as possible (but again, enjoy them thoroughly when I do eat them). Why? Well, it used to be a real popular opinion that we should avoid fats and dietary cholesterol to keep our arteries and heart healthy. Guess what, lately more and more research is showing that the beginning of atherosclerosis actually starts by small inflammations caused by fast rising bloodsugar levels (which you will get from eating refined carbs). Fast rising blood sugar levels also creates fast rising insulin levels to bring down the blood sugar. It sometimes ‘overshoots’ so the insulin rises too fast and the blood sugar falls too fast, creating hunger and feeling lightheaded, leading to eating more!
Did you know eating artificial sweeteners can also make the insulin levels rise? Our body is such a great working machine, when you taste something sweet, automatically, there are hormones produced to induce digestion, making the enzymes and making insulin to prepare for the coming blood sugar rise. BUT, if you only take something with artificial sweeteners (like diet coke), there is no rise of blood sugar, so your blood sugar will get lower because of the already made insulin, again creating hunger and lightheadedness. I sometimes do use artificial sweeteners, I just always combine it with something that contains complex carbs (like oatmeal), so I won’t get that blood sugar drop.
So again, I’m not a carb-hater paleo eating health nut. I do think that eating healthy is more than just reducing your calorie intake! It’s all about that balance, eat healthy on a daily basis and enjoy your indulges when you decide to take them.
Soon I will post something about vitamins, superfoods and supplements for weightlifting. Next post will be about that damn scale and why we should avoid standing on it!