An article has surfaced from the NY times unveiling the not-so-glamorous light of the tv show The Biggest Loser. Now I will admit reality tv is a guilty pleasure of mine and that I do watch each season, but I can’t watch in support. The article outlines a typical “day on the ranch” consisting of 7 hour workouts, minimal calories, and a whole lot of sweating. Here’s my beef: (not only is this unhealthy) who can realistically do that once they are living in the real world?!
Here’s the reality:
Every time you diet dramatically, you reduce the rate of your metabolism. Read that again and read it slowly. Think of how many diets we’ve done. Each time we diet, we’re chipping away at our body’s ability to burn thousands of calories a day, which is how we can eat, digest, function, and not gain unwanted weight.
Your RMR (resting metabolic rate) determines how many calories you burn at rest. No additional exercise required 😉 This can be anywhere from 1000-2500 calories (varies per individual sex, weight and height). The article points out that the contestants had normal RMRs before beginning the show and finished with metabolisms so slow their bodies couldn’t burn enough calories to maintain their new, smaller sizes. So guess what happens? Hello weight gain and then some. Metabolisms don’t just bounce back. Your body will literally fight you to be back at the weight you were, or close to it, for years.
Is all hope lost? No.
Yes, it’s a matter of biology and hormones. This is why I teach my clients about leptin and work on leptin sensitivity. That’s a talk for another day.
But here are 4 tips that will help you on a healthy journey to weight loss, rebalancing your metabolism and hormones, and most importantly, weight maintenance:
- Focus on 1-2 pounds a week and body composition. Sorry Biggest Loser, there is no healthy way to lose 240 pounds in 7 months. 1-2 pounds is healthy, consistent weight loss. This is doable and manageable and will also allow me to sleep at night knowing things are moving in the right direction at the right speed.
I’ll get frustrated calls from clients saying “I only lost 2 pounds” this week. What am I doing wrong?” Nothing. This is a process. You didn’t gain 100 pounds overnight and you will not lose it overnight. The scale is one form of measuring progress, but how do your clothes fit? Do you sleep better/wake up easier? How different do you feel after climbing a flight of stairs?
Stay on track and trust the process. If you don’t want to trust the process, trust science. I’ll school ya.
- Make it a lifestyle. Now that we know this isn’t a get-fit-quick-scheme, get comfortable and accustomed to a life of embracing food for what it can do for your body, for its tastes, and for the priority you’re making yourself. Get the people around you involved. Go for walks after dinner. Shut electronics off and spend time exercising, playing outside. Join a team. Speak to yourself positively. Take the pressure off losing weight and switch over to an overall, healthier quality of life.
- Know your triggers. What sets you spiraling? What makes you uncomfortable when it comes to food? Maybe it’s where you eat (in front of tv, in public, in your room), who you eat with, your drive to and from work, stress, happiness, sadness. Be honest and mindful about times you feel out of control when it comes to food. Journal them. Try to remove or keep yourself away from these certain situations.
- EAT. The dieter’s mentality is to eat less, count calories/points, avoid x,y,z. Stop. Ironically, you need to eat more to lose weight. (More of the right things, I should say). Organize your meals into eating 5-6 times a day, every 3-4 hours. This will help reboot your metabolism. This will take preparation so give yourself the hour on Sundays to cut up fruit and veggies, make big batches of things to last you throughout the week. Keep it simple: protein and fiber at every meal makes losing weight no big deal. Keep your plate colorful and do not go hungry. Just please eat!
As always, drink lots of water, move your mass, get creative, color your plate, and trust the process. Schedule your Get Acquainted Call to talk further about your goals.