How many times have you heard, or said, “I did everything but didn’t lose an ounce.” Or, “I work out every single day and can’t lose weight.” This is usually followed with, “I give up!“, or, “There must be something wrong with my body, my thyroid, my …..”
These thoughts and words in most cases are really just part of the narrative we use to make up for the fact that we are losing our battle to reclaim our health. It truly happens to us all at some point. I’d venture to say if we really drill down, we would find the true root cause of why we are not losing weight, or improving our health. I’d also venture to say the truth is buried deep down under all the lies we tell ourselves.
I personally have lived in this land of alternative reality for a long time. Thinking I could eat anything I want and still be healthy. Thinking I was so smart and knew better than any of those reports out there. At one point in my life, I was paying a personal trainer to help me lose weight. I went religiously to her home 2 times a week. On top of that I was swimming at the gym 3 times a week. Guess what? I wasn’t losing any weight. I remember being frustrated and telling her that I just don’t get it. I was eating healthy, working out and getting nowhere. Well, if I really had been honest with myself, I would have known that you can’t drink 2 glasses of wine a night as you cook that healthy dinner and expect to lose weight. In fact, when you research it you will see that the truth is, if you drink 1-2 glasses of wine a day you will definitely gain weight.
This week I thought I’d delve into some of my favorite alternative narratives that I’ve used to justify my lack of progress.
1) I work out every single day and I’m not losing an ounce, there must be something wrong with my metabolism (thyroid, insert your favorite reason here).
Truth: You Can’t Exercise a Bad Diet
Believe me I’ve tried to, but it just doesn’t work. No matter how many miles I ran, swam or biked I wouldn’t lose an ounce if I continued to eat pounds of pasta, pizza and drink glasses of wine while cooking.
If you are exercising like crazy and getting nowhere, before you blame your body for failing you, you must be totally honest with yourself. Let’s face the cold, harsh reality of this truth.
- The truth is, flat abs are made in the kitchen, and no amount of cardio and crunches can sculpt a sleek physique if you maintain an unhealthy diet.
- It’s hard to get enough exercise in to undo the calories you’ll get in a double cheeseburger with French fries and a milk shake, even if you drink the diet coke!
- You might want to recalculate how many calories you’re actually burning in comparison to the ones you’re taking in. You’re not likely burning 600 calories in a yoga session, even hot yoga, no matter what your Fitbit says.
- You won’t have the energy to exercise if you’re not eating enough of the right foods that fuel the body. This will impact your intensity levels and caloric burn.
2) I’m starving myself, following this diet to the letter, yet I’ve lost nothing.
Truth: Eating too little could put your body in survival mode trying to hold on to as many calories as it can instead of burning at its usual rate, and your weight might plateau.
- Slashing calories and adding large amounts of exercise could cause an extreme caloric deficit that works against you.
- Not eating enough calories causes many metabolic changes.
- Your large caloric deficit might work for a short time, but eventually your body will go into survival mode and hold on to calories.
- Your body could slow down thyroid production.
- You could have a sense of low energy which could lead to lack of motivation.
3) I am eating totally healthy and can’t lose an ounce.
Truth: You may be eating healthy and still eating wrong.
This one is my favorite. When my church followed the Daniel Fast for a month, I decided to extend my time eating Vegan. I actually felt healthier than ever. Well, soon thereafter I started gaining weight again. What in the world am I doing wrong now? I was eating way too much food thinking it was OK because it was so healthy. Here are some common pitfalls of the healthy eating narrative:
- If some is good, more must be better, hence my heaping bowls of lentils!
- Portion size doesn’t matter since it’s healthy food. Portions matter in all foods end of story!
- Gluten free cookies are healthy cookies. Umm, cookies are cookies people!
- I can eat unlimited bowls of fruit. Fruit has lots of sugar albeit the healthier kind.
- No, you can’t drench your healthy food with oil, sauce cheese and butter.
- Watch your salad toppings. A salad can have more calories than a Big Mac.
The list is endless, but these were the three big ones for me. Living healthy is hard work and requires mindfulness. Be wary of falling into these common pitfalls. Personally, I find it helps to read and learn. I’m always fact checking things I hear or read about. It always sounds so easy, but anyone on this journey with me knows that’s the biggest false narrative out there. It is work and requires effort, patience and perseverance. No matter what I just keep on trying. One day at a time and each day is a blank slate.
What were some of your favorite misconceptions? Please share in the comments below. I’d love to learn with you on this journey.