It’s a common mentality for many to think that when trying to lose weight that the answer lies in an effective exercise program. The body transforming benefits of exercise, quickly diminish when your nutrition is even slightly less than ideal.
People will begin to exercise with the best of intentions, including improved nutritional habits. The idea of “eating clean” allows them to eliminate the bad things they’re currently consuming; they may eliminate some processed food, sugar, caffeine, saturated fat and so on. Unfortunately most of these things taste good and consuming them results in a positive feeling. At the same time their new exercise program begins to stimulate the metabolism causing them to be hungry more often (generally a positive sign) leading to eating more often (also positive). The problem lies in the relationship of proteins, carbs, and fats. Each time you begin a new nutritional program this ratio of nutrient consumption changes. Even if you know and understand your ideal ratio and how to monitor it at first changing these habits will be met with physical and psychological resistance, usually in the form of cravings.
Cravings are never positive, that is until you satisfy them leading to guilt, many people find reasons to dislike their new nutritional habits or find their mood deteriorating as they subconsciously push themselves to incorporating some or all of the old habits. Essentially this is a detoxification period, much like a drug or alcohol; food exudes very powerful habit forming effects. Our own form of psychology begins to go to work validating why it’s ok to slide on our new habits. We justify that, “we can work out a little longer to compensate for having ______.” This validation comes from the generalized approach of calories in versus calories out made popular by many mainstream weight loss. Unfortunately in the simplest form burning more calories than you consume is completely logical, and with a severe enough restriction it’s likely you will lose weight: 1) You are literally starving your body and 2) (oversimplified) food consumed enters cells and brings water with it, less food, less water. The down side to this is it’s like trying to complete an algebra problem with only addition and subtraction. What isn’t considered in the calories in versus calories out philosophy is that when you restrict calories your body also restricts many metabolic functions. Less water in the cells means less nutrients leading to decreased strength, performance, an increased chance of injury and a suppressed immune system. Oh and there is one more thing, a much higher chance of rebound weight gain.
The answer is absolute consistency with nutrition; in fact we strongly encourage our new clients to weigh and measure their food and consume the same nutrient ratio for the first 10-14 days of any new fitness program. The statistics are staggering, those that do have nearly a 100% success rate and find their lives run smoother, their much happier, have more energy, and are more productive while their body begins to change. Those that don’t are 5 times more likely not to reach their goal. When starting a new exercise and nutritional program your chances of success are higher with the help of an expert, everyone is different there is no absolutely right place for everyone to start. When it comes to nutrition if you’d like to learn on your own a good book suggestion is The Metabolic Typing Diet by William Wolcott as a place to start.