A few weeks ago, I wrote about what I have learned in the last 15 years of my fitness journey. And I cannot believe I forgot one of the most important lessons, especially for weight loss!
You cannot ignore nutrition and lose weight!
It’s true. You are fooling yourself if you think you can exercise your way to a lower number on the scale. It won’t work. Okay, maybe if you have 5 to 10 pounds to lose, you can increase your exercise and lose weight. But if you have more than that to lose and you are counting on exercise to deliver your weight loss, you will find yourself missing the mark. Or maybe more accurately, you will not achieve your weight loss goals if you ignore nutrition.
I have faced this lesson three times over the past 15 years. In fact, it was one of the very first lessons I learned when I began to redesign my life around my health and fitness.
If you are exercising regularly yet not losing weight, your diet is probably the culprit.
Back in my mid-40’s, I was 70 pounds overweight. I managed to be that overweight despite working out about 6 to 7 hours a week. I was a master swimmer and attended 3 to 4 workouts a week. And then I practiced yoga at least two hours a week. Yet, I managed to maintain an extra 70 pounds on my body. But when I finally decided to get my nutritional house in order, the weight flew off. It took a healthy diet to bring me to a healthy weight. I couldn’t do it with just exercise.
In my early 50’s, I needed to learn the lesson again. My lifestyle disrupted my nutrition, and I gained 25 pounds even though I had a great workout schedule in the gym. I worked to get my nutritional house in order once again and was able to take the weight off. It is about exercise AND nutrition!
As I head into my 60’s (they are two years away), I am faced with learning the same lesson. I “accumulated some extra lbs” on this body of mine over the past two years. . My exercise regimen is great. It is my nutrition that got out of whack again. Exercise can help tone and shape my body and help it be healthy, but it can’t accomplish the weight loss on its own. Nutrition needs to be part of the equation as well. I am committed to making this third time a charm!
If you want to lose weight, taking aim at your nutrition is your best strategy.
Exercise, proper sleep, managing stress are also important and need to be active components of any weight loss plan. But if you ignore eating healthy, you will most likely not lose the weight you want to lose. Nutrition is often the ignored or forgotten element.
“Eating healthy” is so different for each individual. That’s what makes it so challenging.
Finding a healthy diet is unique to each individual. Unless there are health reasons necessitating following a prescribed diet plan, your best bet is to discover what works best for you. And this is what makes it so difficult. Because YOU have to create it for yourself. You can’t take someone else’s healthy diet. Chances are it won’t work for you. It is also unreliable to rely solely on a personal trainer to deliver the results. You have to design it yourself. And hold yourself accountable.
Most of the time it is not about the food, it is about our relationship with food, ourselves and our lives.
I hear it almost every day – “ I know what I should eat, but I can’t make myself do it.” I wish I knew the answer. What I do know is the answer is unique for each individual. One person could have body image challenges or low self-esteem. Another could be using food as their coping mechanism for stress, unhappiness, loneliness, or boredom. Or the demands of a lifestyle (e.g. being on the road for work, caring for elderly parents) can crowd out time for oneself and for self-care.
You hold the key for creating what works for you. It takes some experimentation (not to mention patience) to learn what will improve the leanness of your body, your healthy, and your performance. Play with different healthy foods to see what you like and what works for you. Pay attention to what triggers your eating and food choices. And reflect upon the beliefs and perspectives that are wrapped up in your meals. See what works. Keep that. Find new ways when something doesn’t work.
Love it into creation
As I think about what it takes to eat healthy and to lose weight, I am reminded of a passage from a book by Robert Fritz, entitled Your Life as Art. In his book, Fritz talks about the creative process used by many artists. Artists (he was writing about painters) practice their skills and experiment with techniques. But when it comes to the actual painting, they use their love for their vision or their craft to bring their creation into into existence.
I believe this lesson can be valuable in the pursuit of healthy nutrition and weight loss. We can educate ourselves on food, put systems in place to plan and prepare healthy meals, and design structures so it is virtually automatic for us to eat healthy meals on a regular basis. But to make it happen and to make our goals come alive, we need to dig deep and use what is inside of us to create the results we desire. And to me that is about connecting to the love inside of us – why being healthy and lean is so important to us, making ourselves and our health a priority in our lives, having compassion for who we are, including our weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Our minds and our hearts working together can make weight loss and healthy nutrition a reality for us!
We would be honored to be part of your weight loss journey. Our fitness consultations are a great way to break through what is holding your back from success. Whether you hire us or not, the session can make a positive difference in your results. Give us a call today at 630-653-8152 to get started!
Strand Fitness is a personal training studio serving Wheaton, Glen Ellyn, Winfield and the Western Suburbs of Chicago. Click here to learn more about our weight loss solution.