This week I would like to make you aware of another blogger who has written some great articles around weight loss, her name is Dr Melanie Greenberg and her site is http://mindfulselfexpress.visibli.com/share/WP5ecR I recommend you check out her site for lots of useful tips. I am going to pick up on a couple of her ideas and add some of my own thoughts.
In her blog Melanie explains about the survival mechanism that instructs our bodies to hold onto fat if we suddenly cut our calorie intake. This is a very important piece of information. As an evolutionary adaptation this response is very efficient. It basically means that our body is preparing us to handle times of scarcity and in some human cultures around the world that adaptation is still necessary. However in the more privileged environments that most of us live in food is not scarce. The exact opposite is true we have an overwhelming amount of choice at remarkably low cost.
So let us take this one step further. I have spoken to many people who are more than 60 pounds overweight who tell me they only eat 400 calories a day but are not losing weight. As you can imagine this is causing them a great deal of distress and frustration. Here is the reframe: their bodies are working perfectly! They are doing exactly what they should be doing in times of famine. By restricting their intake to just 400 calories their bodies are behaving as if there is a famine crisis.
So in terms of calorie intake even when losing weight it is important to eat enough calories to keep the “engine” of running. For women this tends to be around 1200 to 1400 calories a day and by making healthy choices the success rate goes up. The amount we eat is a matter of balance, enough to keep the body functioning effectively without triggering the survival mechanism. The other side of the balance is to make sure we are not regularly eating more calories than our body needs. If we do eat more than we need our body triggers the other half of the survival strategy, storing food just in case there is a famine!
This is what animals in the wild do and you will probably have noticed that we seldom see overweight wild animals. There are sadly many overweight pets because when owners overfeed their animals the same mechanisms are triggered that turn excess food into fat.
The second part to this is the need to be consistent and go for gradual weight loss rather than trying to lose large amounts of weight quickly. Consistency and perseverance are vital keys in any successful strategy. This includes realising that having a set back is normal and all you need to do is get back to the plan if you have a week or even a couple of weeks of reverting to old patterns of eating. In other words your journey is a marathon not a sprint.
Within this is also the reality that from time to time you will experience a plateau, this is just your body re-adjusting. Consistency and persistence will get you there, just keep going. If you add in around thirty minutes of high intensity exercise four to five times a week you will keep your metabolism working at an efficient rate to aid your progress.
Next week I will return to the relationship between self-esteem and weight. In preparation you might like to download our free MP3 giving you two hours from one of our self-esteem workshops. Click on the link below.
The link to download is at the bottom of this web page.