It might sound like such a strange notion but often the key to successfully losing weight is to eat more. It certainly worked for me. I’d spent so many years on various different diets. The first diet I ever did worked so well. I stuck to the plan and the weight just seemed to come off without much effort. I’d never dieted before so it was all new. It was almost exciting to go and weigh in each week and see how much I’d lost. If I remember correctly, in my first week I actually lost 7lbs! But, once I’d lost the weight I naturally thought I could just go back to eating what I had previously and low and behold I not only put all the weight back on but a little extra just for good measure.
And so the next diet began, but this time it was a little harder to lose the weight. I only lost 3lbs in the first week and it just wouldn’t come off as easily. By the time I had been dieting on and off for 15 years it was as if the diets just didn’t work anymore. The last one I ever tried to stick to I only managed to lose 1lb in the first couple of weeks and it was, as you can imagine, soul destroying. Two weeks of counting, tracking and obsessing about food for a measly pound!
Thankfully I eventually decided to give up on all that nonsense and just focus on a healthy body rather than a skinny one. I chose to care for my body without weight loss being the soul objective. I also chose to work on the emotional issues that were keeping me attached to food and low and behold, a year later I ended up losing weight without really having to try. But what was noticeable was just how much more food I was eating compared to before!
I had increased the amount of fat I was eating by including avocados, nut butters and coconut oil into my diet. I was eating three good sized meals a day and snacking when I was hungry. I had never eaten so much but was still losing weight. I just kept making sure that the food I was eating was going to make me feel good. No counting, no monitoring, just using common sense and listening to what I thought my body needed. And if it needed to eat, then I did!
When we have spent years on a restrictive diet of any kind what happens is that we slow down our bodies metabolic rate, the rate at which we process energy. Our body finds a way to manage on less energy and slows down the metabolism to cope. And the longer we restrict our energy intake through ‘dieting’ the harder it becomes to lose weight. The body no longer feels that it is safe to let go of those fat reserves because it is aware of the restriction in energy. And the more diets we do the more we risk slowing down our metabolic rate even further.
So in order to get our body back to a state where it feels it is safe to start and lose those stored fat cells we have to make sure it understands that it will be given plenty of energy on a daily basis. We need to fire up the metabolism by eating regularly, eating enough and eating quality foods high in nutritional value.
My clients are always astonished when I start telling them to eat more but I see so many people who through years of dieting have found themselves in a place where they are eating very little just to prevent any weight gain.
I know from personal experience how frustrating it is to eat very little and not to lose any weight, but the body is just trying to protect us as it was designed to do.