I have been preaching for many, many years, that the calories in/calories out model does not work; that we are more like a chemistry lab than a simple bank ledger. In other words, much more complex. The above article begins to get at these issues, but does not really give you the solution. There is one. It is to heal your metabolism. That means:
- Nutrition: identifying and eliminating food sensitivities and then learning to balance macronutrients (protein, carbs and fat) in the way that addresses your individual circumstance.
- Decreasing Toxic Load: This means eliminating or minimizing things that are toxic for your system. It might include cutting back on caffeine or alcohol, for instance. It is also essential to optimize your innate ability to detoxify. This produces amazing results in terms of energy, weight loss, focus, and more. Please see my article on Detox for more information.
- Stress Management: There are some stresses we can control (like what goes in your mouth: yes, that candy bar is a stress for your system!) and some we can’t (like a traffic jam, a loss, or a conflict with a loved one). Being in a condition of chronic stress has a very negative impact on your metabolism and your overall health. The good news is that we have many ways to decrease the stress response, and many of them are quite simple (like taking a few deep slow breaths). Learning to use our “reset button” repeatedly during the day improves not only our metabolism, but our quality of life.
- Exercise: Exercise is essential, but it will not heal your metabolism or help you lose weight all by itself. In my experience, weight loss is about 80% nutrition. And unfortunately, the wrong kind of exercise can actually make it harder to lose weight! I have seen many people who start to lose weight only when they stop exercising and give their body time to heal. On the other hand, exercise that is correct for you will help you retain and build lean muscle and make your metabolism more efficient at burning fat.
BMI, or Body Mass Index, is misleading. It is merely a proportion of height and weight, and if you are losing fat and gaining muscle, you can be smaller, leaner and healthier but your BMI does not change. That’s why I use BMR instead in my weight loss programs. BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) is the number of calories you burn in 24 hours at rest. It should increase as you build muscle and lose fat. I also look at the proportion of BMR to your overall weight: it should be at least 10x larger. BMR is also helpful for giving us an initial goal weight that makes sense.
I hope this has given you some helpful ideas about how to approach losing or maintaining weight. If you would like individual support, sign up for my 13 Week Success Program. In it, I take you through a customized version of each of the steps above, one by one, until you are a healthy, lean, fat-burning machine! It has worked for many hundreds of people.