“I eat healthy food, that’s not my problem”
She defended her diet before I even had a chance to breathe. She said those four words so quickly, as if she needed to hear them first. She then said:
“…but I still can’t lose weight”
She then looked at me deflated, hoping for me to share some kind of diet secret, as if my qualification provided me with some kind of textbook in which I could tell her exactly what she must do in order to lose weight.
During this conversation, she threw questions at me like “is white pasta bad for me?” and statements like “I was told the other day I don’t drink enough water…that’s my problem…”
I took a deep breath because I wanted to help, really I did, but I knew there was absolutely nothing I could say which would help her within the next few minutes.
Any answer would cause her to feel even more confused, I could see the exhaustion in her face and the panic that one false move would result in a twenty pound weight gain.
“What should I do? What did you do?”
I made healthier lifestyle choices and I slowly changed my habits over a period of five years.
This is not the answer she wanted, but it was answer I gave her. I explained that no food is ‘good or bad’ – everything is fuel, but not all fuel works for YOUR body. Yes drink water, and it’s important but drinking more water will not transform your life.
Too many of people are caught up in eating processed foods as a way of managing their weight. These industries do a great job of using ‘diet jargon’ to convince you their product is healthy.
“Now, with added fibre”
These are just words. Words put together with some extremely good marketing to convince you to buy their products.
Your healthy eating is a problem if it’s making you miserable and causing weight gain.
Whilst healthy food is subjective, fat loss isn’t.
If sustained fat loss is your goal and you are struggling, then there is a very good chance that your healthy diet is NOT the right diet for you.
Everything works, but not everything works for you.
Your body and lifestyle is an important part of this strategy and you cannot assume that processed foods contain the nutrients your body needs. They might be quick and easy but there has to be harmony.
I used to think the 80:20 rule was impossible. I’ve already shared with you that I didn’t think I could lose weight eating ‘real food’ but I also struggled to lose weight eating meal replacements and processed diet foods.
Nothing seemed to work for my body.
The problem was not the real food or the processed food, the problem was that what I believed to be ‘healthy’ was not actually healthy for me. I spent most of my life trying to apply short term quick fixes to a long term problem.
As a reformed yo-yo dieter who believed her diet was ‘healthy’ I’ve spent some time adjusting my diet to what my body actually needs instead of what society and marketing has told me to eat.
:: Here are my THREE nutritional starting strategies for fat loss ::
#1 Go Against the Grain
I should start by pointing out that you do not need to be fearful of carbohydrates. As a kid and teen my diet was either carbohydrate focused or I was following some low-zero carb diet!
Have you ever wondered why it is that many traditional diets focus on starch based meals, like baked potatoes with beans or oatmeal, and yet there are diets which focus on a lower carbohydrate intake?
Whilst carbohydrates are not your enemy – you need them – for many women their tolerance is low.
This means that you will struggle to lose fat if you are eating too much carbohydrate, this even more of a factor as you get older and head towards menopause.
My go to strategy for clients to help them identify their carbohydrate tolerance is to switch out the modern day carbohydrate based breakfast for something high in fibre [veggies] and lean protein.
You might want carbohydrate at breakfast, but your body probably doesn’t need it at your first meal.
In my personal and professional experience women who’s tolerance is very low to starch, actually crave starch more and struggle to make this switch.
As someone who used to live on Nutr-Grain and belVita biscuit based breakfasts – I can assure you the transformation is amazing.
#2 Supplement for Success
Okay let me assume that you are willing to break your bias, and lets discuss protein powder for a moment.
- It’s not just for men
- It’s not just for body builders
- It’s not unhealthy to supplement for success
Back when I started supplementing with protein powder in 2012, the flavours and taste were average…that might even be generous! Over the past five years I have discovered brands and flavours I LOVE.
Protein powders are a really easy way to add around 20grams of lean protein to a meal, and most taste like dessert. So if, like me, you have a sweet tooth then they will also help to curb those sugar cravings.
Make sure you read the label and look for a powder which has around 20grams of protein per scoop, also be sure to check the carbs and fat.
With flavours from vanilla to frosted chocolate cupcake – there is a flavour for everyone!
[Check out this blog in which I share my favourite powders]
In my experience if you are struggling to consume more protein, then adding protein powder to supplement your whole food diet helps you to consume more lean protein which results in less hunger, more energy and reduced cravings.
# 3 Smart[er] Carbs
When I talk about carbohydrate with clients I break them down into 2 sub categories:
The key is to base every meal around fibre, looking for fibre within veggies like broccoli, cabbage, spinach, cucumber, squash, arugula, chard instead of wholegrain or legumes.
Whilst losing fat, flavour is a non-negotiable! So I always suggest getting smarter about they way you consume your fibre based carbs.
Use cauliflower rice and add garlic, a little coconut oil/butter and seasoning to make a substitute for creamy mashed potatoes. I blend these up in my nutri bullet for a great smarter substitute!
Roast broccoli and brussel sprouts, drizzle with a wholegrain mustard and olive oil mixture then sprinkle with parmesan!
These high fibre veggies are low in starch/sugar therefore you can add some fat to them, increase the satisfaction factor and you will still have a low hormonal response – i.e. you won’t increase your cravings and you will feel full.
The Female Fat Loss Academy is open for enrolment until midnight on Friday May 19th.
FFLA is my signature program, it’s a 4-month 1:1 coaching program, with my support you will lose fat and know EXACTLY how to keep it off. Get all the details and enrol here.