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Why 'Eat Less - Exercise More' is a HORRIBLE blanket answer for someone struggling to lose weight!


Now before you go reading this and getting ready to defend it, keep reading!


As a woman who grew up overweight, tipping the scale at over 280 pounds by High School graduation, I recall countless times during my earlier years trying every weight loss plan I could find, from Susan Powder to Tony Little, to no avail. I also recall saying the phrase, "nothing works," on a fairly consistent basis.


Continuing to gain weight, I was at 305-ish when I finally turned the corner.

Then, like butter melting off a stick, it seemed to come off easily and effortlessly.


As I think back to the habits I changed which caused this shift. I can't tell you I had significant food changes at least initially; I was certainly moving more at that time. But, more so, I really stopped thinking about my weight or weight loss. I wasn't 'trying to lose weight (this was a game-changer and something we will come back to in future posts).


Through the years, I've been labeled as "obese – fat – heavy set," to name a few.


Ironically, I have been told I was "Too Skinny" when I hit my lowest weight of 140.


I have followed the "Eat less – Exercise more" approach and gained weight.


I've eaten more and moved about the same and lost weight.


I've followed healthy food plans, which included healthy fats, and gained weight.


I've focused on less cardio and more weight training and gained weight.


I've also done several of those mentioned above through the years and lost weight.


I've also been in situations where I was working out 5-6 days a week, and month over month, my BMI was actually increasing when you would usually see a decrease considering my food and fitness habits.


Now I am sure at this point, someone is reading this and thinking to themselves, "You must be doing it wrong." If this is you, please take some time to understand each person's biology and unique circumstances! People can literally be eating right and exercising, and if they have other certain factors out of whack, they can gain weight or have a hard time losing.


Stop judging people and start really getting to the heart of what they have going on!


Inevitably, the most consistent approach for me has been a mainly protein and vegetable food plan, balanced workout routine or cardio and strength, and most importantly, focus on total health instead of losing weight.

And, bigger than all of that, managing stress, emotions, and other environmental factors.


So, why is it that something works at some points in life and at other times it doesn't?

Or, why can it work for one person and be the right answer for them but be a horrible approach for someone else?


The simple answer is that we are all different.


Let's dive into more detailed reasons why different outcomes present for different people.


Body Chemistry

Ah, those good ole hormones!


Hormones play a significant role in our body's energy level, weight management, emotional resistance, and so much more.


One study by Dr. Sara Gottfried cited that up to 90% of weight loss resistance can be traced to hormones.


Several factors can impact hormones from Environmental, mental/emotional wellness, genetics, stress, age, health, medications, crash diets, sleep deprivation, and sugar, to name some of the major ones.


This is NOT a reason to stop trying to maintain good health. It is awareness to start working on getting your body chemistry in better balance to help stimulate the natural weight loss response. When I think about the "weight coming off like butter" that I referred to earlier. Although I wasn't aware of it at the time, I believe what I was doing naturally aligned my chemistry and hormones, which let my body do what it is meant to do.


Chemicals that impact weight loss include:


Leptin helps to regulate energy balance by inhibiting hunger. This is the hormone that, when properly regulated, tells us we are full.


Ghrelin is your hunger hormone. Think of Leptin and Ghrelin as the Yin and Yang. Ghrelin tells you you're hungry, whereas Leptin tells you you're full.


Insulin balances micronutrient levels. It is the hormone that Converts excess carbs to fat.


Cortisol, or the "Stress hormone," regulates a wide range of processes throughout the body, including metabolism and the immune response. When our cortisol is high and especially high for too long, this hormone may tell our body to store fat, leading to abdominal weight gain. It can also cause a suppressed immune system.


Testosterone functions as an anabolic hormone that helps us build muscle and fat and increases fat burning in the body. When our testosterone is low, it can inadvertently impact our fat-burning ability (yes, woman, this is for you too)!


Estrogen is directly involved in weight management and metabolism. It also helps to regulate glucose and lipid metabolism. If estrogen levels drop, in turn, metabolic rate declines, your body can begin to store fat.


Thyroid Hormone helps to increase energy metabolism, build muscle, strengthen bones and regulate body weight. When thyroid hormones are off, it can make weight loss very difficult.


If you feel your hormones are out of balance, check with your medical practitioner or consult with a natural or homeopathic practitioner to assess them. I personally recommend Holistic or Natural practitioners.


Stress


I think it is fair to say, we all know that prolonged stress is not healthy for any of us. It can have a negative impact in all areas physically, mentally, and emotionally if not managed.


Not to mention how it impacts the people and environment around us.


As it relates to today's topic, stress directly impacts the way our body processes and, in turn, impacts weight management. Stress can influence appetite, regulatory metabolism, GI processes (our gut), and those good ole hormones we talked about earlier, one of the primary ones being cortisol.


When we are stressed, our adrenal glands release adrenaline and cortisol. When this happens, glucose is released into our bloodstream. This gives the body energy to basically "fight off" what caused the stress. When the perceived threat goes away, and you calm down, your blood sugar comes down, and cortisol kicks in to replenish the energy supply.

Being in this constant state of stress and firing hormones is like a ripple effect that may impact food cravings.


Aside from the hormonal response of chronic stress, it can impact overall happiness and energy levels, which can lead to changes in behavior and weight management.


Are you finding yourself in a heightened emotional or stressful state far too often? Take a look at the triggers or culprits of the stress and start addressing that; you will be glad you did!