Andrea's Antics July 1, 2015

As a Registered Dietitian, I am frequently asked the same questions over and over again.  These questions often have to do with improving one's health, but more often than not, they have to do with losing weight.  More specifically, the one I have been hearing a lot lately that inspired me to write this antics is, "I just need to know how to 'jump start' my weight loss."  The fact that one can "jump start" their weight loss is one of the biggest misconceptions individuals looking to lose weight often have and is actually one of the reasons that many sabotage their ability to lose weight and keep it off. 


The truth is its all based on science and survival.  Our bodies make decisions on whether to gain weight or let go of extra weight all based on the way we take care of ourselves.  Let me give you some specific examples.  If you starve yourself, as in go on a very low calorie diet or skip meals, your body says I don't know where the next meal is coming from and since food doesn't seem to be very readily available, I better hold on to the fat she has in her body because I may need it for something important down the road.  So when we "jump start" our weight loss and try to lose weight fast, our body actually reacts by holding onto fat.  Yes the number on the scale may go down but this is a result of your body initially depleting its storage of water and even more importantly breaking down your muscle mass for your energy needs.  You see muscle is way more dispensable and not as crucial for survival as is fat, so the body will sacrifice muscle before letting go of fat.  Fat insulates us, protects us and is the source of many hormones important to our existence.  In fact, because fat is so associated with survival, YOUR BODY WILL ONLY LET GO OF 1-2 POUNDS OF FAT/WEEK.  No matter how hard you try, how little you eat, how much you work out, and what weight loss gimmick you might have purchased, this is simply the way our bodies work. 


So let's say you don't buy into this, in fact you heard it on the radio on the way to work...LOSE 10 POUNDS IN ONE WEEK...GUARANTEED.  You start this lose a few pounds...maybe even a bunch of weight...your muscle mass drops...your metabolism drops (b/c the more muscle we have the more calories we burn) can't eat few enough calories or work out enough to negate this drop in your you start to gain the weight back...and guess what - you gain back mostly fat not end up at your starting weight thinking no harm done...but in reality you are "fatter" than you were when you were here before...your metabolism is lower than it was when you were here before (since muscle is 8 times as active as fat)...and you GAIN ANOTHER 5 or 10 pounds of fat.  This is the saga of many individuals who set out to jump start their weight loss. 


The reality is that losing weight successfully is about small frequent meals, making good food choices that include high fiber carbs, good fats and small amounts of protein with each of those meals and snacks, and exercising at least every other day.  The weight will come off...and if you slow down and lose the weight at a rate of 1-2 pounds a week you will lose primarily fat...your metabolism (number of calories you burn daily and amount of energy you have) will be higher...making it way less work to keep those pounds off once and for all. 


Lastly, an article written by an aspiring R.D. recently crossed my desk and I thought she did a great job of addressing some other common fallacies about foods that the media has deemed taboo that are actually good for us.  Worth taking the time to read...and also helps to illustrate that the true "jump starting" of our weight loss is more about taking the time to educate ourselves with the knowledge and the tools to take care of ourselves in a way that helps us to find and maintain that ideal body weight while preserving and even bettering our health.






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