Tried going back to the ol kilojoule counting or crazy workout schedule – but seeing no real results? Calorie restriction and Crossfit might help some people to achieve their body goals, but for the majority of us, it’s setting ourselves up to fail.
Let’s take a look at why extreme exercise and dieting don’t give you the results you want, and what can actually help.
The fundamental flaws of calorie restriction
First up, let’s take a dive into the flaws that are calorie restriction. Sure, in theory, it should work – because when you consume less than you use, you should lose weight, right?
Unfortunately, the process is a lot more complex than this. There are a few key reasons why restricting your kilojoules simply does not work – particularly once you hit your 40s:
- Skipping meals, undereating, or substituting meals for coffee is a recipe to put your body into stress mode
- Stress mode can increase your blood sugar and insulin levels, which causes you to store fat and block the use of fat stores
- The increased insulin and resulting insulin resistance can also increase your cravings for sugar and carb-dense foods (and unfortunately not the healthy kind like berries or wholegrains!)
- Stress can further deplete progesterone, which is already declining over your 40s. We need progesterone for processes such as appetite regulation, thyroid function and blood sugar regulation
- Constantly depriving yourself can also feed into disordered eating patterns, binge eating, emotional eating and all of the habits that have the opposite effects of your original goal!
And these are only SOME of the reasons cutting kilojoules simply doesn’t work! So as you can see, calorie restriction just isn’t the way to go, particularly once you hit your 40s.
You can’t out-exercise the rest of your lifestyle!
Ok, Sarah, I can’t just restrict my way to my dream body, so I’ll just hit the gym 6 times a week. That should bring the energy-in energy-out back into balance, right?
Hate to burst your bubble, but it’s not that simple. Physical activity is fantastic for you in so many ways, but over-exercising is not the magic recipe for weight loss. Here are a few reasons why:
- Just like calorie restriction, excess exercise can put the body into stress mode and feed into the insulin situation
- If you don’t get enough recovery from your workouts, you can also lose muscle mass as the body doesn’t have time to repair the muscles between sessions. This actually reduces your resting metabolic rate – aka drop your metabolism (not what we want)
- Remember the progesterone drop? Progesterone helps to build muscle, so when you reduce your levels, you also will build less muscle (or even lose it), which further reduces your metabolism
- Exercise can increase your appetite, which can mean you end up eating more than enough food to make up for your workout expenditure anyway!
So at the end of the day – the reason that calorie restriction and crazy workouts don’t work is that your body is a complex machine. It has protective mechanisms that compensate for what it views as potentially dangerous.
How you can lose weight and feel great (sans calorie restriction)
Now that you know why these approaches don’t transform your body magically – what will?
The key is to take a holistic and tailored approach.
- Seeing your diet and exercise plans as part of the puzzle, not the be-all and end-all
- Focusing on quality nutrition and movement rather than the quantity
- Managing your stress levels
- Addressing your sleep (yep, that is a huge part of weight loss and body composition!)
- Ruling out potential underlying issues such as thyroid disorders, hormonal imbalances and insulin resistance that can sabotage your efforts
- Ensuring that the changes you implement are sustainable for you long-term
- Deciding on your specific health and body goals (not just following someone’s diet cos they looked amazing on the cover of a magazine)
- Considering your stage of life when choosing your methods
- Creating habits that you can actually stick to when life gets hectic – particularly if you’re a busy mum with a to-do list a mile long!
- Finding out the foods that your body thrives on
Want to find out how you can do all of this?
I want to make it very clear – weight loss might seem impossible in your 40s and beyond, but it doesn’t have to be! By taking a holistic and tailored approach, we can help you to not only look like a million bucks, but also feel amazing in your body.
Book in for a free discovery call today, and we can explore how I can help you to reboot your body and feel good again.