Part I: You Have To EAT To Lose Weight

Weight Loss Unmasked: A five part series looking deeper at why we struggle with losing weight

By: Briana Boehmer

Photo c/o: Britt Selvitelle

Naturally when I hear most people talk about losing weight the word diet is mentioned in one way or another. Diet by definition assumes restriction of food in some form, which often leads to unfortunate behaviors – namely, not eating sufficient calories and more importantly the nutrients your body needs.

I am forever perplexed over why we work against our body’s natural biology.

Here’s a hard fact: Our body is built to SURVIVE. At the most fundamental level your body does what it does to SURVIVE. Bottom line, there comes a point where the fewer calories you take in the fewer calories your body burns. This is your body’s basic response to survival…in other words; it doesn’t want to starve so it will run on less energy to make the most of the calories it does get. This WILL happen when you hit that “danger point” for YOUR body.

This fact has been studied and studied. In fact, you may have already experienced this phenomena: You’ve been cutting your calorie intake by 500 calories a day so that you lose 1 pound per week (500 calories/day x 7 days = 3,500 calories =1 pound) and at first it worked like a charm but suddenly you hit a plateau and the weight loss is less and less each week. Frustrating isn’t it? The simple and hard fact is, your body is just not built to follow such a simple equation. There are so many more variables to consider.

Bottom line – You have to EAT to lose weight safely and effectively. Not too much and not too little…confusing right? Weight loss is a tricky equation but ultimately there is no magic pill or extreme diet that can replace simple healthy eating at regular intervals that corresponds directly with your personal needs. Because all calories are not created equal (an issue I will discuss in the next part of this series), it is critical that your body is getting the nutrients it needs to do basal metabolic tasks. Add in exercise and personal physiological circumstances and there certainly is a lot to think about. Yes, what AND how much you eat aren’t the only factors!

Current research is telling us the best way to keep the body in an optimal state of metabolic bliss is to eat smaller more frequent “meals” throughout the day. There is research to suggest that even small calorie deficits within a single day may alter our metabolism in ways that have negative effects. While the ultimate goal is for the body to burn stored energy, we have to always keep in mind the fact that we don’t want it to enter starvation mode either.

So now you’re wondering how to strike the perfect balance between calorie consumption and energy expenditure aren’t you? Great! Check back next week for my next installment looking deeper into how to set proper weight loss in motion.

In the meantime, if you’re looking for a way to track, check out our nutrition journal at 411.com.

Read Part 2: Food Journaling Matters a LOT by clicking here.

411Fit Member Blog: The Start of My Transformation

By: Denise Simpson

In August of 2010 I stepped on a scale and was blown away because it said I was 491 pounds. All I thought was, ‘I weigh almost 500 pounds.’ So I made up in my mind that it was time for me to do something about my weight.  I started “watching” what I ate. In my mind, I wanted to lose weight but little did I know that I was starting a journey called  “transformation.”

My name is Denise and I am 40 years old. I am a social worker and therefore, since I can remember, I have always been a “help” to others. When I got on that scale, I realized that I had to help myself.  I am happy to report that I currently weigh 382. As I reflect back on the transformation journey thus far, many thoughts come to mind.

First, it has not been easy.
Every day, I wake up and know that there are certain things that I cannot do and certain things that I must do. Eating right and exercising are two things that I must do. What I cannot do is get discouraged. My biggest struggle has been exercising. Growing up I played soccer, but then I switched to playing instruments. So exercising was not something that I made a point to do. However, today I can say that I look forward to my workouts. As recently as last week, I actually had to reframe my mind. Instead of being concerned with how long my workout is, I just work out. This reframing has helped me tremendously because I was consumed with making it to 45 minutes or 60 minutes of exercise. Ironically, now that I am focused on just working out and moving, I’m hitting those times more easily.

Second, who you have on your team of support is critical because let’s face it, we all need support.
Your team may start off small, but one person can be that lifeline that keeps you in the race. I have found that my team is not made up of the people I originally thought it would be.  Without my team to share and talk with, I don’t know what I would do. I stumbled upon the 411fit website literally by accident, but I know it was on purpose. I love it and I am still getting used to logging my day.  Being able to see what I have done and the progress I have made is very beneficial. I also enjoy blogging because it is a level of accountability. I like to encourage others who are also on this journey.

Third, a person has to realize their self-worth.
This has been very eye opening for me. I was clearly wearing a mask for years. After taking off my mask and looking at my issues, I am happy to report, my masks have all been thrown away.

I will be blogging weekly for 411Fit as I continue to use the site to help with my weight loss goals so that you may follow me on my transformation.  I welcome your support and feedback!

(411Fit Note: Denise is a tremendous motivation within the 411Fit community and we are glad she found us!  She interacts with members regularly through our member blogs and member forums as she continues her journey.)