I was hesitant to write about weight loss for a few reasons. Number one: After working in this field for years as well as going through my own weight/health issues, I thoroughly realized that there is no one-size-fits-all. What works for your friend who is a size 2 may not work for your friend who is a size 6 or more. And what I really realized is that’s okay. What matters is to find what works best for your body. I often hear people with whom I work ask “is the keto diet good for me?” “Should I just completely go gluten-free even if I don’t have a reaction to it?” “Tell me how to lose weight!” or better yet “tell me what to do.” That last one scares me. Even though I am a professional, no one should be telling you exactly what to do with your body. Your body is your home and you’re the homeowner. Take the keys, open up the door, and furnish that place the best it can be to call it home.
As a professional, I will be there to give advice, support, and work with you to set up a goal. We can work on baby steps to help reach that goal whether that is to improve your cholesterol levels that came back high in a recent blood exam, or if you are just feeling tired and sluggish ALL THE TIME, we can work through ways of helping you..but, together. More so, the patient is the leader and I am the supporter. You lead the way. That leads me to my next point of being hesitant to write about weight loss..(sick of me yet? Just keep reading, I’ll get to my point, I promise). Number two: If you really want to change the way you look (in this case, a weight issue) you have to be ready to do so. I can sit here and give you all the advice in the world, all the research, all the studies, all the yada yada, but if you aren’t ready to take the wheel and lead the way, then none of it will really matter. I’ve worked with people who literally changed their lives just by tweaking a few things in their everyday routine (food and activity wise). To see their commitment, their trust in me and most importantly themselves, makes my job the best job in the world. However, like my previous point, there is no quick fix when it comes to this stuff. Remember, you’re the leader. And if you’re ready to be one, it can be a beautiful thing.
My last point as to why I didn’t want to write about weight loss (but yet I just wrote a novel!) is because I didn’t want to sound like a know-it-all soon-to-be future licensed clinical nutritionist who thinks she knows everything about everything, because you guessed it – I don’t. I am constantly learning in this field on how to treat illness and weight problems, health coaching, and even functional medicine. I am in no way better than you or more entitled because I have a degree and a future license. I can, however, offer my knowledge in this field to help you create the life you want. I’ve been through my own weight issues, depression, anxiety, etc. and am in no way perfect. And guess what? No one is.
Okay, so I literally wanted to go over some basics. This can be for the everyday person who is active, semi-active, or sedentary, eats healthy, isn’t eating healthy, whichever. I’m writing this so you can get a different perspective on what your body may need.
- Understanding what BMR means. The first step in losing weight or just maintaining weight is to calculate your BMR. Your BMR stands for “Basal Metabolic Rate.” This is the calories you burn basically just from being alive. To calculate this, you would use the Harris- Benedict equation.
For men it is: BMR = 66 + (6.2 × weight in pounds ) + ( 12.7 × height in inches ) – ( 6.76 × age in years ).
For women it is: BMR = 655.1 + 4.35 × weight in pounds ) + ( 4.7 × height in inches ) – ( 4.7 × age in years ).
The answer to this equation (after you fill everything in) basically can be used as a guideline (yes, not the end all be all) but simply a guideline of where you can be at calories wise during a regular day. And yes, I believe in calorie counting.. IFthat is something that makes you feel comfortable and jump starts your weight loss.
- Add in activity levels. Now, next step if you want is to use your BMR is to multiply it by whatever your activity level is. If you are sedentary, you do BMRx1.2. If you are active or moderately active 1-3 days a week you do BMRx1.375 and if you are that CrossFit-2 hours- at- the- gym- juice- head (sorry I’ve been watching too much Jersey Shore lately), you do BMRx1.55 or if you are an athlete BMRx1.725. The answers to these equations based on your activity level are now your new calorie range per day. For instance, my BMR is about 1410 so multiply that bu 1.375 to equal 1938. Now, no one is saying this is the exact number you should stick to. I’m showing you this to help you gain perspective. Some people I’ve worked with thought they needed just 1000 calories to lose weight, but we know that’s not true. Listen to your body. Your body needs more than 1200 calories per day, so now, when doing the math, you can see the real deal and start from there.
- Eat your veggies .(Didn’t you know I’d say that?!) Seriously though, if you want to lose weight, simply fill your plate with veggies, a little protein and some carbs. It’s pretty simple. Vegetables are filled with fiber and nutrients to keep you full throughout the day this way you won’t go into starving mode and want to eat the kitchen sink. Expand your horizons though! If carrots with hummus gets boring after a while, try maybe adding some spinach to your eggs or sautéed kale as part of dinner. Chard and collard greens are also yummies. Vegetables also contain phytonutrients which are chemicals in plants (not bad chemicals) that help your body survive and fight off disease.
- Move. You don’t have to be a body builder or a competitive athlete by tomorrow. Move your body in the way you like. Obviously, if you want to lose weight, you may have to push yourself a bit harder than usual but you may end up liking it. I used to hate to work out…like HATE IT. But now it actually helps clear my mind. I don’t do anything crazy but it lifts my spirits and wakes me up! Even a dance class, a walk with your pup or just goofing around with your kiddies.. Move in a way that makes you happy.
- Drink water. This may be my only pet peeve. I can’t stress enough how important drinking water is. Flushing out toxins, lubricating your cells, and just overall hydration are all keys to a successful and smooth weight loss. Water also helps absorb all the nutrients you are getting in from food. Quick equation (I know, here comes another one). Drink half your body weight in ounces (per day). My advice would be buying a reusable bottle like the ones from Klean Kanteen or Swell bottles and just refilling them throughout the day. (Plus they have cute decorative ones that you just can’t resist!). Not a fan of water? Too plain? Try adding a squeeze of lemon to some cold water for a refreshing drink or try infused waters like adding cucumber, lime, or other fruits and veggies to it. (no sugars added, you can make them at home too!) or even La Croix- they have no sugars or added ingredients. They don’t quench your thirst in my opinion but it’s better than nothing!
Okay, that’s all for now. I really hope this gave you some insight on ways to view weight loss and how small tweaks can turn into big positive changes. Understanding where your body is at and what it needs to get to where you want it to get is crucial (understanding BMR can help). Most importantly, listen to your body. If you want the damn cookie, eat the damn cookie! But create a healthy relationship with the cookie too. Enjoy it in moderation and combine it with a healthy diet as well. The key is to satisfy and, most importantly, nourish your being.