Our bodies need food to survive. Food gives us energy for everything that we do. It also gives the body what it needs to repair muscles, organs and skin. Food helps us fight off dangerous diseases.
Thus, it is very important to understand how Nutrition – which is the science that deals with food and how the body uses it – affects our body’s ability to achieve weight loss.
The No.1 thing I learned as I started my weight loss journey was:
“It’s not about weight loss it’s about Nutrition. Without healthy nutrition you can NEVER lose weight. Weight loss follows good nutrition……”
We have been programmed to believe in a Balanced diet. In an ideal world with all factors remaining constant it’s easy as ABC. But from my research worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975 (Obesity and overweight).
And in the midst of all this is NUTRITION.
Today there are many myths/diets regarding weight loss that are being circulated in books and in the internet. With the increase in internet usage many are being ripped off thousands of dollars as they look for the perfect myth to achieve their weight loss and ideal weight.
Let’s look at these 3 popular myths/weight loss program/Diets
– The Balanced Diet
– Eat Less Exercise More
– 80% Nutrition 20% Exercise
The Balanced Diet
A balanced diet provides all the nutrients a person requires, without going over the recommended daily calorie intake.
By eating a balanced diet, people can get the nutrients and calories they need and avoid eating junk food, or food without nutritional value.
Wait a minute….does that really work???
The truth is it works for some and doesn’t work for others. Why? Because we have different body types which affect our metabolism thus affecting how we gain or lose weight. We shall cover more on body types as we advance in this weight loss journey.
It’s a good myth for those who are looking at Maintaining their ideal weight but not for those aiming at achieving substantial weight loss.
The Famous Eat Less Exercise More Myth
In my teens I came across many articles and ads for weight loss diets or fitness trainers advocating for eating less and exercising more. I am not an exercise person but growing up in a typical African extended family household the daily house chores were more than a few hours in the gym.
My day typically started off at 6 am. We started off with cleaning the house – No vacuum cleaners or mops- we swept while bending and bent even more while mopping the house….hahaha! Washing utensils and cooking, some more sweeping etc By 8pm I was exhausted. That was a non school-day. But I did not lose weight. In fact, I was gaining.
It now, years later, that I get to understand why.
The basic idea behind ‘eat less, exercise more’ is that body fat is purely a result of excess energy. By this theory, if we take in less energy than we’re using up, we will achieve weight loss. Eating fewer calories than we’re using up is called being in a calorie deficit.
Biologically, it makes sense that if we have more energy than we need, our bodies will store that energy. The excess energy either gets stored as glycogen in your muscles or as fat, assuming that all calories are digested and affects the body the same way. Is it the case?
Proteins (e.g. eggs or chicken) and fats (e.g. avocado or olive oil) do not have a big effect on our blood glucose levels, whereas carbohydrates (e.g. bread or pasta) can have massive effects. Eating excessive amounts of carbs increases our blood glucose levels and causes a spike in insulin.
Insulin is one of the main hormones that control our blood sugar levels, and it also promotes fat storage. We shall look at Hormones & weight loss as we move long my weight loss journey or rather ‘Our Weight loss journey’.
From research and experience, i can testify that in the short term, following a calorie-restricted diet does result in some weight loss. For example when I do a religious fast or any fast I achieve some amount of weight loss which is quickly gained back the moment I resume regular eating.
Thus, this myth only works in the short-term and is not sustainable for long term weight loss.
To achieve long term weight loss one needs to adopt an 80% nutrition 20% exercise plan/program/diet.
80% Nutrition 20% Exercise
The most effective but highly misunderstood weight loss plan.
Many people think it’s a diet. No. It’s a not a diet or a weight loss program but a Lifestyle Change for the long term.
In simple words, 80/20 diet basically means that you eat healthy for 80% of the time and exercise 20% of the time and it doesn’t involve any fitness program or anything like rigorous exercise regimes.
Here 80% of the time we focus on nutrition and :
– How the different body types react to the different food groups,
-How timing affects our body’s ability to utilize body fat for energy,
– How hormones affect our metabolism and how to best deal with that,
-How to celebrate the non scale victories and stop relying on the scale,
– And much more.
The 20% exercise, believe it or not, is achieved sometimes without us knowing. Simple house chores, walking to the bus stop, shopping, moving around the house and even sleeping keeps the heart pumping which requires energy. This is our BMR – Basic Metabolic Rate.
Basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the total number of calories that your body needs to perform basic, life-sustaining functions.
These basal functions include circulation, breathing, cell production, nutrient processing, protein synthesis, and ion transport.
So the fact that you are alive means that you are burning calories without exercising!
Nutrition is Key
In summary whatever our short term or long term goals are when we embark on a weight loss journey Nutrition is Key.
There is no shortcut if you want to achieve weight loss and keep it away for years to come.
It’s achievable and it works!
My aim is to share what I have learned and what worked and is still working for me as I transitioned into a healthy living lifestyle while achieving long term weight loss.
Join me as we empower more folks who are desperately looking for solutions to achieve long term weight loss.