Weight gain and weight loss can seem like and endless struggle between one or the other. We have this idea that if we aren’t constant dieting then we are failing. This is a losing mindset. In a recent blog post, we talked about how mindset could have an impact on digestion. Here we are going to go over 5 ways to break the dieting hamster wheel.
- Understand your goals. Why are you choosing to lose or gain weight? Where are you trying to go? Do you know where you are? Having objective starting and end points can help reign everything in and give us realistic expectations of what it will take to reach our goals. Most people are not sure exactly where they are at, so it is hard to judge where to go. Find a starting point and clearly define where you want to go.
- Constantly losing is a sure-fire way towards burnout. While we can agree that people looking to lose weight are trying to lose fat, we see this is taken a little extreme with fad and crash diets, incredibly restrictive diets, and no defined purpose. Losing 1-3lbs per week should be the goal, while preserving or increasing lean muscle mass.
- Not adding more lean tissue. Muscle tissue is a great buffer between always struggling with weight gain. It is more metabolically active (increases the number of calories you need on a given day), gives your body more places to store sugar instead of turning it to fat, helps us stay active and injury free, and gives us the aesthetic appeal most of us are going for. Remember adding lean tissue does not mean bulk, it means tone.
- Eating enough protein. If 100 people came in for nutrition consults, 99 of them will not be eating enough protein. Protein is important because: it maintains lean tissue (allowing us to continually burn more calories and store excess sugar), it is the most satiating macronutrient (keeps you fuller longer) and it is hard to snack on (helps us build a routine). First step of changing your nutrition; add protein to every meal. This can be found in eggs, animal proteins, quinoa, dairy and other sources. Just try to avoid soy based proteins.
- Make it routine! Discipline is freedom. Prep your food every weekend, the upfront time investment saves tons of time on the back end. Plan your meals ahead of time, eat at similar times every day and know how much you’re eating and for what purpose!
If weight loss is your goal, then you should be dieting. Done correctly, it should teach us sustainable habits that allow us to keep the weight off while not having to worry as much about how much we eat. Adding more lean tissue, eating for our goals and knowing where we are and where we want to be can all be very powerful tools to help us break the dieting cycle once and for all!