Wouldn’t it be great if none of us women ever had to worry about our weight?
Yet, it seems like so many of us do keep this a top-of-mind concern. I love the idea of a body positive movement but, at the same time, it’s really hard sometimes to feel super confident when so many celebrities and models look like they have never had to struggle to do up a pair of jeans in their lives!
Let’s face it – diets don’t work (at least not long term). While I have managed to keep my own weight off for over 11 years, the first few years post-diet were a huge struggle. I binged and restricted for months as that seemed like the only thing that kind of worked.
But I hated living like that. Feeling like that extra slice of pizza would derail everything I had worked so hard to achieve. I mean, I was so confused! I could wake up one day feeling awesome while the next morning I’d feel bloated and my pants wouldn’t do up.
So, my discovery of what actually did keep me feeling slim and in control around food was totally a game-changer. And it wasn’t something I’d ever been taught by all the diet pros out there.
I’ve talked to a lot of women who really want to slim down and just feel more attractive and confident in their own skin. They’re sick of feeling defeated and depressed. Yet, they all struggle with how to get to their goals.
Women believe they’re eating healthy, they exercise often, yet nothing is working for them…and they feel lost and confused. And the more they try and fail, the less they believe in themselves.
The Big Mindset Shift
When it comes to the diet industry, it’s all about weight loss. I see it every day – women posting on social media how they’ve lost X pounds or they’re stuck at X stone. It’s all about weight and the scale. THIS, in my opinion, is one of the biggest diet industry fails, that focus on a number that can fluctuate daily and rarely takes into account body composition.
My approach to helping women slim down is to focus on fat loss…Sure, with fat loss comes a drop in weight. But the difference is, we focus on how to safely drop inches so that women can fit into their favorite pair of skinny jeans…AND keep the fat burning going long-term.
It’s not that the number on the scale doesn’t matter at all…it just doesn’t matter as much as we’ve been led to believe. Doctors and other health care professionals, plus fitness trainers, all have a rough idea of what weight a person needs to be to be healthy and fit.
The problem with solely focusing on weight when it comes to your health is that we can get very stuck on that number. And we, as a society, celebrate when someone drops a bunch of weight, the more weight the better!
And we get discouraged, frustrated and defeated when that number on the scale bumps up in any way.
But is this the best way to look at your health?
The Real Problem Isn’t Weight
If we’re to be honest here, the real problem with your health issues isn’t the number on the scale. That is simply a by-product of the real problem…excess body fat.
Yes, fat is the real problem. That’s ultimately what we want (and maybe need) to lose!
Because even skinny people can have dangerous fat that leads to the big health diseases – heart problems, diabetes, stroke, etc.
Fat is the real problem and that’s how women should start looking at changing their health and body composition.
Fat Loss Strategy #1:
Reduce Your Inflammation
You probably don’t even realize just how inflamed your body is because inflammation can persist for weeks without any noticeable or real symptoms.
However, once you do get rid of it, you’ll definitely notice when it comes back!
There are 2 types of inflammation – acute and chronic. Acute inflammation is what happens when you injure yourself – redness, heat, etc. This is good because it starts the healing process.
Chronic inflammation is typically a low-grade level of inflammation that you don’t necessarily see or feel. You might notice it in chronic joint pain or stuff like that, but it can also manifest as feeling or looking puffy, chronic fatigue, brain fog, digestive issues, phlegmy throat, or, yes, stubborn fat. The biggest problem with chronic low-grade inflammation is that women don’t associate it with their symptoms. And then they end up trying to mask these symptoms with things that make that chronic inflammation worse.
Getting chronic low-grade inflammation under control is the very first thing to do if you want to lose body fat.
When your body is not working at a healthy level, it’s not capable of managing your fat levels appropriately. It works hard to keep your system operating so turning on those fat-burning properties are second or third fiddle.
Fat Loss Strategy #2:
Balance Your Blood Sugar
We all know when our blood sugar is out of whack…we feel hangry, dizzy or weak.
But, when this happens, we all try to “fix” it with the worst possible foods…high-sugar, high-carb stuff that only makes your blood sugar balance worse.
And, over time, doing this again and again, you end up with insulin resistance. Eventually, this turns into Type II diabetes.
A blood sugar imbalance is the biggest reason for cravings, excessive hunger and that stubborn fat that will not budge no matter what you try.
When your blood sugar is balanced, you don’t get spikes in insulin (your main fat storage hormone) that make you want to eat all the sugar or carbs. You never get hangry or irritable. And your cravings go away.
If you want to lose stubborn fat, you want your insulin levels to be low as much as possible. This allows its counterpart, glucagon, to shine…which is your main fat burning hormone.
Fat Loss Strategy #3:
Manage Stress Better
Ever felt like the more you work out or the less you eat, the fatter you get?
This is because both of these things spike your main stress hormone, cortisol. And cortisol’s primary job is to get stored energy out of cells and make it available for quick energy in a “fight or flight” response.
Too much exercise, not eating enough food, not eating enough carbs, going too long between meals, worrying constantly about food and your weight…they ALL keep cortisol levels high.
Not only that, cortisol steals energy from muscle cells over time, making them waste away. So, you’re left with less lean muscle mass to help use up the energy you eat.
High levels of stress, whether real or perceived, are a recipe for stubborn fat storage that is super hard to get rid of on your own.
So, What Now?
The key to changing your body composition and losing weight (or, more appropriately, losing fat) is to get those hormones balanced!
Eating the right foods, like more healthy fat, fewer processed foods, and a good amount of quality protein, is the best way to get there.
But, if you aren’t sure where to start, start with sugar. Ditch all types of sugar or sweeteners (except a wee bit of stevia) because they all cause a level of insulin spike when you eat them. Some cause digestive issues, which spike cortisol levels, too.
Once you master a “no sugar” diet, you can work on eating a more hormone-friendly diet all the time.
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