As a woman I was taught to eat very little, avoid fats, and sugar. It was perfectly reasonable to be addicted to diet soda, to use aspartame over real sugar, to not eat every meal. We have a culture that encourages starvation for women. In my personal journey of Fitness certification and coaching I have learned a few things.
Did you know there is a base amount of calories your body needs to fuel your organs and body functions? It’s called the base metabolic rate and if you eat below that number you can send your body into starvation mode. If you have one day that it happens, it’s not likely to harm you. But if you’ve had a lifelong issue of eating sufficient calories you can jump into starvation mode pretty quickly.
But don’t you need a deficit to lose weight? There is an equation to maximize your weight loss but it doesn’t start at zero. You need to eat at your bmr or above and increase your activity to find the deficit. Only 1 to 2 lbs of weight lost per week is recommended for long term sustained results. If you continually cut into your bmr your body will eat into muscle stores not fat. You will look rounder and your weight will go up and down as your body fluctuates. Your metabolism will slow, making weight loss even more difficult. This is also very unhealthy internally. *Source Explaining BMR & Metabolism.
There are two types of abdominal fat visceral (around the organs) and subcutaneous(below the skin). Visceral fat is what has been linked to the increased health risks for obesity like type 2 diabetes. Also the first area to lose excess fat in your body is around your organs (visceral fat). This is why you will feel better and more powerful when you first start a program but you won’t see physical results for a few weeks. You have to remember that your internal health takes a beating with the ups and downs of inconsistent eating. *Harvard Source Explaining all about Abdominal Fat
The number one problem my clients have is nutrition. It’s not that they eat all day or can’t stop the bad foods, which can be problems. More often than not it’s women that have been under eating so long, and have been encouraged to starve, that are extremely resistant to increasing their calories. Tell a woman she has to eat more and she reacts pretty viscerally. I have clients that would rather work out all day than eat an extra calorie. I find this not only concerning as their coach but as a social observation on how we treat women. I have not met a man that reacted that way to food. It is concerning not only the double standard but how hard set in it is.
What can we do to combat these societal norms? As a advocate I have learned that education is the first step. If I can show you the research and benefits to your health, then you can take an educated leap rather than one on faith. There are serious long term effects to starvation. You may not consider yourself an anorexic but if you are purposely skipping meals and have an emotional connection to eating healthy daily calories, this is an eating disorder. *A comprehensive source on Anorexia and Treatment
I’m not an alarmist, there are real things you can do today to combat these issues. It is also not okay to skip a meal but have a diet coke in it’s stead. I am talking about eating at least your bmr to sustain your health and increase your metabolism with wholesome foods. If you spend those calories on ice cream and McDonald’s you’re not going to lose weight. But taking into account a clean eating diet, you can see results without the exercise regimen.
Know that it is still recommended to work out at least three times a week for cardiovascular health. Not everyone wants to be an athlete or figure competitor. I have a work out program for clients that only has them work out every other day or three times minimum a week to ensure their continued health. You don’t have to work out every day. You don’t have to work as hard as I do. But you do need to treat your body well by taking care of your internal health.
If this is overwhelming for you to consider, or you just can’t make headway, consider getting a coach. It helps to have someone else look at your habits and show you where you might be going wrong, or encourage you when you just can’t deal with it anymore. Weight is a permanent issue, you will never be done eating or working out. But you can eat foods you love, work out with programs or activities you love, involve your family and make it permanent. Fitness and your health are not impossible, it only feels that way because you’re doing it alone.
For free coaching please contact me. We can discuss your health goals and plans and come up with a solution that best fits you.