Here’s to a strong, healthy new year filled with lots of hard workouts and replenishing nutrients!
Over the years, I have seen the word "healthy" slowly dissipate into the word "skinny." But, they are not synonymous.
Too many people are pushing past their limits and exhausting themselves in the name of health. Striving past the point of healthy and turning down the corner, hoping for skinny can deplete your energy, injure your body, and reduce your mood. You want to feel strong—not fatigued all the time, right?
One of the big health concepts that you may have heard tossed around is “calorie deficit." It goes as such: when you want to lose weight, you must burn more calories than you are consuming. Yes, this is absolutely true. However, since so many people are taking their health into their own hands with online gyms and apps, they no longer have as much personal access to professional fitness coaches and nutrition experts. When questions arise, people look for answers on general forums and Google searches. But a calorie deficit can become broad, vague, and potentially dangerous. Here are a couple caveats to keep in mind.
For one, it is not a long-term way to live. It’s a great place to start and helps people understand the science behind losing weight. It begins as a numbers game. But you can’t live in this weight loss arena forever. Your body will retaliate and hold onto fat storage because it doesn’t know where the next meal is coming from. It will take nutrients from your bones in order to fuel your body and you will risk bodily injuries and conditions, such as osteoporosis.
I recommend taking this approach for only about 3 months. It can take time to see results. Some bodies will shed the weight like hot potatoes. Others will take a little coaxing. Be patient with your body. The first month will feel like the hardest because you are coming off the addictions to sugars and empty calories. And the scale might not tip in your favor. But the following two months will bear better results.
Also, remember that there should be a base number of calories you are eating every day. It’s way too common for people to over restrict and starve themselves of nutrients on the pretense that they are eating right and losing weight. We want to lose weight the right way so that it stays off and we feel good. It's not healthy to starve yourself!
Here are a few calorie counters that can help you understand how much to be eating. These will keep you abreast of your resting and active calories.
Don’t restrict yourself of the good foods that are higher in calories! Some are absolutely worth it. For example, an avocado may contain about 250 kcals while a packaged diet snack contains 100. But there is so much more going on behind a food than its calories. An avo will fill you for longer with healthy fats, fiber, and an array of vitamins. The snack pack has nothing to offer, except some cute packaging and processed carbs.
A diet is not going to get you where you want if you only pay attention to the calories. Learn how to cook meals and prep snacks that you can make on busy evenings and take with you for back-to-back meetings. Don’t just purchase the diet-labeled foods and pre-made dinners in the freezer section. It won't teach you how to eat well on a long-term basis, nor will it fill you with all of the potential nutrients from natural, whole, and homemade foods.
With all of that in mind, I challenge you to redefine what healthy means to you. Think of healthy as strong, not skinny. Here’s to a strong, healthy new year filled with lots of hard workouts and replenishing nutrients!