Weight loss does not equal fat loss
So let’s make one thing clear to start. Weight loss does NOT equal fat loss. If you say you want to lose weight, many people actually mean that they want to lose fat and change their body composition. I think that needs to be clear for a couple of reasons.
Number one is that the scale may or may not change while you are exercising and eating a balanced diet. In fact, the number on the scale might even go up. If your goal is body composition changes, I’d recommend using another form of measurement like measuring inches, how your clothes fit, etc.
Number two is a big one. Weight does not indicate health. When we say we want to lose weight to be healthy, what affects those health markers even more is an increase in healthy behaviors. Again, the scale may or may not change with the implementation of healthy behaviors, so the scale isn’t a great indication of health.
With that being said, can you increase health behaviors with an intentional goal of fat loss in a healthy and sustainable way without playing into diet culture 👉👉 👉 YES
Start small so you’re not overwhelmed
Before you go and start a full exercise routine, decrease your calories, and try to do everything at once, take a pause. Starting slow and implementing 1-2 changes at a time allows you to have more successful and longer lasting results.
- Sleep – Are you getting 8 hours of quality sleep? Ditch screens in bed, set an earlier bedtime, set up a cozy and uncluttered sleeping environment.
- Water – Aim to drink ½ your body weight (lbs) in ounces of water each day. Ex: If I weighed 200lbs, I should aim for 100oz of water throughout the day. Other fluids can count towards this goal but try to get as much of that intake in water as you can.
- Stress – What can you do to reduce stress? Meditation, doing an activity you enjoy, saying no to things you don’t want to do?
- TDEE – Increase your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure). This can be increasing your step count, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking further away from the entrance, standing from your desk every hour and taking a 5 min walk around.
Adjust your nutrition
When looking at making nutrition adjustments:
- You don’t have to count calories or macros if you don’t have the time or mental energy to do so.
- Restriction leads to binging and loss of progress. Make sure you are eating enough calories consistently and don’t avoid snacks or foods you enjoy. A cookie a day isn’t bad.
- If tracking calories and macros is your thing – gather data first. Track for 3-4 days to see what your normal calorie and macro intake is like. Are you eating enough protein (most people aren’t)? Are you under eating throughout the week and binging on the weekends or under eating throughout the day and binging at night?
- Prioritize lean protein. Aim for 0.64-1.1g protein per lb of your body weight.
- You can reduce your calorie intake but not too much. Try this calculator to see how many calories you should be aiming for. Input your information and choose “lose 10%”. Is the calorie goal higher than you thought it would be? Yes? Then it’s probably right where it needs to be. This myth of a 1200 calorie diet needs to go.
Fitness for fat loss
When looking at fitness:
- Start by increasing your daily step count. Aim for 7-8k per day.
- Don’t be scared of weights. Lift heavy and lift consistently. Not sure where to start? Check out FIT for Women.
- Set realistic goals. You aren’t going to go from not working out at all to doing 10 hours per week. What can you consistently commit to? Is it walking everyday? Good. Start there.
- Something is better than nothing. Working out in small doses still counts. Can’t commit to a full hour but have 15 minutes? Move as much as you can within that time frame.
- Splitting up a workout still counts. That 45 minute workout split into 3 15 minute sessions throughout the day is just as good as doing it all at once.
Safe and sustainable changes take time to implement. Give yourself grace and patience through the process.
If you’re ready to start lifting (and living again) without worrying about your core and pelvic floor, FIT for Women is for you. Get the mobility, core and pelvic floor progressions, and strength programming you need to help you navigate your symptoms.
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