Updated: Oct 19
The top 4 mistakes I see women making when it comes to losing stubborn weight that are actually hurting your health, why you may not be losing weight in a calorie deficit, understanding the damage these mistakes can make, and my expert tips to live a healthy sustainable lifestyle that will lead to weight loss.
Since the pandemic and mandatory isolation, I have noticed that social media continues to be more and more prevalent in our lives. We are much quicker to turn online and to social media for education and inspiration in our health. However, there is a downside. The harsh reality is that social media is served to us with filters, Photoshop, and health advice from influencers who are not qualified to do so. I have seen people quickly diagnose themselves, adopt exercise routines and fad diets that work for the influencers they follow, and after much effort and sacrifices they are left seeing little to no results.
Here's what I believe. What works for others, might not work for you. These products or diet trends might actually be having reverse effects on you by destroying your hormones, wreaking havoc on your digestion, and hindering your ability to lose weight.
My overall philosophy is premised on the concept of bio-individuality, which essentially means that every individual is completely unique. Think of your thumbprint. A pattern of skin that is entirely different than any other thumbprint. The same can be said about your health. Your microbiome is made up of trillions of different cells and contains an endless amount of different information and genetic coding that separates you. Just like your thumbprint, your health is completely unique.
This is why I empower women to dismantle all the noise and chatter in the wellness world and instead trust science-based facts, and foundational truths, and ultimately trust yourself to know what feels and works best for your body.
The majority of my clients come to me seeking help for three things. Balancing their hormones, optimizing their digestion, or wanting to lose weight. The irony is you can't do one without the other two. Without healthy digestion and balanced hormones in place, losing weight becomes an impossible goal. In this blog, I will go through the top 4 mistakes that I see time and time again that are wreaking havoc on both your digestion and hormones and ultimately making it more difficult and often impossible to lose weight.
Mistake #1: Calorie Deficits and Intermittent Fasting
The first and most common mistake I see women making in order to lose weight is under-eating. While most women have been purposefully under-eating for a long time in order to lose weight, I see it more often in women who are accidentally under-eating while undertaking the newest health craze of intermittent fasting. Instead of eating the normal 3 balanced meals a day, women are skipping breakfast and making lunch their first meal. Many women have adopted the new diet trend in an effort to improve blood pressure, energy levels, and heart rate. And it very well might be helping you, but it also is helping women under eat and remove many needed nutrients from their diets.
What people don't realize when you under eat is that when you are consistently eating less and less the lack of fuel causes your metabolism to slow down in an effort to maintain a healthy weight. Your body becomes unsafe and holds onto unwanted fat in order to stay safe.
My Tips to Get Back to Eating Enough
Ditch intermittent fasting and calorie deficits and start eating. When your body tells you it's hungry, listen to it.
Meals should last you for 3 to 4 hours.
Focus on nutritious whole foods that you enjoy. Food is not just about energy but enjoyment too.
Mistake #2: You’re not eating enough of the right foods
The 2nd issue I see in my clients is protein deficiencies. Women require 80 to 100 grams of protein every day and most women are hardly getting close to that amount. Without enough protein, your body isn't full until your next meal and overcompensates and sends the signal of an intense craving for chips, sugar, or salty things which act as quick fuel to the body. Most of these clients that are protein deficient are usually guilty of eating way too many carbohydrates making it even more difficult to lose unwanted weight.
My Tips to Eat More Protein
Each meal should have around 30 grams of protein. Start getting familiar with what that looks like in a meal. Add protein powder to a breakfast smoothie, scramble eggs in the morning, and add a source of protein to a salad. Adding protein to your meal becomes less complicated when you know what it looks like.
When waiting proteins make sure to add a serving of healthy fats. Healthy fats are complementary to proteins in helping your body better absorb its nutrients and vitamins. My go-to's are a tablespoon or two of olive oil, grass-fed butter, nuts and seeds, or coconut oil.
Start looking at the nutrition labels of your food without obsessing. Look at the protein per serving. Do some research into learning how to understand nutrition labels.
Become familiar with what 25 to 30 grams of protein looks like in a meal. It could be three eggs for breakfast, a grilled chicken breast to top your salad, and a healthy cut of meat for your dinner.
You don't have to rush into 30 grams of protein for every meal right away. You can start slow. If 30 grams of protein seems like too much start out with 10 grams every meal and slowly work upward until you reach an amount of protein that settles your body and keeps your cravings away.
Decide on your favorite balanced snacks ahead of time and keep them on hand. Snacks should have around 5-10 grams of protein. This is a trick that your future self will thank you for when dinner is a few hours away and you need something quick to keep you going. My favorite snacks are Greek yogurt or a banana with nut butter.
Mistake #3: The Ketogenic Diet
The second mistake I see is the ketogenic diet craze. I understand how easy it is to get lost in the idea that eating keto will help to lose stubborn weight. There are so many testimonies and stories of the keto diet working for others. We see these results and think it will do the same, and that might be very true. But for all the success stories we see it also creates a larger problem of completely cutting out carbohydrates from your diet. We need carbs. They are an essential part of a balanced diet.
The reality is that these people were most likely eating fast food and their previous diets consisted of an overload of refined processed carbohydrates and sugars. The ketogenic diet cuts out those food groups entirely and it's not shocking when you see the weight come off.
My Tips To Eat the Right Amount of Carbs
When we think of carbs we usually think of bread, pasta, and other highly processed products. But carbs are in fruit, green vegetables, and potatoes. Familiarize yourself with these hidden carbs and start working them into your meals.
Diet culture has programmed women into believing that carbs are directly related with fat and gaining weight, but that’s just not true! Carbs are great for you in the right forms and right servings. I know it can be hard but start enjoying and embracing carbs in each of your meals. The liver can store up to 120g of carbohydrates/ day, so ensuring you are eating somewhere between 25-40g/ carbs per meal.
Mistake #4: Coffee Before Breakfast (or as breakfast)
The fourth mistake that I see having coffee before breakfast or having coffee instead of breakfast. Some of the women I work with are in the habit of sipping coffee all morning instead of sitting down for breakfast, or are drinking coffee to hold off their hunger until lunch. Believe it or not, this morning routine is actually wreaking havoc on your hormones.
Every day we have certain hormones that are released that are in charge of waking us up, keeping us awake during the day, and falling asleep when our day ends. One of the hormones that we tend to look at in a negative way is cortisol. We usually associate cortisol with stress. Too much cortisol can cause hair loss, weight gain, high blood pressure, and many others. But cortisol is not all bad and actually necessary in healthy doses. Cortisol is the hormone that rises gradually to bring you out of sleeping (highest between the hours of 6-8am), and brings you into alertness, and even triggers your body to look for fuel to start the day. Because the average morning routine is quite stressful between diving right into work demands, home demands, etc., cortisol continues to rise higher, forcing the body into a state of fight or flight (or high cortisol). During this process, hunger is suppressed, and body fat storage turns on as thyroid production slows down to accomodate for the lack of fuel and high stress. Cortisol will continue to rise until it receives a signal from glucose (fuel) that food has entered the body and is now safe.
It's all too much work to resist your hunger urge and is wreaking havoc on your hormones. Do yourself a favor and eat when your body tells you it's hungry! A healthy and functioning metabolism should be hungry within 60-90 minutes from waking up.
Tips to help eating breakfast and avoiding coffee first thing in the morning
If it's hard for you to get back to eating breakfast, try eating 15 minutes earlier than you usually would. Next week bump up your breakfast to another 15 minutes earlier. Sooner or later you're body will get back to a healthy schedule and you'll notice that you might start getting hungry in the mornings again.
If having a big breakfast in the morning seems too daunting you can make it small. A protein bar, a couple hard boiled eggs, half of a banana, and a handful of cashews are all great options to help build up to a balanced breakfast.
If you're having a hard time eating food before coffee, try making breakfast before you go to bed. Peel your hard-boiled eggs, and make some overnight oats that are waiting for you in the fridge. Set yourself up to eat and think of coffee as your reward.
Final Thoughts to Share
I hope the overarching theme that you take away from reading this blog is to create safety within your body through consistent, balanced meals and avoiding coffee before breakfast. These simple mistakes that I see women make create havoc with their hormones and digestion and slow down their ability to lose weight.
Ditch the scale, and resist the urge to adopt the next diet trend you see on social media Instead learn to listen to your body and its signs. As a reward, your body will rebuild the trust and safety that was lost and start burning fat. Along with losing weight, you'll also be able to start to feel a difference. With the right energy, you will notice you are able to capitalize your day with enough energy, and without your usual midday crash.
Diet culture has convinced us that losing weight has to be a painful, sacrificial process but it doesn’t. Losing weight can be as simple as treating your body kindly and giving it the real meals that it deserves. Another bonus is it that its a much healthier, and easier way to lose weight!