Ever wonder why it gets harder and harder to lose weight? Or why you're finally doing it the right way, but the scale just won't move?
The more you diet, the less likely you are to lose weight – because you lose muscle and gain fat repeatedly — ultimately crashing your metabolism. Some studies have shown that for every 13 pounds lost on a traditional, low-calorie/high cardio diet, six pounds of muscle is lost. That's almost HALF. In case you didn't know:
Muscle = metabolism
This means that the more you lose, the slower your metabolism is. Then when (not if) you regain – you gain back FAT ONLY. Every time this process repeats, the fat percentage becomes higher than it was before, while muscle mass drops lower. So, even if you are the same weight you used to be, you're technically “fatter.” If your weight is higher than it used to be, it begins to seem almost impossible to get the weight off. In some cases, it actually is impossible — if not futile — considering the loss of muscle mass and resulting metabolic crash.
After going through several diets, our goals must change. No matter how much you weigh – the goal (whether you realize it or not – your body does) becomes to “bulk” and build muscle to replace what was lost. Even if you ignore this fact, and attempt to start cutting the right way (eating a proper amount of calories and including some lifting) – your body still wants and needs to do this. When weight training during dieting – even if you're in a deficit – you WILL gain muscle to replace what was lost. This means that you could sit at an extreme standstill on the scale, until your body has replaced every.morsel.lost… Remember that the scale does not tell the whole story.
Some women may only lose four pounds, yet drop two jean sizes; others may gain several pounds, and drop the same amount on the jeans. Although this is a more than nerve-wrecking experience, STAY.THE.COURSE. Because your only alternative, is to repeat the above course of action – and end right back at square one…gaining MORE fat.
Still not convinced? This study goes into extensive detail about how each diet leaves our body with less of the metabolism boosting muscle that we need. For those not interested in the 97 pages of details, here's the meat: women will lose muscle naturally (23% in women between ages 30-70), if they do nothing to preserve it. Diet + cardio = muscle loss (68% fat, 22% muscle). Diet + LIFTING = 97% fat loss, and only 3% muscle loss. Big difference? We think so. When you truly grasp how the fat continually increases (while the muscle stays the same or lessens) between diets, you'll understand how we diet all our lives, yet end up bigger. Doing it right is so hard to wrap our brains around, but I'd rather have 97% fat loss over 68%. How about you?
Many women hear of the harmful effects of the dreaded yo-yo diet and throw their hands up in frustration. They either decide that eating properly isn't worth it, so they go back to overeating (drowning sorrows) or undereating (back to the diet comfort zone). With all this bad news, they feel despair over their hopeless metabolism, and reaching their fat loss goals.
There's always hope!! You simply have to be JUST as patient with doing things the right way as you were with the quick fixes.
We've trained ourselves to have much more faith in doing whatever it takes when the process is quick. Yet our faith wavers when doing the right thing takes “too long.” It really becomes about not looking for the same measures of success that you have in the past, and not putting yourself on those same timetables. Something is always happening, but the amount of patience that we have, and stress that we put ourselves through will come into play. I tell clients that taking on fat loss in the right way – after years of doing it the wrong way – is like going to college. Every time you doubt the process and change something up (unnecessarily) it's like changing your major mid semester — you add more time to your journey. More time is lost in this process due to the wavering of trust, than to the actual length of time it may have taken with a tad consistency. Add stress/cortisol to the mix, and it's like taking a full semester (or two…or three) off. Stressing about your journey, and changing things up constantly to make things happen more quickly, usually hurts more than it helps. It never makes them actually happen more quickly (you either stand still or head backwards). Stay the course. Again – it's tough, but the alternative is worse.
Some clients feel hopeless because they have limitations that keep them from being able to lift heavy enough. We are not talking mindset limitations, like “I'm too old/young/fat/skinny, etc…” Those would be considered excuses, not limitations. But others of us may have actual physical limitations, or injuries (permanent or temporary) and doctors orders to not do certain movements. If this is you, you have to work with what you have. Not everyone can lift heavy. Heck, I (Kiki) couldn't for the past year, due to injury. If the situation is temporary, then keep your protein in check, allow yourself to fully heal, and get back to it when you can. All you can do is the best you can do. Don't put yourself at risk by taking on more than you can, and don't put your metabolism at risk by eating less than you need. The healing process is worth it in the end. You'll be able to lift soon enough (although I personally know how hard it is to wait).
If the situation is permanent, then much of the above still applies. Finding ways to add resistance that works for you will be your key. Just find ways of putting as much resistance on the muscle as you can to maintain what you do have. Feel free to contact us if you need help, putting together a personalized plan for your circumstances.
Sometimes it's really hard to see changes in ourselves that are so obvious to others. My husband, family and friends always see changes in me before I “allow” myself to. My first instinct is to deny that anything is happening until he says it about three to four times…or until someone else says it. Remind yourself to take compliments at face value. Most people have nothing to gain by telling you that “you look amazing” or “like you've lost tons of weight.” Instead of saying “no I haven't” followed by some negative retort (because of your own inner scale struggle), train your mind to just accept that they likely see something that you haven't allowed yourself to see yet. Take a few moments to allow the compliment to sink in — and remind yourself of it every time you cross paths with a mirror, until the next compliment rolls in (or you find a new one to give yourself).
Learn to see yourself as (or better than!) others do, rather than constantly being your own worst critic.