Ep #89: If You’re in a Hurry to Lose Weight

Strong as a Working Mom with Carrie Holland | If You’re in a Hurry to Lose Weight
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When you set out to lose weight and start making big changes to your habits and lifestyle, you want to see results fast. But when you don’t see quick results, you might start to doubt the process and wonder if something isn’t working, or whether you need to do something more drastic. If you’re in a hurry to lose weight and you’re starting to feel impatient, this episode is for you.

Impatience is a common experience after a few weeks of following a weight loss plan, but impatience derails too many people on their fitness journey. So, what do you do if you’ve been trying to follow an eating and fitness plan but aren’t seeing results as quickly as you’d like?

Tune in this week to discover what’s driving your impatience around losing weight. We’re discussing why it makes total sense that you’re feeling impatient about your weight loss goal, why I never recommend rapid weight loss to my clients, and you’ll learn what to do when impatience sets in and you feel the need to hurry your weight loss.

Are you ready to eat, move, and think in a way that gets you strong both physically and mentally? You deserve to have both no matter how busy you are, and I can help. I’m opening up my one-on-one coaching program for new clients, and I would love to work with you. Click here to learn more about working with me.

What You Will Discover:

  • Why weight loss is a marathon, not a sprint, and rapid, restrictive plans are never the answer.
  • The risks and downsides of losing weight too quickly.
  • Why it makes total sense that you’re feeling in a hurry to lose weight.
  • How crash diets work for a while, but create more impatience and urgency in the long term.
  • Why your brain and body can’t cope with rapid weight loss
  • How to lose weight sustainably, at the pace that you should be losing weight.

Listen to the Full Episode:

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Full Episode Transcript:

You are listening to the Strong as a Working Mom podcast, Episode #89. If you’re in a hurry to lose weight, let’s talk about it.

Welcome to the Strong as a Working Mom podcast. If you’re balancing career, family, wellness, and some days sanity, you are in the right place. This is where high-achieving, busy, working moms get the tools they need to eat, move, and think. I’m your host, physician, personal trainer, and certified life coach, Carrie Holland. Let’s do this.

Hey, how are you? What’s new, what’s good? So what’s good here, we are going to talk about being in a hurry today. More specifically, we’re going to talk about what to do if you feel like you’re in a rush to lose weight, and you’re feeling impatient.

This is coming from a number of listener requests, as well as a common pattern I’ve seen in my own coaching clients. That pattern is impatience. And, I totally get it. When you set out to lose weight, and you go to the trouble of changing up your habits, changing up the way you eat, changing up the food you buy and cook, you want to see results. And you want to see those results now.

But when you don’t see results fast enough, you may start to doubt the process. You may start to wonder if something is wrong, or if something isn’t working, or if you need to take a more drastic approach in order to lose the weight more quickly. That is totally common. It comes up all the time. So, this is what I’ll see. I’ll get started with a client, and we’ll spend time creating her nutrition plan. She’ll walk away with her protocol for how she’s going to eat. And after about two to three weeks, a few things start to happen.

One, she may not be following her plan. This is probably the most common thing I see. She’s got the plan, but then she’s not following it. Or she’s not following it with enough consistency to move the needle. This also comes up all the time, and that is a separate issue entirely. But it gives us an opportunity to talk about all the reasons she may not be sticking to her plan consistently.

Then we coach through them all. Things like planning ahead, being prepared, managing urges, practicing discipline, honoring your decisions… even when you don’t want to… having a failure plan, managing stress instead of eating it. These are all concepts I coach my clients on so they have tools in their pocket for when they have trouble following their plans.

Or she’ll be following her plan for the most part, but the weight loss is slow. She may lose a half pound to a pound per week, and while it’s still a loss, it’s not drastic. That’s when impatience settles in and you start to wonder if we need to hurry things up around here.

So, we’re going to talk about this today. We’re going to talk about what’s driving that impatience, which again, is true for most every single person I have ever worked with. We’re going to talk about where that urgency comes from, where the impatience comes from, and why it makes total sense that you’re feeling impatient about your weight loss goal.

Then we’re going to get into why I don’t recommend rapid weight loss, and what the risks are when you lose weight too quickly. Finally, we’re going to talk about what to do if you feel impatient, and you feel the need to hurry it up. I want to leave you with some actionable tools, along with some perspective and straight-up truth, to help you see this as less of a sprint and more of a marathon. Like, for real. Okay?

Alright, so let’s go. First, let’s talk about why we are so impatient when it comes to weight loss. There are a number of reasons for this, and I’m going to try to pare them down for you. First and foremost, we live in a culture of instant gratification. We have DoorDash, we have Amazon Prime, we have Netflix series… where you can watch 10 episodes of a show in one sitting.

For most things, there is little to no waiting. And that is what we are now accustomed to. Again, I said it before, Amazon Prime, totally amazing, but it has done absolutely nothing for our patience as a culture. We are conditioned that most things are available to us at our fingertips. But unfortunately, that is just not the case for weight loss. And, that’s hard.

Another reason we’re so impatient is that we are surrounded by marketing and social media that is full of empty promises. How many before and after pictures have you seen on Instagram? How many shake, or wrap, supplement, or nutrition bar systems have you been exposed to while scrolling TikTok? How many people do you know who swear by a certain system or product? When you see your friends post their before and after pictures on Facebook what does that do for you?

Sure, social media can certainly create curiosity, but often it makes you think, “Well, shoot. If my acquaintance from high school… who I don’t ever talk to anymore, I just see her Facebook posts… If she ate this meal system for a month and lost eight pounds, then maybe that would be the case for me too.” So, even though you may not know anything more than the post you saw.

Remember, social media is a highlight reel, and it’s a prime space for finding idealized transformations that are not realistic for most humans. But social media often leads to comparison and despair, and that’s no good. When you see your friend touting all over Facebook that she is down to 12% body fat by following such and such system, it makes total sense that you would wonder if her system would work for you too.

Again, remember, you may not know all the details. And most importantly, you don’t have a crystal ball to see how things will be for her in three, six or 12 months; you just have Facebook posts. It’s hard to get the full picture from a highlight.

Okay, so another reason you might be impatient is that while the world is working on body positivity, and acceptance of multiple different body types, there is still most definitely fat shaming. It’s real, and it is psychologically damaging.

Our world can be so harshly unkind to people who don’t have a certain body type. And if you’ve experienced any negativity at all because of your body, it would make total sense that you might be in a hurry to change it. That social pressure to look a certain way, or conform to the perceived standard of what an ideal body should look like, may lead you to be in a hurry.

Another major reason you may be in a hurry to lose weight is because you’ve done it before. Meaning, many of you have been on a diet, or followed a plan, that resulted in you losing weight quickly. So then, you have that experience to compare your current experience to, and that can shoot you in the foot.

I want to spend some time breaking this down, because this is where many of my clients struggle, and I think we need to pick this apart a little. Often, a client will come to work with me after she has tried a number of other diets. Things like OPTAVIA, NOOM, intermittent fasting, WeightWatchers, or she may have done it on her own with rapid and extreme caloric restriction.

The thing is, those diets will work, for a while anyway. I’ve had clients tell me that. We’ll get started, we’ll come up with a protocol that’s designed for slow, sustainable weight loss, and she will start to feel the urgency when the scale is not going down fast enough.

She’ll remind me of it, and say something like, “When I did intermittent fasting I lost a ton of weight, and it worked. When I eat 1,100 calories a day, I lost a ton of weight in a few months. That’s what worked. Maybe I need to go back to that.”

My response to this, at the risk of being annoying, is that no, it didn’t actually work. It didn’t work for the long haul because it wasn’t sustainable. So, I’m asking you to really stop and think about that for a minute. Okay? Really think about this.

If you followed a diet in the past, and you lost a lot of weight but you gained it all back because you stopped the diet, then I would argue that your diet did not work. It didn’t work. And that’s because diets don’t work. If you could not sustain your diet for the long term, your diet did not work. I’m okay to take the heat if you don’t agree with me. But I will swear by this until forever, diets don’t work. And that’s by nature of the beast.

Think of it this way, you start and stop a diet, you go on and go off a diet. It’s like a light switch. But this is your life and your body and your physiology and your metabolism that we’re talking about here. And I don’t believe in treating your nutrition, or your body like a light switch. There is no going on and going off, because that’s where we get into trouble. That’s when yo-yo dieting happens, and that not only wrecks your metabolism, but it really messes with your mental state too. More on that in a few minutes.

But I get it, when you take a slow and steady approach to your weight loss and it’s going slowly, it can be easy to look back and be wooed by the past. When you see pictures or Facebook memories that pop up from when you were thinner, it can be easy to get caught up in that and think, “Maybe I need to go back to that again.”

Even though you weren’t eating enough calories, it wasn’t sustainable, and you were in fact miserable because you are constantly thinking about food. Despite this, you may be tempted to try it again because you know it worked for a minute. But then, ask yourself one of my most favorite questions: And then what? It is such a powerful one.

And then what? It requires you to think beyond the goal weight, which many people don’t do. Sometimes we get tunnel vision and see the weight loss and see the scale number, but that’s not the end of it. That’s not the finish line.

I’ve had this conversation with clients many times who have considered going back to a rapid, extreme, restrictive weight loss plan, and my question will always be the same: And then what? Meaning, once you get there, once you get to that ideal number you have in mind, what will you do? How will you eat? How will you maintain it?

If you got down to your ideal weight by cutting out all carbs and pizza and chocolate? Or you’re only eating twice a day and you’re taking in 1,200 calories but you got into the smaller pants, then what? How are you going to maintain that?

That’s not to be adversarial. It is not to put you on the defensive. The point of me asking these questions is to encourage you to think about what comes next and how you will maintain your weight loss. Because, to be perfectly honest, and you may have experienced this already for yourself, weight loss is hard, for sure. But for most people, losing weight is not as hard as maintaining the weight loss. Okay?

Maintaining your weight loss, keeping the weight off once you lose it, that is no joke. And that is for the long haul. So, I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, you’re never really done. I know that it is so annoying to hear it, but I want to be honest, and I want to give it to you straight. Because whatever got you to the weight loss in the first place, those behaviors, that change in your calories, those habits that got you to your goal, those are going to be the things that you’ll need to maintain in order to keep the weight off.

So, if you lost 15 pounds by eating 1,200 calories a day, and cutting out all of your favorite foods, and eating nothing but chicken breast and broccoli, then you have to decide if you’re going to keep that up. You have to decide if you can keep doing that for the duration. Because if you get to your goal weight with behaviors that you can’t maintain and then you stop, the weight is going to come back on in a heartbeat. You may end up regaining the weight you lost, plus some. And that’s even more frustrating than not losing the weight at all.

If you are feeling enticed by a previous diet that gave you rapid weight loss but it wasn’t sustainable, I can only encourage you to take a long, hard, very honest look at that. If your diet was not sustainable before, but you’re thinking of going back to it, ask yourself this: What is going to be different this time? What has changed that will result in you maintaining this diet?

The point of asking these questions is to get super honest, and see if there is something truly different that will actually help you maintain that weight loss. Or if it’s simply the feeling of rush and urgency of wanting to lose weight faster than you’re currently losing. Okay?

The last reason I run into for why you might be in a hurry, is that you think you’ll be happier once the weight comes off. So, this is another big one to unpack. But I think it’s important to get into here. One of the most important lessons I learned navigating my own fitness journey and dealing with my own personal issues, is that you have all the capacity for feeling happier right here and now. Really.

Before you roll your eyes at that statement, like I first did when my own coach told me that, hear me out for just a second. If you are unhappy now, fitting into a smaller sized dress is not going to solve that. If you are unhappy now, seeing a certain number on the scale, not going to solve it. If you’re unhappy now, wearing a rockin’ bikini, not going to fix it.

There’s a theme here: Happiness is an inside job. It starts from within. If you want to be happier, you can do that starting now, no matter what the size is on your waistband. To be clear, sure, you can feel good when you put on the dress. You can feel proud when you put on a killer swimsuit for your beach vacation. You can feel awesome when you fit back into your wedding dress on your 10th anniversary.

But at the end of the day, those are all temporary. You are not suddenly going to love yourself just because you’ve lost weight. The same issues that you wrestle with today, whether that’s confidence, self-doubt, impostor syndrome, all of those will still be there. Those issues will just be hanging out in a smaller sized body. Okay? Really.

Remember that your happiness, that’s an inside job. It comes from within, first and foremost. So, I’ll restate it. You have all of the capacity to be happy with yourself right now, regardless of what size you are. That comes from the way you think about yourself. It comes from your own self-concept.

But too many of you don’t think that way about yourself. Instead, you’ve decided that you’re no longer a failure once you fit into a size six. Or you’re suddenly more worthy once you weigh in the 140s. Or you’re a better, more lovable person, once you can wear that little black dress. No. No, it doesn’t work that way. It starts from the inside out, okay? Inside out.

Brain first; always, always. Too often, you want to hurry up and lose the weight, and then you think you’ll like yourself more once you’re thinner, but it doesn’t go that way. You can’t rush the process and restrict yourself all to hell to get to a thinner size, and think that, “There it is. Now I love myself.” That’s setting yourself up for failure.

I know that may not be what you want to hear, but it’s the truth. I’ve had clients… In fact, I had a client just last week ask if she could take her calories down even lower than what we decided. She said, “I think I just need to hurry up and lose this weight so I feel better.” It gave us an
opportunity to talk about exactly this.

So, I know this is something I need to keep repeating over and over again. And I will keep saying it for anyone who needs to hear it. You will not suddenly like yourself more once you are smaller. Let me zoom out and broaden even more here. You will not suddenly like yourself more once you dye your gray hair, or have less wrinkles, or make more money, or have a different partner, or a bigger car, or the corner office.

None of that stuff can make you happy. You make yourself happy with the thoughts you think about yourself. Okay? This is so essential to understand. None of the external stuff is a substitute for your own straight-up self-love. Okay? I’m beating the dead horse here, but having gone through this myself, and kidding myself into thinking that once I looked a certain way, or had a certain life, or had a certain title, that I would suddenly like myself more.

No, it doesn’t work. Brain first, always. You have to work on liking yourself now, as you are, if you want your weight loss or any change to work. And that’s where I can help you. I will help you learn to like yourself now, and make changes to your habits now, from a place of kindness towards yourself.

I have said it so many times, but it bears repeating, you cannot beat yourself up into better. You cannot restrict and deprive and be mean to yourself to get to a smaller size, and then suddenly like yourself. The negative thought patterns do not go away just because you’ve lost weight. You have to work on both, the inside and the outside, if you want your weight loss to last. Okay? All right. I know that was a lot, but I wanted to really pick apart some of the most common reasons I see you getting impatient about your weight loss. And now that we’ve done that, let’s talk about why this matters. Let’s talk about some of the downsides of rapid weight loss. Because there are actually a few, and I want you to be clear on these so you can understand why I’m a huge proponent of the slow and steady approach.

First, if you lose weight too quickly, and use too extreme of an approach, you risk losing muscle. Let me make something clear. Most people, when they say they want to lose weight, what they actually mean is that they want to lose fat. We often use those terms interchangeably, but what most people are aiming for is fat loss.

But when you lose weight, you don’t have control over where that comes from. You will lose water weight, especially if you go super low and cut out the carbs. And not only will you lose water weight, you will also inevitably lose muscle when you lose weight as well. And the more extreme, rapid approach you take, the worse this is likely to be for you.

When you lose weight too quickly, your body may start to break down muscle and use that for fuel. We don’t want that. And what’s worse, is that when you lose muscle you are losing that contribution to your metabolism. Remember, that muscle is more metabolically active than fat. In plain English, your muscle burns more calories than fat, and contributes more to your overall metabolism than fat. So, if you lose muscle mass you’re going to be decreasing your metabolism that much more. And most of the women I work with are aiming to do the opposite, by putting on, not taking off muscle.

They’re lifting weight, they’re eating protein, they’re trying to build muscle. So, to go into an extreme caloric deficit with a rapid weight loss diet is going to negate your work with the weights, because you could lose the muscle you’re working so hard for in the first place. Okay? Next, if you eat too few calories, and go too extreme with your rapid weight loss, you risk nutrient deficiencies. Your body needs a certain amount of nutrients and minerals to function properly.

Things like vitamin B-12, folate, iron, calcium, zinc, magnesium; I could go on here. All of these have been reported in the literature to be various nutrient deficiencies associated with common low-calorie diets. It largely depends on the type of diet you follow, but studies have found that it is not uncommon for extreme, rapid weight-loss plans to result in nutrient deficiencies. And that is when you start running into bigger problems.

So, as a result of these nutrient deficiencies, you can see other health problems, like constipation, fatigue, hair loss, decreased bone density, impaired immune system function, loss of your menstrual cycle; that’s just to name a few. These are serious issues that can not only make you feel like garbage, but they’ll have a major impact on your health and quality of life.

Another problem you may run into, that’s not directly related to a nutrient deficiency but still a health problem, is gallstones. When your body is metabolizing fat, and when it’s doing it in overdrive, as it will during rapid weight loss, your liver will pump extra cholesterol into your bile and that causes gallstones. Additionally, fasting can decrease gallbladder movement, which may prevent your gallbladder from emptying properly, which can also set you up for gallstones. No good. Okay?

Alright, next. Let’s talk about your metabolism. When your weight loss is too rapid, you can wreak havoc on your metabolism. When you cut your calories too much, your body’s not going to like it. So, remember that fancy medical term “homeostasis”? It just means that your body likes to be in balance. So, if you slash your calories drastically you will certainly lose weight, and then your metabolism will respond by slowing down drastically, too. And that’s to get back to homeostasis and stay in balance. So, this right here, this is huge. This is so important, and to me is one of the most overlooked consequences of rapid weight loss diets.

And again, this is multifactorial. I mentioned it earlier, but if you lose weight too fast, you’re going to lose more muscle than you intended. And that muscle is an essential contributor to your body’s basal metabolic rate.

So, in general, the more muscle mass you have, the higher your basal metabolic rate will be, and the more calories you will need to sustain it. So, when you lose weight too quickly, and you lose muscle, you will lose that contribution to your metabolic rate.

Then, add to that, the hormonal factors that are at play, specifically leptin and thyroid hormone. Both of those will be negatively impacted by rapid weight loss and will result in a slowed metabolism. On top of that, cortisol can also be released in excess with rapid weight loss, and that can also lead to muscle breakdown, which will be another blow to your metabolism.

Hormones aside, to make matters worse, the impact to your metabolism will be apparent even after you regain the weight. Let’s talk about this. After rapid weight loss, you will experience a decrease in your metabolism. Then, if you regain the weight, your metabolism typically does not go back to what it was before.

This is best illustrated in an example. Let’s say you start out at 200lbs, and you take on an extreme diet, lose a ton of weight, and diet down to 150 lbs in a super short time. Then, because the diet was too extreme and you couldn’t sustain it, you go off the diet and regain the weight, and now you’re back to 200lbs.

Your metabolism will be lower now than it was before you dieted, even though you started and ended at 200lbs. This means that you’ll need to eat even less calories now at 200lbs after dieting, than you did at 200lbs before dieting, just to stay at 200lbs and not gain any weight. This is due to the impact of your diet on your metabolism.

This is especially true for yo-yo dieters. The more you do this, the more you diet and regain, diet and regain, the more you will see a negative impact to your overall metabolism when you regain the weight back. So, this is a losing game here in every which way.

Okay, last, but probably most important. Please do not forget the mental health impact that dieting for rapid weight loss can have on you. It does not feel good to be constantly hungry. It is stressful. It can lead you to be irritable. It can lead you to feel anxious. It can cause you to feel angry.

And often, when you are in too much of a hurry, you get to a space where you’re calling on sheer willpower to muscle your way through days of eating way too few calories, and that just does not feel good.

Again, I don’t sugarcoat, so I’m putting this very, very bluntly. Fat loss, and being in a legitimate calorie deficit, is no fun. In fact, it’s hard. It’s uncomfortable. And that’s at baseline. That’s when we’re talking about doing it in even a slow, sustainable manner. It is just uncomfortable.

Then, if you add on top of that the self-induced pressure to do it even faster, with extreme, rapid caloric restriction, that makes it worse, much worse. It may come to feel like you’re just hanging on. I don’t know how else to describe it, but if you’ve been there you know what I’m talking about. You’re hanging on, grinding through the day, trying to quiet all of the brain drama around food and all of the cravings, because you’re so stinking hungry. You’re waiting for the day to hurry up and end so you can check the box that you held out another day.

It’s a relief to go and brush your teeth and go to sleep, having gotten through another day in an extreme caloric deficit. And hopefully, when you do eventually fall asleep, you won’t be kept awake with thoughts of food. And then, it starts all over again the next day.

And this, this is a game. It is mentally exhausting. And more importantly, this game is a 100% losing battle. That approach will lead you to have a very negative relationship with yourself and with food. And it does not work, because eventually, it will become unsustainable. When you’re overly focused on the speed of your weight loss, most times that results in behaviors that are not sustainable for the long term.

You may be cutting out entire food groups, and eating so very little calories, that it just does not work for the long term. Your body is smart, and it will send all kinds of hormonal signals that are essentially sounding the alarm to say “stop.” You may find yourself thinking about food constantly. You may feel insanely hungry once you actually do start eating, and find that you’re never satisfied.

You may notice that you’re actually putting on belly weight. That’s all hormones talking. Those hormones are telling you, “Hey, this is not what my body needs. Let’s give this a rest.” When you do, when you finally give it a rest because you just cannot hold out anymore, it feels awful. Because your body has been stressed and hungry for so long, you are more than primed to put the weight back on, and you will put it back on quickly.

That is a huge mind game. I have had clients tell me that they feel like a failure after rapid weight loss followed by a rapid weight gain. They get very, very down on themselves, and are frankly downright mean to themselves because they’re so angry that they’re yo-yoing. But ironically, these are often the same clients who are tempted to repeat the process.

It’s fascinating to me. Many of my clients who have undergone rapid, unsustainable weight loss are often enticed to do it again. And admittedly, it takes a lot of work, a lot of coaching, and often a lot of trial and error for them to realize that the cycle is so damaging, both mentally and physically, that it is just not worth it. It really isn’t worth it.

When you do anything you can to hurry up and lose the weight, you’re not learning sustainable lifestyle behaviors. Instead, you’re learning how to strongarm your mind and your body into weight loss. But that’s not teaching you skills for the long haul. And your body will only tolerate it for so long.

But I get it. When you see your friends or family members or acquaintances post those before and after pictures, with perfectly positioned, perfectly lit selfies, beaming with pride and proclaiming all over social media that they’re down to 10% body fat according to their latest InBody assessment; which, by the way, these are not the be-all-end-all. Okay?

Please, please, please do not take your InBody assessment as a hard fact. It’s helpful, sure. But the studies on InBody, so far anyway, they’re small, and we need a lot more repeatable data before we take these as fact. Okay?

I’m going off track here; bringing it back. My point is, that it can be very, very compelling to do whatever your friend is doing that supposedly got her to 10% body fat. But I would simply remind you that her pictures and her Facebook posts are one snapshot in time. And I’d be really curious to follow up with her in six or even 12 months, and see how she’s doing and how it’s going for her.

It is very alluring to want a quick fix. To hurry up and get down a dress size or two, already. But please, hear me out. It doesn’t last. And I can say this with good confidence, because years, in fact, decades of research backs this one up. Rapid weight loss with unsustainable measures does not last.

There are so many papers and studies and analyses to back this up. So please, do not be wooed by your friend. The psychological impact of restricting the stink out of your food intake, followed by the inevitable regain of whatever weight you lost, compounded further by the damage you incur to your metabolism, all of this together makes it loud and clear, do not be in a hurry.

Do not think you are the one who can circumvent biology. Do not think that you’re different, and that your brain and your body can take it. It can’t. It really can’t. I know that’s not what you want to hear. But I want to be really honest with you, because I’ve seen so many of you try to do this only to crash and burn. Rapid unsustainable weight loss does not work. Okay?

So, now that I have totally beaten that dead horse, and told you about a number of the dangers of rapid weight loss, let’s talk about what does work. This may go without saying, but I want to spell it out. If you want to sustain your weight loss, aim for an appropriate calorie deficit that will lead you to a 1/2 – 1lb of weight loss per week. I’ll be honest, 1lb per week, even that’s a stretch; that can be a challenge for many of you.

Think about it from a math perspective. If you lost a pound per week for an entire year, you would be down 52 lbs in a year. That is significant. And while that may be possible for some people, generally it’s people who are very, very overweight and have 100 lbs or more to lose. But for most people that is not sustainable.

Again, to go back to the math, what little we know about fat loss and math, is that a pound per week of fat loss amounts to about a 3,500-calorie deficit. Meaning, if you divide that number by 7, that’s a deficit of 500 calories per day.

Now, before I go any further, I have done an entire podcast about this. This math, it is very, very rough at best. And that’s because of all the things I’ve mentioned before. When you diet, your metabolism changes. And if you yo-yo diet, your metabolism changes even more. So, it may be that a 500-calorie deficit for one person will result in a pound per week weight loss.

But for another person at that same weight, who got there by yo-yo dieting, that may not be enough of a deficit to result in a 1lb loss. So, the 500-calorie/day deficit is very, very rough. But it’s often what gets referred to in the literature, and the news, on social media. So, please take that with a load of caution, because the math just doesn’t add up that way for most people.

What this means, is that it’s going to be some art and some science to determine your moderate calorie deficit. My goal is that you eat in a way that you can sustainably lose weight. I don’t think a deficit in excess of 500 calories/day is going to be sustainable for most people. Think about that.

Think about what the implication of cutting out 600, 700, 800 calories every day would look like. Not a lot of food left; that’s what it would look like. No. No good, we don’t want that. Instead, we have to take on some trial and error to see what kind of deficit works for you, and that you can sustain. Again, knowing full well that is not going to be totally comfortable, but that you can sustain it. That’s what we’re aiming for.

For most people, that ends up being a deficit of somewhere between 200 to 400 calories/day. But again, that’s very variable, and it’s something I go through individually with each client. But the take home here is that a severe calorie deficit is not sustainable. A moderate calorie deficit, with breaks as needed, that is more sustainable, more pleasant, and what I would recommend instead. Alright?

So, once you have a moderate calorie deficit determined, next, you can increase your protein and fiber intake. You know how much I love protein, right? Well, this is just another reason to love it. It is the most satiating of all three macronutrients; carbs, fat and protein. It takes the longest to digest, and it takes the most energy to digest. It will help to maintain your muscles as you lose weight, so you don’t lose the muscle mass you’re working so hard to build. It helps to regulate your hunger hormones. I could keep going.

But the take home here is that there are so many benefits to increasing your protein intake. And while this is just my experience, I cannot tell you the number of clients I’ve had tell me that they feel more full ,and snack less, when they increase their protein intake. There’s science to back this up. There are known positive side effects of eating increased protein. So, I aim for at least 20 – 30 gm of protein for your three main meals.

And don’t forget your fiber. So, it’s no secret that most people do not eat enough fiber. But fiber, like protein, will keep you fuller longer. Especially soluble fibers in things like beans, legumes, flax seeds, oats, and veggies, like asparagus and Brussel sprouts. Okay? So, aim for 25 – 30 gm of fiber per day.

Start looking at both your protein and your fiber intake, and see where you can bolster these. They will keep you full, and they can help you lose weight sustainably by keeping you fuller longer. Okay?

Next, The next thing you can do is take a long, hard look at the types of carbs you’re eating. I know I just mentioned increasing your fiber intake, and alongside that, I would encourage you to cut back on the amount of ultra-processed carbs you eat.

I’ve mentioned this before, but ultra-processed carbs, things like a bag of pretzels, especially when eaten alone without protein or fat to slow down their digestion, will essentially cause a spike to your blood sugar, followed by an inevitable crash.

When this happens, you will be hungry and it can cause you to go looking for more food. And this is not what we’re aiming for if you’re trying to lose weight. So, look for whole, unprocessed sources of carbs. Things like fruit, whole grain breads and pastas, vegetables. Things that generally don’t come packaged in a foil wrapper. These will take longer to digest, they often have more fiber than their ultra-processed counterparts, and keep you more full and satisfied. Okay?

Next, Another thing you can do to lose weight at a sustainable rate, is to start or continue strength training. Let me be clear, this is not to say that lifting weight is automatically going to help you lose weight, okay? But what it will do is help you build or maintain muscle mass. And remember what muscle is, it’s metabolically active tissue that requires calories to sustain itself. So, when you build muscle, you can think of that muscle as a contribution to your overall metabolic rate. If you take two people with the same weight, same build, the one who has more muscle mass will likely have the higher metabolic rate, barring any medical issues. Prioritize strength training to help you build muscle, and you will reap the benefits that the muscle has on your metabolism.

Then next, and I don’t want to belabor this point too much, but I do want to point it out, sleep matters. So, if you are someone who swears up and down that you can get by on five to six hours of sleep per night, that’s great. But I would argue that is probably shooting you in the foot when it comes to your weight loss.

You can be doing everything “right” from a nutrition and exercise standpoint, but if you skimp on sleep, you’re going to have a hard time losing weight. Again, this is hormones. Cortisol will gang up on you and you will hold on to weight. So, it’s certainly more complicated than that, but that’s for another day.

Suffice it to say, if you’re not losing weight, look at how much sleep you’re getting, and ensure that you’re getting at least seven hours a night; ideally more. Okay? Then last, the last thing I want to offer to help you lose weight sustainably, especially when you feel that you are in a hurry, two words: Be patient. Like, really, really patient. In all seriousness, I tried to come up with something more wild, more fancy, more scientific. But honestly, this is it. There is no substitute for patience. Okay?

I know that is so hard to hear. You’re thinking hard about what you need to do, how you need to plan and prepare and eat, in order to lose weight. You’re putting in all this work. And I’m going to tell you to keep going; keep going and be insanely patient. I’ve said it before, and I’ll remind you again, you’re never done.

This is your life we’re talking about here. Whatever lifestyle modifications you put into place that get you to lose weight, those are the same ones you’re going to need to continue for life if you want your weight loss to last. I will keep saying that over and over again, because there are still too many of you who think that you can hurry up, lose the weight, see the number, and be done.

But there’s no going back. You’re not going on or going off a diet here. You’re not stopping or starting anything; you’re changing your life. And that means permanence, for the long haul. So, while you may want to hurry up and get there and get to your goal weight, once you’re there, that’s not the finish line. You’re still going; you’re not done.

That’s why I make such a big stink out of making sure that whatever you’re doing to lose the weight now is something you can see yourself doing six months, or one year, or three years from now. This is not to say that nothing changes at all. You may choose to dabble in veganism or vegetarianism. Or you may try a subtle variation on your current diet.

But there is no going back to what you did before, that led you to be overweight in the first place. Those habits will need to end. And that’s where I can help you. There is no “hurry up,” because this is the rest of your life we’re talking about. There is no race.

The more you see this as a shift in your lifestyle, the more you see this as a shift in your identity, of who you are and how you take care of yourself, the more you will see that there is no race here. And patience will most certainly help you build and practice sustainable habits that lead you to the level of health and strength you’re aiming for. Alright?

If you want help with this, let’s go. If you feel impatient about your weight loss, let’s talk. When you coach with me, we’ll find a sustainable way for you to lose weight and change your lifestyle. I’ll help you troubleshoot when you get impatient. And you will not only lose the weight sustainably, but you’ll have the tools to keep it off for the long haul.

So, check out my website, go to www.CarrieHollandMD.com/contact, schedule a consultation, and let’s talk about how coaching will help you change your life. Alright? Thank you again for hanging out with me, and I’ll catch you again next week. If you like what you’ve been hearing, please review the show. I would love to get your feedback and ideas. Your suggestions have inspired episodes and will help me make the show better for you. Share this podcast with a friend, text a show link, share a screenshot, or post a link to the show on your social media. Be sure to tag me @CarrieHollandMD on either Instagram or Facebook so I can follow along and engage with you.

This is how we get the word out to other working moms who want to feel strong inside and out. If you know someone who wants to feel better or eat and move differently but she is too tired or too busy, it is time to change things up. You know making that change starts with how you think, and that is what we do here on the Strong as a Working Mom podcast. I’ll see you next week.

Thanks for listening to Strong as a Working Mom. If you want more information on how to eat, move, and think, so you can live in the body you want, with the mind to match, visit me at CarrieHollandMD.com.

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