We like to control many aspects of our lives. When it comes to lifestyle change, many of us want to know how many calories to eat, what to eat, how to count calories and how much exercise to do.
All this is bullshit, and in many cases, it creates more problems than it solves. In this article I will explain why I recommend that you let go of thinking that you need to control your weight loss.
Trying to control the uncontrollably can increase stress.
Counting calories and feeling restricted can increase the level of stress in your life. Stress increases your production of the hormone called cortisol. A lot of studies show that cortisol increase hunger and cravings which leads to a higher intake of foods that are high in fat, cane sugar or both. Once the food is ingested, it seems to trigger hormones that causes relief from the stress related responses and emotions. This can become a vicious cycle of destructive eating behavior that causes you to doubt your ability to stay reach your weight loss goal, which is a shame since there are more self-loving ways to lose weight while nourishing your body.
Other reasons why stress can destroy your weight loss, is because it has the tendency to reduce sleep, and your motivation to exercise.
Stress is not a sustainable long-term strategy.
If you want to lose weight and keep the weight of by changing your lifestyle long term, you might as well start there. It’s going to be hard work to weigh your food and restrict yourself all the time. Of course, I recommend that you stay away from, or at least minimize your intake of sugar- and fat-filled foods during weight loss, but you should not feel restricted from eating things you enjoy, or from feeling full and satisfied. Starvation and deprivation will most likely lead to binge eating and shame, which you want to avoid.
All bodies react differently.
No matter how perfect you follow your meal- and exercise plan, you might not lose the 500g / 1 pound a week you were supposed to. Bodies are different, and they will react differently. The calorie counting app you use can only give you estimates of how many calories you eat. They are never 100% correct. The exercise you get each week will also vary due to thing that happens in your life. Your motivation to stay on track will probably go up and down, so you might eat something you weren’t supposed to once in a while. You can you use a lot of energy thinking about what went wrong and try to do better. All if this brings me back to my first point. You need to find a strategy to deal with the struggles you experience along the way. This is the sustainable way to change your lifestyle.
NB: If you have a serious eating disorder, I recommend that you see a professional.