Is Eating Healthy Stopping You from Weight Loss?
A guest blog post from Ula Kajtoch, a Nutrition & Fitness Coach, certified personal trainer, yoga instructor, and foodie. Thank you, Ula, for sharing a few tips on how to reach your wellness goals in a healthy and smart way.
P.S Read to the end for a free giveaway from Ula!
How many times did you find yourself saying the following:
“I’m eating healthy, but I’m not losing weight” or “I eat a salad every day and still can’t lose the weight.”
I bet it is! I get it. I’ve been in your shoes.
I tried “clean eating” (whatever that means).
I tried eating “healthy snacks” in-between meals because, supposedly, they set our metabolism on fire (I wish you could actually see me as I’m writing this...I giggled so loud, people in Starbucks looked at me weird lol).
You’ve been told by others or read in the latest magazines that to lose weight or fat, you should eat healthily. So, you eat salad after salad, drinking smoothies, searching for ideas on healthy snacks, or search on Instagram for the latest #nourishingbowl recipe.
The truth is, eating healthy doesn’t always equal eating smart.
What’s eating smart then, you might ask?
Eating smart is eating accordingly to your goals (building muscle, weight maintenance, weight loss) or just eating healthier (a.k.a improving your nutrition habits than you did in previous months/years).
For example, let's say that your goal is to lose weight. To do this, you need to reduce your calorie intake (either through exercise, what you eat or both) so that the calories consumed are less than the number of calories required for maintenance of your current body weight. This is also called a calorie deficit. The next step would be to create a weekly meal plan to help you stay on track. Your meal plan should include mostly nutritious foods with a small dose of your favorite foods. You can try to follow the 80/20 rule which means striving to eat healthy 80% of the time.
Spend some time making a plan. This is so important! By having a plan, your adherence to your wellness goals will be much higher.
Can you imagine a “diet” that’s healthy but also includes your favorite cookie or ice cream?
Yeah, sounds pretty amazing to me, if you ask. And it is possible, as long as you find the right balance between your nutrient-dense foods and your treats.
Now, what happens when we feel like we are eating healthy (salad, grilled chicken, smoothies, stir-frys, etc.) but we aren't getting closer to our wellness goals.
If you feel stuck in this situation, the most effective thing that you can do is to take a moment to really look at how nutritious your "healthy" food is. For example, imagine your favorite salad with grilled chicken. You top your salad with a handful of cheese, lots of dressing (got to make sure all the leaves are coated), a large handful of nuts and seeds, craisins for sweetness because of well...they are healthy....right!?
And just like that, you turned your "healthy" salad into a calorie bomb with over 1000 kcal (roughly over half of your daily calorie intake). The same situation can happen with a smoothie or nourishing bowl or any other meal for that matter.
It is so easy to start with a really healthy base (ie. bowl of spinach) and for all of our toppings to make it no longer a "healthy" meal.
Does it mean, you need to stop eating those healthy foods?
Nope. Not at all.
It merely means you can build better awareness about macro- and micronutrients and portion control.
And portion control is hugely important and one of the biggest factors regarding why any of us struggle to lose weight!
Did you catch my pun? ;)
Making a few small adjustments to your meals can help you achieve your goal without feeling frustrated or deprived of foods.
To summarize, I want to share with you 5 tips on how to enjoy healthy food the smart way:
1. Eat-in a calorie deficit if your goal is fat/weight loss.
2. Try to eat nutrient-dense food that will fuel your body 80% of the time, but don't forget to include the foods that you really enjoy sometimes.
3. Use smaller plates/bowls to help with portion control.
4. Go easy on healthy fats (nuts, chia seeds, coconut flakes...use them like sprinkles, not loads but just a little bit). If using dairy for smoothies, opt-in for non-fat.
5. When it comes to dressing, slightly drizzle instead of turning your salad into soup ;)
Make nutrition your priority by having a plan and being mindful of what (and how much) is on your plate. You can eat smart and healthy without food restrictions, I promise!
Bonus: want to receive a free “Build Your Plate” template? Send an email to Ula at ula@ulakfitness with “FBB” in the subject line.
Ula Kajtoch is a Nutrition & Fitness Coach that believes a healthy lifestyle can be achieved with sustainable and actionable habits. She offers online nutrition and fitness coaching that is designed to be simple and minimize the stress around living a healthy life. If you are looking for some nutrition advice or coaching, contact Ula at firstname.lastname@example.org, learn more about her programs at http://www.ulakfitness.com/, or follow her on Instagram at @eat.move.revive.
Thank you, Ula, for sharing your healthy and smart eating tips with us.
I greatly appreciate it!