HEALTHY FOODS STILL HAVE CALORIES.
JUST BECAUSE YOU’RE EXERCISING DOESN’T MEAN YOU CAN EAT WHATEVER YOU WANT.
Ok, maybe I shouldn’t have started with that because now this is going to be a very short post.
Just kidding! You know I can and will elaborate.
One of the main problems with people just trying to “eat clean” is that they think because they are eating healthy foods that they can eat as much of it as they want.
An avocado is super healthy right? Well did you know that 1 medium avocado has 170 calories & 26grams of fat.. Well sure they are healthy fats, but it doesn’t mean you need to eat the whole thing!
I could do this all day with healthy foods that are still good for you but, are high in calories and you would want to watch your portions.
Sure, if you eat foods that are more nutrient dense (refer to previous blog post on calories for more info on that) then you are more likely to lose weight because you will feel fuller and therefore most likely eat less calories.. but it’s total calories that accounts for change in body weight, not the types of foods, remember that.
Sadly, exercise alone will not always lead to weight loss… It can, don’t get me wrong, but not always.
There are a few reasons why you may gain weight when you start exercising.
The first is that you are gaining muscle mass, which is not bad weight to be gaining, but so many people notice that the number on the scale goes up and they let this discourage them and think their exercise routine is “making it harder to lose weight” *bites tongue so hard I thought it might fall off*. Remember, it’s always better to measure your progress through girth measurements or how your close fits than the scale.
Another reason you may gain weight when you start exercising is because you believe that since you started exercising the you can eat whatever you want.
Say you go to the gym, do an hour workout, then you treat yourself to a drink and treat at Starbucks … The problem here is that your workout will burn anywhere between 200-700 calories depending on how hard you are working, but your “reward” for exercising is going to be well over 500 calories. Therefore, your special treat just cancelled out all of the calories you burned with your exercise.
Now, if you don’t have any weight change goals and just exercise for fun or to be stronger, then all the power to you and your lemon loaf plus extra fluff soy frappaccino.
However, if body composition is a goal of going to the gym make sure your cheat meals are not as frequent as your workouts. I’m a firm believer in the 80/20 rule, but that’s 20% of “free” foods or whatever you want to call it, not 80%. If you eat back all of the calories you burn in a workout you won’t be in a calorie deficit which is necessary for
Another note worthy point is that as you strength train and increase your muscle mass, aka gain good/ healthy weight, you will increase your resting metabolic rate… which means that your body will be able to handle more calories. This is good news because this means that in order to lose weight you don’t have to eat extremely low calories! Furthermore, this is another good reason to add strength training into your program whatever your goals may be, and to keep up with strength training even after you reach your goal to help maintain your body strength and composition.
So, if you start an exercise program and are displeased with the number you see on the scale within your first month, stop and re-evaluate your method and all of your other lifestyle changes you have made over the last month:
Are you strength training now? Could the weight you gained be muscle mass?
Are you out- eating your exercise? Do you need to change the way you eat?
PS- STOP OBSESSING OVER THE SCALE! You could be losing fat while gaining muscle (which per pound is smaller than fat), so stop fretting. You’re beautiful whatever number the scale says.
PPS – Consistency is key.
You won’t necessarily reach your goal in one month, especially if you goal is to lose > 20lbs. It takes time, hard work and dedication to change your body.
Stay with it, I know you can do it!