It's frustrating huh? Spending all this time trying to eat as healthily as possible only to find that the scales aren't dropping. Let me explain why!
Here's an example of the sort of message I receive on a frequent basis;
"Hi Ben. I'm looking to lose around 10lbs pounds and drop some fat around my stomach. I exercise 3 times a week and eat really healthily. I usually have a smoothie with berries for breakfast. Salmon or chicken for lunch, and lots of vegetables for dinner. I snack on fruit and nuts and have the occasional wine of an evening. Why am I still not loosing weight?"
So that sounds really healthy right! So why isn't this person loosing weight? Why are they still struggling?
Apart from this message being a tad vague as there's no mention of quantity. The client could also be lying to themselves about how much they're actually eating. Or they're twisting the truth because they feel guilty about telling me
But that to one side. Why? The next paragraph might shock you a little bit
Healthy Foods Don't Make You Lose Weight
Okay so. MIND FUCK
I'm afraid just eating healthily won't necessarily result in weight loss
We eat good nutritious food because of the nutrients, minerals and fiber content
Healthy foods also tend to be lower in calories and higher in fiber. Fiber keeps you feeling nice and full, so it takes longer for you to feel hungry again
But healthy foods still contain calories.. and you can still eat too many
It's just much harder to over eat them!
As those of you that read my blogs regularly will know, the only way to lose weight is to consume fewer calories than you are burning
If you need 1700 calories a day to maintain your weight, but you're eating 2000 calories of healthy foods like salmon, chicken, nuts and smoothies. You're still going to put on weight!
Your body doesn't decide to put on or lose fat. It doesn't register you've eaten a bag of mixed nuts instead of a Mars bar and say;
"Right, she's done well. Let's give her a little treat and knock of a pound"
You can eat healthily, you can make all the right food choices, but you can still consume too many calories
To make this a bit easier to digest I'm going to share some pictures from an awesome Instagram profile @thefitnesschef
Your Calorie Accountant
Think of your daily calorie consumption like an account sitting behind a desk in a shabby office. A head sunk, beady eyed old man with round glasses perched on the end of his nose (I picture mine like a Quinton Blake sketch)
Everything you eat in a day is the equivalent to an expense. Your budget for the day is £50
You'e out shopping and as the day goes by you're buying odds and sods here and there until at 6 pm, you hit your £50 budget
You're about to head home when you walk past your favorite shop and notice a couple of items you've wanted for a while in the shop window
What's a more sensible purchase?;
A new rucksack which you so desperately need for work, or
A fully automatic marshmallow rifle with a laser pointer and flashing lights?
The rucksack right? But either option you're still over budget by £50!
While your accountant's totting up your expenses do you think he cares that you've made a more sensible buying decision? You shouldn't have spent it in the first place!
This is exactly why healthy food doesn't make you lose weight!
Sure, healthy food is better, but it's not the only metric to consider when you're trying to lose a few pounds!
Over eating is still over eating!
2 Things To Do Next
1. Still make the right "buying decisions"
I don't want you to walk away from this post and say "Ben said I can eat whatever I want and healthy foods don't matter"
I'm not saying that. Those of you that are eating as well as the example message at the beginning of the post. AMAZING! Honestly, really well done (If you're not there yet then get your 5-a-day and focus on protein and water with every meal!)
You've got the perfect foundations, now you just might need to tweak your quantities or not purchase the rucksack you really need if it puts you over budget!
2. Log Your Food For 3 Days
Just do it.
I don't care if it's boring. If you really want to lose weight then you need to know how many calories you're consuming, no matter how healthy they may be!
For the next 3 days write down absolutely everything you eat using these two food tracking methods
Work out how many calories you're roughly eating and figure out how many calories you should be eating using this calculator
If the calculator tells you you need 2000 calories a day and you work out you're eating 2000 calories a day of healthy food. Your body won't change. You won't lose weight. You'll stay exactly the same
So what you do is tweak your diet until you're in a 500 calorie deficit. Do this and NO MATTER WHAT, expect to lose a pound a week
Eating nutritious, healthy foods are essential for optimal health and your greatest aid to loosing weight, but you can still over eat the good stuff
Your daily calorie consumption is all that matters when you're trying to lose weight, so don't feel bad when you have the occasional treat. As long as you're fitting it into your diet and not going over budget, you will continue to lose weight
Before I wrap this up I would also suggest reading my post; "The best diet plan in the world" - This plan follows the principles of this post
I would also highly recommend following @thefitnesschef on Instagram for more awesome graphics like the ones above
If I've confused the hell out of after reading this post, email me here and I'll iron out any queries!
Thanks for taking the time to read, I really hope it helps