Running on Empty…
This post is an installment in our 52 Health Hinges series. Remember, “Small hinges swing big doors.”
I don’t usually make New Year resolutions, but a few years ago, frustrated with extra weight that continued to hang on after my first son was born, I made a resolution to lose 10 pounds in 10 weeks.
Seems doable, right? Everything I’d heard said that losing one pound per week was a reasonable goal.
Clearly I just needed to get my butt moving and burn some calories to get this fat off my bod.
Calories in, calories out. Make it happen.
When I decide to do something, I’m all in. So I really went for it.
It was the dead of winter in Minnesota, so anything outside was out of the question. I found a local yoga studio and signed up.
And not just for any yoga class. I figured that since I was there, I might as well really go for it. So I signed up for the hardest class they offered. Heated power yoga with weights, set to energizing music? Sure – no problem! Let’s do this!
And I did.
For 10 weeks, I went 4-5 times per week.
This class was hard. It had cardio, it had strength training, and it was hot. I worked my butt off, and was a sweaty mess by the end of each class.
According to conventional wisdom, this routine should have whipped me back into shape with time to spare. In the past, I’d put myself through similar “bootcamp” approaches and killed it.
But this time, after working my ass off for 10 weeks, I lost only one pound.
I was frustrated, confused, and tired. And sweaty. Too sweaty. So I gave up and stopped going to these crazy classes.
Do you have a story like mine? Many, many of our Healthful Elements clients do.
Looking back, I can see clearly where I went wrong. But at the time, without the benefit of everything I know now, I was lost.
According to Dr. Mark Hyman MD, “You can’t exercise your way out of a bad diet.” Hmmm.
And Mark Sisson of Mark’s Daily Apple says, “Less is more – as far as exercise goes – is becoming another accepted truth, especially when you understand that 80% of your body composition is determined by how you eat.” Okay, okay – I’ve got it!
So, are you killing yourself at the gym, hoping to see the scale move? Before you go down a similar path in this new year, I want to share with you the reasons why I wasn’t losing the weight, and what I did about it.
Here are my tips to truly meet those “lose weight” resolutions this year:
- Eat healthfully for your body. To be clear, I was eating a pretty darn good diet at this time. I was shopping at Whole Foods, eating organic, and hadn’t drunk a soda in years. However, what I didn’t realize is continuing to eat foods that you’re sensitive to will wreak havoc on your digestive and immune systems. Even though I was eating organic wheat and organic dairy, my body was creating IgG antibodies to these foods, thus causing an inflammatory response and an overall not-so-good feeling. I could exercise my butt off, but as long as I continued to eat foods that were bad for me, I wasn’t going to make any real progress.
- Optimize your digestive system. Due to a variety of factors, I also found myself with a leaky gut and candida overgrowth. Remember back when we talked about digestive health? It’s key to overall health. In my case, although I was eating many healthy, organic foods, my leaky gut was keeping me from absorbing and utilizing all of the good nutrients from these foods. I needed to remove the culprits that were causing my leaky gut (in my case, it was sugar, gluten, dairy, and candida overgrowth) and give my gut time to heal.
- Support and nourish your adrenals. Last, but certainly not least, I realize now that I really underestimated how much my stress level impacted my health. After years of push, push, pushing at work with long days, always being on-call, and a stressful role – coupled with the stress of having a newborn – plus all of the physical stress I was putting on my body (see points one and two above) and then the over-exercising….WHEW! My body threw in the towel and was at the point of adrenal exhaustion. My “lose 10 pounds in 10 days” plan was actually counterproductive to weight loss, as this extreme exercise was adding more stress to my body, causing my body to need more cortisol (of which I had little to give due to the exhaustion).
Your action item for this week is to evaluate how the above might apply to you.
If you’ve set a weight loss or exercising goal for the new year, learn from my mistakes to meet yourself where you are to ensure that your tactics won’t be counterproductive to your health.
Maybe you’ve been stuck on the treadmill (both literally and figuratively) too long already? I’ve heard from my clients that they’ve been working out for a year and they haven’t lost a pound. Been there.
If my story caused any light bulb moments as to why you’ve been fighting weight loss resistance, you need to get to your root cause in order to achieve the health you’re looking for. This is tricky stuff, peeps – if you find yourself in this situation, I’d love to help coach and mentor you through this healing. You can set up a Jumpstart Consultation with me here.
This CAN be the year that you Own your hormones™. The Healthful Elements team has a lot planned to help you do just that, so you can get back to feeling like yourself again. Thanks for being here!