I’m sure you’ve heard or experienced it a million times. “I’m literally starving myself and i’m not losing weight! I must have a slow metabolism.” Common knowledge for a LONG time has told us something along the lines of:
“eat 6 meals a day to fire up your metabolism and boost fat loss!”
It’s honestly such a joke that information like this is still so widespread when it comes to weight loss. I’m not saying eating 6 meals a day is inherently bad—in fact, i’d argue it’s great for a lot of people. If eating 6 small meals a day is what keeps you on track with your diet and keeps you full—then by all means, keep doing it!
However, believing that eating X number of meals a day is the secret to losing weight is what I have a problem with. The secret to losing weight is actually:
Eat less damn food overall.
That’s it—nothing else. Why do we feel the need to complicate this and come up with a million reasons why we aren’t losing weight? Perhaps because that’s the human thing to do. Maybe it’s just to hard to accept that the reason we aren’t losing weight is extremely simple—we’re eating too much and moving too little.
The thing that REALLY kills me about the whole situation, though, is the fact that you can literally show people that the secret to weight loss is doing more and eating less—and they still do the same old thing (read: eat “healthy”, whatever that means) and wonder why they aren’t losing weight.
If that isn’t insanity, I don’t know what is.
You’re Eating A LOT More Than You Think
This one was a tough realization for me as I started counting my calories more religiously and actually weighing food out. My mind was literally blown to bits when I found out that this is what 100 calories of peanut butter looks like:
How many times have you taken a couple knife-fulls of pb and spread it on toast or made a pb&j? Well, that stuff adds up. Obviously peanut butter is a very calorie dense food, but I just want to highlight the fact that it’s SO easy to neglect counting calories from stuff like this in your diet.
Calorie Counts Of Foods You Probably Aren’t Counting:
- 45 kcal per tablespoon, you probably use 3 or 4 tbsp every time you eat bbq.
- 70kcal per tablespoon, same deal as with the bbq sauce. This is why you aren’t losing weight despite your #saladfordayz diet.
16 oz iced mocha (starbucks)
- 350 calories! It amazes me how many people think their morning ritual doesn’t count towards their total calories
8 oz milk (2%)
- 120 calories. I threw this one in mainly because drinking my calories used to be a huge problem for me and I never realized how much it influenced my weight. If you drink a tall glass its probably more like 16-20 oz, too.
1oz shot 80 proof vodka
- 90 calories. Ethanol contains 7 calories per gram—it’s near as calorically dense as fat. If you’re anything like me, you’ll knock back a few of these without thinking about it. PS—most shots are probably more like 1.5-2 oz, too.
You’re eating more than you think. I promise. Even though you might think the little things don’t really count, they do. Take it from me—it’s SO easy to eat things and not even realize it.
Here’s a quick list of “common wisdom” tips when it comes to dieting that are all pretty much horses**t:
“eat 6 meals a day or your metabolism will slow down and you’ll get fat”. Nope, not even close to true. Studies vary, but for the most part it takes 72+ hours of no food for any metabolic rate drop to occur—and even then, it’s very minimal.
“eat MORE not less to lose weight!”. Uh….what? I refer you to the first law of thermodynamics.
“don’t eat carbs after 8pm or they’ll get stored as fat”. Also nope. Your body might store excess calories as fat, but if you’re in a deficit i guarantee you won’t be storing any extra fat.
“eat X particular food to torch stomach fat”. I love this one. Just eat this one food and all of your problems will be solved! Amazing that in thousands of years of human evolution we’re just figuring this one out! Laughable.
The list goes on and on, but the point I want to hammer home is: If you aren’t losing weight, you’re either eating too much, and/or moving too little.
The Solution To Weight Loss
Ok, I’ve said it a few times now—eat less food! Easier said than done, unfortunately. If you can be a bit methodical about how you approach your diet, though, it gets substantially easier. For instance:
Get in the habit of reading the nutrition label on EVERYTHING. Regardless of if you buy it/eat it, just start reading them. It will reap benefits over the long run.
Measure out your servings, damnit! You don’t have to do it forever, but you DO have to do it for long enough that you start to be able to estimate sizes pretty accurately. It took me about 3-4 months of consistent measuring.
Lose it slowly. I know, this is the hardest part in my opinion. We all want that sweet sweet instant gratification—and it can be disheartening to drop 10 lbs of water in the first week and then almost nothing per week for the next 2 months. However, going slow will allow you to stick to your diet without going insane.
At the end of the day, your calorie goal is king. There will be no greater predictor of your success than hitting this number EVERY day for however long it takes you to shed the weight.
Well, hopefully that gives you a little insight on what you might be doing wrong with weight loss and how you should go about correcting it. As always, feel free to give me a shout if you have any questions or comments or just want to tell me how wrong I am about something. If you’re like “omg this sucks how am I going to eat ANYTHING?!” then go check this out.