The Healthy Eating Trap
It’s unfair and discouraging when you’re eating a very healthy diet and you’re struggling to lose weight.
With so many people being health conscious these days I’m seeing this phenomena more frequently than I would like.
People are getting caught up in the ‘healthy eating trap’ without understanding that healthy eating does not guarantee weight loss!
This is a common misconception, and when eating healthy fails we are then told or we assume that there must be something wrong with our bodies (hormones, metabolism, genetics, food sensitivities, menopause, etc.) and that is not the case.
The reason why healthy eating can become a trap is because when you’re focusing on quality of foods that you’re consuming it’s very likely that you’re going to overlook the most important principle of weight loss – CALORIES!
And many ‘experts’ out there say things like – focus on eating healthy food vs. counting calories and you will lose weight. Although I understand the intention behind this common suggestions and it may work (very rarely) for some, for most it becomes a trap! Because even ‘good calories’ are still calories and they can add up very quickly and completely appose all of your weight loss efforts.
Truth be told, all diets work! And no matter what their claim to fame is they all work essentially for the same reason – the law of thermodynamics – which is a fancy way of saying ‘energy balance’.
All diets essentially have you consuming less food, which leads to you consuming fewer calories. Be it by having you avoid carbs, fats, process foods or forbidding you to eat after 7pm – essentially it all boils down to lowering your food consumption. By having less food you’re creating a ‘calorie deficit’ or you’re consuming less calories than your body needs in order to sustain it’s current body mass. And when you do this consistently you end up losing weight.
When it comes to weight loss, how much you eat matters more than what you eat!
A great example of this phenomena is professor Haub’s Twinkie Diet experiment where he was able to lose 27lbs in 10 weeks eating nothing but processed food. And to everyone’s surprise all of his health markers like cholesterol, triglycerides, etc. improved despite all the common notion about junk food.
This is not to promote junk food, but it goes to show how important it is to keep your calories in check not only for weight loss but general health as well!
So no matter what you read or hear, weight loss is not possible without a caloric deficit (the only time it does not work is when you’re dealing with metabolic adaptations).
Don’t get caught up in the healthy eating trap, if you’re eating healthy and are not losing weight it’s probably because you’re not accounting for the calories you’re consuming. And many health foods like nuts, avocados, nut butters, olive oil, beans, and lentils are loaded with calories (yes, they are good calories, but they are still calories) plus anything that we tell ourselves is healthy we’re more likely to over consume. And when you’re eating more than what you should be in a ‘calorie deficit’ state you will struggle to lose weight, even if you have one too many apples.
And many of my clients will attest to this, if you’re not tracking what you eat it’s very likely you’ll get caught up in the ‘healthy eating trap’.