Written by: Holly Mosack, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
In my last article, I gave you tips to help you smash your 2021 fitness goals. Thanks for all of the great feedback, but it sounds like there’s a lot of frustration around staying on track with nutrition. I got you! Now, I will NEVER claim to be a nutrition coach (I like potato chips and sweets way too much), but I do know some smart people who can help. So, I sat down with Registered Dietitian, Katrina Howard, to find out why so many of us fail at our nutrition goals. Here’s what she had to say.
1. You’ve lost weight and your body is smaller.
As our bodies become smaller, our basal metabolic rate (BMR) gets lower and we don't need as many calories each day. The BMR is the number of calories required to keep your body functioning at rest (essentially known as your metabolism) and is based on your gender, age, height, and weight. Try this BMR calculator to see your rate. I would suggest reevaluating your calorie goal for every 10 pounds lost to make sure you are still in a calorie deficit. Don’t forget, your daily calorie goal depends on your daily activity, so it’s not unusual to have different goals throughout the week.
2. Be consistent. For example, you eat great during the week and blow it on weekends.
If you create a 500-calorie deficit Monday through Friday and then eat like crap all weekend, you can easily undo all your hard work. It may be better for you to set a weekly total calorie goal versus a daily goal. Also, be consistent eating your meals as skipping meals usually leads to overeating later in the day.
3. You aren’t weighing your food.
If you are just eyeballing portions, there is a good chance you are underestimating the amount. Let’s say you are eating a portion of peanut butter, which is typically two tablespoons. If you just guessed, you could easily be off by one tablespoon, which would equate to an extra 100-200 calories. That will start to add up throughout the day. Use measuring cups and spoons, or better yet, buy a digital scale and start weighing everything. I hate to say it, but it’s almost pointless to have a calorie goal if you aren’t going to weigh or accurately measure your food.
4. You’re comparing yourself to others.
If we all ate the same and worked out the same, we would still have very different body sizes, thanks to our genetics. Don’t get frustrated if someone is doing the same thing as other people in your gym and she is losing weight faster. This is about you and your health. Think about where you will be in a year, even with slow weight loss. Do what works and is sustainable for you - that’s the key.
5. You are over-stressed or not sleeping enough.
These affect our hormones, making it harder to lose weight. If you are at a particularly stressful time in your life or can't get eight hours of sleep, aim for weight maintenance instead of weight loss. The last thing you need to do is get more stressed out about not losing weight!
6. You aren’t doing the basics.
I have a lot of friends that do different nutrition diets for periods of time. You know these people and you know these diets. You’ve probably tried one of them yourself. Intermittent fasting, keto, paleo – they all can work, but they also take a huge level of commitment and often a complete lifestyle change. People do these regimes for several weeks, lose weight, but then gain it all back when they stop. This is why I recommend starting out with the basics. Are you drinking enough water? Eating enough protein? Eating your 5+ servings of fruits and vegetables? Moving your body daily? If you aren’t doing these regularly, you need to get the basics down first, or you won't be successful in the long-term.
7. You need a coach.
Sometimes we need an unbiased outsider to tell us that we are drinking too much wine, eating too big of portions, or not eating enough protein. This is where a coach comes in handy. There are some great apps that help you track your food, or you can hire an online coach. Just make sure they have the right credentials and education. The title “nutritionist” isn't regulated so anyone can call themselves a nutritionist. If you have any conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease, or are breastfeeding, it would be in your best interest to hire a qualified registered dietitian to help (some states even have laws as to who can give nutrition advice to these populations and for a good reason). My favorite apps are Avatar Nutrition and Renaissance Periodization (not sponsored, just my opinion and what I use). My friend and colleague, Gerald at G Force Nutrition also coaches clients one-on-one and would be happy to get you started on a plan that will help you meet your nutrition goals.
Alright, I know what I need to work on (reasons 2,3 and 6, for starters) and am excited to see if I can actually sustain a nutrition program for more than a few weeks! For nutrition tips (or just to say hello), you can follow Katrina on Instagram at @supermarketsecrets.rd.
Holly Mosack, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
When Holly ended her career in the United States Army, she struggled to find her purpose in the civilian world (outside of being a mom) until she and her husband started a CrossFit gym. She quickly found a new passion in helping women become stronger, both physically and emotionally. She wants to empower women to stay active by removing barriers, which is why she founded a line of leak-proof apparel, Moxie Fitness Apparel, to help the 1 in 3 women who experience stress incontinence. Holly is an executive-level communicator with 15 years of manufacturing experience in talent acquisition strategy, service quality, and continuous improvement. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and is a CrossFit Level I Trainer.