My first big attempt at weight loss came at the age of 16. I basically ate only lettuce for an entire summer and lost a ton of weight. As it turns out, that became a pivotal moment in my life because I had achieved the goal that I’d set out to achieve. But, I did it in a way that was not sustainable or healthy. Instead of enjoying the positive things that came from it, (which there were some), the whole situation felt stressful, and I soon found myself running back to my junk food for comfort. By the end of that school year, I was heavier than ever, and so started a couple of decades of yo-yo dieting.
I bet that many of you can relate to at least some of my story, or you have a similar story of your own. Why is it so hard to sustain weight loss? Why can’t you follow the nutritional advice that you know will not only allow you to live life at the weight you want but also benefit your health and lower your risk of weight-related diseases that rob your life of joy, like diabetes and heart disease? What is really going on here? Is it that your body just doesn’t want to be thin? There are answers to these questions, and we’ll explore them in this post.
Does Your Body Want to Be Thin? At-A-Glance
- Your body’s primary concern is survival, not a specific weight.
- To make your body an ally in weight loss, eat in a way that keeps your blood sugar and insulin levels low and stable.
- Low and stable blood sugar and insulin levels are achieved by following a low carb/high fat diet and practicing intermittent fasting.
- A weight loss plan is sustainable when it follows the 3 Es: Easy to Follow, Enjoyable, Effective
Does Your Body Want to Be Thin? [Video]
In this video, you’ll learn…
- How to make your body an ally in weight loss.
- Three factors that are key in creating a sustainable weight loss system.
- Foods that will help you lose weight while still being enjoyable and satisfying.
Does Your Body Want to Be Thin?
Your body doesn’t care as much as you do about the number on your bathroom scale. It just wants to survive, so it will take action based on that criteria.
Every action it takes, whether it turns on hunger or drives you so crazy with cravings that you head to the drive-through at 2 am, is initiated because your body senses something is not right and needs nourishment. You might think that fat is not a great thing, but your body looks at it as a wonderful reserve of energy that can be tapped into when no food is available.
Your body doesn’t have a desire to be thin or fat any more than it has a desire to be left-handed or right-handed. It will simply deal with what it is given and do its best to keep you going. This is where you can build an alliance with your body, despite your starting point. Plainly stated, if your goal is to lose weight, then give your body what it needs, and it will give you what you want.
Encourage Weight Loss with the 3 E’s
If you’ve followed my blog for some time or watched the video series that comes with my free 0,1,2,3 strategy, you’ve heard me talk about the 3 E’s.
These 3 E’s must be in place for you to stick with your plan long enough to reach your goal. As a quick overview, a panel of researchers named three significant factors that strongly influence your ability to stick with a plan and reach a goal (1).
The three factors are as follows:
- Your plan must be simplified to the point that it does not take over your life.
- Your actions must have an element of enjoyment, so you don’t feel miserable.
- You must see clear evidence that your efforts are working.
In other words, they had created a lifestyle that was (1) Easy-to-follow, (2) Enjoyable, and (3) Effective. Those are what I refer to as the three E’s. When they are in place, your body has what it needs, and you now have an ally in weight loss rather than an enemy. Let’s map out how to get these 3 E’s working in your life, starting with the Effective E.
Make Your Body an Effective Fat Burner
If you are stepping out of your comfort zone by changing the way you eat or move and not seeing results, research (and likely your own experience) tells us that you will not continue taking those actions.
Remember that your body looks at body fat as a valuable energy reserve. However, we tend to carry around more energy than we need. With every pound of fat estimated to contain about 3,500 calories of energy, even a lean person may have tens of thousands of calories to burn.
To burn off the excess fat, you want to create an internal state in your body that allows for the release of that fat. The most effective way to do this is to eat in a way that keeps your blood sugar and insulin levels low and stable.
We know that the calories we get from carbohydrates, fat, and protein are not alike. They have vastly different effects on blood sugar and insulin levels. Carbohydrates cause the most significant spike in insulin, protein provides a moderate rise, and fat produces little or no increase in insulin. Since our goal is to eat in a way that keeps insulin levels low, it makes sense to eat a low-carb, high-fat, moderate-protein diet.
It also makes sense to practice intermittent fasting by incorporating periods during your day to abstain from eating. When there’s no food coming in, your blood sugar and insulin levels remain steady.
Creating an Easy-to-Follow and Enjoyable Diet
The two remaining E’s are Easy-to-Follow and Enjoyable. They are just as important as having an effective plan in place because if what you are doing is super complicated and you hate it, it’s not worth the effort, and the pizza delivery guy magically shows up on your doorstep.
The good news is that when your body adapts to your low carb diet and fasting routine, the stabilization of your blood sugar makes sticking with the diet much easier because, without the blood sugar crashes, cravings stay away.
The bad news is that when you first switch to a low carb diet, it takes a week or two to gain this stability. You have to weather that storm. When you do, you open the door to enjoyment.
A poor diet of quick-digesting carbohydrates and sugary foods dull your tastebuds and downregulate brain chemicals like dopamine. When you have a steady diet of poor-quality foods, healthy, slow-digesting foods seem bland and unappealing.
However, when you avoid these junk foods for a few weeks, your tastebuds and brain chemistry resets. You can now enjoy the subtle sweetness of things like nuts, seeds, yogurt, and berries, for example. While it might be something you need to prove to yourself, you’ll find that you enjoy eating these healthy, subtly sweet foods much more than junk food.
I will add that eating healthy does not mean you need to go off the deep end and become one of those people who can never go out to eat or no one wants to sit by at a party. When you eat a low carb, high fat diet, you get to enjoy hearty meals that are very satisfying with no need for ingredients with long chemical-sounding names that you’ve never heard of before. My website is filled with examples of how to eat for a full day of low carb dieting if you’d like to dig deeper.
Your body is not interested in what number comes up when you step on your bathroom scale. It simply wants to have enough reserve energy available to keep you alive. Even a lean person has the energy reserves needed for survival. If you’d like to lose some of the fat stored in those reserves, create an internal environment that promotes fat loss and maintain that state.
That will happen for you when your plan is Easy to follow, Enjoyable, and Effective. If you’d like more on how to get these 3 E’s working in your life, watch my free video series. The videos come with my 0,1,2,3 strategy, which is a great way to structure your day and quickly get your eating on track.
Thank you for reading and have a great week!
(1) Bier, Dennis M., et al. “Improving compliance with dietary recommendations: Time for new, inventive approaches?.” Nutrition Today 43.5 (2008): 180-187.