In this post, I answer the question of what to do to get weight loss results. Particularly, whether it’s okay to workout longer and harder instead of continuing to struggle with dieting…
Here’s the question: I’ve tried different diets and have had a lot of problems making the diets and the little results I get stick. But working out is no problem for me. Is it better for me to focus on starting to workout longer and harder to get the weight loss results that I want?
Here’s my answer…
If you’d rather read it, here goes…
First, Congratulations!!! Great work getting one part of the weight loss results handled. That’s amazing and you should give yourself kudos for that.
To address your situation, I’m going to share:
- Why working out longer and harder might make your diet worse
- Why you’re better off spending that extra time you have to figure out your diet
- And a free resource to help you get started with the process of figuring out your diet
Let’s dive in:
Why the “workout longer and harder” approach will make things worse
The “workout longer and harder” approach seems like a winning strategy because you’re burning all the calories, but this doesn’t work and here’s why….
…when you burn more calories, your body is going to take that as a message that you need more energy i.e. more food.
Your body works a lot on feedback, for example when:
- you eat food containing sugar, it releases insulin to store the excess sugar as fat.
- you’re breastfeeding, your body makes more milk when your baby nurses more.
- you’re on your period, your body might drive you to crave carbs because it needs more energy.
And when you burn a lot of calories with your workouts, your body thinks “we’re in a high intensity situation, we need all the energy we can get.” This drives your brain to ask you for more food. This is why when you first start working out, you might feel hungrier at first. But if you’re working out smart, you’ll eventually find your equilibrium.
But if you keep pushing hard with your workouts and not eating enough calories or not eating the right kind of calories to support your body to lose weight, what you’re doing is the equivalent of pouring water into a basket expecting to fill it up.
Your appetite and cravings will eventually go up and your hunger regulating hormones are going to go into overdrive trying to get you to eat more.
What this means is that your diet will get even worse, and you’re not going to see as much results as you expected. And then you’ll see this as a willpower problem, but what’s happening is that your brain and your body are literally setting you up to eat more and you won’t get the results you’re after.
And here’s why you’re better off spending that extra time you have to figure out your diet
This isn’t to imply that working out won’t get you results. It will help you get results, but you need to support your workouts with the right nutrition.
Weight loss happens on a cellular level and you need to feed your body the right things to help you make sure that you:
- don’t feel deprived while you’re losing weight. Feeling deprived will keep you engaging in self sabotaging behaviors like rewarding your weight loss success with food i.e. “I can have it because I’ve been good with my workouts.” Or engaging in the “restart on Monday” behavior that’ll keep you stuck.
- have the energy to live your everyday life. You’re a busy professional woman with goals to achieve, and you can’t afford to drag through your day because no matter how important weight loss is to you, making a living and making your mark in the world also matters. So feeding your body the right quality food will make a huge difference for you.
- lose the right thing. You don’t want to burn so many calories that your body starts to reach into the lean muscle mass that you want to keep. Instead, what you want to burn is fat and when you workout too hard and start to feel deprived, your body is going to get rid of the most inefficient thing first – and that’s muscle because it burns more calories than fat does at rest. The process will happen slower because you’re working out hard, but it will happen.
So here’s a free resource to help you get started with the process of figuring out your diet
Fair warning, you’re going to feel like you’re spending more time failing than making progress at first and that is going to feel frustrating. But it’s part of the process.
Think about babies and how they learn how to walk. The first steps are wobbly, but:
- wobbling and falling,
- getting back up,
- and trying again
are part of the process walking and eventually running and driving their parents bonkers.
For your diet that’ll look like:
- starting a new eating strategy,
- slipping up a few too many times,
- not getting results,
- getting frustrated,
- and now trying again.
This is why I created The Healthy Eating Made Easy Cheat Sheet. To help you make the early struggle a bit more predictable.
It breaks down the four food types you need to include in your diet to support your weight loss and how to use them.
I suggest you start one food type at a time to ease your transition into a healthier, more consistent diet while you keep your workouts going.
You’ll make sure you don’t get overwhelmed with all the moving parts of all the food types.
Click the button below to get the cheat sheet so you can start balancing your already great workout habit with a way of eating that’ll support your weight loss goal.
Have follow up questions or a healthy lifestyle question/struggle of your own? Then leave it in the comments and I’ll be sure to get you answers stat!
Till next time, continue being the amazing and capable woman that you are!