by Kathi Szabo
Being married to not just a health coach, but someone who is focused on finding ways to promote living longer has its perks!
Coaching on what would be a better choice to help me lose weight.
Healthy meals cooked for me (that’s a bonus because he also loves to cook!).
And I have a partner to get outside with, take walks, hike, raft, and garden.
But a few weeks ago, I got some much-needed education.
Like many of you, I initially gained the Covid 10 (maybe 15 – but does it really matter?). Last summer I stopped eating ice cream sundaes and other comfort foods that like everyone else, I was using to get through lockdown. Instead of giving up ice cream all together, I switched to mini Dove bites. Delicious bite-size ice cream bars. Just enough to satisfy my sweet tooth.
I lost my Covid 10 by fall, but then winter set in. Winter, the season our bodies naturally begin to hibernate. Where there are fewer activities to burn through the fuel we put into our bodies. And why many gain the pounds we just lost over the summer. By February I was pretty much back to my Covid 10 weight and I was not happy.
Except for missing out on my morning walks, I was eating very similarly to what got me down to my pre-lockdown weight over the summer. But there I was gaining again.
After a week of simply trying to reduce my caloric intake and seeing nothing, I decided to approach my husband as a client, not his wife. I wanted to get the full treatment of what I needed to do in order to get down to my ideal body weight and stay there!
He began with asking questions.
What was my ideal body weight? He didn’t go to some chart and tell me what my ideal weight should be, he asked me. Then he ask when I wanted to achieve it by. My initial though was tomorrow! But I knew enough about weight loss and nutrition to know that was not realistic or possible.
I thought about it.
My ideal weight is the weight I was at several years ago. Like many women my age, I have slowly added 2 to 5 pounds each year. If I wanted to achieve my ideal weight, it was going to take a while. So, I told him my true ideal weight and giving it several months to get there and he put it into his Precision Nutrition Calculator that produced my personal…
Calorie, Macro and Portion Guide.
This guide didn’t just tell me the calories I could eat, but also broke it down into Proteins, Veggies, Fats, and Carbs.
Now the calorie advice was right where I had been eating. It was right where I thought I needed to be. What was completely crazy to me, is how much more protein I needed.
I was eating maybe half of the recommendation – but I was making up for it in carbs and veggies! Not drastically, but yes, I was eating a serving more of carbs, but I needed 2-3 more servings of protein!
This didn’t make sense to me. Why was it that I could eat more, and still lose weight?
That’s when my husband became the teacher.
He began to explain to me how the body needs protein for just about everything it does. And when it doesn’t get enough protein, it finds it in your muscles.
“Muscle tissue makes up part of our lean body mass and is metabolically active. Meaning, it burns calories 24/7, even at rest. If you’re constantly losing a small amount of muscle every day, it means your also burning fewer calories every day. This is one of the reasons some people seem to get fatter as they lose weight,” he explained.
Uh? So all the extra “flab” I was trying to lose, I was unintentionally creating more of it!
He went on to explain why many people tend to gain fat back faster when they stop dieting. Their bodies no longer need the same amount of calories, because they have less muscle. So when they go back to eating as they did pre-diet, they begin to gain weight. It’s also another reason diets don’t work.
I knew I didn’t want to diet.
Dieting never gave me lasting results. It’s why I’ve simply made new decisions about what to eat when I felt my clothes getting tight or feeling heavy.
BUT what I was doing was no longer working. I was choosing healthy food options, but not tracking the protein. Some days my only protein was one egg for breakfast (that’s a half serving of protein) and maybe half a serving of chicken at dinner. I thought by eating healthy carbs like potatoes, wheat bread and rice, and fresh veggies, with a little bit of protein, keeping to an appropriate calorie intake, all was good.
But I was literally sabotaging myself!
A small but important shift was needed. I had to reduce my carbs and instead increase my protein!
It hasn’t been hard, but it has been a shift in thinking. I’ve had to consciously make new decisions. To be more mindful of WHAT I’m eating, making sure I am eating enough protein.
My clothes are fitting better. The last time I looked at the scale, my weight was not only down a few pounds, but it was all in fat. My muscle weight actually increased! That’s a good thing! Gaining muscle weight while losing a few total pounds will make my body more metabolically active! This will help me continue to lose weight. Not like before though where I was losing muscle. As my body fat percentage increased, even with a pound lost, it was becoming harder to lose the next pound.
I now track WHAT I eat, not my caloric intake. I still eat the same things, just in a slightly different ratio. It’s been slow, but I want these changes to last, so I intentionally made it a slow process. I’ll keep you posted as we get closer to summer and bathing suit weather.
You may not be married to this health-conscious, mission-driven, human being, but you can benefit from his expertise and passion for people to live indefinitely.
Yes, indefinitely – but that’s for another Eclectic Thoughts Post though!