You see the post: Food Freedom. It sounds awesome. You’re super intrigued! Give it a few minutes and those doubts start creeping in…
“This sounds too good to be true.”
“Sure, she could do it. She’s already thin. But, I have to lose XX lbs first.”
“No way do I trust myself enough not to eat everything and gain so much weight!”
“My friend told me I have to do *insert the fad diet suggested* because I have pre-diabetes” You google a few things and now are even more confused!
Friend, I’ve got you, I promise! So many people get into running as a way to lose weight or feel healthier. Today, let’s talk through the top three questions/fears that I hear from clients almost without fail as we get started together nourishing their body and miles without diet culture.
Question 1: If I quit dieting, how do I know what to eat to lose weight or feel healthy again?
Easy answer: there’s really no secret sauce. When letting go of the diet mentality, it definitely doesn’t mean that healthy nutrition goes out the window. But it’s super important to remember that you do not need to find or eat the “perfect diet” to be healthy. It’s about listening to how your body feels with different foods and feeding your body enough *see next question*.
Here’s a simple visual that I start my clients with as they build trust in listening to their body:
From here, it’s about listening to how different foods feel in your body. For example:
- Are you getting hungry too soon after eating it? How can we alter it to feel more satisfying the next time?
- How did I feel after eating this food? Did I like that feeling – did I feel more energy after eating it? Or were there negative side effects – Bloating or tiredness?
Your answers and your running buddy’s answers may totally differ with different foods. That’s OK! It doesn’t mean that you’re healthier than her or vice versa. It means that your body needs different nutrients at that moment.
Question 2: If I’m not counting calories, how do I know how much to eat? Won’t I overeat and gain weight?
Calorie counting relies too heavily on the erroneous fact that our calorie needs are exact day-to-day. If you consistently eat more than your body needs, weight gain might happen. On the flip side, if you have been chronically dieting, there’s a really good chance that your body has slowed down to fight the diet-induced “famine.”
Instead, go back to the first question to answer this one. Listen to how your body feels. When you truly let go of the diet mentality, junk food is not the only food you’ll want. Your body will consistently ask for more nutritious food.
Even if you read this and want to believe it, it can feel really scary to let go of the tight grip around numbers. To help lessen the grip, consider these problems with calorie counting:
- Calorie counts are imprecise. Food labels give you the average calorie amount but can be off by 20%. The 150 calorie snack you just logged could have been 130 calories OR 180 calories.
- Cooking preparation may change the amount of calories absorbed by the body – food labels do not reflect this.
- Unless you’re precisely measuring everything at all times (and please don’t!), you’re likely a bit off on your eye-balling at least two-thirds of the time.
The takeaway? Food is not a black and white science. Life is easier and healthier when we live in a grey area.
Question 3: If we’re not focusing on the scale for success, won’t I gain weight?!
If weighing yourself daily or weekly is working for you, keep doing your thing friend! This is a complete judgment-free zone. However, if you’re reading this, chances are that something isn’t working or just feels off or uncomfortable. If that’s the case, let’s talk.
It’s normal and totally understandable to want weight loss. You might not feel like yourself in your body right now. Maybe you feel medical/family/societal pressure to lose weight.
The body has a “happy weight”, sometimes called the “set point theory”. This is where your body functions at it’s best, it’s an easy-to-maintain weight, and you feel GOOD. Finding this weight isn’t always a linear line and this can feel super frustrating when your head is stuck on a specific scale number that determines your success. Fluctuations along the path to your “happy weight” is normal, natural and to be expected!
A few thoughts on the scale:
- The number you want to see on the scale might not be a sustainable or even attainable number for your body. It’s not your “happy weight”.
- In one brief moment (usually first thing in the morning), the number that appears will shape what mood you’ll be in for the day or how you view yourself and your body.
- AND, a “good” number and a “bad” number can actually BOTH trigger overindulging that day – either a congratulations for hitting the “good” number or a pity party for failing at the “bad” number.
- Last, a pound is not always a pound. Two cups of water weighs one pound. If you ate something salty and your body compensates with holding onto water, you did not gain a fat pound. Would you still beat yourself up about that pound though? Even knowing what you now know? Think about your sweat rate too. If you went for a long run and maybe didn’t hydrate the best, the scale would be lower. But you didn’t actually lose “fat”.
Those are the three most common questions but let me know your thoughts and lingering questions! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will always respond!
To start your journey of finding your runner’s alchemy, I’ve created a super simple guide. It’s the first steps I explore with my clients so that they can feel strong, healthy and confident, sans dieting. Snag that guide HERE!