It’s time to answer another reader question.
But before that, a very relevant question needs to be answered:
Who am I and why should you listen to me?
I’m a medically qualified doctor, and my focus is entirely on helping women over 40 lose weight naturally (and keep it off) without dieting. I do this using a behavioural approach to weight loss.
I have written two books on weight loss, run a busy clinic in London, England (where I only see women over 40), and have created online weight loss programs that have been used by over 6000 women.
Is there something wrong with me, if I work out, eat clean most of the time and still don’t lose weight?
In a word: NO
This probably describes the experience of most women struggling with their weight. But why doesn’t it work?
Exercise is not enough to lose weight.
Exercise is very good for you, but it’s not enough to help you lose weight.
You could exercise religiously for months and end up fitter and healthier (which is fantastic) but still the same weight.
That isn’t abnormal, it’s expected.
Let me repeat that: If you’re a woman over 40, and you exercise every day (without changing what you eat) it’s NORMAL to NOT lose weight.
It can be hard to accept this, because the myth of exercise and weight loss is so ingrained in our society.
Exercise doesn’t work because
– women have less muscle mass and higher fat proportions compared to men
– exercise doesn’t burn as many calories as you think
– people reward themselves for exercise (think: smoothie after a workout session)
This DOES NOT mean don’t exercise. Exercise is very important for your health. It just means it’s not enough to lose weight.
Eating healthy most of the time is not enough
First of all, what is healthy?
There are so many different food philosophies today, preaching different versions of health, that you would be forgiven for feeling confused.
Is eating carbs unhealthy? Is eating fat unhealthy?
Put a different way, I think most of us can recognise a blatantly unhealthy diet: large quantities of processed foods.
And so most people associate weight gain with eating lots of fast food and high calorie snacks.
But interestingly enough, most of the clients I see at my clinic, are not eating like this.
Most of the time they’re trying to do the right thing, but mystified with the fact that their weight is going up.
How can this happen?
You can consume large amounts of calories from foods that you might have thought were healthy (fruit is the prime example)
Even if you eat healthily “most of the time”, you can do lots of damage in the rest of the time.
Most people are not really aware of how many calories they’re actually consuming (for example alcohol, which people are encouraged to drink for heart health is basically liquid calories)
So what are the take-home points?
1. Exercise won’t save you. It’s good for your health but not enough to lose weight.
2. Simply focusing on eating healthily is good, but it’s not enough
3. What you need to work out is:
How to healthily eat less
Without feeling deprived (if you feel deprived, you will struggle to stick to any plan for long)
This is what I spend every day in my clinic and focus all my online teaching on.