After I lost 40 pounds and 3 dress sizes following a strict calorie-counting diet, I was excited but also very lost. Within a couple of months of reaching my goal, my new pants began to feel tight again. And, no matter how little I ate or how many miles I ran, I constantly felt like I was battling my weight again.
The truth is, I felt ashamed and like a failure. I’d done all this hard work to lose my weight and all these people were congratulating me and telling me how awesome I looked…and now I couldn’t even keep the weight off? It was embarrassing and so very confusing.
Because I didn’t know WHY I was suddenly regaining the weight. I was eating a super “clean” diet now yet still getting fatter!
I knew that my chances of regaining all I’d lost were good – after all, 95% of the population who loses weight on a diet regains it all back. But I did NOT want to be a part of that group. I was super determined to keep it off.
So…I did the only thing I knew what to do to keep it off. I continued to count calories, at least during the week. Then, on weekends, if I went out with friends or if I succumbed to my hunger and cravings, I would binge eat. And, yes, there were many Friday nights I’d come home from work exhausted and starving…and eat my way through my fridge and pantry.
Not a good time in my life…that’s for sure!
Now I was not only battling insane cravings and hunger, and struggling to keep my weight off, I was secretly binge-eating, feeling like a total shit.
The First Step to Sustainable Fat Loss
The most weight I regained was 10 pounds, and that was mainly from muscle mass, which is a good thing. But I also started to gain fat around my belly and THAT is what I couldn’t shake.
It’s been over 10 years since I lost my weight and I have managed to remain 3 dress sizes down this entire time.
But, it wasn’t an easy battle.
I struggled with the binge-eating and calorie counting battle with my weight for about 4 years after the diet. I finally had a breaking point and decided that it was my birth control pills causing the problem…so I ditched them.
And ended up with horrible cystic acne!
In my desperation to clear up my skin, I uncovered the first problem behind my weight battle…imbalanced estrogen and progesterone.
About 4 months into the skin clearing seed cycling protocol I was on, I noticed that my cravings had all but disappeared AND that my pants were no longer digging into my stomach.
Finding Out What Foods To Eat
Next up in my journey to sustainable, uncomplicated fat loss was figuring out that a lot of the “clean” foods I’d been told to eat were actually not working for me!
Whole grains, dairy and low-calorie “healthy” processed foods (i.e. granola bars, protein bars, etc.) had been slowly bumping up low-grade inflammation in my body. And, all that worry, guilt and feeling like a failure had totally boosted my stress hormone, cortisol.
Between cortisol and low-grade inflammation, my body was in full-blown fat storage mode. And no amount of calorie restriction or exercise could beat that.
So, eliminating many pro-inflammatory foods (and eating more anti-inflammatory ones) was the next step in my journey!
Turning On Fat Burning Hormones
Finally, with inflammation and cravings taken care of, my body was ready to go into long-term fat burning mode.
Which meant eating the right foods to reduce insulin and leptin production, further balance estrogen, and nourish my adrenals so that they could make cortisol when needed (my life is stressful) AND still have enough nutrients left over to make the other hormones my body needed.
One of the main dietary flips I had to do to get here was to stop eating lots of smaller meals throughout the day, pretty much eliminate all unnecessary snacking. Because for years, fitness and diet pros told us to eat every 2-3 hours because that would keep our blood sugar balanced all day and reduce hunger.
The problem with this advice is that that style of eating keeps insulin “on”…and when insulin is “on” so is fat storage mode!
So, switching to a 2-3 meal a day diet was one huge step towards sustainable fat loss. When you eat less often, insulin is kept low and another hormone, glucagon is high. And glucagon is your main fat burning hormone!
Makes sense now, right?
The Role of Healthy Fats in Fat Loss
In order to lose weight (or fat) AND keep it off for good, your hormones must be balanced and you need to eat an anti-inflammatory diet.
Our obesity epidemic has been caused by the very incorrect idea that eating fat makes us fat. Yes, if you eat a lot of fatty fried foods or baked goods, you will get fat.
But, if you eat a lot of healthy fats, from plants and animals, you will lose fat.
Healthy fats contain anti-inflammatory compounds called omega-3 fatty acids. Healthy fats nourish your hormones and provide them with the things they need to stay balanced. And healthy fats breakdown a lot slower than fat-free foods, keeping you full longer (and keeping cravings at bay).
So…to lose fat you need to eat fat in order to keep your fat burning hormones in charge! Let me be clear – this doesn’t mean you now need to go out and start keto. In fact, most women end up gaining weight on keto eventually, so I recommend avoiding this.
What you need to stop feeling like every diet you try fails is a hormonal fat loss method that is designed for women. And my 40 or Less Method does all this, gets you into your smaller clothes, helps you feel hot and attractive, and makes it so easy for you to go out into the world and actually enjoy food without guilt or shame or worry about “blowing a diet”.