Calories In ≠ Calories Out: Embracing Individuality In Health Goals

IMG_1185Long outdated is the notion that weight loss is a purely calories in and calories out equation. In the fitness industry, we see it all the time: people on strict diets who exercise everyday, still struggling to reach their ideal weight. First and foremost, we don’t support unrealistic body standards or believe that a certain weight is synonymous with health. But if weight loss is your goal, then there are some important factors to consider.

The Body is Complex System

The body’s ability to burn fat is dependent on metabolic processes running smoothly. Not everyone has perfectly balanced processes. We all have imbalances that can affect our metabolism. Here are some of the most common factors:

Lifestyle factors  Let’s not forget about things like poor sleep, dehydration and overtraining which can all contribute to a sluggish metabolism.  For instance, a dehydrated person will burn up to 30% less calories over the course of a day.

Hormone ImbalancesHormone imbalances like hypothyroidism or metabolic syndrome are well known contributors to weight gain and an inability to lose weight. Hormones released in our body can trigger the thyroid to set our body’s heart rate and metabolism, which means that any imbalances can affect the body’s ability to burn calories.   

Dietary Choices  Focusing on the type of food you eat can be more important than the number of calories consumed. Ever notice that when you eat a piece of toast for breakfast you’re hungry in an hour but if you eat an egg or protein smoothie you’re full for much longer?  Sometimes a quick carbohydrate fix can be more detrimental than helpful. When the body gets too many carbohydrates over a prolonged period of time, our body’s ability to absorb sugar is compromised. This unabsorbed sugar ends up being stored as fat.

Other factors It’s entirely possible that your body is happy with its current weight.  Not everyone has the same genetic or body type and we all need different percentages of muscle and fat to function optimally. For example, in times of stress or illness the body may hold onto weight to protect itself. It’s best not to ever force weight loss and always check in with your healthcare providers if you ever have lingering concerns.

So what to do if you think some of these factors are affecting your weight loss goals? I recommend you schedule a consultation with a certified nutritionist or dietitian. These experts can help you get to the bottom of what changes are necessary to reach your goal. They can also help you set realistic goals and timelines for accomplishing them.

What can Pilates do to help?

Pilates incorporates resistance and weight training and will help you build lean muscle mass. A higher percentage of muscle mass will help increase the metabolism and help to burn more calories even while you’re at rest. Plus, Pilates builds important body awareness and strength around joints, which can help prevent injury while you are increasing cardiovascular exercise.     

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