How to Tackle Those Last Ten Pounds

Tackle Those Last Ten Pounds

What should you do about those last ten pounds? Embrace them!

I wanted badly to tackle those last ten pounds by expertizing and controlling diet. At a recent family event, my sister leaned over to me during dinner and asked, “How much do you weigh?”

“About 160 pounds,” I replied.

“Same,” she said. “And you know what? We’re both beautiful and we don’t stress about everything we eat. Isn’t it great?”

Before you think my sister was gloating, just know that it hasn’t always been this way for us. We both have a history of dieting, gaining weight, dieting again, working out obsessively, and so on in an effort to lose those same 10-20 pounds. It’s been a journey to figure out what works for each of us individually.

So what’s my secret? How did I finally stop having to worry about those last ten pounds?

I said, “Eff ’em!”

I stopped desperately trying to get rid of them. No more tracking calories or macros. No more intense workouts every. single. day. No more measuring and weighing myself. Instead, I started focusing on my health and learning to embrace my curves and squishy spots.

I do not have a flat stomach. I do not have a thigh gap. I am not a size 4. But I am healthy and I am beautiful.

This mindset shift didn’t happen overnight. As I said, I have years of dieting and weight loss efforts under my belt (odds are you do, too). Personally, all I ever wanted was to get to my “happy weight” and then just be able to maintain it. The problem was, anytime I would lose weight, I would gain it back. Sound familiar? That’s because it’s very difficult to maintain weight loss if the steps it took to get there aren’t sustainable.

It’s also hard to maintain weight loss if you and your body have different ideas of what your “happy weight” should be. In my mind, a flat, toned stomach was ideal. To my body, what it took to achieve that flat, toned stomach wasn’t worth the effort. It had other, more important things to worry about.

I got to a point where I was tired of fighting with my body. I decided enough was enough. I decided to relax a little bit, to be kind to myself. For me, that meant eating clean, nutritious food most of the time, and also not freaking out if I had a scoop of ice cream or if I really wanted a bite (or two) or gluten- and dairy-laden croissant.

It meant not forcing myself to do workouts I hated, but to find forms of movement that I enjoyed, and that made me feel good, like walking, hiking, and yoga. It meant being okay with gaining a few pounds. And you know what? With all of that came an amazing sense of freedom and joy.

If you’re still struggling to lose those last ten pounds, here’s a few things you should know:

You can be healthy and be “overweight.”

Movies, magazines, and Instagram celebs have set the standard for beauty. We have been manipulated to believe that being healthy and fit means having a flat stomach, an ample booty (with no cellulite, mind you), and slender legs. Even with the growing movement of “strong before skinny” and “health first,” you might still be gauging your so-called “success” with dietary changes, fitness efforts, etc. based on how they affect your outward appearance.

As women, we often feel we need to do more and try harder. If you aren’t seeing the results you want, you feel it must be your fault. Somehow you did something wrong or you’re not doing enough or you need to try something–anything–else to achieve your goal. You start thinking, Maybe I should eat less, or workout more, or cut carbs, or cut fat, or start lifting, or stop lifting, or…

Maybe you don’t need to do more. Maybe your ideal weight is simply higher than you think it is.

Women are designed to have more body fat than men.

After all, we need extra resources to be able to conceive and carry children. Often, when women over-exercise, under-eat, or have too low of a body fat percentage, they experience a host of hormonal imbalances and reproductive disorders. These can be anything from heavy, irregular or missing periods, PMS, PCOS, breast tenderness, acne, fatigue, depression, infertility, and so on.

You have to ask yourself, is getting to your “goal weight” worth sacrificing your health?

To me, it’s worth being a little heavier if that means my body systems are working the way they should. I am healthier now at 160 pounds than I was five years ago at 140 pounds. Back then, I had poor digestion, low energy, intense sugar cravings, dry skin and persistent rashes, and a terrible relationship with food.

Now, I poop every day (hooray!), have steady energy, my skin is rash-free, and, like my sister said, I no longer stress out or feel guilt about my food choices.

person-holding-barbell-841130-3Focus on wellbeing, rather than weight.

To be clear, I’m not saying to just let yourself go. Don’t throw in the towel when it comes to taking care of your body. It is still incredibly important to eat high-quality food and to avoid junky, processed, food-like products. You still need to get up and move your body daily. There are still health issues associated with obesity (though obesity is really a symptom of poor health, rather than the cause).

What I am saying is that those last ten pounds, the ones that you feel like you’ve done everything to get rid of, well maybe you don’t need to get rid of them at all.

Instead of focusing on weight loss this year, focus on some other, more impactful measures of health, such as:

  • eating a nutrient-dense diet
  • drinking plenty of water
  • getting enough sleep
  • finding forms of movement that make you happy
  • enjoying the company of friends and family
  • reducing stress and improving mindset

When your health is in line and you feel your best, trust me, that extra fluff becomes a non-issue. I’m not saying it’s easy. I still find myself pinching my belly rolls from time to time. But then I think, Who says these rolls are bad? Who says I have to have a flat stomach? You can be a beautiful, sexy, and worthwhile woman, thunder thighs and all!

5 Signs to be concerned for your Health, Regardless of Weight

 

for your healthYou should be concerned for your Health, Regardless of Weight. It’s a common belief that slim people must be healthy, motivated, and active. Either that or they have been “blessed” with an amazing metabolism. On the other hand, overweight people are clearly unhealthy, weak-willed, and lazy. Or they have been “cursed” with a slow metabolism.

But it isn’t that black and white.

Coming off my last post on How to Tackle Those Last 10 Pounds, I wanted to discuss some of the signs you need to work on your health, regardless of your weight. There simply is not a direct correlation between body weight and overall health. You can be thin and extraordinarily unhealthy. Or you can be “overweight” and totally thriving. It’s time to look beyond body weight when assessing your health (or the health of someone else).

But how do you know if you need to worry about your Health? Here are my Top 5 Signs your health isn’t quite where it should be.

5 signs that are bad for your health

1. Constipation

First of all, let’s define constipation. You might be thinking that having a bowel movement every couple of days is totally normal. In truth, you are constipated if you are not having a BM every single day.

Think about how often you eat. Now think about how often you poop… It doesn’t add up, does it? How can you keep putting stuff in, without anything coming out?

When digestion slows in this way, one of your body’s main forms of detoxification–elimination–is being restricted. Instead of exiting the body, these toxins remain in your system. This can lead to leaky gut, dysbiosis (an imbalance of gut flora), and a host of other problems. Not to mention, constipation is seriously uncomfortable.

If you’re not having a quality poop every day, digestion definitely needs to be addressed, working from the top-down (i.e. what you’re eating, how well you’re chewing, stomach acid production, etc).

2. Poor Sleep

Sleep is so crucial. It’s your body’s time to rest, heal, and recharge. And yet, despite its importance, we tend to put quality sleep low on our list of priorities. There’s always so much to do. “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” is a phrase I truly despise.

When someone tells me they are going to get up an hour earlier to exercise before work, I say, “Great! Are you going to go to bed an hour (or two) earlier as well?” If not, then sleep trumps exercise! You should never sacrifice necessary sleep for the sake of adding more stress to your body. Getting your 7-9 hours of shuteye is a top priority when it comes to improving overall health.

Scheduling in your sleep time is one thing, but actually sleeping through the night is another issue. So many of us are plagued with sleep disorders like insomnia or waking in the middle of the night. Obviously stress can be a major cause, but other culprits are likely hormonal or blood sugar imbalances.

3. Low Energy

This can go hand in hand with the previous one–obviously poor sleep quality can lead to low energy. However, if you’re getting adequate sleep and you’re still dragging your feet, something else could be off.

Before you jump to disorders like hypothyroidism or adrenal fatigue, take a look at what you’re eating. Odds are your poor energy levels are due to your diet.

When most of your calories come from carbohydrates (yes, even whole forms), your body runs on glucose and becomes dependent on constant hits of sugar to keep it going. Ideally, your body should be able to run on both sugar and fat. Fat is actually the preferred energy source for the heart!

To keep your energy levels consistent, eat balanced meals that contain plenty of protein, healthy fats, and a moderate amount of quality carbohydrate–you know, like vegetables!

4. Irregular Cycles

Ladies, this one is for you. As I touched on in my previous post, your period is an excellent way to gauge your overall health. If anything is significantly “off” in your body, survival will take precedence over reproduction. In other words, your body will delegate its slim resources to keep you alive.

If your period arrives irregularly, if it lasts too long, if it comes with severe PMS or cramping, or if it doesn’t come at all, these are all red flags that some critical systems aren’t working as they should be.

Whether you plan to have children in the near future or not at all, you should still be concerned with having a healthy period. After all, being a woman is hard enough without having to deal with all of that!

5. Skin Problems

As a long-time sufferer of eczema, I can totally commiserate with those of you who suffer from chronic skin disorders. I tried every cream and ointment out there to remedy my rashes, and nothing really worked. That’s because they were only treating the symptom–the itchy, red skin–and not the cause.

It wasn’t until I got a handle on my food intolerances (in my case, dairy) that I saw my condition improve. In fact, since eliminating all dairy (aside from butter) a couple of years ago, I haven’t had one single eczema flare. Totally worth it.

Rashes, acne, and other skin problems are often a sign of inflammation. And often this inflammation is caused by food intolerances or allergies, or, again, over-consumption of sugar/carbohydrates. Rather than keep searching for the miracle cream, you may want to get tested for food allergies or try an elimination diet.

The Bottom Line

You might notice that all of these signs come back to what you are putting in your mouth. Your diet is the #1 foundation for your health. That’s where it all begins. Quite frankly, I don’t care if your diet helped you lose 50 pounds if at the same time it left you tired, hungry, moody, etc. If you don’t feel good, what you’re doing is not working.

If you are still suffering from any of the above signs, it’s time to take a fresh look at your daily diet and habits, whether you have 5% body fat or 35% body fat.

Questions? Post them in the comments or reach out to me at Carly at strivetothrivenutrition.com.