You say you won’t become obsessed with the numbers. Pounds, kilograms, body fat percentages or skinfold measurements – they’re just numbers aren’t they? Until one day you take the measurements and discover 8 pounds of fat appeared seemingly overnight.
Is it the end of the world? Of course not – however it is an obvious sign that (depending on your goals) you are taking on too much energy.
So how does it happen? You eat healthy, you exercise regularly, you thought it was all under control.
- “It’s just a normal-size dinner”
Many western eating habits include a very large (and carb-heavy) evening meal. It’s very easy to slip back into this mode of eating. No matter where science stands with regard to this issue, I still feel that, anecdotally, it doesn’t make sense to load your fuel tank last thing at night.
- “I’m eating little and often”
Many popular diets (Abs diet, 3 hour diet, BFFM, and other bodybuilder-based programs) tell us to eat 5-6 times a day. It’s a great method to manage hunger, and perhaps obtain some benefit from the thermic affect of eating. The only problem is some of those 5-6 ‘mini-meals’ become normal-sized meals. Before you know it, the size of those extra ‘snacks’ are simply too much.
I’ve seen some people eating this way gain fat. The culprit was all the extra protein shakes!
- “I’m eating intuitively”
It’s great to be able to follow your body’s natural cues. Who wants to follow plans or count calories forever?
Our body is a quick learner, feed it at a certain time, and it will start expecting food at that time. Our stomach acids tend to follow the pattern that we’ve set for them. Recently I started eating a mid-morning “snack” at about 9.30am. After only a few days my body then expected food at that time, and before I knew it, the snack was getting larger in order to appease those gnawing pangs.
- “But I exercise”
Exercise is a fantastic and essential part of life. However it’s easy to fool ourselves with the amount we are doing. 25 minutes on the rowing machine burns up the same amount of energy as a donut.
- “I watch my carb intake”
Yes – however most of our bakeries and cafe’s are filled with white / refined carbs. If you’ve been following a diet where you’ve increased protein and reduced (or even chosen better) carbohydrates – it’s very easy to let white or refined carbs drop back into the mix. Vigilance is needed here – white carbs and added sugars are everywhere!
We live in an environment surrounded by food in abundance. For many people – maintaining weight will be a life-long commitment to certain principles.