It’s All About Balance
As our name suggests, here at Balance Box, we are all about exactly that – BALANCE. We are not advocates for extreme calorie restrictions… far from it. We believe that long-term change and healthy living is the way to achieving a healthy body and more importantly, a healthy mind.
Extreme calorie restrictions have not only been shown to be unhealthy, cause muscle loss and disrupt hormonal balance, they can also affect your metabolism and often result in greater weight gain when you start eating ‘normally’ again!
Food vs Calories
It’s important to consider that ‘FOOD’ is not the same as ‘CALORIES’. By this we mean that an increase in food doesn’t necessarily mean an increase in calories and vice versa.
When our clients start on their Balance Box programme, they usually start eating more nutrient dense foods in higher volumes (more vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats and wholegrains) but less overall calories than they did before. Ditching processed foods, high salt foods, sugary snacks and drinks – the result? Healthy, sustainable weight loss that will not leave you feeling moody or deprived!
Let us help you!
What have you been doing wrong if you are not getting the desired results?
Here are some of our qualified nutritionists’ tips and considerations to help you reach your goals!
- Are you measuring the wrong results?
Looking for proof in the scales can often be disappointing! If you are exercising you could be improving the tone of your muscles and losing fat, but most scales don’t provide information about body composition (and muscle weighs more than fat!). Try other ways to measure your progress including: measuring body fat percentage, waist measurements, tracking your heart rate, measuring the distance you can run without getting out of breath, amount of weight you can lift or measuring your blood pressure. Based solely on weight, many professional athletes would be considered obese!
- Your workout intensity has dropped.
Following a structured training programme that includes a mix of resistance training and cardio is often a great option. The problem comes when you follow the same routine over and over again. You will eventually stop seeing the same results. Think about the time when, for example, you ran your first 5km! It might have been a struggle in the beginning but if you did it consistently you would’ve got comfortable with it and would eventually require an extra push. Whatever your form of staying active is, ask yourself if you are ready to push yourself a bit more or perhaps try something new to mix up the routine and avoid boredom!
- Your NEAT is too low!
Without getting too scientific, NEAT stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis – it accounts for all the short bursts of unplanned exercise we do throughout the day. Think about your daily walk to work, walking up the stairs or walking the dog in the evening. The problem is that we are leading more and more sedentary lifestyles each day and our NEAT is dropping as we sit staring at our computer screens all day. Ask yourself how much you move around throughout the day – it’s not just those 45 minutes sweating at the gym that count, it all adds up. The good news? NEAT can account for on average 300 calories a day in healthy individuals!
- You are binge eating, even on healthy food!
Binge eating is a very common side effect of dieting. With severe dietary restrictions come extreme food cravings. While some of us binge on junk food, others can binge on relatively healthy foods which could still have the same result overtime – weight gain! Even if something is healthy, the calories and nutritional value of those foods all add up – peanut butter, dark chocolate, rice cakes, nuts or fruit smoothies are just a few examples of foods that can easily undo a few days of healthy eating if eaten in excess. Listen to your body’s hunger cues and try eating mindfully – one of today’s most powerful weight loss tools. Slow down at meal times, eat without distractions and enjoy each bite!
- Are you indulging in too many ‘cheat’ days?
Monday to Friday most of us are pretty set into our routine. Some healthier than others but this is when most of us who are trying to lose weight really make an effort to ‘be good’! But… what happens at the weekend? All our good efforts can easily be undone by breaking even a fairly healthy routine. Saturday night and it’s ‘cheat’ day so we order a take away pizza, a couple of glasses of wine finishing off with some ice cream and there goes the weekly calorie deficit, that easy! Having too many ‘cheat days’ makes getting back on track very hard. And just to clarify, we’re not against downtime, ‘cheat meals’ and indulging in our favourite treats every now and then, however, if you are really struggling to lose weight and do this regularly, it is just going to be quite a frustrating (and long) journey. Maybe a better option would be to have one treat and not a whole day of treats! Our Balance Boxes include a variety of snacks from salty to sweet options so that you still feel satisfied. Our home-made fruit and nut bars, for example, are the ideal snack for that 4pm sugar craving (without the refined sugar!).
- You are not getting enough good quality sleep Zzzz
For years we have known that good quality sleep is crucial for our wellbeing but can lack of sleep make us fat? Well… it is a complex link and there are many factors that need to be considered but there is so much evidence supporting the link between poor sleep and an increased risk of becoming overweight or even obese. Inadequate sleep seems to stimulate the production of a particular hormone that increases our appetite.
- You’ve been very restrictive with your diet for too long…
It’s also important to realise that a bigger calorie deficit doesn’t necessarily result in faster or better results. Consuming the right amount of calories, even for weight loss, is crucial to sustain your metabolism, optimum training performance, minimise loss of lean muscle mass and prevent hunger. If you have been losing weight for a while now and find yourself reaching a ‘plateau’, perhaps you just need to re-evaluate your diet and mix-up your training routine a bit so your body gets a boost again.
- You’re stressed…
Hectic schedules, bills, family, deadlines – whatever the underlying reason of your stress is, it may be hindering your weight loss efforts. Although this is inevitable, there are numerous studies showing how cortisol (our stress hormone) may increase the amount of fat we store – especially affecting the unhealthy fat around our torso.
- You don’t have a solid support-system.
If you are trying to lose weight, you know that straight from the beginning there will be many challenges you will have to face and overcome. Having a support system in place will help you through your journey, when things become difficult or when you’re tempted to quit! Involving your family and close friends is always a good way to feel included. Meal times don’t need to be stressful if you are trying to lose weight – Our Balance Box plans offer great healthy meals and controlled portion sizes that are perfect for the whole family too! At Balance Box our team of qualified nutritionists understand that beginning a weight-loss journey, especially if you’ve tried before and failed, is difficult and just by having someone there for support can make such a big difference. They will be able to help you and support you if you have any questions along the way.
- You have unrealistic expectations
Unfortunately weight loss is a much slower process than most of us want it to be! We do wish we had a secret that would make things easier… but we don’t! All we can do in the meantime is give you some supportive advice.
Try and set up yourself a challenging but not impossible goal. Unrealistic goal setting can contribute to you not following a plan in the long-term. The key is to establish a personal health goal that is specific and appropriate for you and that fits with your own lifestyle. As a guide, if you are looking at setting a goal, write down your SMART goals. These are: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-framed.
As a word of encouragement, at some point, your weight is going to reach a healthy set point where your body feels comfortable. Trying to go beyond that may not be worth the effort, and may even be impossible for your body shape. At this point, trying to maintain that healthy body weight you have worked hard for is also a very positive goal and you should be proud of your efforts!