The Ten Pound Mistake
Perhaps you’ve had this experience: you show up for your annual physical, and the nurse asks you to step on the scale. You roll your eyes because…seriously? This can’t really be necessary. But the nurse doesn’t say anything so you put it out of your head until the doctor comes in, and makes a comment about the fact that you’ve gained ten pounds in the last year.
Wait… what? How could that possibly be true? You’ve been exercising regularly and your eating is pretty consistently good, though not perfect. But it’s certainly not bad enough that there is any way you could be ten pounds heavier. You briefly wonder if it could be a muscle gain, but you know that’s probably not the truth, as much as you want it to be. After all, you haven’t been training that hard, and you remember hearing that you have to be in a considerable calorie surplus to gain muscle. So that only leaves one possibility. You’ve gained ten pounds of faaaaaaaat!
So what’s actually happening here?
Let’s imagine for a second that everything— your training and nutrition— were 100% on point. You’ve decided you just want to maintain your weight, so you’re eating exactly what you need to balance your calories in with your calories out. But to reward yourself for your awesome commitment to healthy living, every day you let yourself eat six Hershey’s Kisses. “No big deal”, you think. “It’s only 100ish calories”.
100 calories a day for 365 days = 36,500. There are appoximately 3,500 calories in a pound of fat, so 36,500/3,500 is slightly over 10 pounds.
Of course, this scenario is also assuming that you were eating 100 calories in excess of what your body needs. Maybe you weren’t doing that. Maybe you’d been trying to lose weight, so you’ve pretty consistently been in a calorie deficit. If you were doing everything correctly to lose weight, except those six Hershey’s Kisses per day, that would be ten pounds of fat you didn’t lose at the end of the year.
But maybe chocolate isn’t your jam— and really, you don’t even like sweets or “crap food” all that much. You mostly just eat “clean” and rarely eat any processed foods. And because you aren’t eating all the bad things your friends and colleagues are, you don’t worry about needing to measure your food. At each of your three main meals, you wind up adding an ounce of meat over what your body needs, and the result is still the same. In fact, in doesn’t matter whether the food is healthy or not— your body still sees it as an excess.
If you really want to be successful with your fat loss goals, the only way to do it is to follow a good meal plan that meets YOUR body’s needs. Does it mean that you can’t have some fun with your food? Absolutely not! You just have to learn to let your meal plan work for you.