Weight loss as main goal? You got it backwards


Most people these days are more concerned about how they look than how they feel (their sense of wellbeing, their mental, physical and emotional state). I've been a victim of that mentality myself. Even doctors these days may tell you to lose weight to help control the symptoms of whatever condition you have. But what if the condition itself prevents you from losing weight in the first place?

Then you'll get all frustrated, stressed out, disappointed and wondering why you're getting nowhere despite your best efforts (and feeling hungry all day long). And then you have complete idiots on the net telling you:

  • "you're probably not counting your calories properly" 
  • "you're eating more than you think" 
  • "you don't know how to measure food" 
  • "you're overestimating calories burned" 
  • or the absolute worst "you're just lazy and can't control your snacking". 

I don't know how many times I have to say this, the Calories In / Calories Out mentality and ignoring everything else that's going on in your body that affects what happens to those calories, needs to stop. 

These days, starved, hormonally imbalanced bodybuilders on PEDs / steroids / HRT suddenly have become "authorities" on public health based on how many followers they have and they come and tell you "you need to be on a calorie deficit to lose weight and that's all you need to do". They seem to forget, ignore (or are completely unaware) of these factors that play a much bigger role on your fat loss:

  • Insulin resistance
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Slow metabolism
  • Imbalance in the gut microbiome
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Medications that cause weight gain (antidepressants, birth control etc)
  • Stress
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Other chronic health issues (IBS, IBD, PCOS, nutrient malabsorption / digestive issues, menopause, autoimmune diseases etc)
All the above can prevent you from losing weight. And you know what? Let's stop calling it weight loss, that's not what you seek for. You seek for fat loss. These 2 terms don't always mean the same thing. You could be overweight and full of muscle. Or you could lose a lot of weight quickly, including most of your muscle. 

The former is more ideal than the latter. Why? 

  • Muscle boosts your metabolism
  • Helps improve your insulin sensitivity, and thus help control your blood sugar
  • You get to be at your body's comfortable weight set point without having to starve yourself to maintain it (meaning you get to eat more).
  • Enhances autophagy. Even though I love fasting, despite what some influencers will tell you, extended fasting doesn't start autophagy, it enhances it. Your body is on autophagy all day, but whether it's enough for disease prevention etc depends on many factors. Combine fasting with exercise to boost autophagy in more efficient levels.
  • It keeps you young and mobile (stronger, better bone health, less chance of injuries due to better stability, balance and flexibility)
  • Strength training, cardio, yoga / meditation all boost your mood and enhance your mental and emotional health
  • Improved brain function, more clarity / focus / concentration, and decreased risk for Alzheimer's and other diseases.

Forget weight loss.

Shift your focus to these, and fat loss will come automatically as a bonus and effortlessly:

  • Nutrition for health and longevity. No more junk food / cheat meals, eat only real food. Read my BEST diet series on what that really means. Instead of worrying how many calories are in your food and whether to measure it on the scale cooked or uncooked, worry about what you're actually putting in your plate.
  • That also means, ensuring you've got a diverse and healthy gut microbiome, good digestion, be more insulin sensitive and avoiding inflammation.
  • Treat your conditions naturally. You should treat your conditions so you can lose weight, not lose weight to treat your conditions. From someone who's been there, trying to lose weight while my body is malfunctioning does NOT work. 
  • Build that muscle. Women, you too. In fact, you need it more than men (trust me on this one). There's nothing wrong with being bulky, as long as it's done naturally. Once you have enough muscle, fat loss will be a piece of cake (*cough*, fruit..., as easy as a piece of fruit lol 😄)
  • Manage your life stresses and aim for a happy and peaceful life. Actions that I've personally taken to do that is burn the bridges from toxic relationships, uninstall social media apps, do yoga and meditation daily, avoid foods that disturb your mental clarity and emotional wellbeing (processed sugar, artificial sweeteners, excess caffeine etc).
  • Food is fuel, nothing more, nothing less. You don't need food for comfort, celebration, reward, social engagement. As someone who needed years to realize this, I must confess this association we have with food and everything else that's going on in our lives, now feels like a ridiculous and absurd way to live.
  • Take out the guesswork. "What should we eat today?" "I don't know". I've worked 2 full time jobs at the same time, only slept for 2 hours a night, and STILL cooked my healthy meals every single day instead of going for the easy route: fast food. Plan your workouts, plan your food intake. If you stop eating 5 times a day, and incorporate intermittent fasting, you have plenty of time to plan, cook, clean and eat your healthy meals. Example: if you make a 350-calorie healthy pizza at home (no yucky cauliflower base involved) that tastes just as good (or according to my kids, better) it will take you 10 minutes in the oven or pan and 30 seconds to prepare, versus the 2000 calorie pizza that takes 30 minutes to deliver at your house, and with an extravagant cost, compared to getting the ingredients yourself. True story, ask my kids! (I may post the recipe soon, even though there's not much to it, it's literally the easiest thing to make.)
  • Avoid calorie deficit at all costs. Do you know what calorie deficit does to your basal metabolic rate? It drops it. You lose some weight, you stall (plateau) and then you gain it back (even if you drop the calories EVEN more). That's called slowing down your metabolism and yo-yo dieting. I've been there. A recent study also showed that a calorie deficit increased the pathogenic bacteria in the gut. And what does that do in the long run? Nutrient malabsorption, digestive issues, insulin resistance, increased risks for diabetes, obesity and chronic disease.
  • Stop comparing yourself with others and stop taking progress photos every single day. This is not a race. It takes months and years to gain fat, it takes months and years to lose fat and build muscle. Just focus on improving your overall health and everything will fall into place at the appropriate time (losing weight too quickly can cause loose skin, significant muscle loss, a big decrease in basal metabolic rate and more).