Why Eating “Clean” Does Not Dictate Weight Loss 


You are going to lose weight THIS time.  You rid your cabinets of all things processed. You add extra protein and veggies to your meal plan. You’re even careful to ask the chef about every ingredient before ordering a meal at a restaurant. After several weeks of all this careful planning, you hop on the scale and gasp at the fact that you’ve not lost a single pound – in fact, you’ve actually gained weight!

You instantly begin to doubt everything, suddenly wishing for the days of chocolate cake and nachos because at least then the weight gain made sense. Well, don’t go binging just yet!

First of all, let’s keep in mind that dieting – any type of dieting, can be hard. That’s why you’ll hear me, and so many others, refer to it as a lifestyle instead. Truth is, no matter what you’re eating, if you’re taking in more calories than you’re burning, you will gain weight. 

Your body does not care if those extra calories come from apples, protein shakes, chicken or pizza. If you’re consistently up in calories, your weight is bound to increase. Why? Because your body is only built to burn so many calories before it begins storing them as fat. 

Sure, the calorie deficient needed for weight loss changes from person to person. Some people only need to be under by 150 calories to drop weight while others need a 300-500 calorie deficiency to see a difference. The reasons behind this can include; age, gender, medications you take, medical conditions and what type of workout you do and your lifestyle. Finding that weigh loss sweet spot takes time, patience and a little trial and error to perfect. 

To keep your weight loss on track, I recommend the following:

  • Track EVERYTHING you eat… and drink – Tracking everything you put in your mouth can be a rude awakening for some people. In your head, you may think you’re 100% on track every day. You’re eating unprocessed, healthy food so there’s no way that you’re eating too much, right? Unfortunately, no. Just a few days of tracking will often bring to light the harsh reality that those two glasses of wine you relax with each night just put you 240 calories over your limit. Multiply that by three nights, and you’re up 720 calories for the week. Or maybe you thought there’s not much difference between a 4 oz. piece of salmon and a 7 oz. piece. However, those few extra ounces can increase your calorie count by 75 calories. Do that five days a week and you’re up by 375 calories. By tracking everything, you can still have some of the things you love like wine or even a cheat meal, but it keeps you on track and gives you a chance to balance out the calories before it’s too late.
  • Check your macros – When tracking what you eat, pay special attention to your macros. If you notice you’re up on a certain day or week, look closely at what you ate. Did you go over on your carbs? Did you go crazy with the fat? Sometimes just adjusting these macros can help set your body back on the path to weight loss.
  • Weight Train! – I cannot stress this one enough. So many times I see people running for miles on a treadmill hoping that this will be the answer to their weight loss prayers. Don’t get me wrong, cardio will burn calories and is helpful for weight loss; however, it can sometime also lead to weight gain.  Excess cardio can create a spike in your appetite causing you to eat back every calorie you burned. It can also increase inflammation in your body leading to bloating and water retention. Weight training on the other hand can actually decrease your appetite and inflammation. If that weren’t enough to get you grabbing a dumbbell, weight training workouts are proven to burn fat and calories even after you’re done. Weight training is also the only real way to change the shape of your body. So even if the pounds aren’t flying off, the inches will be!

So the next time you hop on the scale for a weigh in, don’t be discouraged by the number. Keep eating healthy (a good rule is 80% of the time) and incorporate these tips above. With a little tweaking and calorie tracking, you’ll be hitting those weight loss goals in no time!

If you are interested in learning more about flexible dieting, and being able to eat whatever you like in order to reach your health and fitness goals, I’m here to help!
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