Can you talk about fat loss without talking about calories?
The rest of this question was, “I just want to lose belly fat but I don’t want to go on a ‘diet.'”
I’m gonna answer this in two parts:
1. Targeted fat burn is not possible. For example, you will not burn fat in your belly by simply doing more sit-ups.
2. To burn fat, you need to do do two things: some form of movement that gets your heart rate elevated is the first thing (some people prefer traditional cardio, others do HIIT, some like to strength train with heavy weights so the HR elevates from that), and next is making sure you’re not eating more calories than your body spends on activity.
I know talking about calories is a sensitive subject, but it doesn’t need to be a shaming conversation. Calories = energy. Calories are what allow your body to do more than just lie horizontal all day. Calories are what allow you to brush your teeth, walk around the neighborhood with the dog, pick up your kids, hold a meaningful conversation with someone you care about, yoga– literally EVERYTHING.
Calories are not inherently negative.
They’re necessary. The source of those calories is important too because along with energy, we also need to make sure those calories come with nutrients. A bag of M&Ms will give you a temporary energy boost, but the pure sugar isn’t feeding your body’s systems in the same way a homemade smoothie would, for example. A smoothie made with your favorite fruit, protein powder, nut butter, and maybe a boost like flaxseeds, is going to be tasty, filling, AND nourishing.
So, is it possible to talk about targeted fat loss and eliminate the inclusion of calories? I don’t think so. But that’s not really the problem. The problem is our perception of calories and diet culture in general.
The topic of weight loss also isn’t the problem. Diet culture is the problem. Diet culture is what tells us calories are bad. It’s what tells us we’re not good enough or worthy as we are. It’s what tells us we need to get “bikini ready” before hitting the beach. It’s what tells us to cut all carbs, all fat, or ONLY eat one type of nutrient for X amount of time. These are the habits that breed shame and stress in us.
Losing weight may be something you need to do to feel better and to be healthier, and that’s okay! If you can approach weight loss from a place of self-love rather than self-hatred, THAT is what will make the difference in how you feel about calories and fat loss in general. If you can focus more on what your body needs to THRIVE rather than the bare minimum it can withstand to just barely survive, you’ll be thinking about it from a much more holistic perspective.
Over to you! What are your thoughts about weight loss and diet culture? Do you think the topic of weight loss is always harmful to bring up?