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Ask Andrea: An Expert Weighs In On Weight Loss, Exercise and What It Really Takes To Be Healthy

I have had the pleasure of knowing Andrea for a little over a year and there are not enough great things I can say about her. As a local expert on fitness and nutrition I decided to turn to Andrea for a few of the most commonly seen struggles I see regarding weight loss, exercise, calorie consumption and overall health. I hope you enjoy the interview!

Question:  A lot of people struggle with their weight and find themselves yo-yoing back and forth on diets. What do you find is the most successful recipe to achieving a healthy weight and keeping it off?

The key to LONG TERM successful weight loss is to first understand that there really and truly is no quick fix.  Yes some programs offer quick weight loss solutions for the short term but who only wants to keep the weight off for a short period of time?  No one!  Once you can accept that weight loss is a process (just like weight gain) then you will have the opportunity to be successful.  In order to achieve and maintain a healthy weight there are 4 key ingredients in the recipe for success:

  1. Regular and consistent consumption of nutritious whole foods, not deprivation
  2. Regular and consistent exercise plus an active lifestyle
  3. A positive and healthy mindset that focuses on self care
  4. A positive support system

Essentially, taking care of yourself with good-for-you food, exercising in a way that you enjoy, adopting a healthy mindset and having people encouraging you are all equally important.  If you are missing even ONE ingredient, the physical result will be difficult to achieve.

Question:What tends to get in the way of people achieving success with their weight?

The biggest thing that gets in the way of people achieving weight loss success is their head.  The difference between someone who is successful with weight loss and someone who continues to struggle is a healthy mindset.  A mindset that is geared for eternal weight loss struggles is one that uses a “perfectionist” or “all or none” way of thinking, which sounds like this, “if I can’t do it all perfectly, I won’t do any of it”.  No one is perfect so if we have that expectation of ourselves then we are setting ourselves up to fail.

We also need to feel that we deserve to weigh less.  Successful weight loss is about self care not self deprivation.  Being committed to taking care of yourself requires that you actually love yourself and believe that you are capable of and worth the effort.  When we don’t care enough about our self or believe in our abilities we will find excuses and reasons why we can’t, shouldn’t or aren’t able to succeed.

Once we are ok with the fact that we don’t have to be perfect and that we are worth the effort involved, THEN we will be able to move forward and take the necessary steps to experience lasting results!
Question:A lot of people restrict calories as a way of losing weight. Sadly, this can cause some people to develop an eating disorder. On average how many calories do our bodies need each day to be at their best? What happens if we are constantly eating less than that?

The number of calories that we all require in a day is dependent on our current weight, body composition, age and activity level.  Typically, lightly or moderately active women need between 1500-2000cal per day.  The more active and leaner you are the more calories you will need and vice versa.  1200 cal per day is the lowest intake I ever consider advisable for anyone and even still consider it too low for most women.  When we consistently consume too few calories our body slows our metabolism and goes into storage mode.  This means we store food as fat more easily which often leads to weight loss plateaus and eventually weight gain when we can’t maintain the severe food restriction.  The problem is that once we slow our metabolism we need to increase our muscle mass and our activity level to increase it again.  This leads to frustration, feelings of failure and low self esteem (just to mention a few of the negative side effects).  Since severe calorie restriction is hard to maintain over the long term it is not a permanent solution.  Not only do deprivation diets not work but they also lead to undue fatigue, nutrient deficiencies and can have long term health implications.  Think nourishment instead of restriction and with that, the results you crave will come.
Question: If someone has been restricting calorie intake for a very long time and then starts to eat again, what will their body do with the calories at the very start?

For someone who restricts calories but is ready to start taking good care of them self with food, they can slowly start increasing their food intake with highly nutritious foods along with incorporating regular physical activity into their daily lives to help prevent their body from storing the calories.  If someone doesn’t really know what healthy unrestrictive eating looks like or feels like, then I would encourage them to get some advice from a certified Nutritionist.
Question: If you could offer one piece of advice to people everywhere about healthy living what would it be?

You only have one body and one life, so take good care of yourself with food and exercise and ENJOY your life!  Obsessing about food and weight is living your life feeling trapped.  Set yourself free and allow yourself to experience and create the opportunities that make life really worth living.


A Bit About Andrea: Andrea transform women’s lives by coaching and supporting them to get out of their rut and onto getting healthy and fit by designing whole body lifestyle programs that are realistic and personalized.  As a Personal Trainer, Nutritionist and Health Coach, Andrea has the unique ability to use a multi dimensional approach with all my clients.  She helps her clients get the physical results that they crave not only through personal training and nutritional guidance but also by working with them to get their mindset in the right place.  Once her clients are able to shift their thinking they discover that they are finally able to create and live the healthy lifestyle that they desire and gain the freedom that they have longed for.  To learn more about Andrea and the services she offers check out her website at www.life-designs.ca 

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