So today I want to talk about weight loss with chronic back problems. I also want to talk about my three pillars of nutrition and what I believe in the bottom of my heart to be the most important three things when it comes to weight loss, how you look at nutrition and how you APPROACH weight loss, even with a sensitive spine or some kind of chronic pain. Chronic back pain suffers or those with back problems often feel they can’t do much when it comes to exercise so they battle staying in shape and looking/feeling the best they can be. If this is you then sit tight because I am going to share with you how you can still lose weight and look great without much exercise at all.

For the video version check out the link below!!

There’s a lot of awesome things when it comes to the power of nutrition. I wholeheartedly believe that nutrition when it comes to weight loss is 80% of the battle. The other portion is exercise, which is still very important. Muscle tone, muscle density, building strength in the body, making your foundation strong is extremely, extremely important. The cool thing about weight loss is you can take that 20% out and if you eat clean and you keep your calories within a certain range for your body, you’re going to lose weight. You can still hit your 10-pound goal, your 15, 20, 30, 40-pound goal by simply focusing on 3 key areas of your eating. Exercise making up that remaining 20% will always make you better, but if you can’t exercise the way you wish you could, or that you think you should be able to, it’s totally fine.

Check out these three points on nutrition and how to approach and look at it from a chronic pain perspective.

Don’t overcomplicate it: A calorie is a calorie

When it comes down to it, it’s all about calories in versus calories out. I know, I know, I know, if you ate 1800 calories of butter versus 1800 calories of broccoli, chicken and sweet potatoes, there’s got to be a difference or is there? We’re not going to go there in today’s post. I remember my professor in my physiology class, telling us that if I could get my client to eat 1600 calories in butter and they needed to be at a 1600 calorie deficit, they’re going to lose weight. Period.

My professor, he told me that. So, it must be true. Right?

What I’m here to argue though is when it comes to your calories, you got to think calories in versus calories out. Don’t over-complicate it. Don’t think about your pre-workout, your post-workout, your intra-workout. What’s the best window of eating? When it comes to losing fat around your body, you’ve got to manage your calories. You have to look at what you’re eating now, what your goals are and then what you need to be eating to hit those goals and make those goals a reality. That’s the only way this works. At the end of the day, if your body requires 2000 calories as your basal metabolic rate, and that’s just what you burn being you, the muscle that you have or don’t have or the lifestyle that you live and you eat 1800 calories, guess what?

You’re going to lose weight.

It doesn’t matter if that’s higher fat, lower carb, higher protein or low fat, high carb, high protein. If you’re eating enough calories to match what you need to burn to sustain life, but also being in enough calorie deficit to support a steady, slow, sustainable weight loss number, then you’re on the right track.

Thinking Sustainable: You really don’t have to diet or take out the things you love to eat.

My second point is on this idea of sustainable eating. You’ve got a lot of fad diets that people are throwing around that are very tempting. They preach hat you can just jump on it and lose a bunch of weight in 21 days or 30 days or 60 or 90 days and those are great if your life depended on it but most weight loss journeys are not that serious. Even the fad diets that get people results are RARELY adopted as a lifestyle change. They are just too hard to stick with and are not realistic for the average human (who loves a good taco or margarita from time to time)

If you want to have long term sustainable results that are life-changing and habit creating, you have to think of ways that are going to teach you to change the way you eat for the long run. What sustainable eating comes down to is finding a way that fits your specific daily routine, your lifestyle, your habits, your cravings, the things that you enjoy to eat, but also that gives you the freedom to lose the weight.

That’s sustainable.

It’s a plan that you can follow and adapt for a long period of time, if not in a complete lifestyle change. That’s the end goal, is not to just lose weight or be motivated long enough to lose a certain amount of poundage. What you want is a lifestyle change. What you want is a way of eating that’s going to slowly help you change your mindset, your outlook on food and ultimately the way you look and the way you feel. So when it comes down to choosing your next diet or the next way you’re going to lose weight, throw away the fad diets, throw away what’s going to give you quick wins and think sustainable, think long term and it’s going to pay off way bigger than it would if you were just on some kind of crash diet.

Drink your Cabernet Sauvignon and eat your Tacos: A balanced, sustainable diet will allow you to enjoy the things you love and learn to respect their impact on your body.

The last and third point I want to make on this topic is the power of balance. So, we all have different things that we love to eat. It may be sweet things, it may be salty, savory things. It may be bourbon; it maybe wine or scotch or beer or whatever it is that you’d like to consume. My idea of a healthy, sustainable way of eating is not just cutting out all of the things that you enjoy eating. To me, it doesn’t last because we’re kind of designed to have certain cravings which is totally okay. To me, that’s what life is all about. It’s experiencing those things and having the flexibility in the way you eat and in your lifestyle to be able to support those kinds of choices from time to time.

The key to a lifestyle change is not so much cutting out all the things that you love, but it’s finding balance and that really is the breakdown of a sustainable diet, a balance between the things that are going to bring you those results, but also going to give you those joys, those things that you enjoy eating and not feeling like your whole life revolves around your diet.

What does balance look like on a sustainable diet?

Let’s say your goal is 1800 calories a day. Well, let’s just say you also love to drink Johnnie Walker Black. One shot of that I think is around 90+ calories. If I’m going to have two shots of that at night, that’s 180+ calories. So for me, it may be that I’m not eating as much rice or I may not be having a whole avocado, I have to just eat half of one. If I just disregarded those little shots of low-calorie goodness then odds are I’m disregarding other small things in my diet that are probably adding up to put me way over my 1800 calorie limit.

If you choose to snack on small bits of cheese all day, then you have to add those things into your total numbers for the day and see where you’re at. If you can’t fit that ice cream bar, that half a Snickers bar, that beer or glass of wine into your diet, you have to keep yourself grounded on your goals and just say no. OR you can leave the room and enjoy those things but will work them into your diet in a way that’s not going to put you over. Balance is about give and take.

How does weight loss impact back pain?

How does this relate to back pain? As a strength and weight loss coach, I can take a lot of different angles with this. The one that is most important to me in this latter part of my career is the mind-body connection. We all, whether we want to admit it or not, care about how we look. We care about what our stomach looks like. We care about how we look naked or with our shirt off or with shorts on or with short sleeves on or no sleeves at all. We care about that stuff. And what that does is cause internal stress or an internal battle of frustration that makes you feel like: “Man, I keep giving up. I keep quitting. I keep not hitting my goals. I’m a failure. I’m weak. I’ll never lose this weight. I’ll never look that way.”
We all have this same internal battle. So what we are looking at is how that stress impacts your central nervous system. What does stress do to your body? What does stress do to your pain? What does the history of your weight loss failures do to keep you on this cycle? Well, all of that has to affect your brain’s condition and the way it responds to the energy and the negativity and the stress and the life around you. If you’ve been a part of the private membership, we actually do entire teaching on understanding pain aside from proper movement, core training, and exercise. There’s a sense of having to truly understand pain from a psychosocial point of view. And if you don’t, none of this is going to make sense.

What I try to do when it comes to low back pain is learning to free up space in your mind, giving yourself a break. Giving yourself a sense of freedom and a sense of confidence and control over your body. The way you look, the strength of your body, the strength of your spine, and understand that you have more control over your pain than you think. But you have to take a multi-discipline approach. And I’m not saying you have to be a licensed chiropractor and a physio and have a Ph.D. What I mean by multi-discipline is thinking of it from a physical standpoint, from a biomechanical, from movement, from nutrition, but also from a mental health perspective.

That’s my crash course on weight loss and back pain. This is really just scratching the surface of how I look at eating for pain relief and weight loss so if you’re looking to continue to get even more content like this to make sure you subscribe to the newsletter!

Where are you are with your own weight loss journey? Stuck? Thriving?

Let me know below what you think is holding you back from seeing the results you want!


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