I’m overweight and have been inactive for years and get out of breath walking up a flight of stairs. I joined my local YMCA and started working with a personal trainer. I’m improving my diet by eating fresh food prepared at home, but not seeing much weight loss yet. I have cravings for high-calorie treats that I haven't been able to give up. Will working out help me overcome these cravings?
Congratulations on your choice to change your life! Isn’t it great to feel healthy?
The cravings you have for your favorite high calorie foods shows that you had developed a mild addiction to these foods and that makes it hard to give them up. Studies have shown that foods that are high in sugar, fat and salt content (all three) impact our brain chemistry and thus are very difficult to give up. Try to focus on portion size for now. Rather than give them up, eat smaller portions as treats, or even better, find a close substitute. For example, substitute dark chocolate (60 to 70% cocoa) bars for milk chocolate bars. Another example - instead of eating pizza that is store bought or delivered, make your own using fresh ingredients. Pizza is pretty easy and fast to make and you can have a really nutritious meal this way.
Working out will improve your endurance and develop muscle mass which will burn more calories at rest. However there is still an energy balance involved with losing weight – calories in vs. calories out. If you eat more than you need even if it is from healthy sources, you will not lose weight. Try to journal everything you eat, even if it is one of those candy mints given out by restaurants. By the way most of those are about 70 calories a piece. Don’t try to be “good,” just eat normally as you usually do for a week. After a week, take the journal to your trainer. The two of you can then sit down, review the journal and see if you need to tweak your dietary intake. The fact that you are feeling better and improving your diet are signs that you are on your way to a new and healthier you!
Be sure to keep in mind how long it took to put that weight on. Make sure and be patient and give your body some time to readjust and make this work. The weight will come off.