Mindful Living

The Problem with the More is better Approach

Written By: Kripa Jalan

The Problem with the More is better Approach

You’ve been going from program to program, and nothing has worked, you still don’t look the way you want and still feel unhealthy. But now with this groundbreaking and ancient way of eating, you finally have a proven, scientific, and simple plan to unlock all of your dreams of being beautiful loved fit, and healthy.

All you have to do is a little bit more.

Get rid of the “junk” in your kitchen. Say goodbye to social events. Stick to the list of allowed foods. Go to the gym daily. Sleep for 9 hours. Do a cold plunge on the weekends, post your deep tissue massage. And, meditate for 30 minutes, daily. Simple.

And you do it, getting a little adrenaline high every day that you successfully stick to the rules. 

Until one rule breaks and everything falls apart. Suddenly, you have nothing left to guide you. You’re back to square one – just with a bit more guilt and shame.

Sound familiar?

“More Is NOT Better” 

When it comes to movement and nutrition, it’s easy to feel like you’re never doing enough. Especially if you’re comparing yourself to your “fit” friends or “that girl/guy” on Instagram.

So, you add one more training session a day. Or another set to your strength session. Or cut a few more calories.

It all works in the beginning until you find yourself constantly sore, missing your period, miserable cause the rest of your life is on hold, or hungry all the time.

Problem #1: It’s not sustainable

Real life, with all its demands and inconveniences, can quickly derail even the best-laid plans. Kids get sick, schedules and routines get interrupted, it’s always someone’s birthday, and sometimes you just don’t feel like chugging a protein shake at 11 am,

Problem #2: You need enough food

With diet culture constantly telling you to eat less, you lose your perception of what “enough” is. Consistently under-eating results in low energy, insomnia, mood swings, hair loss, constipation, intensified cravings, the ability to perform in the gym, or importantly, a loss in your menstrual cycle.

Problem #3 Metabolic adaptation

When ‘energy in’ goes down, ‘energy out’ goes down to match it. That’s how our bodies avoid unwanted weight loss and starvation. It’s how humans have survived for 2 million years. The body fights to maintain homeostasis. Likewise, when ‘energy in’ goes up, ‘energy out’ tends to go up too. Unfortunately, because of this adaptive response, someone who has dieted down will often require 5-15 percent fewer calories per day to maintain their weight than someone who has always been that weight.

Problem #4 Injuries

When we’re in this cycle of always doing more, we can sometimes get into the habit of ignoring our body’s signals. The combination of intense exercise and low caloric intake can cause muscle loss, lower power output during training, and reduced capacity to recover after training. This combination can increase your risk of injury, especially overuse injury.

Is too much of a good thing really a bad thing?

Let’s be clear, deep health comes from a balance of adequate movement, whole foods, sleep, and stress management practices. It also comes from our environment and the relationships we keep.

However, excessive exercise and calorie cutting (just like excessive anything, really) can actually drag us down instead of lifting us up.

In addition to the problem with sustainability, you’ve just learned how these habits can wreak havoc on our body and our health — and in many cases, these practices can move us away from our goals, which is the exact opposite of what we want!

Just remember that food and exercise are meant to add to your life, not detract from it. You don’t need to suffer to look or feel better.

So truly ask yourself if your endeavors are really helping or harming you – physically and mentally? Then act in accordance.

If you’re sick of restrictive diet and exercise rules and want a different one with your body, our 1-1 Nutrition Coaching Program is just for you!

Here, instead of focusing on external cues like calorie counting, food intake, and restrictive rules – we focus on behavior change, and internal cues like hunger and empower clients to trust their bodies to make the best decisions for themselves and find long-term healing.

Think of us like guide dogs. You know where you want to go, but we just help you navigate the obstacles along the way.