Why “Eat Less, Move More” Isn’t Enough

Lauren Gunter | October 2, 2022

You’ve been told that in order to lose weight, you need to eat less and move more. And that is technically true. However, sometimes you’re doing all that you can to follow that simple rule, and nothing seems to be changing.


Even if you understand that way calorie intake and expenditure work, and you trust the science, it’s still really hard to execute for some reason.


On Sunday, you stock your fridge with you celery and prepped chicken, and grapes, you signed up for CrossFit, you scheduled food prep and workouts into your calendar like they’re an important work meeting. And yet, by Friday afternoon you have wilted spinach in your fridge, your gym owner is reaching out asking where you’ve been, and there’s not a prepped meal in sight.


After this cycle repeats itself week after week, it’s easy to feel frustrated and even a little hopeless. “What’s wrong with me?” we ask ourselves. First of all, nothing. Nothing is wrong with you. You do a lot of really great things like work, raise your family, keep your home clean, support your friends, and while these are all such great things, they definitely complicate the simplicity of “eat less, move more.”


We do a lot of things that actually decrease our ability or desire to move, and increase our desire to eat, especially calorie-dense (but not nutrient-dense) foods.

Job – stress, long hours

Family – complaining, constant need for support, can drain you

Sleep – bad sleeper? Waking up, can’t get to sleep

Partner – loves you the way you are and also loves Taco Bell

Take-out – it just saves SO much time

Shame – for eating poorly, so you continue to do it

Kids – you love them, but they’re energetic and take up a lot of energy, especially if child care isn’t consistent

Pain – if you have any kind of injury, moving more can feel good, but it can also increase your pain

Meds – using them to help boost mental health, but certain ones also increase your appetite


Every one of you is a complicated person with your own set of obstacles when it comes to “eat less, move more” and that’s why even though that is technically true, it’s not even close to enough. This is why coaching is so helpful, because we want to know the whole story so that we can give you a plan that will work FOR YOU.


If you’re not working with a coach right now, a good place to start is identifying what makes “eat less, move more” so difficult in the first place, and start taking action steps with those.

This can looks like:

  1. If social situations are the issue: having a tough and awkward conversation with the person who you make bad decisions around. If your partner is constantly bringing you a treat out of the goodness of their heart, explain what your goals are and why, and try to find a solution so they can still show you love, but also help move you toward your goals instead of away from them.
  2. If anxiety and worry, or even busyness are the issue: journal for a few minutes before going to sleep to create some separation and resolve from those thoughts so that your mind can relax and fall asleep.
  3. If the shame of not being consistent is the issue: keeping a food AND feelings journal. Most of you have tracked your food at some point, stop neglecting logging when you get that Taco Bell, and start journaling your feelings around that eating experience. What were you feeling that made you want to get it? How did you feel while you were eating it? How did you feel after, and why is that? This can be scary, but it will help you start working through some of these shameful feelings.


This doesn’t really sound like nutritional advice, so why do those things matter? Because the outcomes make EVERYTHING easier, and when it’s easier, you’re more likely to do it.


Having that hard conversation is awkward, but if this person loves you and wants to support you, usually a compromise can be reached. Instead of eating out 5 times per week, decrease it to 3. They still get to eat out, you get two more healthy meals. Being vulnerable is what deters us from doing this, but we often feel more loved and support after. Prioritising your health is NOT selfish.


Getting some of those anxious thoughts out of your head, even if it’s just temporary, can help you to relax a little more, get better sleep, and have the energy to make better choices like eating at home, or have more energy to move, like walking to work.


Keeping a food journal can help us recognize triggers. Every time I hit a drive thru unplanned, it happens to fall on a day where I had to work late and I leave the office hangry and tired. I feel shame for eating it, and also for not being home with my family for dinner. Once you KNOW this, you can start planning to change it. Spending some extra time with your family in the morning when you know it’s going to be a long day, or bringing a protein bar with you for the car ride home so that your hungriness doesn’t take over and you’re able to think through your dinner choice and eat slowly can help save you hours of stress and hundreds of calories.


The changes are small at first, but over time, you’re able to eat a little cleaner and move a little more, AND most importantly, feel better about the choices you’re making. Your body will begin responding to these changes, and the emotional and physical health together are what lead to those bigger changes we’re all chasing.


Eat less and move more does still work. But we are all complex, and it takes more than you hitting your macros or going to CrossFit every day to see the changes you are looking for. Look behind your difficulty with eating right or working out consistently. How are you managing your stress? How are you sleeping? What are you doing for recovery? It might actually be these things that are preventing your progress.


It may seem like this will prolong the process, but caring for your mental health, sleep, and recovery give you the fuel you need to actually follow through on those nutrition and fitness goals you have.



I haven’t had a hot flash in almost 3 months! CS


This was feedback from a client who started her nutrition plan with Summit Health with a focus on stabilizing hormones and supporting health! This was the result.  Now we can not promise this for everyone but Nutrition and fitness play a HUGE role on the severity of yoru menopausal symptoms.  Reach out if you would like to see changes too!

Do you find it harder to lose weight now that you’re over 40? 

4 Important things that you can do to support hormones through menopause. 

1-Eat more fiber and coniferous veggies

2-Moderate alcohol

3-Manage your metabolic shift by adjusting calorie intake

4-Lower cortisol by taking daily walks outside

These are the woes that a TON of our clients struggle with.  Previously they were able to lose weight easily when they focused and were diligent but now everything has shifted. Now it feels like no matter what you try nothing seems to help.

Eating the right things to support the hormonal shift that is happening in our bodies matters.  Including more fiber and cruciferous veggies is key also. 

The other factor is your metabolism.  This is a key time when things shift and making sure your intake matches your expenditure is important also.

Moderating Alcohol is important during this stage of life because alcohol has a direct effect on hormone production. The other thing that is key is walking!  Adding in a daily walk to your already consistent exercise routine can have great positive impact on those hormones also.  You become more sensitive to stress during this time and walks (especially outside) are a great way to bring that cortisol down and bring those happy hormones up!

pst……Are you confused or frustrated with trying to lose weight or understand what “diet” is right for you and your body?”

There are millions of diets claiming to be THE BEST and claiming to offer you THE BEST RESULTS.  

What we need to do is listen, learn and adjust.  

  • Do you know what your body needs on a daily basis for both energy and focus? 
  • How about if you want to perform better? What micros and macronutrients does your body need to support that? 
  • How about if you’d like to lose weight?  How many calories should you be eating?

If you are unsure of what you personally need with YOUR goals in mind.  Join us for master your macros.  We will create a nutrition prescription that is designed specifically for you! – slide

How does birth control affect my weight loss journey? 

Could it be the reason I’m not losing consistently?

Short answer: yes.

Complicated answer: it depends.

A lot of women, specifically 18-30 take birth control and for a lot of different reasons. Yes, we are trying to prevent unwanted pregnancies, but it can also be used to help teenage girls regulate their cycles or control their acne. I did learn in a podcast, however, that until your early 20s, using it to regulate your cycle can actually be harmful to your cycle’s rhythm long term.

Birth control is super effective in doing these things, but it also has some huge risks, possibly the biggest one being putting you at an increased risk of cervical, liver and breast cancer. That should scare you.

Another side effect, though, is often an increase in body fat, specifically in the lower body and upper arms, and extreme difficulty losing fat in these areas even when increasing exercise or decreasing calorie intake.

I read a few case studies, and came across a few where the client had been on birth control for years went off of it, and their body fat decreased in two months, and that’s without changing anything with their exercise routine or calorie intake. Now, these girls were pretty lean to being with and didn’t have a super hard time staying in shape, but if they EVER went off track, they’d immediately backslide in a way that made it seem almost impossible to come back from. And if they tried to get leaner, like for a competition, they couldn’t do it.

A lot of the other side effects go far beyond physical health, and I’d argue that they’re worse.

First off, many women report a decrease in their sexual desire and arousal, and discomfort during sex. This is tough on us emotionally and can really strain our relationships, which as we know, can affect our physical health.

So what exactly causes these side effects? Hormones. If you are taking a pill, or have something in your body that is affecting your hormones, you are chemically preventing one of the principle functions your body is designed to carry out, and you’re doing that by altering your hormonal environment. Because everyone’s starting point is different, the pill will affect everyone differently. For some people (me), it’s terrible and I will never do it again. For others, like my sister, an unwanted pregnancy would not go over well, and she has no side effects. And for some, it’s fairly neutral, you use it for a time to prevent unwanted pregnancy or whatever you need it for, and then have an easy time transitioning off of it. 

So, even though they work great as contraception, you are still altering your hormonal set-up which has effects to your physique as well as your overall health. Interestingly, many women report a depressive and “down” mood when on birth control, and many of the symptoms we deal with are the reason that men’s hormonal birth control was actually denied approval by the FDA.

  • Things that CAN happen as a result of birth control:
    • You aren’t losing weight no matter what you do exercise-wise or comply with your diet. This COULD be why.
    • The trade off of gaining a little weight or not being able to lean out might be worth it to prevent pregnancy, say for a college student or young professional.
    • Sexual desire COULD decrease which strains relationships and thus strains health.
    • It COULD be hard to lean out if you’re working really hard, and it also COULD lead to fast weight gain if you took a break from working out or eating clean, and you COULD see this reverse pretty immediately when you go off of it.
    • You COULD see a change in mood, just not feeling like yourself, feeling sleepy and tired a lot of the time
    • If you take progesterone, you know that feeling before/during your period? That’s how you ALWAYS feel


  • What do I do?
    • Research what options are out there and don’t just go with the first things your doctor recommends, there are non-hormonal methods like the copper IUD or condoms
    • Not every birth control will give you every side effect. Some people do fine on the pill, but don’t respond well to injections, etc.
    • Remember: no bikini contest is worth an unwanted pregnancy, but no prescription is worth years of hormonal disruptions

What exercise is best to balance hormones?


High Intensity Interval Training is several exercises done in bursts, with little downtime in between. This is a good option for people already in good physical condition with minimal time for exercise.  

HIIT workouts increase human growth hormone and improve insulin sensitivity.

Strength Training

Strength training doesn’t have to be heavy weights. Regular strength training (typically 2-3 times a week) with light weights and high reps is a great lower-impact way to build muscle mass and reduce cortisol which supports happy hormones!


 A 30-minute walk four to five times a week can have a big impact on hormone balance. 

It’s also a great low-impact option for older people or those with joint problems, such as rheumatoid arthritis or for those who just can seem to get to the gym. 


How exercise affects Hormones: 

These are just a few of the hormones that are affected by exercise:

Dopamine – Studies have shown that exercise increases dopamine (a.k.a. the “happy hormone”) levels in the brain, helping to decrease stress, anxiety and even depression.

Serotonin –  Exercise releases serotonin, which helps you get a good night’s sleep and can positively impact appetite, mood, digestion and memory.

Thyroid – The thyroid produces the main metabolic hormones in the body, and thyroid problems are among the most common endocrine disorders. Exercise contributes to a healthy thyroid and allows the thyroid hormones to function properly.

Testosterone – As men age, testosterone naturally decreases, causing a loss of muscle mass, strength and sex drive. Regular exercise can help boost testosterone, slowing the effects of aging.

Estrogen – A decline in estrogen levels is the driving force behind menopause, and the severity of the decline is linked to the severity of menopause symptoms. Exercising and increasing your heart rate for at least half an hour every day helps boost estrogen levels and can temper menopause symptoms.

Do you feel like menopause or pre-menopause has made it IMPOSSIBLE to lose weight you used to be able to shed easily?

You’re not alone. The hormonal shift is real and its effects can leave you feeling helpless and out of control.  So what do you do?

Here are some tips:

  • Eat enough protein at every meal. 
  • Exercise regularly! – Daily walks or movement is so key to happy hormones. Maintain a healthy weight for you
  • Support a happy gut with lots of fiber!  Veggies – Whole Grains – Supplement if needed but make it happen
  • Moderate your Alcohol and  processed food and sugar intake – Food quality matters – Aim for 80/20 
  • Channel your inner peace and manage that stress well! – Find stress management techniques that you will ACTUALLY USE and do them!
  • Consume healthy fats consistently.  Incorporate Seed cycling! This will ensure plenty of healthy hormones support omegas each and every day! 

Get consistent, quality sleep. –Hormones are all created in the brain and deep sleep is when the brain detoxes so getting in quality ZZZZ’s is key

This week has been all about women’s health.  We know if your not feeling your best then those that you love will not get your best either.

Taking care of your hormone health is key in your feeling and giving your best!

Please take the time to reflect and define what changes need to be made in your life so you can prioritize your personal health.  If you need help…PLEASE REACH OUT.  We are here for you if your not sure where to start.