Beating the Diet Rollercoaster

Balance is key to unlocking the door to healthy weight loss.

“Contrary to popular belief, dieting and eating well are not the same thing,” states Emily Murphy emphatically. It was this realization, reached after years of trying to lose weight, that led Emily down the path she chose more than 18 years ago.

As a functional nutritionist and weight loss coach, Emily helps women understand their bodies and the state of their health by focusing on what's going on with their hormones, and what needs to heal so they can lose weight. To date, she’s worked with more than 1,000 clients, helping them avoid the diet rollercoaster. “That’s what a lot of my clients experience. They gain and lose the same 10 to 20 pounds year after year.”

“A lot of times, coaches and personal trainers try to help by focusing on weight loss,” she explains. “But I believe weight loss is a symptom of a healthy body. I try to address everything else first as the priority – weight loss comes once the body starts working like it should.”

Emily points out that reducing calories by crash dieting and putting your body in an extreme calorie deficit to lose weight actually creates more stress on the body and causes other things to break down. “When cortisol’s raging and we’re already stressed out, we don’t need our diet to stress us out too.” Her solution?

“It’s teaching people about the foods they need to eat and the habits they need to keep to get their bodies back to balance,” she states. “For example, you can eat when you’re hungry but you have to stop when you’re full. And you can only eat healthy, whole foods.” Fortunately, food deprivation isn’t the answer. “Human beings are meant to enjoy food. That’s why we have taste buds. They’re built into our biology, so we can’t program that out of ourselves. But if we learn true moderation and consistency, it works.”

Despite the fact that there’s almost no research on women and fitness, Emily was able to design a program that works. “Having worked with so many people, I was able to create a program that’s really streamlined. It took me three years to recover my metabolism and get to my ideal weight. I can do that for people in three to six months now.”

One of Emily’s “success stories” is Amanda, who she’d met at the gym while teaching nutrition seminars. Amanda was 60 pounds overweight, had a stressful sales job, and worked out six or seven days a week as part of her stress management. But nothing seemed to be working.

“She was super motivated and wanted to change but she didn’t know why her body was so out of whack. I tell people all the time, you cannot fitness and diet your way back to hormone balance,” Emily explains. “Dieting and eating well aren’t the same thing. And fitness doesn’t mean killing yourself in the gym. The goal is balance.”

Though Amanda was determined to lose weight, she wasn’t focused on her health. “We cut back workouts and increased calories and good nutrition. Her body had what it needed, so she stopped having cravings. Then we worked on stress management, keeping it lower throughout the day and setting up her nutrition so her blood sugar was balanced.”

Next, they worked on balancing her metabolism. “When your metabolism gets faster, you can eat off the plan sometimes and not feel like you’re doing something bad,” says Emily. “It’s called the 80/20 plan. If you eat healthy 80 percent of the time, you can go off the plan and enjoy yourself. As your metabolism improves, the 20 percent gets a little bit bigger.”

The results? “She lost 60 pounds in seven months, and she’s kept it off for two years,” Emily announces with pride.

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