Disclaimer: This website is for information purposes and is not intended to replace medical advice.
Have you tried various weight loss approaches without the ability to initially lose or keep off the weight? Well, you’re not alone, because many “diets” are meant for only short-term use. Let’s talk about weight improvement protocols that produce long-term results by changing how your body reacts to foods and stressors.
Before I go any further, I’d like to clarify that I don’t focus on weight loss in my practice. I see excess weight as a symptom of a greater issue that needs to be addressed. I don’t offer quick-fix diets, calorie counting, or weigh-ins. Instead, we utilize the functional nutrition approach to uncover reasons for weight concerns and create goals to address causes. Very often, my clients experience weight loss as a pleasant side effect of health improvement.
It’s no surprise that what you eat can dramatically affect how you feel and whether or not you can lose excess weight. Choose foods to lower the insulin response and improve gut health to have the greatest impact. The main evidence-based approaches that promote weight loss include the following:
We’ll take a closer look at effective weight improvement strategies in a 4-part series. Today, we’ll talk more about Dietary Do’s.
Please keep in mind that this is a general Dietary Do’s guide that will apply to individuals without a chronic health condition. If you have a condition like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), or an autoimmune disease, adding high-fiber or probiotic-rich foods may be problematic. In this case, you will benefit from personalized nutrition services.
Pay close attention to foods consumed and emotions surrounding food. Track your food and beverage consumption accurately for at least 3 days through the free version of Cronometer.com. I highly recommend Cronometer because their software focuses on micro-nutrients as wells as macro-nutrients. Always consider food quality over calories because calories alone don’t reflect how your body reacts to the foods you eat.
Being aware of your eating patterns while fully present when you eat, rather than multi-tasking or mindlessly eating, is called Mindful Eating. Intuitive Eating is a complementary practice that allows you to tune into your body’s needs. I’ll talk more about this during the Reducing the Stress-Cortisol Response blog.
If you’re like most Americans, you probably eat a Standard American Diet (SAD) with a lot of processed carbohydrates (crackers, chips, breads, cereals, etc.) and processed sugars (juices, sports drinks, muffins, granola bars, sweetened yogurt, dressings and condiments, etc.). These processed foods are low in natural fiber and nutrients. They have depleted nutrient value, increased caloric load, and addictive properties. Processed foods increase appetite, resulting in more consumption of starchy, salty, and sweet foods.
Even some boxed foods we consider to be “healthy” may cause blood sugar spikes that hijack your metabolism. Processed sugars and starches cause foods to be quickly digested, raising blood sugar and insulin rapidly. In turn, these foods can increase appetite soon after eating while feeding the less favorable strains of bacteria and yeasts in your gut.
In addition to adequate hydration by drinking purified water, here are five simple tips to improve energy and mood, and ultimately your weight:
Does this mean you must significantly restrict foods and avoid all “treats”? You certainly can enjoy the occasional snack food and still see big results. The frequency and quantity of processed foods are what matter most.
If you focus on fiber-rich, nutrient-dense foods at least 80% of the time, you will likely see improvements in body composition. However, clients who struggle with symptoms of insulin resistance* may need a stricter approach to successfully reset the insulin response. Ask me how I can help you with that.
In my next Simple Strategies blog, we’ll talk about modifying meal timing to balance sugar handling and improve symptoms.
Author: Laura Farnsworth, MS, CNS, CN, Integrative & Functional Nutritionist at Craving4Health.com
* Insulin resistance: A condition that contributes to weight gain when insulin receptors don’t work effectively to lower and use available glucose, the body’s fuel source, https://clinical.diabetesjournals.org/content/36/3/263
Here’s a fascinating TED Talk with Dr. Peter Attia discussing how insulin resistance may precede weight gain and type 2 diabetes: https://www.ted.com/talks/peter_attia_what_if_we_re_wrong_about_diabetes?utm_campaign=tedspread-sharetrade-a&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=tedcomshare
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