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So … How Can I Lose Weight?

Many people are affected by multiple fat triggers, which is why a holistic approach to weight loss is the most effective solution to long-term weight management.

A multi-pronged lifestyle approach that combines improved nutrition, increased physical activity, and psychological support is likely to be most successful in promoting weight loss.

15 TIPS FOR WEIGHT LOSS RESULTS

1. TREAT THYROID DYSFUNCTION IF PRESENT

It is vital to work with a functional medicine practitioner in order to treat the root cause of your thyroid condition. An under-treated hypothyroidism will completely block weight loss. Once hypothyroidism has been treated and thyroid hormone levels have returned to the normal range of thyroid hormone, the ability to gain or lose weight is the same as in individuals who do not have thyroid problems.

Read my “Autoimmune Disorders” article for my information about hypothyroidism.

2. REDUCE CARBOHYDRATES

The bottom of the familiar food pyramid has pictures of bread, rice, cereal, crackers and pasta. Unfortunately, they break down into glucose. Literally, sugar. Make no room for these kinds of foods on your plate – crowd out the simple carbohydrates by eating clean proteins, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates with some starchy veggies.

If you fill your plate with these foods, there’s no room for rice, or bread, or pasta. You will feel full and you won’t want a piece of cake when you’re done with your meal.

Here are some simple swaps:

INSTEAD OF THIS EAT THIS
Mashed potato Mashed cauliflower
Flour for coating chicken & fish Tapioca flour
Flour substitute in recipes Almond meal, tapioca flour, coconut flour, psyllium husk
Wheat or rice crackers Almond meal crackers
Bread or tortillas Wraps made from lettuce leaves, seaweed sheets, homemade Paleo bread
Croutons Crumbled bacon, crispy sweet potato
Breadcrumbs Almond meal
Milk chocolate Dark chocolate (>80% cocoa)
Pasta Zucchini noodles (spiralized), spaghetti squash

Read my “Gut & Disease” article for more information about the effects of gluten.

3. CUT OUT DAIRY

The problem with dairy is not fat; it’s the whey fraction of the protein. Whey is insulin stimulating, increasing insulin output by the pancreas three-fold.

Scientists suspect that whey protein could be detrimental long term, as elevated insulin levels in the blood can down-regulate the insulin receptor and lead to insulin resistance.

The solution: avoid all dairy when trying to lose weight. Some great alternatives include nut dairy-substitutes e.g. coconut, almond, hazelnut, and macadamia milks,  coconut yoghurt, and nut-cheese.

4. ENJOY GOOD FATS AND OILS

Fat is satiating and reduces appetite. Liberal fat intake, despite conventional “wisdom”, does not make you fat. It actually helps you get skinny.

You must eat fat to be healthy, as fats are in every cell of your body and your brain is 60% fat.

Cold pressed, uncorrupted Omega 3’s and medium chain saturated fats (e.g. olives, coconut, avocado, fish, organic eggs, organic grass-fed meats/butter, chia seed, flax seed, nuts, etc) can be great for reducing inflammation and helping your body lose weight.

The only fats to avoid are the unhealthy fats. These include fats that are fried (high-temperature damage), hydrogenated, and highly-processed polyunsaturated seed or genetically modified oils like safflower, sunflower, grapeseed, soybean, and canola.

These fats will put your body into perpetual fat storage mode and cause many other health issues as well.

5. STRAIGHTEN YOUR CORTISOL LEVELS

Cortisol levels should surge in the morning, then decline to lower levels in the evening to allow normal recuperative sleep.

Disruption in circadian rhythm causes a flip-flopping of this pattern, with low cortisol levels in the morning (with morning fatigue) and high levels at bedtime (with insomnia). The main cause for this is adrenal fatigue.

This can result in weight gain or resistant weight loss.

A great tool to reduce chronic stress is to do yoga. Yoga can help bring harmony to the mind, body and spirit. When you are stressed, your body needs support, compassion, and gentle nourishment. Yoga provides this healing and balance.

Another great tool is ‘power posing’, just like “Wonder Woman”. Standing in this position for 2 minutes can reduce cortisol levels by 25 percent.

Read in my “Stress & Fatigue” article for more information on cortisol levels.

6. GET ADEQUATE SLEEP

Sleep deprivation increases adrenaline, cortisol, and insulin, while increasing appetite, all of which add up to weight gain or resistant weight loss.

Adequate sleep, occurring in 90 minutes blocks is crucial for well-being.

This is based on the knowledge that our sleep cycle contains five distinct phases, divided into four stages of non-REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, followed by a stage of REM sleep (in which we dream).

Each of these cycles takes roughly 90 minutes, followed by a brief interlude when we are relatively wakeful before a new cycle starts again.

This process is repeated usually for a total of four or five cycles a night.

This means that you will feel most refreshed when you awake at the end of a 90-minute sleep cycle because you will be closest to your normal waking state.

Try to aim for 7.5 or 9 hours sleep based on this information.

7. DON’T EAT 3-4 HOURS BEFORE BEDTIME

Eating a few hours before bedtime (even healthy food) causes a surge in insulin levels and cause you to gain weight.

Not eating after dinner induces a fast-like state. For instance, not eating from 6pm to 8am the next morning give the body 14 hours to detox, repair, and burn fat. Ideally, aim to eat you entire food intake in an 8-10 hour period. The rest of the time you’ll be burning fat.

8. START JUICING

Juicing has powerful weight loss effects. Start with one green juice every day. This daily routine will supply the body with easily absorbable nutrients. Juices are cleansers, energizers, builders, and regenerators of the human body.

Focus on vegetables since fruit juice has too much sugar. Think wheatgrass, celery, fennel, cucumber, carrot, beetroot, lettuce, ginger, parsley, coriander, lime, green apple – whatever you like. Kale and spinach are also popular additions.

Just a word of warning with spinach – it is high in oxalates (especially when eaten raw) and can lead to kidney stones. It is best eaten cooked to reduce its oxalate content.

Additionally, kale is a goitrogen, which means it blocks the uptake of iodine by the thyroid gland, which is vital to its function. This needs to be avoided if you have a thyroid condition. Kale loses some of its goitrogenic properties when cooked also.

In general, a little bit of raw kale or raw spinach is not going to hurt, but don’t overdo it (e.g. handfuls) or have it too often.

9. INCREASE YOUR WATER INTAKE

Too often when you’re craving foods, you’re actually just thirsty.

In addition, if you wait until you’re thirsty to drink, you’re already dehydrated.

Aim to drink 3 litres of spring or filtered water daily to ensure you’re hydrated and effectively flushing toxins from your body.

Do not drink tap water since it can be contaminated with up to 300 chemicals, including medications, parasites, pesticides, fluorine, chlorine, hormones, heavy metals, etc. Lots of nasties indeed.

10. DO SOME EXERCISE

Exercise metabolises stress hormones – less cortisol means less insulin (keeps blood sugar even) and fewer fat deposits. Exercise is best done in moderation, with time to rest in between work out days.

Burst or interval training is ideal. It is a type of exercise that you can do anywhere, anytime. It involves exercising at 90–100 percent of your maximum heart rate for 30–60 seconds in order to burn stored sugar (glycogen), followed by 1-2 minutes of lower intensity exercise or resting (recovery).

This process is cycled for 4-6 sets of 30-60 second bursts, for around 10-20 minutes.

This causes your body to continue to burn fat for the next 36 hours to replace glycogen stores, along with releasing Human Growth Hormone (HGH) and testosterone. These hormones are the ones responsible for toning and creating muscle. Therefore the more HGH you release, the more fit and healthy you are.

As a result, this training is done on alternate days (3 times a week) for maximum fat loss and improvements to occur.

It’s the most effective way to burn fat and lose weight. Research shows people who do this type of burst or interval training lose six times more fat than people who do long distance cardio exercise.

11. DRINK LEMON WATER FIRST THING IN THE MORNING

Lemon water can help to detoxify, improve your digestion, improve hormonal balance, and boost your metabolism and energy levels.

Lemons are considered one of the most alkalinizing foods you can eat. In the body, the citric acid in lemons converts to bicarbonate, which alkalizes the blood. This helps to reduce acidity in the body (from eating too much sugar and grains) and to reduce pain and inflammation.

On rising, squeeze one full lemon into a glass of warm water and drink at least 15 minutes before eating any food for the day.

12. IMPROVE YOUR GUT BACTERIA

Good health and a healthy weight depend upon good digestion and a healthy gut.

If your intestines are not in good health, you will have malabsorption of nutrients, resulting in your body crying out for nutrients in the form of food cravings.

Supplement everyday with probiotics, fermented foods (e.g. sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi, sprouts, yoghurt), or drink fermented drinks (e.g. kefir, kombucha, raw milk).

13. MANAGE YOUR EMOTIONS

Our biological drive is to eat food for survival, unconsciously repeating developed patterns, and attempting to manage our emotions.

Awareness of what drives you is the first step. Understanding why we eat unhealthy foods will help to stop this vicious cycle. Managing these emotions will help long-term weight loss.

14. BALANCE YOUR HORMONES

Oestrogen dominance is a major factor that encourages the body to store fat. It happens when you have a high ratio of oestrogen in relation to progesterone.

One of the main causes of oestrogen dominance is adrenal fatigue.

Read my “Hormones” article for more information on hormones.

15. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY

Listening to your body entails learning to stop eating when you feel full and actively responding to cravings (as long as it’s healthy).

Aim to stop eating when you’re 80% full. It takes 20 minutes for your full stomach to register with your brain. If you eat fast and eat until you’re 100% full, twenty minutes later you’ll feel bloated, nauseous, and overly full.

Certain food cravings give hints to what the body is actually desiring. For instance, craving chocolate is the body’s way of telling you it needs more magnesium. Magnesium is quickly depleted from the body due to our stressful lifestyle.

Instead of reaching for countless, high calorie sweets, maybe enjoy an Epsom salt bath (magnesium rich) instead, or massage some magnesium oil onto the skin

Don’t give up !

If you mess up, just do better tomorrow. Don’t beat yourself up. You will get better and better at improving your diet and eating. Any skill, including learning how to eat better, comes with practice. It also takes time to implement change. Just commit to constant learning about how to eat healthily and seek to work closely with a qualified practitioner for guidance and support.

The only way you can find the best way to lose weight for YOU personally is through trial and error.

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