Top 10 Weight Loss Tips (Part 1)
2. Curb the Crappy Carbs
A vicious cycle is created when we eat “crappy carbs”. That is processed sugars, flours and those treats made with them. We eat this “tasty” high carb food and our pancreas goes into a bit of a panic with all that sugar and quickly excretes insulin to deal with the “emergency”. This quickly solves the alarming situation of high blood sugar and there is a quick drop in levels. This signals the body that it’s hungry again and you crave more sugary treats. These processed foods are created to taste good, cause more cravings and unless you burn off all that potential energy, only a small amount can be stored as glycogen in your muscles and liver, the rest will be stored as excess fat, especially around your middle. Better to choose more complex carbohydrate foods that release their sugars slowly and don’t cause that sudden spike and drop. These complex carbohydrates are whole plant based foods with their fibre and enzymes still somewhat intact, such as fruits, vegetables, whole-grain products (watch what they are combined with). It is no wonder coffee shops are a goldmine. Add some caffeine and you can magnify the blood sugar disrupting effects of these simple carbs. Don’t fool yourself into replacing the sugars with artificial sweeteners. They are even worse as they consist of chemicals that your body doesn’t know how to deal with.
3. Fat Friends and Foes
Fats are critical for healthy bodies and healthy weight management. Fat can be used as an energy source once glucose/glycogen stores are used up. Fat is needed for hormone manufacture (see tip #3), and carries our essential fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, K. Fat is a component of all of our cells protecting them from chemical damage and giving them flexible structure and is critical for nervous system health as it helps build the electrical impulse signaling parts of our nerves. Fat also makes things taste better, and assists with satiety. We don’t need a huge amount of fat as it contains more than double the calories per gram of either carbohydrates or protein. Because of this, quality is of paramount importance. Contrary to what we’ve been told, PUFA’s or polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as corn oil, canola oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, soy oil etc. are not the best choices. These oils are highly unstable and therefore are highly processed to keep them shelf stable. They also consist largely of omega 6 fatty acids, which are pro-inflammatory and therefore related to many degenerative diseases. Monounsaturates are a better choice such as olive oil, peanut oil, avocados. Naturally saturated oils are also a good choice as they are very stable for cooking and general eating. These include coconut oil, palm oil, butter, ghee. Just ensure they are of the best quality, extra virgin, cold pressed or in the case of butter organic and grass fed is best (though grass fed can be hard to find). The worst choices would be hydrogenated fats, which contain trans fats that the FDA is working to ban as its consumption is correlated with many health risks.
4. Harmonize Hormones
This is a topic worthy of its own post, so I will just touch briefly on the basics. As with everything else in our body, it is always striving for balance, or homeostasis in science-speak. This is where the whole calories in/calories out theory goes out the window as unbalanced hormones can cause us to store fat even when we are starving ourselves thanks to evolutionary and survival mechanisms that are rarely needed in today's wealthy countries. We have had an epidemic of unbalanced hormones in the last few decades due to hormone disrupting chemicals, poor eating and lifestyle habits and of course excess stress. The hormones that cause us to gain fat are estrogen, insulin, ghrelin and cortisol. The hormones that help us with weight control or metabolism boosting include thyroid, adrenaline, glucagon, progesterone, DHEA, Testoterone, Growth Hormone. To aid in appetite control we have: Melatonin, serotonin, dopamine, acetycholine, GABA, and vitamin D3 (yes, vitamin D3 actually acts as a hormone). The best protocol for keeping all of these hormones in balance is balanced healthy diet that is digested, absorbed and assimilated, enough quality sleep, moderate exercise and keeping stress manageable and balanced with stress relieving activities. Easier said than done but worth the effort to prevent symptoms such as: fatigue, insomnia, digestive upsets, irritability, depression, heart disease, diabetes, PMS, perimenopause symptoms, and of course obesity.
5. Move Those Muscles
Most of us know that muscle is more dense than fat, so it takes up less room. It is also more “thermogenic” or metabolically active than fat. In other words it burns more calories even at rest. We can do aerobic exercise to lose fat, but we really need to work at some sort of resistance training to build and maintain our fat-burning muscles. We tend to lose muscle mass as we age to the tune of 3-5% per decade after age 30 unless we work to maintain that muscle. It is essential to find activities that you enjoy doing to stay healthy, fit and functional so that you can be motivated to make them part of your life. There are loads of options out there both online or in your neighbourhood. Be sure to get expert advice when trying any new activity. Look for ways to use body weight resistance exercise – no equipment required. Check with your doctor if you have been inactive or are overweight before starting a weight loss exercise program
Next week I’ll finish up with the other 5 of the 10 tips. But in the meantime, if you are thinking of doing something about your weight, contact me for information about a program I’m launching in September.
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Tanya Sullivan is a Holistic Nutrition Consultant with many opinions on the state of our food and health.
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The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of Tanya Sullivan C.H.N.C. Please note that Tanya Sullivan C.H.N.C. is not a dietitian, physician, pharmacist or other licensed healthcare professional. The information on this website is NOT intended as medical advice, nor is it intended to replace the care of a qualified health care professional. This content is not intended to diagnose or treat any diseases. Always consult with your primary care physician or licensed healthcare provider for all diagnosis and treatment of any diseases or conditions, for medications or medical advice as well as before changing your health care regimen.