Have you ever asked yourself, "Why is it so hard to loose weight? What has changed?"
Despite what you might have read, or been told, fat loss is NOT just about diet and exercise, it is far more complex than that! Physiology and Metabolism play a crucial role in weight loss but so does your mindset. Today, our physiologies and metabolisms are more out of sink than ever due to different factors and underlying issues. If your diet and exercise program is not working for you or no longer working, do yourself a favor and read below.
The better your physiology works, the healthier you will be overall and the more your weight loss program will yield results.
Your metabolism may have changed, and that can be why all the old tricks are not working.
When you gain belly fat, your metabolism changes.
When your hormones, your metabolism changes.
As you age, your metabolism changes.
The diet plays an essential role in weight loss but what diet might that be? A diet that will reduce inflammation in your body, provide you with the necessary nutrients by addressing your nutritional deficiencies and provide you with the adequate fuel to support your body’s weight loss. It starts by eating REAL FOOD and letting go of refined and processed foods! But it also involves addressing possible food sensitivities, managing your blood sugar levels, healing your gut, managing your stress, eating mindfully, being prepared and having the right mindset. Lets look into some of these a bit more in detail. Helping you find the right diet that supports your biochemical individuality is what we pride ourselves in at VitalityMD. With an integrative approach to weight loss we can offer a program that addresses all of your underlying issues that may have prevented your weight loss before.
Blood Sugar Management
Insulin plays a role in the body’s metabolism of carbohydrates and fat and regulates how we use and store them. Insulin is the key to letting glucose into the cells to generate the energy required for day to day cellular function. Some suffer from low blood sugar while others suffer from insulin resistance. With insulin resistance, the key no longer fits the lock and glucose cant get into our cells. Your metabolism slows down, the insulin isn’t getting into the cells so ends up being stored as fat.
Feel better after meals
Sugar cravings before meals
May have difficulty staying asleep at night
Insulin Resistant Tendencies
Feels tired after meals
Sugar cravings after meals
May have difficulty getting to sleep at night
Eating low glycemic, Whole Food diet with a good amount of protein and healthy fats.
Addressing possible nutritional deficiencies (e.g. Mg, Vit D, B12)
We talked about insulin but there are many more hormones involved in weight loss namely estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, thyroid, cortisol, leptin, ghrelin and growth hormone. Having these evaluated by a health care practioner can make the difference between a successful and unsuccessful weight loss program. For example, did you know about Leptin resistance? Leptin is a hormone produced by fat cells, and when it binds to receptors in the brain, it 'tells our brain' to instruct us to 'stop eating'. In leptin resistance, the receptors in the brain become resistant and this signal pathway stops working resulting in you not getting the message to “Stop Eating”, and you remain hungry despite having plenty of caloric energy around.
A properly functioning gastrointestinal system is critical for overall health and well being. In fact, your gut can be pivotal in weight loss. How do you know if you have a dysfunctional digestive system? Any of the following symptoms can indicate gastrointestinal issues:
• burping after meals
• inadequate digestion (heavy feeling in your stomach after you eat)
• undigested food in your stools
• foul smelling stools
• burning in the stomach
• bad breath
Did you know that hormonal imbalances, migraines, allergies, eczema, and autoimmune disease all have links to gastrointestinal dysfunction? An imbalance in your gut bacteria may also be at the root of your cravings and preventing weight loss. A dysfunctional gastrointestinal system can virtually ruin your chances of weight loss, from a compromised immune system, to a stress hormone imbalances, to an altered sex hormones, to blood sugar irregularities — many of these problems start in the gut.
One of the best ways to stop a vicious GI-related cycle is to control inflammation and identify food sensitivities.
An elimination diet has helped countless people alleviate their gastrointestinal issues.
Hydration helps rid the body of toxins, builds resilience to stress, enhances metabolism, and promotes satiety. It is important to drink plenty of clean, filtered water throughout the day. Individual recommendations for fluid intake will depend upon a number of factors including body weight.
To roughly determine your hydration needs, divide your body weight (in pounds) in half. The resulting figure is the approximate number of ounces of water to consume each day.
In addition to filtered water, broths (vegetable, bone), meat stocks are also good liquid choices.
You can also drink herbal teas and decaffeinated green tea.
While there is great emphasis on reducing the intake of toxins of all kinds, the elimination of accumulated toxins present in the body is equally important. Several metabolic pathways in the body are responsible for converting toxins into chemical compounds, allowing toxin elimination primarily through urine, stool, and sweat. Many different nutrients are required to fuel the process of detoxification. A deficiency of any one of these nutrients could result in an increased toxic load. Lowering the body’s toxic load by eating clean, whole foods will assist the liver in converting toxins stored in the body’s fat cells into intermediate metabolites that can then be excreted through the urine and stool.
Lower your toxic exposure by buying organic and naturally raised animal product when possible. Refer to the Environmental Working Group for tips and guidance.
Reduce where you get your exposure to toxins in your toiletries, cleaning products and makeup. Refer to the Environmental Working Group for tips and guidance.
One of the most important things you can do to support your body’s ability to remove toxins is to keep bowel function moving with an adequate intake of high- fiber foods. Toxins that aren’t removed quickly through the colon can be reabsorbed into the bloodstream. Constipation can also result in waste fermenting or rotting in the colon.
Your colon and kidneys need lots of pure water to work efficiently.
If needed, a proper detoxification program can support detoxification, which may include supplementation, Infra Red sauna, massage and/or IV therapy. All these modalities are available at our clinic to assist you with weight loss.
Before you eat, relax your body and your mind to allow your nervous system in rest and digest mode to promote proper digestion. Unhealthy eating patterns are often caused by tension and stress. When you experience stress or negative emotions, you lose energy. Unconsciously, you want to eat to replace that lost energy.
Make healthy and wise food choices before you eat.
Select foods that you know will increase the health of your body, and avoid the foods that drain energy from the digestive process.
Plan your meals in advance.
Go shopping for fresh fruit and veggies. Keep chopped veggies around.
Remove/avoid temptations as much as possible.
Begin to connect with your inner self. Notice when you are naturally hungry, when your appetite is stimulated by the pure physical hunger for food.
Taking time to enjoy meals with others when possible (avoid eating while working, commuting, or watching TV).
Chewing your food thoroughly to improve digestion 30-45 times before swallowing).
Keep a food journal to promote mindfulness. Studies have shown that it’s a great adjunct to weight loss.
The adrenal glands are your body’s primary defense for managing stress. When the adrenal glands are activated, they produce a number of hormones that help your body deal with both acute and chronic stressors. One such hormone is cortisol. Cortisol’s primary function is to increase blood sugar levels so your brain, muscles and organs have enough fuel to get you through a stressful situation. Problems occur when stress becomes chronic. Chronically elevated cortisol levels increase blood sugar levels, which then elevate insulin levels. This, among other things, will stop you from burning fat no matter what exercise or diet program you follow. There are many chronic stressors in today’s society including mental/emotional stress, food sensitivities, blood sugar imbalances, infections (i.e. parasitic, bacterial), excessive exercise… basically anything that is a perceived stress on the body. Identifing your stressors and providing you with the necessary support and tools to manage them, are crucial steps to a successful weight loss program.
Consider mindfulness meditation, guided imagery, progressive relaxation, deep breathing, or biofeedback techniques such as Heart Math.
Use calming essential oils such as Lavender. Place 15 drops in your bathtub with 2 cups of Epsom salt and soak or add a few drops in shea butter or coconut oil and rub into bottoms of feet.
Consume calming teas such as chamomile.
Walk barefoot on grass or sand (earthing) as often as possible.
Get outside into nature daily.
Exercise is one of the most effective components in managing weight, provided you do the right type of exercises. You need enough exercise, not too little but not too much.
Go for a brisk walk daily or do High Intensity Interval training provided you don’t find this too taxing.
Beware, sometimes, doing high intensity exercises can be a stress to the body, raise cortisol and cause weight gain.
Doing more restorative type of exercises (Pilates/Yoga) may actually be better for your weight loss.
With the hectic pace of day-to-day life, many people don’t get the recommended amount of sleep each night. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults typically need between seven and nine hours of sleep per night in order to function at their best. Getting a few less hours for even a few nights in a row can have the same effect as staying awake for 24 hours straight. And, over time, chronic sleep deprivation can contribute to fatigue, increased stress levels, reduced attention span, declined cognitive performance and weight gain. Our sleep and wake schedule determine our quality of life and overall well-being!
Avoid large meals and large quantities of liquid before bedtime.
Follow a regular sleep/wake schedule each day even on weekends and during vacations.
Avoid napping. If unable to fall asleep, go to another room and start a quiet and not too engaging activity. Return to bed only when you feel sleepy.
Minimize light in your bedroom from windows, alarm clocks, night lights,TV, laptops, tables, cell phones, etc.
Minimize sound in your bedroom from pets, music, and other disturbances. Use earplugs or white noise, if sound cannot be minimized.
Maintain a moderate temperature and good ventilation in your bedroom.
Do not work or watch TV in your bedroom.
Limit technology especially 2 hours prior to bedtime.
In the evening you can also use blue light blocking glasses or add a blue light filter app to your electronics.
Mind Body Connection
Self-awareness is the process of paying attention to your emotions, needs, physical being, and reactions. By becoming aware of the subtle, ongoing responses of the body, emotions, and mind, it is possible to detect patterns and take charge of your responses. Being aware of your emotions and physical state allows you to choose how to respond and can have a huge impact on supporting a successful weight loss program.
We are what we eat, what we digest
and what we think!
Make sure you have a place where you feel heard and safe talking out your feelings. This could be a friend, family member, counselor or therapist.
If you don’t like talk therapies consider journaling or exercise as an outlet for stress release, keeping a gratitude journal is highly beneficial to shift your perception.
Use positive, self-empowering mantras.
Use visualization techniques.
Holistic Functional Nutritionist
Following a career in law and a move to Toronto, Caroline decided to pursue her true passions, holistic health and helping others. Caroline’s passion for holistic health grew through the years while searching for solutions for her personal health problems. Her personal successful journey towards health and vitality is a testament to the impactful contribution of nutrition. She practices clinical nutrition at VitalityMD.
Read Full Bio