Thursday, June 6, 2013

Weight Loss. You can too!

There are many diets out there, but true lasting weight loss requires a change in lifestyle. Carrying extra weight results in a higher risk for type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, knee and hip pain, cardiovascular disease, gallstones, female hormone dependant cancers, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, renal cancer, dementia in women and premature death. But with just modest weight loss these risks start going down and improvements can be seen. Here are few things you can do to help you on your weight loss journey.

Weight loss requires your body to burn its stored energy, so you need to expend more calories than you consume.  A simple way to reduce calorie intake at each meal is to use smaller plates to help in decreasing portion sizes.  For a typical dinner on your plate you want half vegetables, two thirds of the rest to be protein and the small amount left as carbohydrates.  The carbohydrates that you have on your plate should be low glycemic index and load foods (for explanation of these terms please see my previous article ) and free from sugar as much as possible.  Whenever possible try to eat brown rice and wholegrain bread instead of white.  Simply changing the amounts of different foods on your plate can be a great start in losing weight.

Increase the amount of good protein in your diet.  If you crave sugar if may be because you are not eating enough.  Eating protein helps you to feel full.  An easy way to do this is by adding a protein shake.  Protein is especially important to include in breakfast.  Some good breakfast foods are eggs, almond butter or yogurt.  Seek out grains that are high in protein such as spelt or Kamut. 

Add good fats to your diet from fish, olive oil, or nuts and seeds.  Avoid anything that contains trans fats or aspartame as these can cause your body to retain fat.

There are many online calculators that can help you know how much you are eating versus exercising.  A study found that smart phone apps had the best compliance.  People also tend to lose more weight when they are working together towards a common goal so join a fitness group or just find some friends to set goals with.  If you don’t currently do any exercise, just walking for about 30 minutes per day can start to show results. 

Adding activity to our daily routine burns lots of calories too.  Walk instead of drive, take the stairs, get in the pool with the kids instead of sitting on the side, kids make great weights (and they love being thrown around and carried), do squats while brushing your teeth.  Just keep moving!  Following crash diets and occasional fasting, like skipping a meal, will result in fluctuating blood sugar and be counter productive to staying active and losing weight.

Making sure your digestive system is working properly is also important for losing weight.  Make sure you are eating plenty of fibre and drinking lots of water.  You also may want to take a probiotic supplement.  B-Complex supplements have also been found to aid in weight loss by increasing metabolism.

Get some sleep! Sleep quality and total time spent sleeping can actually predict weight loss.  Exercising and losing weight also helps people sleep better.  For help in sleeping, check out my article on sleep.

Permanent weight loss requires changing habits, lifestyle and becoming the person you want to be.  It is easier to lose weight with help, so if you have any questions talk to you local naturopath.


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