Listen to this episode on the Feel Good in Body Mind and Soul Podcast
Continued from why diets don’t work.
Your health is a long-haul game.
No matter what you’re working on or trying to achieve, make it a lifetime purpose to invest in your wellbeing.
Enjoy the process, do it for you, drop the numbers, focus on the “feel good” factor.
Build yourself a sustainable way of eating, that is not restrictive.
Of course if your favourite foods are high in simple sugars, low in nutrients , spiking your blood sugar, causing your insulin to resist and making you put on weight, then the first step is to learn to cook healthier meals that you enjoy.
And for this, if you have no idea where to start I recommend you work with a Registered Nutritionist to teach you how to put healthy yet tasty meals together and learn how to make diets work. You just got to be willing to deconstruct old habits and learn new things.
Don’t totally get rid of all your favourite foods.
Yes, even those who aren’t weight loss friendly. If you enjoy them, have them every now and then, know yourself and create that balance. Again back to total restriction causing frustration and possibly overconsumption.
Don’t try to nail it all perfectly straight away, one step at a time.
No matter how long it takes, the goal is to reach your healthy body weight while eating your normal regular meals. Don’t put crazy pressure on yourself by adding numbers and deadlines.
Manage your stress levels.
Stress can affect your weight and bring you to both ends of the spectrum; in stressful situations, some people experience loss of appetite, undereating, and subsequent weight loss while others (majority of us in fact) experience cravings, overeating, and weight gain.
When we’re stressed, our adrenal glands produce hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, which move glucose from storage to the bloodstream, ready to be used. This process is of course vital in an acute stress response but should quickly resolve itself once stress has resolved
However, what we are facing in our modern days is a chronic state of psychological stress.
Chronic stress has been linked to the development of insulin resistance, loss of muscle mass and extra fat storage around the waist. Not only these can result in weight gain and obesity but they’re also risk factors for Type 2 Diabetes, high blood cholesterol and cardiovascular disease (study 2).
It’s important to note that high cortisol also increases appetite and cravings, particularly sugary foods, which of course in excess may cause weight gain.
Gut health and weight loss
The role of the gut microbiome in weight management is still an area that is being researched.
The existent research suggests that a diverse gut microbiota can be a preventative factor and protect us from gaining weight in the long term and that obese subjects tend to have a less diverse microbiome than lean people.
It seems like an increase in specific strains of pathogenic “bad” bacteria in our gut can affect the production of hormones that regulate hunger and satiety, leading to excessive consumption of food and weight gain.
Lastly, gut imbalance can result in low-grade chronic inflammation, which in long-term may contribute to weight gain (study 1, study 2)
Therefore focusing on gut health as a weight management tool is key.
The balance is also in the movement you choose to do.
While reaching your healthy body weight does happen in the kitchen, exercising is an imperative support. Start slowly with realistic routines. Don’t go all in and tire yourself within weeks.
Remember you are in for the long haul and choose an activity you enjoy.
This will help you stick to it and learn new ways how to make diets work.
Work on your mindset.
This is the tricky part. It is possible that you have reached your healthy body weight, i.e your natural body weight but are focusing on the numbers and the scale.
In which case it’s important to work with a therapist to understand your relationship with your body. This may help uncover a lot and more importantly make peace with your beautiful body.
Don’t do it alone.
If you suspect underlying challenges that are impacting your weight, work with a Registered Nutritionist to run some tests and help investigate things further.
I recommend you work with a Registered Nutritional Therapist specialised in Weight loss.