This is a guest post from my friend Rachel who was my Nutrition classmate from Bauman college. Rachel works as the Volunteer Nutritionist and Programs Director for Natural Doctors International (NDI), the oldest natural global health organization in North America. NDI works to bring integrative medicine to the poor and underserved worldwide. With NDI, Rachel organizes brigades of natural medicine practitioners, including naturopaths, nutritionists, herbalists, and acupuncturists, to serve the local community who is in tremendous need. She also provides group and one on one nutrition education. Rachel would be honored if you would consider supporting her work! Check out this link to help (Go Fund Me).
6 Common Mistakes While Losing Weight
Are you exercising and eating right, but your body seems resistant to weight loss? When this is the case, there may be more to consider than the simple motto: “calories in, calories out.” Consider the following:
Another main culprit of weight loss resistance is toxicity. This can result from a build-up of external toxins in the body like air and water pollution, chemically derived cosmetics and hygiene products, refined/processed/packaged “foods,” and rancid oils/trans-fats. It can also result from internal toxic build-up, such as waste products of the metabolic process (protein, digestion, stress, acidity), yeasts, molds, fungi, parasites, bacteria, and viruses. All of these can slow thyroid function, therefore slowing our metabolic rate. Liver support/detox is essential. Here, Dr. Mark Hyman, MD, talks more about not only how toxicity is leading to weight gain, but also how to start detoxing.
Getting enough sleep is critical! We simply cannot lose weight if we are not sleeping. Lack of sleep affects our sugar metabolism (ever wonder why you are excessively hungry after a night of little sleep?). Our adrenal function is also affected, leading to excess cortisol production (our stress hormone), which alone leads to weight gain, particularly around the mid-section, giving us that ‘spare tire’ look. Balancing all hormones is key.
Carbs are certainly not the enemy, but they will lead to weight gain when eaten in excess, even the kinds that are healthy (whole grains, starchy veggies, etc). Carbohydrates spike our blood sugar, leaving us hungrier in a shorter amount of time and burdening our metabolism. Strive to eat starchy carbs like grains, legumes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, breads, pastas, oats, and all refined carbs (just avoid these as much as possible) within 2-3 hours after exercise. This is when our bodies can best metabolize carbohydrates. Outside of this window, focus on fibrous carbs like all other vegetables (think dark leafy greens!), and seasonal fruits (in moderation).
4. Portion Sizes
We might be eating all the right foods, but if we eat too much of any food, we will not lose weight. The first step is to be mindful while we are eating, meaning turning off the television and other distractions, to truly notice the food we are consuming. Chew each bite thoroughly, and give your brain the time it needs to register fullness.
Keep in mind some of these helpful hints:
- Meat is usually a 3-4 oz. serving, or roughly the size of your palm.
- Nuts should be eaten by the small handful
- A clenched fist is about one cup.
- A tablespoon is about the size of your thumb, knuckle to tip.
- Sit down while eating
We almost always link exercise to weight loss, do we not? Even if we know that muscle weighs more than fat and we might not drop in actual poundage, we expect to see positive changes in our bodies if we are putting in effort to maintain a regular workout routine. However, the real question is if we are maintaining the proper workout routine for our bodies’ needs. We should come out of a workout session feeling energized, not wiped out. One main reason for this is that exercise is a stressor on the body, and as mentioned above, stressors trigger a cortisol release. Now, this isn’t always a bad thing, but if we are already undergoing excess stress (job related, a family/personal situation, financial stress, etc), then often our body needs more restorative types of exercise. Our fitness plan should be a stress relief, not a stressor.
6. Getting Enough Fat
Not incorporating enough good fat into our diet can be detrimental to weight loss, despite popular belief. Our brain and every cell in our body need fat to thrive and function, and without it, the body will resist weight loss. Include healthy fats like olive oil, ground flax seed (or oil), organic nuts/seeds, avocados, grass-fed butter, ghee, and coconut oil (and coconut in all other forms). The medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil (in the form of lauric acid) actually promote weight loss. Try taking 1-2 tbsp. of coconut oil in tea 20 min. before meals. Remember, never heat delicate oils such as olive, flax, and vegetable oils (as a matter of fact, I’d recommend staying away from vegetable oils, period), as they oxidize at higher temperatures. Stick to cooking with coconut oil, butter, ghee, or grass-fed animal fats (bacon fat, lard, etc).
Rachel Fiske is a Holistic Nutritionist and Personal Trainer with over 8 years of experience. She works with clients via phone and skype to create personalized menu and supplementation programs, specializing in weight management, adrenal fatigue, GI problems, insomnia, stress and more. Contact her to schedule a free 15-minute phone consult at firstname.lastname@example.org