If you are anything like the “average person” the next two to three weeks are going to be “interesting” as THE HOLIDAYS are upon us. Research shows that the number one goal for the new year is to improve health (more specifically lose weight).
Here are some of the underlying principles I have used with 1000’s of patients to lose thousands of pounds and keep them off! Weight loss first begins with your mindset! Too many people think if they lose weight they will be healthier and they must work hard (diet, exercise etc) to get the weight off. It’s the other way around! Focus on improving your health (which has nothing to do with exercise and diet) and you will lose weight without even trying and keep it off for good.
Here are my top strategies that work for nearly everyone:
Forget dieting! – Can I get an AMEN?! – Diets often place too much emphasis on one particular food (fat, carbs, protein etc.). Instead do one simple thing with the food you eat-eat only WHOLE, REAL and UNPROCESSED FOOD. Think of the foods your great-great-great-grandmother would have consumed on a daily basis. These should be the foundation of what you eat (not a diet) and will provide high-quality, nutrient-dense elements. The majority of your plate should be plant-based foods including non-starchy green vegetables, low-sugar fruits (berries and avocados), nuts, and seeds. Your proteins should be wild-caught seafood, grass-fed beef, or another high-quality animal protein. If you’re vegan or vegetarian, make sure to focus on plant-based proteins including legumes and quinoa and use a plant protein shake daily.
Address Sensitivities and Reduce Sugar – Did you know the average American eats 152 pounds of sugar each year! That doesn’t include the starchy foods that convert to sugar in our bodies. Watch out for “healthy” foods like almond milk which can contain hidden sugars. Exam your labels very carefully. Most common food sensitivities include dairy and gluten, which trigger an immune system in overdrive and inflammation, can also keep you overweight or obese-so eliminate them from your diet.
Focus On Gut Supporting Food – Both human and animal studies show when your gut microbiome—which consists of trillions of bacteria—becomes imbalanced, all sorts of health issues including obesity and metabolic syndrome can occur. Most people do not eat high-fiber foods, and they eat few, if any, fermented and cultured foods like kimchi and unpasteurized sauerkraut. A high-quality probiotic supplement containing billions of microorganisms is now a necessity (Consider Body Biotics-a fermented soil based probiotic).
Decrease Inflammation – Hard fact-you eat inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids (found in vegetable oils (canola), grains and grain-fed animals) and too few anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. Chronic, low-grade inflammation contributes to obesity and other metabolic diseases. Inflammation makes your body cling onto fat, which makes you more inflamed. To shift that omega ratio more favorably, cut out all grains (corn, wheat, rice, oats) and inflammatory oils (canola, vegetable, peanut, etc) and increase your intake of anti-inflammatory foods including wild-caught fish, freshly ground flaxseed, turmeric and walnuts.
Eliminate Your Stress Levels – Research shows chronic stress can contribute to obesity for several reasons: You’re more likely to associate stress with comfort foods (your not alone in this either!) Elevated stress = elevated cortisol =elevated inflammation and fat storage. Elevated cortisol can also deplete your adrenals which are needed for energy (to function and to burn fat!).You can’t eliminate stress, but you can learn to manage it with strategies including deep breathing, meditation, walking, and yoga.
Set yourself up for success – Simple truth: I’ve learned people who think ahead—things like prepping ingredients, planning what they take to work for lunch, and stocking up on grocery essentials—are more likely to succeed at losing weight and keeping it off. Its simply that easy!
Avoid “Diet” Fights – Put a Paleo advocate and a Keto King in the same room and civil war may break out. Interestingly, most plans aren’t really different when you consider a foundation of whole, unprocessed foods. Die hard devotees of a particular plan can get locked into rigidity and a holier-than-thou attitude about anyone who doesn’t follow their diet. Instead of trying to adhere 100 percent to one plan, consider marrying the best of each diet into “your way of eating” and don’t feel like you have to defend it to anyone!
Exercise Is Always Secondary – Research shows you can’t out-exercise a bad diet. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get moving for moving sake-but don’t exercise to lose weight!. In my practice, I’ve seen thousands lose hundreds of lbs without setting one foot in a gym!