This is a topic that I'm very passionate about because I see a lot of people either getting the wrong advice or they are taking short cuts and getting discouraged. Weight loss is a very important topic with most people and some don't even fully understand how to accomplish their goals without counting calories, checking their BMI, or over-exercising.
Weight loss is so much more than counting calories and exercising!
Some people aren't able to lose weight because of certain health issues such as depleted adrenal gland function, low thyroid function, and diabetes. However, even though these health issues present a problem when trying to lose weight, it doesn't mean that you can't. I will discuss these topics in a later post.
Now please remember, I am not here to discourage or demean in any way. I am writing this because I want you to be encouraged and inspired to achieve your goals. This is why I write the books I write. Because I believe that everyone has the opportunity to achieve their goals and remain positive about themselves no matter what.
I will be the first to tell you that I hate fad diets and fad workouts. What I recommend to my clients and my readers, is to create a diet that works well with their health needs, gives them a little (and I mean little) splurge on the weekend, is still healthy and organic, but allows them to still enjoy eating. The best way to plan your meal is by remembering to eat mostly vegetables, a palm's size of protein, lots of fiber, and very little sugar (whether that be fruit or some sort of sweet).
"Prediabetics who ate 30 grams of fiber per day lost nearly the same amount of weight as those who cut calories and limited their fat intake; they also improved their cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar." - Dr. Mercola/mercola.com
Soluble fiber, found in cucumbers, blueberries, beans, and nuts. Soluble fiber dissolves into a gel-like texture, helping to slow down your digestion. This helps you to feel full longer, which can help with weight control
Insoluble fiber, found in foods like dark green leafy vegetables, green beans, celery, and carrots, does not dissolve and helps add bulk to your stool. This helps food to move through your digestive tract more quickly for healthy elimination
Make sure you are eating high quality fiber and staying away from all processed forms of fiber. Whole grains are fine but I recommend that you avoid them as much as possible because they can raise insulin levels (thus, you might as well eat a candy bar-but don't!).
Spices are also amazing for reducing fat-
Certain herbs and spices can help you maintain a healthy body weight by increasing your metabolism, shrinking fat tissue and suppressing your appetite
Ginseng, cayenne pepper, black pepper, cinnamon, turmeric and ginger may all support your weight loss goals when added generously to your meals
Other obesity-fighting herbs and spices include cardamom, dandelion, cumin and mustard
In addition to their benefits for weight, herbs and spices are actually some of the most potent antioxidants in your food supply, and may help fight heart disease and other chronic diseases, as well as premature aging
Adding a little spice to your meals, in your tea, or even in capsule form can help you maintain a healthy weight. I recommend drinking this 2-3 times a week for 4 weeks:
1 cup lukewarm water
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp. honey
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
Drinking lots of water and staying hydrated will help you flush out toxins and keep your body in health working order. Make sure you are staying hydrated and avoid sugary drinks and especially diet drinks. Diet drinks are actually worse for your health than regular (I mention this in more detail in A Dancer's Diary). We will talk about this later.
"Sleep affects the release of hormones by the hypothalamic-pituitary axes (HPA) and the autonomic nervous system (ANS). Sleep triggers or inhibits the production or release of various hormones.
Growth hormone is affected by sleep. You can work out for hours, but if you don’t get enough sleep your body is not going to turn fat into muscle.
Lack of sleep raises the level of cortisol which triggers the fight-or-flight response. During stress, our body shuts down normal maintenance. It activates fat storage and releases lots of sugar (for instant energy) into the bloodstream. It depletes the body of nutrients and triggers cravings for simple carbohydrates and sugar. Chronic stress promotes insulin resistance.
Leptin and ghrelin are two very important appetite-controlling hormones that are linked to sleep. Leptin suppresses appetite and ghrelin increases it. When people are subjected to sleep loss, leptin levels fall and ghrelin levels rise. Even when they received plenty of nutrition, people that didn’t get adequate sleep were compelled to eat more. Because leptin levels were low, their brains just didn’t get the message that they were satiated—instead they just kept getting the message: “Hungry! Eat!” When deprived of sleep, study participant’s desire for high-carbohydrate and calorie-dense foods increased by 45%." - Dr. Axe/draxe.com
Finally, exercise is beneficial in small amounts. You want to avoid working out more than 1 hour. When you go past an hour of exercise, your body is no longer benefiting from your exercise. Actually, your muscles will start breaking down at a much faster rate and will start to create free radicals that can cause damage to your body. We will discuss this in a later post, but I want to make sure that you understand that too much exercise can cause more harm to your body than not exercising at all. Limit your workouts to 30 minutes 4-5 days a week. You will get great results and will feel much better for it.
So all of these factors are what makes your body work well and lose weight. Staying hydrated, eating a lot of fiber, getting enough sleep, adding spiced to your diet, limited amounts of exercising, and removing fructose from your diet will help you lose weight and increase metabolism to help keep the weight off.
I recommend that you check out these articles that I have shared with you. They go in to more detail on the topics that I have mentioned. Everything mentioned in this article can be found in A Dancer's Diary as well. Please feel free to do your own research (I recommend Dr. Mercola and Dr. Axe) and ask any questions.
I hope that I have inspired you today. This is such an important topic that I couldn't just leave it alone, I wanted to take action to help those struggling with a weight problem. Yes, this will take time. But it will be so worth it in the end. There is much more to talk about, but I don't want to overwhelm you. I will be posting about weight loss every Monday from now on, so please make sure you keep checking back.
Until next time,