10 Tips to Weight Loss Without Going on a Fad Diet
When it comes to weight loss, many of us are bombarded with “should and should not” laws about food. We all have beliefs that motivate our engagement with food on a daily basis.
In health coaching, I not only help address weight loss but also the eating psychology of a person. It is important to address the eating psychology so that we can have healthy motivations about how we care for our bodies.
Today I wanted to share 10 ways you can approach weight loss that are not part of a fad diet. Fad diets may have results in the short term, but they don’t get to the root problems we may have with our body and they certainly don’t help produce a healthy eating psychology.
Weight gain can be the result of a number of root causes. We often reduce the solution of weight loss to making better food choices, but weight loss often requires one to reorient their mindset, lifestyle and nutritional resources in order to address the whole problem.
If you have an illness or a specific auto immune disease, you will need further help beyond my 10 tips. One of my favorite Practitioner groups in Austin (and there are many) are the Wiseman Family Practice.
10 Tips to Weight Loss Without Going on a Fad Diet
1. Drink water
This may sound so simple, but it is true. There have been many scientific studies that showed people to lose weight and keep it off when they were properly hydrated. The body can not regulate and metabolize properly without hydration.
Take a realistic look at your water intake. Are you drinking 50% of your body weight in ounces a day? How many sodas, juices, or caffeinated beverages are you consuming a day? Your cells may be dehydrated and unable to function at their optimal rate.
Grab a water bottle with a straw and start drinking! It will be hard to transition from soda to water, but give yourself time and start with filtered or spring water to help your transition.
We are most dehydrated in the morning, so drink it first thing in the morning to start your day. By hydrating your body each day (with 50% of your weight in ounces) you are allowing your body to detox and process nutrients. This will help your body begin to lose weight and properly function.
2. Cook Real Food
This too may sound simple, but take a look at your pantry and refrigerator. Where does your food come from? I wrote a blog on eating clean real food to give you some guidelines.
Our body needs real nutrients to allow the body to thrive. Choosing organic whole foods is the first place to start in getting proper nutrition to your cells.
I know cooking may not be for everyone, but I believe anyone can cook. We are used to convenience forms of foods to serve our lifestyle of busyness. Learn how to use a crock pot, instant-pot, an oven or the stovetop. (Not a microwave) and you will be able to prepare real food every day.
We have to stop sacrificing our source of nutrients and expecting to be healthy. It is important to reorient your life so that you can truly care for your body and do the very best you can in the life you are given. Part of cooking real food requires a plan, which leads me to #3.
3. Meal plan
Without a plan you are reduced to eating by impulse or choosing quick convenient foods. Make room for a meal plan. Once you have a plan it will provide during the busier days or seasons of life and you won’t have to grab for empty calorie foods.
Make space to make a plan. Choose some current space you have and write down your favorite foods. Find a friend or a food blog to look up recipes. This is an online service that has also served to be a great source of meal planning help!
I wrote about 6 meal planning tips that will also serve you as you make space to meal plan. Be sure to plan for each meal and snacks, so you aren’t grabbing extra things last minute at the store due to advertisement or even hunger.
4. Reduce and eliminate sugar
There are 100’s of studies where people have gained weight simply by adding sugar (that is fat free) to their diet. Sugar creates an inflammatory response, feeds the fat bacteria (Firmicutes) and is often stored into fat, especially if there is an abundance of sugar being consumed.
In America we are overfed and undernourished. Part of this is due to our sugar intake. Reducing and eliminating sugar is key to weight loss. But before you can start this, you have to take an honest look at sugar. The truth is that we don’t need sugar but are highly addicted to it.
Sugar is hidden in processed foods and condiments everywhere. You may not be eating baked sweets, but if you begin reading ingredients you will find that sugar is hidden in just about every packaged good you eat.
Certain carbohydrates can also turn to sugar and be stored as fat. Brenda Watson has a “Teaspoon Tracker” formula that helps determine carbohydrate and it’s teaspoon equivalent of sugar in the body.
You take the amount of Carbohydrates and subtract it from the amount of fiber, then divide it by 5. Your answer determines the number of teaspoons of sugar equivalent. ((Carbohydrates-Fiber)/5 = amount of teaspoons of sugar)
Consuming more than 10 teaspoons each day will almost always result in weight gain. So the goal is to consume 10 or less teaspoons of this calculation when it comes to carbohydrates.
As you begin to reduce it, start with exchanging your types of sugars. Berries, stevia, Sweet veggies and coconut cream are great exchanges and have a low glycemic index in the body.
You want to keep a stable blood sugar level through out the day so that you are not crashing over and over or reaching for a quick sweet treat when hungry between meals. Have snacks ready as you transition!
Don’t skip meals! Increase your protein, quality fats and fiber to fight the sugar cravings. Drinking water will also work well as you begin to eliminate sugar from your daily routine.
5. Increase Fiber
Fiber is so important for weight loss. You want to consume up to 30g of fiber a day to help with weight loss.
Green smoothies are a great way to consume fiber! Make sure you consume whole fruit blended smoothies rather than juicing. You lose the fiber when juicing, so invest in a blender that will allow you to consume the whole fruit or vegetable in your drink.
6. Eliminate the processed grains
The grocery shelves are full of “empty calorie foods” (pirates booty, organic snack chips, goldfish and veggie straws) and most of them are processed grains. Grains do have their place but that can be different for each individual.
You want to choose fermented, spouted, or whole grains. Remember that grains can be part of the meal, but don’t make them THE meal. For tips on the right kind of grains and how to make them more digestible, listen to my friend Wendi Combes at Jubilee Health.
Limit your grains to 1 or 2 a day. Exchange them for raw veggies dipped in hummus or guacamole.
Even gluten free packaged goods are considered grains and can be some of the worst foods for you. Quinoa, soaked rice and some einkorn are better choices of grains that have enzymes, fiber and protein to feed the gut when consuming them.
7. Feed the Gut
There has been extensive research in the last few years that have discovered that we have what is called a Microbiome that essentially is responsible for many things in our body. Your bacterial ratios are key to determining your weight loss or gain.
You want to feed your healthy bacteria (Bacteroidetes) in order to have a healthy metabolism. Quality fat (Cultured or grass fed butter, olive oil, avocados,coconut oil or bulletproof MCT oil), Veggies (many greens) and fermented foods feed your gut biome.
For years we have dismissed fat due to the craze of “low fat” foods. Low fat foods will not help you lose weight. Your body must have the quality fat, veggies and fermented foods as part of its daily eating routine in order to have a health management of weight.
8. Exchange empty calorie snacks for Protein snacks
Start by making changes to your snacks. This is where we often gain unnecessary calories and greatly lack nutrients. If you are going to eat, by all means, give your body some nutrient dense foods.
Nuts, seeds, and whey grass fed protein bars are some of my kids favorites. Almond Butter and green apples are one of my favorite snacks. Other options are local pastured sausage with avocado, hummus and veggies, chickpeas, kind bars or roasted kale with nutritional yeast.
It may take a little more thought, but it is worth it to give yourself protein snacks. Exchanging empty calorie snacks for nutritional snacks will aid in losing unnecessary pounds, reduce sugar cravings and aid your body’s nutrient need.
9. Take Probiotics
Sometimes a lack of weight loss is due to lack of healthy flora to regulate metabolism. Probiotics are everywhere but it is important to take quality brand names that can be trusted.
When taking probiotics, I usually suggest for my clients to take one that helps clean the gut and focuses on repair, like Flora Synergy by energetics. After 6-9 months, I tell them to switch to Klaire Labs complete multi- strain probiotics with lacto and bifido bacterias.
You may check with your functional medicine doctor to see what probiotics are best for you based on a blood test of your flora if you are having other issues or not seeing results.
10. Get sleep
We often think of sleep negatively, as to what we lose if we sleep. (Time to finish task, ext) However, we must think of sleep positively because it gives us so much more than we lose.
With sleep your brain can assimilate information, your body will detox, your body will repair, your body will rest, and your hormones will not be overloaded. This is just a few of the many reasons we should sleep!
Without sleep our brains and body can not function at full capacity and over time what we thought we loss, really is no comparison to what we will lose long term when we do not sleep. Reorient your life to get back to sleeping! You can accomplish a task more efficiently if you sleep.
We like to “land the plane” (because a plane does not crash land and so shouldn’t our bodies) by reading a book, journaling, coloring or spending time in prayer to help us unplug from the day and enter sleep where we will gain so much for the new day ahead.