From helping yourself to helping the planet, there are many reasons to maintain a healthy weight. The trick to shedding extra pounds is finding the right combination of lifestyle changes, attitude shifts, and even medical advice that will help you achieve the results you are aiming for. Here are a few tips I share with my patients to help them achieve their weight loss goals.
Exercise Smarter, Not Harder
In an effort to be slimmer, a balanced workout routine is vital. Excessive cardiovascular exercise can actually breakdown muscle to fuel a lengthy cardio session. Since muscle is up to five times more metabolically active than fat, concentrating on cardio alone can lower your metabolism and make it easier to gain weight. Spending an equal amount of time on cardiovascular and resistance training is advised to maintain a higher calorie burn throughout the day—not just when you’re at the gym.
Follow the 95% Rule
What types of foods are you putting into your body 95% of the time? It can be daunting to put absolute restrictions on some of your favourite foods, so allow yourself some leeway. If you eat three meals and two snacks per day try to “stay within your points,” “maintain a low-glycemic index,” or “minimize your simple carbs.” That way one meal and one snack per week off the regular routine can be the reward, but remember that you have to earn it.
Cortisol, often referred to as the “stress hormone,” has been known to raise blood sugar levels leading to an increase in insulin in the body. Insulin, produced in response to elevated blood sugars, has the role of putting glucose into cells of the body including fat cells. Together these hormones can wreak havoc on waistlines, which is why combining a restriction on baked goods and starchy foods with stress-relieving activities can make you leaner, faster.
Get a Handle on Appetite
The feeling of fullness in your stomach may not reach the brain until 20 minutes after you have eaten. Try eating mindfully during dinner time to ensure you are not overeating when your metabolism is slowing down and preparing for bedtime. If you do need to eat fast, keep the portions small and wait 20 minutes to see if your body really does need another serving.
Balance Your Hormones
When it comes to difficult weight loss, other factors may need to be examined. A sluggish thyroid, lower than normal testosterone and estrogen levels, excessive cortisol production or any combination of the three may be sabotaging a weight loss program. Consider consulting a professional to evaluate if you do need further investigative work into your health.
Dr. Ng is a Naturopathic Physician and co-founder of the Mountainview Wellness Centre. He specializes in Weight Loss, Anti-aging Medicine, Thyroid Conditions, and Hormone Balancing. For more information on Dr. Ng or weight loss programs please visit www.mountainviewwellnesscentre.ca.