Most people have the best of intentions when they set a goal of weight loss, but in order to avoid playing the game of yo-yo dieting, it’s important to remember some essential tips that can help you successfully reach your goal.
We Want it All and We Want it Now
Whether you want to lose that last 5 pounds or the stubborn 20 pounds you’ve been carrying for years, it’s important to take weight loss in stride. A weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds a week is the typical recommendation. Remember that one pound of fat contains 3,500 calories. So in order to lose one pound per week, you need to burn 500 more calories than you eat each day. If you lose a lot of weight very quickly, it might be only water or lean muscle tissue that you’re losing when what you really want to lose are fat stores.
Resistance is not Futile
Resistance exercise is truly the best way to burn calories at rest and ensure that your weight loss is not simply loss of muscle mass. If you don’t engage in resistance training, for every pound of weight that you lose half will be lean muscle tissue. Your naturopathic physician can use a Bioimpedance Analysis (BIA) machine to calculate your body fat percentage, monitor your weight loss and ensure you’re losing only fat.
The Reality of Sugar is not so Sweet
When we eat sugar, our body releases insulin to allow our cells to utilize the sugar as fuel. Any unused sugar, is stored as fat and stimulates the liver to produce cholesterol. In the Bogalusa Study out of New Orleans, Louisiana, it was well shown that high levels of insulin occur before the onset of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and obesity. Watch out for products that are low in cholesterol or low in fat as they are often high in sugar and can cause an unnecessary elevation of your insulin levels. The best foods to eat are fresh, whole and unprocessed.
A lot of stress in life can cause the body to produce high stress hormones, including cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones lead to fat storage around the abdomen. High stress can be caused by work or family situations, or may result from accidents and injuries. We can alter our body’s interpretation of stress and calm frazzled nervous systems using acupuncture, herbs and vitamins and with the regular practice of relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation or tai chi.
Clean Out to Lean Out
Certain toxins can create an imbalance of important vitamins and minerals in our bodies and wreak havoc on our metabolism. Toxins can be heavy metals, pesticides, or foods and other things that the body cannot process. For some people, a medically supervised detox or cleanse is sometimes indicated to kick-start the body’s fat burning processes.
Enlist the Pros
Call in the professionals to ensure the weight loss approach you desire is the best one for you. Your primary health care provider can help to diagnose any conditions that may be causing you to hold on to weight. Some things your physician may look for include low thyroid hormone, pituitary disorders, adrenal gland malfunctions, blood sugar imbalances or food allergies. Further, having someone track and follow your weight loss has been shown to boost weight loss success rates and improve motivation.
Dr. Julie Durnan is a naturopathic physician with a special interest in women’s health and she maintains a family practice at Restoration Health Clinic in North Vancouver. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Durnan visit www.drjuliedurnan.com.