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Weight loss is a goal for many of my clients. Quite often people come to me after “trying everything”…With so many diets to choose from, how do I determine what ‘diet style’ is best for my clients?

Weight loss, especially sustainable weight loss, requires baby steps and lasting lifestyle changes.  It requires consistency and a much more thoughtful approach than just calories in versus calories out.

The right approach is as individual as you are.  However, sensible and lasting weight loss has some common factors for everyone. This is what I call a Framework for Sustainable Weight Loss.  It involves:

  1. Recognizing the hormonal factors that influence weight gain. Factors such as insulin resistance, appetite / craving control, elevated cortisol levels, and changes to the male and female sex hormones as we age.
  2. Tuning your metabolism – Supporting digestion, the liver (our main fat burning organ), and the microbiome is paramount in order to make the metabolic shift that will help you lose weight and keep it off.
  3. Eat the right foods in the right amounts. This involves determining YOUR optimal caloric intake and balance of the macronutrients fat, protein and carbohydrates.  While ketogenic diets have become wildly popular, they are not a panacea. The best bang for your nutritional buck is to adopt an anti-inflammatory diet style high in nutrient dense whole foods.
  4. Stress management – Busy, stressful modern lifestyles have caused the pounds to creep up. With chronic stress comes higher than ideal levels of Cortisol, your body’s main stress hormone.  Stress affects fat storage, insulin response and eating habits.  Controlling, or perhaps even more importantly, recognizing stress and effectively dealing with it is essential to weight loss.

Exercise just doesn’t matter…

In the way that you think, anyway… Exercise is a vital part of being healthy.  But as for its direct effect on weight loss, those who hit the gym to shed the weight may be SORE-ly disappointed.  The true benefit of exercise on weight loss lies with how it helps you mentally and emotionally. By finding activities that you look forward to, you are able to manage stress and positively affect cortisol levels. Maintaining muscle mass, bone density and burning extra calories are helpful, but not essential to an effective weight loss strategy. Don’t exercise to burn calories. Be active to burn stress. Gardening, a stroll in the park, yoga, tai chi, archery, sailing are all great physical activities. So, choose an activity that moves you.

Frustrated with lack of results?

Restoring hormonal balance requires a holistic approach that supports whole body health. Here are some signs that your body is out of balance and that you might require a metabolic tune up!

  • You’ve tried multiple diets and nothing seems to work
  • You have lost weight in the past but since regained it
  • You have gained weight and body fat around your mid-section
  • You are going through significant hormonal changes such as menopause
  • You are under stress, recently endured trauma or have other ongoing mental health pressures
  • You suffer with digestive troubles like constipation, heartburn, or bloating
  • You have gained more than 10 pounds in a 12-month period

If these statements resonate with you, it might be time to seek professional help. Working with a nutritionist can help tease out the individual nuances that will make a difference for you.  An individual approach that works all areas of the Framework is the best way to achieve sustainable results.

Turn up the metabolic heat.  Work smarter, not harder. 

Finally, I offer some TIPS to begin making a shift in your metabolic environment.

  • Avoid snacking. Ideally, eat three times a day with 5 hours in between meals.
  • Include protein, healthy fat and low glycemic carbohydrates with each meal.
  • Eat mindfully. Slow down and chew food thoroughly. This has a profound impact on digestion, satiety and appetite control.
  • Take a digestive supplement or digestive enzymes.Consult a health care practitioner for the supplement that is right for you.
  • Eat an anti-inflammatory diet which includes adequate healthy fat and fewer servings of animal products.
  • Eat 30+ grams of fibre daily. If you eat more fibre you tend to consume fewer calories overall. Also, you will absorb fewer calories from the food you eat and have a healthier microbiome.

An effective weight loss strategy is about more than diet and exercise. There are hormonal, psychological and lifestyle factors to consider.  Successful weight loss involves creating the correct metabolic environment, making appropriate food choices and including the necessary lifestyle modifications to support and sustain weight loss.

Amanda Janes, Natural Nutrition Clinical Practitioner is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist practicing in Newfoundland, Canada.  As a cancer survivor and busy Mom of 4 she knows how vital (and challenging!) good nutrition can be.  Her passion is helping clients overcome obstacles to healthy eating in ways that are practical and delicious. To work with her contact amanda@conceptnutrition.ca.

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