7 Weight Loss Tips
(that have nothing to do with counting calories or weighing your food)
Weight loss can be a touchy subject. As women (and men) we’re bombarded with messages in the media about how we’re supposed to look, and what beauty is, however unrealistic they might be.
Sometimes, when we shift our focus, we can achieve our goals in a healthier way.
It’s my hope that this article can help you learn something new, and may help you look at weight loss in a different way.
These tips are in no particular order.
1) Uncover Food sensitivities
A food sensitivity is different from a food allergy. Food sensitivities can cause a low grade reaction that occurs after you eat a food. It’s often delayed, and can happen 1-3 days after you’ve eaten that food.
In some cases food sensitivities can be related to food cravings. For example: some people crave wheat gluten or dairy.
If you find that you crave a lot of a specific food, you may be sensitive to that food. And it may be worth it to explore whether you have a sensitivity to that food with a qualified healthcare provider.
With a food sensitivity, your immune system reacts to a protein within the food. For example, gluten or gliadin in wheat, or casein or whey in dairy.
You can’t have a food sensitivity to sugar (eg. lactose is the sugar in milk). Sugar cravings are often a different issue, but can sometimes be related to a craving for gluten.
2) Focus on Nutrient-Dense foods and on Nourishing ourselves
Many of us are used to looking at the number of calories in the foods we eat. What if, instead we focused on the nutritional value of foods and on nourishing ourselves?
Ultimately, what we eat fuels us, and helps us build a strong body and mind. And, your body will use all of what you give it to the best of it’s ability.
Ideally, you and your body are not at war. You’re on the same team. Your body is the only place you’ve got to live.
There are 3 categories of macronutrients: Proteins, Fats and Carbohydrates – and none of them are good or bad.
Proteins help up build strong muscles, bones and nails, and keep our immune system strong.
Fats are a great source of energy, can help us balance our blood sugar, energy and mood, and can help give our skin a healthy glow. Some fats are also anti-inflammatory.
Carbohydrates are a good source of energy, and they can help us get certain nutrients into our brains. Fiber can also help us. Soluble fiber – can help us feel full, keep our blood sugar balanced, help us lower our cholesterol, and help us balance our hormones. Insoluble fiber can help bulk up our stools.
There are also many micronutrients including vitamins and minerals that our bodies need to keep everything running smoothly.
Sometimes, when we lack micronutrients this can also lead to food cravings. There are many ways to address this including diet and lifestyle counseling, supplementing with specific nutrients, or supporting the digestive system. Working with a healthcare provider can be invaluable here.
3) Eating Mindfully
In a nutshell, eating mindfully means focusing on eating while you’re eating. And, potentially paying attention to how your thoughts, emotions and how your body feels before, during and after a meal.
It can be as simple or a complex as you make it. And, it doesn’t have to take long.
For example, try taking a few breaths, feeling the chair under you and the ground under your feet, and checking in with how your body feels before a meal.
Food can be used in a variety of ways: to fuel our bodies and minds; to achieve a goal (like completing a speaking engagement or running a marathon); to help us heal; or for pure pleasure. Being mindful of what we’re using food for when can be helpful.
Also, consider the environment you create for yourself and others when you’re eating. Are you rushed? Stressed? Angry? Sad? Arguing? or Relaxed and Present? Our digestive system works best when we’re relaxed.
When you eat in front of the television, the experience can pass you by and you can feel less satisfied.
What kinds of foods do you enjoy? How do they make you feel?
Focusing on eating while you’re eating can actually help you feel more satisfied. Try paying attention to how the food looks, smells, tastes, sounds, and feels. Eating is a sensory and social experience, and one of life’s greatest pleasures. Don’t let the experience pass you by!
Mindful eating is not about restriction. If you really want that chocolate cake or those french fries, enjoy and savour them. Listen to your body, and stop when you’re satisfied.
4) Eating for blood sugar balance
Have you ever felt irritable or downright angry when you’re hungry? Do you crave sugar? Does your energy dip before a meal? Read on.
When we eat foods that release sugar into our bloodstream quickly, our energy (and mood) tends to spike and crash like a roller coaster ride instead of being steady and sustained. We also tend to feel less satisfied and feel hungry sooner. It’s also harder on our body. Eating for blood sugar balance can help us stop riding the roller coaster.
There are two kinds of carbohydrates – simple carbs and complex carbs
Simple carbs include: chips, bread, pasta, minute oats, minute rice, candy, milk chocolate, baked goods, sugar etc. Simple carbs release their sugar into our bloodstream quickly.
Complex carbs include: vegetables and whole grains that take 10-30 minutes to cook. These do not tend to release their sugar into our bloodstream as quickly
There are two kinds of fibre:
Soluble fibre (aka slimy fibre) includes: blueberries, pears, okra, psyllium, ground flax, zucchini, eggplant, oats etc. Soluble fiber helps us balance our blood sugar and helps us lower our cholesterol.
Insoluble fibre (or Roughage): think cellery stalk; we can’t digest it. It simply bulks up our stool, which is important, but it doesn’t have an effect on our blood sugar.
In a nutshell, when we eat simple carbs alone, our blood sugar can spike and crash. Whereas if we combine these simple carbs with protein, fat or soluble fiber, our blood sugar can stay more even.
To learn more on this topic check out our post on eating for blood sugar balance. Speak with your healthcare provider before making any changes.
5) Manage your stress, make time for self-care
When we’re chronically stressed we can be less in touch with our body. We can overeat, and we can crave sugar.
Also, our digestive system works best when we’re relaxed, and this is how we break down the food we’re eating and absorb the nutrients from it.
Taking the time for a few breaths before a meal can be helpful. Or taking a few breaths and asking your body what it needs.
Also, taking 20 minutes a day to do something you truly enjoy – like walking in nature or stretching and breathing can be incredibly valuable when it comes to stress management.
Ultimately, self-care is about self-love. To learn more about self-care click here.
Getting adequate sleep can also be important when it comes to weight loss.
6) Support your digestive system
Our digestive system is how we break down food and absorb nutrients. If your ability to absorb nutrients is impaired this can lead to cravings and other problems.
Working with a healthcare provider to help support your digestive system can be helpful in terms of weight loss.
7) Eating at the same times every day
Our digestive system likes routine.
For people who are overweight or obese, eating at the same time each day has been linked with a ten pound weight loss.
You may want to try having snacks and meals at regular times (eg. Breakfast at 8am, mid-morning snack around 10:30am, lunch around 1pm, mid-aftenoon snack around 3:30pm, evening meal around 6pm).
Talk to a healthcare provider for specific guidance.