|Holistic Weight Loss|
Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is integral to feeling our best and living a healthy and active lifestyle. There are unfortunately many quick fix solutions floating around out there though that often leave people yo-yo dieting, hungry, frustrated, and most times either unable to loose the weight or ending up gaining it back plus some after a quick, unsustainable weight loss gimmick. When someone is truly ready to achieve a healthy lifestyle and put forth the commitment to changing their habits permanently, weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight can come with very little effort. Our bodies naturally want to be healthy and if we consistently feed them healthy, nourishing foods and move them appropriately they will eventually settle at a healthy weight and also reward us with much improved energy and a general happier outlook on life. With this realization however comes the need to accept that what we may consider our “ideal” weight, which is often fueled by media images and societal pressures, may not be what our healthy and natural weight truly is. If we are constantly striving for an unrealistically low weight that is impossible for our body to achieve or maintain then this goal will often leave us feeling frustrated with the inability to achieve it and we may give up and fall back into an unhealthy lifestyle. If we focus on being strong and healthy and commit to being happy with where our weight eventually naturally falls under these circumstances than we are much surer to succeed!
The first step in transitioning to this healthy lifestyle is evaluating how we nourish our bodies. There is no one perfect diet for everyone. What one person may thrive on can be torture and not effective at all for another. Some people do well with a mostly plant based diet whereas others require animal products to feel their best. Some people thrive eating some whole grains in their diet while others feel the most optimal not including any grains at all in their diets. This is where a holistic nutritionist can come in very helpful when trying to play around with what is best for us and to slowly come up with a diet that works best for a particular individual. There are however some general healthy guidelines that would apply to everyone embarking on a healthy lifestyle. First and foremost we need to eat whole, real foods by drastically reducing or eliminating anything packaged and processed. Many times these packaged products come packed with sugar, trans fats and other unhealthy oils, genetically modified ingredients, soy, preservatives and other chemicals that make weight loss almost impossible. When our bodies carry a heavy toxic burden from these types of non-foods our bodies sequester these harmful compounds in fat as a protection mechanism which makes it very difficult to get rid of this stubborn fat. Also, we aren’t getting sufficient nutrients from these fake foods so our bodies are constantly telling us we’re hungry, regardless of the excess calories we may have already consumed, in an effort to get these vital nutrients. So a nourishing diet which is plentiful in whole foods, especially greens and vegetables, healthy proteins and fats is an essential step is improving our health and getting us to a healthy weight.
We also need to focus on two other very important components along with what we are eating. These are sleep and physical activity. Being sleep deprived makes it impossible to be healthy. Our bodies need that time to recuperate and recover and detoxify. Especially when we are transitioning into a healthier and more real food based diet our bodies will be in some form of detox while they get rid of the unhealthy substances and toxins that have accumulate from our previously unhealthy habits. We need to give our bodies the proper time to heal and this requires at least 8 hours of sleep at night. For help improving sleep quality please see the previous post on sleep support. When we are tired and sleep deprived our bodies also can’t as easily regulate our blood sugar levels and cortisol making us more prone to hyper/hypoglycemia and thereby making overeating and poor food choices happen more easily. Physical activity is also imperative to a healthy lifestyle and healthy weight. Exercise helps us to burn excess calories, releases feel good endorphins, improve sleep, and help us move more easily in general, which all promote a healthy life and weight maintenance. The key to consistent exercise is to find something we enjoy, whether that’s leisurely long walks alone or with friends or pets, going to the gym or working out with a trainer or in a group setting or on a team, or training for a triathlon or other race. We need to find something that motivates us, challenges us and keeps us happy and wanting to come back for more! With some time and experimentation everyone can find the right activity for them, we were made to move and interact!
Another issue that arises with weight loss is the psychological issue. Many times people eat for other reasons than true hunger. Working with a holistic nutritionist can also help to examine this and solutions can be implemented to help make the individual more of aware of what is going on. If more advanced help is needed a counselor or psychologist may be the next step to take.
There are also some very specific and effective supplements that can help with weight loss, a healthy lifestyle and weight maintenance. Sometimes an individual will have some specific imbalances or issues that need to be dealt with that may otherwise make weight loss much more difficult if not impossible, such as if the person is deficient in a specific nutrient that causes unbearable cravings or hunger. In the post next week we will look at these imbalances and the natural supplements available to help with them. We will also look at some weight loss nutrition tools that make weight loss and transitioning into this lifestyle much more easy and delicious!