When it comes to weight loss, we've really seen and heard it all. From detox teas to diets to workout programs to calorie counting to weight loss supplements, the list goes on and on.
There is no shortage of options you can now find in the weight loss section at your Organic Food Store.
However when it comes to sustainable weight loss, it really isn't required to go on a restrictive diet or start counting all of your calories.
Adequate movement, nutrition, stress management, gut health, and detoxification are all important factors to consider to promote healthy weight balance.
When we view weight gain as a symptom of deeper imbalances then we can start to address what is driving the issue in the first place, and as a result skip over a lot of frustration. There are some key factors to consider when it comes to losing weight in a sustainable way and maintaining a healthy weight for years to come.
Adopt a whole foods diet
Restricting your food intake and adopting dietary labels can be a disaster for weight loss because it's unsustainable. In addition many diet foods are highly processed, lacking in nutrients, and may promote cravings for junk food and highly palatable foods.
Instead, adopting a whole foods diet with an emphasis on plants is a more reliable way to maintaining a healthy weight due to the nutrient density and high fiber content. These would include a variety of fish, lean meats, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds and legumes, depending on your personal preferences.
When we eat real whole foods we are better able to regulate our hunger signals, reduce cravings, keep our blood sugar stable, increase energy, and reduce inflammation which can all contribute to sustainable weight loss.
Support the liver
The liver may be the most underrated organ, especially when it comes to weight loss, as it is involved in hundreds of bodily functions, two of the most important being digestion and the elimination of wastes - including toxins and hormones. Our modern diet and lifestyle can overburden the liver, causing congestion and sluggishness, resulting in an increase of wastes in the body and fat accumulation.
Weight loss is much more than just looking at calories in calories out, as a symphony of hormones will be involved. If the liver can't properly eliminate excess hormones and toxins from the body, we got trouble.
Not only are toxins found in adipose tissue, but they are actually strategically placed there in order to protect your internal organs and keep them from causing damage. If the body doesn't feel like it can safely eliminate them via the eliminatory organs it will hold onto them in fat cells, making weight loss that more difficult.
The liver requires a regular steady stream of nutrients to do its job properly such as amino acids, selenium, B vitamins, and vitamin C.
A gentle cleanse, such as the Wild Rose Cleanse, or liver supporting herbs can be supportive alongside a liver friendly diet. You can read more about how to cleanse safely on our blog here.
Manage your stress
What does stress have to do with weightloss? With increased stress levels comes increased cortisol production. Cortisol is our friend in acute instances but it causes problems when it is chronically elevated. Unfortunately our lifestyle today largely promotes chronic cortisol secretion resulting in a plethora of health issues. This continually elevated cortisol production can promote visceral fat accumulation and insulin resistance, decrease muscle mass, raise inflammation, and promote fat cells to become resistant to fat loss.
Certain vitamins and supplements can help to support the stress response and reduce cortisol levels however it's important to address stress through diet, lifestyle, and mindset work at the same time.
So what can you do? A daily stress management practice can make a world of difference and this can look like meditation, nature walks, or listening to music. Sleep is also going to be an important part of managing stress so make sure you are getting plenty of rest and doing your best to avoid excessive electronic use especially in the evening. And of course, add some fun and play into your day!
Keep your blood sugar stable
When we spike our blood sugar with the wrong types of foods, we can experience energy crashes as well as increased fat storage and cravings for the wrong foods. This sets us up on this vicious cycle of reaching for the sugary foods to get our energy back up to only crash again a few hours later.
Skip the cycle altogether by practicing good blood sugar balance. This means avoiding the habit of skipping meals and planning out regular meal times balanced with all 3 macronutrients: fat, protein, and complex carbohydrates.
Following the whole foods approach mentioned above, this is a critical part of keeping your blood sugar balanced as processed foods will be some of the worst offenders.
Love on your gut
It really all starts and ends with your gut!
When we have an imbalanced gut, we see inflammation rise systemically in the body but we also can't properly detoxify.
Inflammation will often be resulting from an unhealthy gut which is a main driver in weight gain.
An overgrowth of dysbiotic bacteria can result in toxic compounds being reabsorbed across the gut wall and re-enter circulation to be processed yet again. This can further worsen hormonal imbalances making weight loss even more difficult.
Our gut bacteria will also influence the nutrients as well as the calories we absorb, our ability to regulate our hunger, and the kinds of cravings we experience.
Adopt an anti-inflammatory diet and take care of your gut by including plenty of prebiotic and probiotic foods, and supplementing if necessary. Though probiotics aren't always needed they can help in restoring a healthy microbiome.
Laurence Annez is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner and Health Coach, specializing in PCOS and women's hormones. She also holds a degree in Creative Writing and has extensive experience writing on health and wellness topics. Laurence's mission is to inspire and motivate individuals to take control of their own health and reach their ultimate health goals.