As a nutritionist and wellness coach, 90% of the clients that come to see me have weight loss as their primary goal. In spite of the countless diets, books and programs that are on the market, most people struggle with losing weight and even more, with keeping it off.
The reason most diets don’t work is because they’re based on deprivation. As soon as you stop, you go back to your old eating habits and crave things like chocolate, pizza, pasta and wine. Diets also don’t address underlying issues in our body, such as hormonal imbalance, blood sugar fluctuations and inflammation. Most importantly, they don’t show you how to change your relationship with food and your body so you have the tools to deal with stress, cravings and emotional eating.
A natural and holistic approach to weight loss is effective because it restores balance in the body, improves your metabolism, allows you to feel satisfied rather than hungry, and creates healthy habits that will help you maintain your weight loss and get permanent results.
With warmer weather on the way, weight loss is on everyone’s mind so I wanted to share some of my favorite tips to help you lose weight… without dieting.
1. Eat more food
It sounds crazy, but you have to eat to lose weight. Most clients I see don’t eat enough throughout the day, which slows metabolism and fat burning, and leads to over-eating in the evenings. It’s one of the reasons I love the Beaming food-based cleanse programs. A cleanse is a great way to reset your eating habits, but liquid-only cleanses don’t provide enough calories or fiber, which can slow metabolism and spike blood sugars – the last thing you want when you’re trying to lose weight.
2. Drink more water
You’ve heard this one a million times, but most of us still don’t drink enough water. It sounds simple but hydration is one of the most important factors in weight loss and the most over-looked.
It’s easy to lose track and overestimate how much water we drink throughout the day, so the best way to ensure you’re getting enough is to fill up a 1 liter bottle and carry it with you – your desk, car and meetings – and make sure to refill at least once during the day. That way you can be sure to get approximately 2L for the day and you’re less likely to lose count with single glasses.
3. Get more sleep
Sleep is another critical component to weight loss that is often over-looked. It impacts our hormones as well as our hunger cravings. When you don’t get enough sleep, your cortisol levels are raised which affects your ability to burn fat. When you’re tired, your body starts to crave carbs and sugar because they are the quickest source of energy.
The goal is to get approximately 7-8 hours each night. The timing of your sleep is also important. Melatonin production (our sleep hormone) is highest between 10pm and 2am. Melatonin triggers the production of growth hormone (our anti-aging hormone) which is responsible for cellular regeneration while we sleep. If you want to look and feel youthful and radiant, you want more growth hormone! As a rule of thumb, try to go to bed by 11pm at the latest to maximize your hormone production during sleep.
4. Fill your plate with at least 70% plant-based foods
When you eat more plants, you naturally reduce your caloric intake because you’re eating low calorie, nutrient dense foods that are full of essential vitamins, minerals and fiber. This keeps you fuller longer and adds volume, variety and color to your plate.
Whether you’re vegetarian, vegan or carnivore, everyone needs to eat more plants! Especially dark leafy greens and bright colorful veggies like peppers, beets, tomatoes and carrots. If you can’t get enough in your meals, you can supplement with fresh pressed green juices or superfood green powders like Beaming’s Superfood Smoothie Blend and our Organic Superfood Protein Blend with Greens.
5. Eat protein at every meal and snack
Protein fuels your muscles, and more muscle mass means better fat burning. Having protein at every meal and snack is essential to balance your blood sugar, curb cravings and keep you feeling full longer. Even if you eat animal protein such organic eggs, chicken or non-farmed fish, everyone can benefit from adding plant-based sources of protein such as beans, legumes, nuts, chia and hemp seeds, and quinoa. They don’t contain saturated fats, and provide you with vital nutrients such as fiber, essential vitamins and minerals.
6. Avoid chemicals
Chemicals and preservatives are not only bad for your health, but for your waistline too! Many chemicals are hormone disruptors that can wreak havoc on your metabolism over time, such as BPA in plastic bottles, BHA in artificial colors, parabens in cosmetics, and hormones in non-organic animal products.
Some ingredients such as artificial sweeteners and high fructose corn syrup have been shown to affect hunger and satiety signals by interfering with leptin (the hormone which helps you feel full) and grehlin (the hormone which creates hunger signal) production. Artificial sweeteners decrease the body’s sensitivity to leptin and trigger production of grehlin, so you’re less likely to feel full and satisfied, and end up craving more sugar.
7. Eat more fats
Contrary to all the low-fat and non-fat products that bombard us in marketing campaigns, your body actually needs fat to lose fat. Healthy fats reduce inflammation in the body and increase our metabolism. They also keep our skin soft and youthful. The key is getting the right kind of fats. You want to limit saturated fats that are typically found in animal products like red meat, butter and dairy. Small amounts are okay if you have dairy in your diet, however what you want to focus on are the plant-based fats. These are found in nuts (almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts), seeds (chia, hemp, flax), oils (flax, olive, coconut) as well as avocadoes. Fresh, non-farmed fish are also a good source of omega3 fats.
It can be tempting to follow the latest diet or fad that promises quick and significant weight loss. Believe me, I’ve been there! The problem is that these diets rarely result in permanent results and you find yourself right back where you started, feeling frustrated and disappointed.
A natural approach to weight loss will ensure you can keep the weight off, and more importantly, it creates long-lasting health benefits and a greater sense of well-being.
Victoria Bailey is a Certified Nutritionist, Wellness Coach and Weight Loss Expert, passionate about helping women and men transform their body, lifestyle and relationship with food through a holistic mind and body approach. Connect with Victoria on Facebook and her website www.victoriabaileywellness.com.