Beach Metro Community News
Now that we are well into the new year, many of us are probably reflecting on all the new year’s resolutions that we have yet once again broken. For many of us, one of these resolutions was to lose weight. And we could have stuck to it, if it wasn’t for all those tempting chocolates on Valentine’s day or if it wasn’t for that Super Bowl party two weekends ago where we just ate way too much! Every day we promise ourselves, that we’ll start our diet again tomorrow. Does this sound familiar? Well, if it does, you are not alone. The battle to lose weight is one that many Canadians face every day and unfortunately, many of us are unsuccessful with it.
Caloric-restriction is not the answer
It is important to note that successful weight loss is not based on simply restricting calories. When you are on a low-calorie diet, your body goes into starvation mode and decreases metabolic activity in order to conserve energy. This will make it more difficult for you to burn calories and to lose body fat. Initially, you may lose weight because you are restricting your caloric intake, but once you return to your regular eating habits, you will gain back the weight (and more) because your body’s metabolism has slowed down and the food you eat will be converted into fat much more quickly. Furthermore, long-term calorie-restriction is not recommended, as it can eventually lead to problems with malnutrition.
Identify and treat the cause
So what IS the answer? In order for someone to lose weight permanently, we must identify and treat the cause. There are many factors which can contribute to weight gain, including: unhealthy dietary habits, poor blood sugar control, stress (physical or emotional), genetics, toxic overload, food allergies, hormonal imbalances (e.g. hypothyroidism), and a sedentary lifestyle. You may need to enlist the help of a trained professional who can help you to identify what is causing you to gain weight or why you are unable to lose it.
Because obesity can contribute to many chronic diseases, including: high blood pressure/heart disease, diabetes, and various cancers, obtaining and maintaining a healthy weight is highly essential.
General dietary recommendations
To help you to initiate the journey towards your weight loss goals, you can start by making some general dietary changes. These include: eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, increasing whole grains (adding to your fibre intake, which helps to balance blood sugar levels and increase eliminations), drinking at least eight glasses of water a day (cleansing and detoxifying), and avoiding sugar, white flour, caffeine, and saturated fat (all can contribute to weight gain). Your healthcare practitioner can also help to assess if nutritional supplements are necessary for you (to address any imbalances which may be causing your weight gain) or to determine what food allergies or sensitivities you may have. He or she may also help to discern whether or not a specialized diet (e.g. The Healthy and Active Metabolism Program, Atkins diet, the GI Diet, or the Blood Type Diet) may be suitable for you. Additionally, you should incorporate an exercise program (aerobic exercise, weight training) into your lifestyle. Exercise 30 minutes a day at least 3 times a week to increase metabolism and improve overall well-being.
Be patient and realistic
Finally, it is important to be patient and realistic with your weight loss goals. Proper and safe weight loss will take time and should be gradual. It should not involve a crash-diet that you are on for a few months and then are unable to maintain because of feelings of deprivation or hunger. Keep in mind that it is impossible to lose more than one to one and a half pounds of body fat per week. If you are losing more weight than this, you are losing water or muscle-mass as well. Remember that just as the weight gain was a gradual process, you should also expect that losing the weight effectively and permanently should also be a gradual journey.
Note: This article is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace proper diagnosis and treatment by a qualified healthcare professional.