Since the weight loss industry really kicked off in the 1970's, we have seen a long list of fad diets gain and lose their popularity.
Everything from calorie controlled meal plans, to high carbohydrate, high protein, high fat and plant-based diets, have all been promoted as tools to help people shift those stubborn pounds.
Whilst all of these diets have an element of short-term merit, the big problem is sustainability and how to get off and stay off the weight-gain/weight-loss merry-go-round so that you can find your ideal healthy weight for good!
Here, we outline 7 helpful lifestyle tips that can help you to move away from short term dieting and towards a longer term healthy approach to nutrition and managing your weight.
1. Stop "Dieting"
This word diet is derived from the Latin, "Dieta" meaning, "manner of living".
In other words, "dieting" is not a temporary practice like it has been portrayed for decades by the food industry - it is a way of life!
So step number one in the weight management equation is to STOP subscribing to temporary fads or eating plans (that are often associated with deprivation), and to start thinking in terms of long term nutrition and sustainability.
2. Avoid Processed Food
The second step in finding your ideal weight and keeping it, is to reduce the amount of processed and refined food that you eat.
Common examples of the foods to avoid include:
- Processed Sugar
- Packaged Cereals
- White Flour (and White Bread)
- White Pasta
- Savoury Snacks
- Soft Drinks
- Take Away Food
- Processed Meats
- Processed Dairy
Just about all of these foods contain harmful additives, spike blood sugar and eventually will cause "insulin resistance" - which is the primary cause of long term weight gain, obesity and diabetes.
These foods compromise your cellular nourishment, which causes you to constantly feel hungry and to over eat. And this is the main aim of the commercial industry - to create "addiction" among the population to their food products so that they'll constantly be coming back for more.
Now, cleaning up your diet doesn't necessarily mean that you have to give up all the foods you enjoy. It just means that the more of these harmful foods that you replace with whole foods, the more satiated and nourished you and your cells will be, the less you'll feel like eating and the easier it will be to move towards your ideal weight.
Replace these foods with a wide variety of fresh, locally sourced, fibre-rich whole foods that are in their natural state - fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds whole grains. If you're not vegan or vegetarian, make sure that your animal products are grass-fed, organic and hormone-free.
3. Quit Calorie Counting
A Diet Coke contains less calories than a naturally fermented Kombucha.
But which one causes chaos in your body and which one provides beneficial nutrients?
The calorie counting argument is a myth that has been consistently debunked over the past decade. When it comes to weight gain, the problem is not the "quantity" of calories you eat but the "quality" of those calories.
Again, when you focus on wholesome nutrients, you will be more satisfied and you'll become less addicted to harmful, processed foods and drinks that ultimately put you on the weight-loss/weight-gain merry-go-round.
4. Eat Good Fats
Good fats are primarily monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that are known to lower LDL bad cholesterol and boost cardiovascular health.
These fats include:
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Raw Nuts e.g. Macadamia Nuts, Walnuts, Almonds, Brazil Nuts and Pistachios.
- Raw Seeds e.g. Pumpkin Seeds, Chia Seeds, Hemp Seeds and Flax Seeds
- Macadamia Oil
- Flax Seed Oil
A small amount of saturated fat from coconut oil and also grass-fed animal products such as raw butter, are also considered beneficial when it comes to general health and weight management, however only in moderation.
The worst fats of all that should be avoided are industrial vegetable seed oils, such as Canola, Corn, Soy, Cottonseed, Sunflower, Safflower, Grapeseed and Rice bran oils wherever possible. These are highly processed, refined products that are loaded with harmful Omega-6 fatty acids which create chaos in the body and won't serve you in your quest for sustainable weight loss.
Stick with "Good Fats", which help to balance blood sugar, suppress appetite, boost immunity and to promote fat burning over the longer term. This is particularly true as you reduce your intake of refined sugars and grains, because you gradually become metabolically more flexible, meaning your body begins to utilise fat - not just sugar/glucose - as a source of fuel.
5. Move Your Body
Life is movement.
Movement is critical to maintaining a healthy metabolism, which is a key piece to the sustainable weight management puzzle.
Moderate exercise boosts your metabolic rate, encouraging your body to burn fat for even hours after you've exercised.
When it comes to movement, choose your level based on your age, overall fitness and personal goals.
Start with walking, which is the number one exercise we are designed to do regularly for all round health. If you're using walking as a weight management tool, walk briskly for at least 30-45 minutes per day to a point where you're just short of breath.
To accelerate the weight loss process, it's important to incorporate some form of low impact resistance training at least 2-3 times per week to place mild stress on your muscles.
Resistance training exercises should engage the largest muscle groups, such as your legs, chest and back. Effective exercises include:
- Weight Training
- Circuit Training
- Interval Training
Running is also an effective exercise for weight loss, however it can be damaging over the long term due to the stress it places on the joints.
Exercises that incorporate both resistance and cardio (elevated heart rate) are particularly effective for burning fat and speeding up the weight loss process.
6. Drink Enough Water
Water is a basic principle of health because it is a very source of life, alongside fresh air and sunlight.
By drinking enough water each day, you will help your body to become efficient at flushing out metabolic waste, which is a key factor in maintaining your ideal weight.
Think of your body as flowing stream that transports nutrients to your cells and waste out of it. If the stream dries up, sludge will stick to the banks that run alongside the stream, causing waste to proliferate. When this occurs, your body will store fat even more readily as an insulator for the toxic waste.
Drink a minimum of 2 litres of clean water each day. If you're trying to lose weight, a more optimum level if 1 litre per 22 kgs of body weight.
7. Intermittent Fasting
Giving your body a break from food is one of the best ways to kick start any weight loss program.
And one of the best tools for doing this sustainably is with intermittent fasting, otherwise known as "time-restricted eating".
Intermittent fasting is all about shortening the window of time in which you eat, and lengthening the amount of time in which you fast, within each 24 hour period.
The reason intermittent fasting is an effective weight loss tool, is because when you spend more time in a 'fasted' state rather than a 'fed' state, you are lowering insulin, which encourages your body to utilise "stored energy" (fat) rather than glucose as a fuel source, through a process known as "ketosis".
If you're trying to lose weight, this kind of "metabolic flexibility" is crucial to your long term success. And it's something you can incorporate without too much difficulty into your existing lifestyle.
The easiest way to begin experimenting with intermittent fasting, is to simply eat dinner 1 hour earlier and breakfast 1 hour later than you would normally. In doing so, you've immediately extended your "fasting" window by 2 hours for any given day, which will have a profound effect over time.
From there, you can gradually extend out your fasting window even further, which towards the "magic zone", which is widely regarded as 16 hours of fasting.
Important Note: Intermittent Fasting is a "tool" that should be woven into your lifestyle, rather than rigidly practiced every single day. In order to develop metabolic flexibility, and thereby effective weight management, the idea is to not let your body get too set in its ways for long periods of time.
The Main Takeaway
The secret to finding your ideal weight and keeping it, is not fad or yo-yo-diets.
Rather, a healthy, sustainable approach to nutrition and your lifestyle habits.
Start by cleaning up your diet by eliminating processed foods, refined grains, sugars and bad fats; and replacing them with a variety of whole plant foods, good fats. If you include animal products in your diet, be sure that they are unprocessed and not chemically treated.
Next, move your body every single day, starting with brisk walking and then adding some low impact resistance training at least 3 times per week if you can. Finally, kick up your water intake and begin experimenting with intermittent fasting as a tool to begin training your body to tap into its stored energy/fat as fuel.
One final tip...
A great way to kick start weight loss is to clean out your digestive tract by doing a colon cleanse. Our handcrafted Cleanse Me product consists of Australian Food Grade Bentonite Clay, Ground Flax, Psyllium, Dried Apple, Cinnamon and Ginger and is available in our store.
Tolman Self Care.