Have you ever written down “weight loss” as one of your goals?! I have! And how many of you have achieved your goals only to have the weight creep back on again? Me, again!
An ideal weight is not just important for appearance and confidence, but it is good to strive towards in order to keep metabolically healthy and balanced. But sometimes, it’s just not that easy. I know for myself, weight has been a struggle for me since high school. Now, that said, looking back at pictures from that time, I wasn’t fat. My perception and poor comparison choices were the problem. Now, as an adult, I know I’d like to lose another 30-40 pounds to get closer to my ideal “pre-baby” weight. It’s a little more challenging now than it was when I was 22. But frequently our desire to lose weight isn’t grounded in reality – and our focus is better spent on achieving true health than chasing a number on the scale.
But, here the thing – if you’re already health conscious, it takes A LOT more effort and change for your body to recognize and respond to your weight loss attempts. I know people who can just stop drinking soda for a month and lose 15 pounds! I don’t drink soda, or eat much junk. So, that’s not an easy option for me. Therefore, take these tips with a grain of salt. Everyone’s body is different, and we need to respect where we are, and sometimes give ourselves grace with regard to expectations of a timeline and goals. It’s not always as simple as eating less and exercising more. Here are my tips to try when you’re working to lose some weight. Whether it’s 5 pounds or 100 pounds.
1. FOCUS ON A QUALITY DIET
This will look different for everyone. Food
sensitivities can be subtle, but real, and create inflammation and impact your ability to lose weight. The most common foods that are an issue are: wheat/gluten, dairy, soy, corn, sugar, and nightshades (potato, tomato, eggplant, peppers). Every person can have different food reactions that one may need to recognize and address. Nonetheless, the easiest answer without “knowing” what foods you may need to avoid is to do this: Eat. Real. Food. Food that your grandparents and great grandparents ate. Think about things that you could get directly from nature. Fruits, vegetables, proteins…etc. The closer we get to eating what nature intended, the more likely our body will respond and go back to its ideal shape and size. This is not an overnight fix or quick solution. This takes dedication, patience, and consistency. Over time, usually it pays off.
2. CONSIDER SOME INTERMITTENT FASTING
I like to call this metabolic confusion. And it is NOT for everyone. As with anything, please take your personal situation into account, and even speak with a physician to get the best recommendations for you. That said, if you have stable blood sugar, I encourage a few intermittent fasts throughout your week. The amount of time, and frequency throughout the week is up for debate, and is dependent upon you and your goals. I can share with you what tests most commonly for patients of mine is about 3 or so times per week, fast for 16-18 hours. This usually looks like going from dinner one evening, to lunch the next day. For example, if you finish eating dinner around 7:00 pm tonight, then only consume water, and non-calorie liquids until 11:00am-1:00pm tomorrow. Then, I recommend completing that 24 hour-cycle to gain the most benefit by stopping eating that evening again by 7:00. Then, the next day you can choose another fast day, or eat breakfast early.
This style of eating, as I said, confuses your body, and often times can reset your metabolism to break a plateau. But, once again, intermittent fasts are not for everyone. If you’re diabetic, get “hangry” or weak without eating, or are working on balancing adrenal hormones, it’s likely that you have a difficult time balancing your blood sugar, and it may be best for you to eat small frequent meals filled with protein and fat throughout the day. Over time, the healthier you become, it may be possible to introduce some intermittent fasts. Sometimes, as people start, they can only go 12 hours before feeling symptomatic. Start where you are, and push gently a little every week. And work with a trusted professional to help support you and your goals.
3. GET ADEQUATE EXERCISE
Please read the blog from last month where I discuss the importance of exercising CORRECTLY. Exercising too intensely can be more harmful than not exercising at all. So, find the appropriate balance for you. Moving your body is important – so just get off the couch and do something daily! Whether that is a simple walk around the block for those starting out, or jogging for miles for those well-seasoned athletes. Sometimes less is more. Just listen to your body to ensure that you’re not pushing yourself beyond your capacity. Workouts that are too intense and anaerobic can end up creating stress in your adrenals, pancreas and liver, and can cause blood sugar and cortisol spikes that will short-circuit weight loss efforts!
4. CHECK YOUR HORMONES
For the longest time I was unable to lose any weight - regardless of exercise, diet, or any trick in the book. This was because my thyroid was severely underactive. To the point that I really *should* have gone on medication. I chose to work towards healing it naturally, and I finally succeeded. I know the discouragement that comes with working really hard with diet and exercise with no results. If you’ve been consistent with your efforts for awhile with no visible changes in your body, I suggest getting some bloodwork done to assess hormonal balance to determine if there is something else going on preventing weight loss. These tests include, but are not limited to: TSH, Free T3/T4, reverse T3, TPO and thyroglobulin antibodies, vitamin D, cortisol, fasting insulin, HbA1C, progesterone, estradiol, and testosterone. Just because you haven’t found the answer yet, doesn’t mean there isn’t one.
Weight loss is a loaded and very sensitive topic to many. The bottom line is to work on being healthy! If we all eat and exercise the exact same way, we will all still be different shapes and sizes. Strive to become your healthiest YOU. No one else is qualified. J
I had a brief YouTube video on weight loss where I share some of my story and other thoughts back from May 2020. Since that time, I’ve lost over 40 lbs and am thriving! Feel free to check it out here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3uzYA_otckM and consider subscribing to my channel Dr. Christy Cares!
If you have any questions or need more individual guidance/support! I’m happy to help you discover and achieve your health and weight loss goals!
Dr. Christy Matusiak