Thursday, 18 April 2013 12:30

Top 10 Tips for Weight Loss

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Written by Dr. Erin MacKimmie ND, RN, BnSc.Weightloss Tips

  1. Chew your food: Eating slowly may help you feel full faster, and chewing food completely helps you digest it more fully allowing for maximum absorption of nutrients—a well nourished body is going to send less hunger cues. 
  2. Drink your water: We consume far too much sugar and calories from sugar-laden beverages. Water is a much healthier option.   Make sure you aren’t confusing thirst for hunger – try drinking before snacking.  Studies have shown that drinking more reduces daily calorie consumption and drinking before meals helps middle aged and older people lose more weight.  Make your water more flavourful by adding lemon, lime, mint, cucumber or other fresh herbs.
  3. Eat some fiber: Preferably from whole food sources like fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds – it adds bulk, making you feel fuller for less calories.  Soluble fiber found in foods like oats, berries, bananas, apples, and carrots help to stabilize blood sugar leading to less cravings and lower cholesterol. Insoluble fiber like flax seed and psyllium helps to move waste through the intestines preventing constipation and the festering of rotting food in your gut, which can grow sugar hungry microorganisms that make you crave sugar.
  4. Get some sleep: Leptin and ghrelin are two hormones that regulate appetite: leptin tells you when to stop eating and ghrelin makes you hungry. Sleep deprivation lowers leptin and raises ghrelin, causing you to eat more. It is also a lot harder to make healthy choices when you are exhausted.
  5. Manage your stress: Stress causes you to release excess amounts of the hormone cortisol from the adrenal glands. When cortisol is elevated for prolonged periods, it actually stimulates our appetite. This leads to elevated insulin levels (insulin being a key fat storing hormone.) Find ways to cope with your stress. Going for a run, taking kick boxing, yoga or even deep breathing can help you achieve a state of calm and relaxation.
  6. Manage your mood: there are often underlying feelings or emotions associated with over eating. These underlying emotional issues can lead to strong cravings for sweet and fatty foods like chocolate and ice cream. It is very easy to use food as a drug to help with feelings of boredom, anxiety, loneliness, or grief.  If you deal with the underlying problem through other outlets like journaling, exercise, or other therapies, you are less likely to use food as your medicine.
  7. Eat your greens: Greens are nature’s perfect food—loaded with nutrients, high in protein—virtually impossible to overeat. They are often ignored and eaten only in salads containing very little variety (romaine, iceberg, baby spinach).  Expand your green horizon by trying some new varieties. Experiment with green smoothies—hide your greens in a smoothie with some fruit. Try bananas and berries with spinach or kale.
  8. Ditch the sugar: Did you know it takes 2-3 feet of a sugar cane plant to make a teaspoon of refined sugar? On average, North Americans are eating 150-200 lbs of sugar per year.  That is over 263,000 empty calories.  There are about 4,000 calories stored in a pound of fat – so if you do not burn all that sugar, there is the potential to gain 65 lbs in a year just from extra sugar! Even if you are managing to burn all these calories, they certainly won’t help you lose weight. Sweeteners like sugar cane and high fructose corn syrup are found in virtually all refined foods, so read the labels carefully.
  9. Pack a lunch: People who eat out more do not lose as much weight as those who eat mostly at home. Food you bring from home is going to be better than what you can buy on the go: restaurants and cafeterias always add extra fats and sugar to make things taste better. It is also tougher to make the healthy choice when presented with a tasty looking burger versus an iceberg lettuce salad. If you make your own lunch, you know everything that is in it, you know it will be delicious, you have better control over the portion size and you avoid the temptation. As a bonus, in the long run it will be cheaper.
  10. Eat some protein: It is often neglected when trying to restrict calories. Adults require about 0.5 g of protein per pound of lean body weight to maintain normal functions. If your lean weight (a person’s weight minus the fat) is 120 lbs then you would need about 60 g a day.  Protein is the building block of all cells and tissues in the body.  Not only does protein help to stabilize our blood sugar helping us feel full longer, it also builds muscle mass. Muscle uses lots of fuel – it burns more calories keeping our metabolism higher.
Read 16617 times Last modified on Wednesday, 15 May 2013 14:21
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