If you’re conscious of your weight and looking to shift a few pounds gained during lockdown, you might be tuned into the recent UK Government stance on fighting obesity, which is now using Weight Watchers as the main strategy!
This has got me fired up for so many reasons and the main one is that dieting is NOT sustainable weight loss / fat loss. In fact, in addition to muscle loss, it in can lead to a host of health problems, and it is a band-aid approach to a bigger, lifestyle issue. That is, most of us know think we know what we need to do to lose weight – eat less food, move more. Simple, right?
Not so. There’s so much more to what appears to be a simple “calories in vs calories out” equation? If you are serious about shifting weight permanently and living with energy and never feeling deprived, but enjoying your life, and still being able to enjoy delicious food, I’ve outlined the 5 keys to effective weight-loss and weight management:
1. Gut Bacteria. You’re probably wondering, what on earth do parasites, probiotics and fungus have to do with metabolism? A LOT actually. Overgrowth of certain types of bacteria are linked to obesity (as well as other health conditions like Anxiety, Depression, Crohn’s, IBS, Lupus, Ulcerative Colitis, and Rheumatoid Arthritis), so it’s vital that there be some investigative work into the causes of the overgrowth – unfortunately the NHS just doesn’t think this way, and neither does a Weight Watchers approach. But thankfully, Functional Medicine does! Testing is the starting point in Functional Medicine, after which, tailored recommendations around Diet, Rest, Exercise, Stress Management and Supplements (DRESS) are given, and then implemented with support via coaching.
2. Hormonal Imbalances. These can be fuelled by exposure to plastics and other xenoestrogens, in our plastic water bottles, food packaging, microwaving practices, toiletries like laundry detergent, shampoo, perfume, moisturisers etc… Too much estrogen can create storage of fat around our middle and in women on our hips, as well as cellulite. Estrogen Dominance is also a causal factor in female cancers, so it’s important for us to balance our hormones not only if we want to look good, but if we want to be proactive against diseases like cancer, as well as Cardiovascular Disease and Type 2 Diabetes. Again, Functional Medicine offers testing to help you discover the ratio of hormones so that you can address what is out of balance, rather than throwing spaghetti at the wall and hoping it will stick.
3. Genetics. There are some people who are fast metabolisers of certain foods and nutrients. For me, I metabolise sugar quickly, but there are some people who don’t, and that can lead to weight gain. Which is why I can eat carbs, and some people I know, simply smell them and put on weight!
4. What you eat. Quantities matter for sure, but what you eat is just as important as HOW much. For e.g. the calories in an Apple are let’s say the same amount of calories in a Diet Coke… but the apple is rich in fibre and phytonutrients, while the Diet Coke is processed and contains aspartame which is a known neurotoxin linked to Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia. There’s also the fact that artificial sweeteners actually cause you to eat more in order to feel satiated.
CONCLUSION: All calories are NOT created equal, so that’s why you need to focus on the QUALITY of your food, how you think about food in relation to your physical health and mental health, and personalising the way that you eat and live so that it works with your body, and ideally working with an expert to help you do that, so you can cut out the years of trial and error trying to do it yourself.
5. Coaching. Knowledge alone has never really been effective tool for change. It is useful for sure but in terms of giving you the impetus to make the relevant changes, a classic example is when you see smokers smoking under a No Smoking sign. They know smoking isn’t allowed, they know it’s harmful to their health, but they still smoke!
If that doesn’t resonate, think about this scenario: you know you should exercise daily, but you never make it to the gym / or online class, unless you’ve paid for a class so you’re likely to lose money on it if you don’t show up. But, your natural propensity is to skip the exercise, even though you KNOW you should exercise, even though it will make you feel good and look good.
So knowledge isn’t enough to encourage you to change. Having the right motivation and mindset, married with some accountability is!
I hope these 5 simple keys help you unlock the secrets to your own health in relation to your weight management, so you understand that lasting weight-loss and lifestyle change require a multi-pronged approach, that extends beyond calories in versus calories out.
There’s obviously a lot more to losing weight safely and sustainably, so, if you want to know more, head over to my Facebook Group, where I share the latest research on nutrition and mindset.