Tips for Weight Loss
By Sarah Axtell, ND • July 18, 2019
Tips for Weight Loss
1. Stick to whole foods with minimal ingredient lists.
If you are buying food out of a package, immediately turn it around and read the ingredients. A food may only be 100 calories but it may contain a whole host of inflammatory ingredients, such as preservatives, artificial sweeteners, thickeners, stabilizers, and emulsifiers. Your body metabolizes 100 calories from nuts much differently than 100 calories from those highly processed sour-cream and onion 100-calorie pack of pop-chips. After a highly-processed meal or snack (despite being only “100 calories,” “sugar-free” or “light”), you are left feeling unsatisfied, wanting more. Nourish yourself with nutritious, real, whole food (vegetables, nuts, seeds, berries, eggs, fish), and you will feel full and satisfied.
2. Nutrition label reading tip: Place less emphasis on calorie counting and instead be conscious of carbohydrates and fiber.
Start to count your NET CARBS rather than hyper-focusing on calories.
HOW TO COUNT NET CARBOHYDRATES:
You figure out how many carbs are in a serving of crackers by taking TOTAL CARB GRAMS and SUBTRACTING FIBER GRAMS (we do not absorb fiber)—the end result is the grams you must count for your meal.
For weight loss, I typically recommend a goal of 45 grams net carbs per day.
Here is an example of counting carbohydrates in crackers:
Flackers contains 1 gram of net carb per serving (7 grams total carbohydrate minus 6 grams fiber). This is a good way to get your crunch when trying to lose weight!
As a comparison, Nut Thins (a gluten-free cracker that is seemingly “healthy”), contain 22 grams of net carbs per serving (23 grams total carbohydrate minus 1 gram fiber). Not so great for weight loss!
3. Cook at home.
When you cook at home, you are in complete control of the ingredients and know exactly what you are putting in your body. Cooking real food at home is one of the best things you can do for the health of you and your family. I know you are busy, but it’s no excuse. Planning is key!
Some tips for meal planning:
- A routine and consistency are the keys. Have a similar meal schedule each week. For example, Mondays we always have salmon; Tuesdays are “Taco Tuesdays;” and Wednesdays we have chicken with pre-roasted vegetables and quinoa.
- Choose a few days per week to do the majority of your cooking and meal prep – make an extra dinner to freeze, chop veggies, make muffins or a breakfast casserole for the week. I do most of my cooking on Sunday.
- To save time, buy pre-cut or prepared veggies.
- Double or triple recipes and freeze to use in following weeks.
Stick to eating out at restaurants once weekly. When eating out, be an advocate for yourself and manipulate the menu. Don’t be afraid to order the burger without the bun or “tacos” without the tortillas- ask the waiter to put all the fixings in the taco on a bed of greens (skip the corn and flour!). Feel empowered! You want to feel good the following day and don’t want to sabotage your efforts.
4. MOVE Post-Meals.
I know the temptation after a big meal (and a long day!) is to sit and watch tv. That is the worst thing you could do for weight loss. MOVE after meals to encourage the sugar from the food you just consumed to get into your cells instead of lingering in your blood-stream leading to fat storage. Aim for at least 10 minutes of movement after each meal. This could mean yoga and stretching after breakfast, jumping jacks and lunges in your office after lunch, and a vigorous walk after dinner.
5. Intermittent Fasting
When you eat a meal you are in a fed state, or absorptive state, for 3-5 hours in which your body is working hard to digest and absorb food. During this fed state (high insulin state), it is difficult for your body to burn fat because insulin is ever-so-present. Insulin is the hormonal signal to the body to make and store fat.
But after the 3-5 hours in the fed state, your body enters the post-absorptive state, or fasting state (low insulin state). This state lasts 8-12 hours after a meal, and it is much easier for your body to burn fat because blood sugar and thus insulin has decreased. So if you are grazing and eating every 2 hours, you are constantly in a fed state and can never metabolically shift into the fat-burning state. But intermittent fasting is an approach that can promote this metabolic shift.
How to Do Intermittent Fasting
I recommend a 16-hour over-night fast 2-3 days a week. This means eating an early dinner (done by 7 pm) and not eating a morsel of food until 11 am the next day. You could certainly do this nightly but when first starting out, try it 2-3 days a week.
If this sounds too daunting, you could try fasting for a shorter period on a regular basis (i.e. a 12-hour fast). Close the kitchen after dinner and don’t eat again until the next morning, approximately 12 hours later. For example, finish dinner at 7 pm and don’t eat breakfast until 7 am the next day. This will help you quit the night-time snacking that is compromising your waist-line, heart, longevity and brain.
Eat REAL food, COOK at home, MOVE more, and AVOID EATING AFTER DINNER.
Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health practitioners with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.