New Year Resolutions for many people revolve around losing weight. For the past week you have probably been thinking and/or hearing about the best diets, weight loss tricks and exercise routines to improve your health and lose weight. Here are some new ideas for you to be successful this year.
Stop trying to lose weight.
Losing weight won’t necessarily make you feel better. It won’t make you happier. And weight loss isn’t the key to ever lasting health. What are the keys to happiness, feeling energetic, good body image, glowing skin, silky hair and optimal health? Keep reading to find out.
Feed your flora right.
As more and more is discovered about the billions of microbes we host in our digestive tracts, it is clear that metabolism, insulin function, satiety, appetite and hunger are dependent on proper gastrointestinal microbial balance. When antibiotics, chronic stress, and/or diets high in sugar, alcohol and refined carbohydrates deplete “good” bacteria, digestion is impaired and the amounts of calories and nutrients metabolized from food is unfavorably changed. Additionally, when “good” bacteria are depleted pathogenic and opportunistic bacteria flourish. This results in poor signaling from the gut to the brain regarding mood, hunger, appetite and satiety, as well as alterations in insulin function, which further impairs appetite control.
Exercise for the right reasons.
Avoid getting caught up in how many calories you burn and how many reps you complete. Exercise isn’t really about burning calories or contributing to weight loss by building a few pounds of lean muscle mass. The real return on your investment in exercise comes from:
- Improved appetite control
- Better sleep
- Optimal insulin function
- Excellent stress management
- Improved body image
- Gains in self confidence
- Protection from chronic diseases
- The functional ability to move your body, which is especially important as we age
Find something you love and do it. Walk, run, dance, go bowling, hike, swim, fly a kite, walk the dog, take the stairs, go to the park, lift weights, do squats, try a push up, take a yoga class or do a workout DVD. Whatever you like. Move your body every single day. Set a workout goal for this year. I’ll share mine with you in the next couple weeks.
It’s been said before: Just do it. No excuses. Now is the time to act.
Eat to support detoxification.
Many of the pollutants and toxins that we are exposed to in our food supply and environment are stored in body fat. When you lose weight by calorie restriction, which is ultimately the restriction of food and thus essential nutrients, your body mobilizes toxins out of body fat, but without proper nutrient intake the ability for your liver to metabolize and excrete these toxins is impaired. This leaves dangerous metabolites floating around in your blood stream looking for a place go, and you feel foggy, lethargic and moody. When I observe my clients losing weight but then losing motivation, feeling tired and not wanting to continue, we take a closer look at the nutrients they are missing. By increasing the nutrition in your diet, you provide necessary nutrients to support liver function, and the toxins that are mobilized during weight loss are easily processed and eliminated.
Check yourself. Are you addicted?
There are remarkable similarities between food addiction and other addictions. What are you addicted to? What do you “need”? What can’t you give up? If there are certain foods that you cannot imagine living without, reconsider your relationship to food. Which foods can you not put down? Managing food addiction is complex and requires the support of a counselor and nutritionist. Get the support you need.
Most people will benefit from cutting sugar, refined grains and fast food from their diets. Try it. See how your appetite changes in just two weeks of removing these addictive, highly palatable foods.
Go to sleep.
You might think you do fine with less than 8 hours, but the reality is that most humans need at least 8 hours of sleep. You should wake up feeling rested and ready to go every morning. If not, consider the possibility that either you don’t get enough sleep or that you aren’t getting the deep sleep that your body needs. Insulin resistance, hunger and cravings are higher in people that are sleep deprived. And that’s in addition to the fatigue and irritability that result from inadequate sleep.
Get in the kitchen and cook.
There’s no way to avoid it. In order feed your flora right, eat enough essential nutrients to support proper detoxification and to really put a dent in addictive-foods, you must get in the kitchen.
Cook. One of my client’s goals for this year is to cook two new recipes each month.
Spend the time it takes to think ahead and shop for unprocessed foods. In our world, what is easily available is not supportive of your health goals. You have to make it happen for yourself.
Assess what is really important.
This month, think about your behaviors. How do you eat, exercise and manage stress? What are your sleep habits? Put the scale away, stop thinking about your weight and focus on what is really important and crucial for your well-being. Make some changes and monitor your habits.
Photo Credit: from Smell of Rosemary Black Rice Salad with Mango and Peanuts
Material on this blog is provided for informational purposes only. It is general information that may not apply to you as an individual, and is not a substitute for personalized nutrition or health advice or healthcare. Never disregard medical advice or delay seeking medical care because of something you have read or accessed through this website.