We are huge advocates of body acceptance and self-love, but also acknowledge the role that a healthy weight can play in your overall well-being. However, creating a weight-loss approach that includes both self-love (i.e. avoiding the diet/binge cycle) and a healthy, sustainable strategy can be a daunting task!
Losing weight doesn’t have to be a stressful, intense restriction thing though. You can still work on reaching a healthy weight, while respecting your body. And here to tell you the steps, Natcha Naithai from the site Wild & Nerdy Wellness.
We hope the tips below help you reach your weight-loss goals with ease, and highly encourage you to check out the many more amazing resources that Natcha provides on her site!
Many people struggle to lose weight even though they are on a diet and exercise program that works for other people. Here are 6 things that I investigate when I do health detective work to help my clients with difficult weight loss.
1. Circadian rhythm and sleep
Your circadian rhythm is your body clock which coordinates your hormones and bodily functions (eating, sleeping, waking, pooping etc.) with the day-night cycle of the planet. It is tied to many hormones that regulate body composition, so your hormones could be working against fat loss if you have an unhealthy circadian rhythm. For example, we can become insulin and leptin resistant just from a single night of sleep deprivation, which can lead to increased hunger and fat gain.
Ways to ensure normal circadian rhythm for the best fat loss hormonal environment include:
1) Eating a nutrient dense meal with sufficient proteins (30 grams) for breakfast as soon as you wake up.
2) Not eating 2 – 3 hours before bed or late night, which should result in 12 hours of not eating overnight.
3) Being exposed to natural sunlight during the day and not being exposed to blue lights during the night, which means not using iPads, smartphones, computer screens and TV a few hours before bed. If that is absolutely necessary, blue blocker glasses may help reduce blue light exposure.
4) Talk to your doctor about getting tested for and handling any issues that may prevent you from getting great quality sleep.
For more details on this, check out Natcha’s book: The Ancestral Blueprint’s Guide to Sleep Troubleshooting here.
2. Chronic inflammation
Although the Paleo diet is generally a low inflammatory diet, It is possible to still have chronic inflammation. You can be sensitive to something that is Paleo-compliant. Other causes could be chronic low grade infections or environmental allergies. Inflammation can cause leptin resistance, and directly obesity, which explains why many people lose weight when they get off foods that they are sensitive to.
Solution: If you have symptoms of inflammation, like joint pain, allergies, autoimmune issues, depression, IBS, etc., it is important to investigate the causes of this inflammation.
3. Dysbiosis of gut bacteria
Different strains of gut bacteria have been associated with obesity or leanness states (reference). However, while there are some benefits to eating probiotics, probiotics supplements or fermented foods are not weight loss pills. Rather, the composition of foods has bigger impact on the composition of gut bacteria than the bacteria that are ingested (reference). In addition, most of us suffer from dysbiosis more from our exposures to antibiotics and our stress levels than from not taking probiotics (reference).
Solution: Baby your gut bacteria. Eat prebiotic foods that feed the gut bacteria. Manage your stress levels. Filter chlorine out of your drinking and bathing water. Don’t use antibacterial soap with triclosan. Don’t eat CAFO meats that may have been treated with antibiotics to maximize body weight.
4. Micronutrient deficiencies
Vitamins and minerals play essential roles in metabolism. While a whole foods diet or a Paleo diet are typically significantly more nutrient dense and balanced than a Standard American Diet, it is still possible to be nutrient deficient. Many people end up eating much less foods due to increased satiety effects of the foods, which can lead to less micronutrient consumption. If possible, run a blood test like Organic Acids or Nutreval to check for nutrient levels. Digestive functions can also affect how these nutrients are absorbed as well.
Two years ago, I decided to start introducing 1000 IU of vitamin D in the winter on a whim, and lost 8lbs within two weeks. I was faithfully Paleo and was very surprised that there was room for improvement in my vitamin D levels. Fortunately, a blood test for vitamin D is quite inexpensive so it is a good idea to get tested so you can maintain an optimal level.
Solution: Incorporate nutrient dense foods, like organ meats and vegetables. Use nutrient dense fats like lard or tallow for cooking. Check for vitamin D and other micronutrient levels.
5. Too many or too few calories
Calories do count even though fat loss has a lot to do with hormonal environments. When fats are added liberally to the foods, it is possible to go over your maintenance calories by thousands of calories. In addition, it is easy to overdo Paleo treats, especially ones that are higher in fats. For others, it is possible to under eat due to the high satiety effects of the foods. Consistently eating too low calories can impede fat loss as well. Therefore, it is a good idea to journal, measure, and calculate their caloric intake for a few days to see if you are significantly under- or over-eating. In fact, studies show that people who record their food intakes lose more weight and are more likely to keep it off if they continue to journal. (references here and here)
6. Exercising the wrong way or total reliance on exercise to lose weight
Exercises change hormonal environments in favor of fat loss and lead carbs and fats where they belong (i.e. in the muscles and not in the belly), but exercising doesn’t burn that many calories. Also, people tend to compensate by eating more foods. Therefore, exercise is necessary but not sufficient for successful weight loss.
The best exercise regimens for weight loss incorporate strength training as well as high and low intensity cardiovascular training, with different ratios depending on individuals. People who exercise the same way every single time may stop seeing results, regardless of forms of exercise, so it is important to progressively challenge yourself in one way or the other. In addition, if you have a sedentary lifestyle, moving more throughout the 23 hours of the day that you are not in the gym may even have a bigger impact on fat loss than exercising in the gym.
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://paleoparents.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/prof-headshot.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Natcha is a full time biomedical researcher turned health detective (fitness coach, holistic nutritionist and functional medicine practitioner). She overcame her negative body image issues and scoliosis through resistance training, put her severe eczema and terrible immune function into remission through nutrition, and overcame her hormonal imbalances and restored her fertilities through functional medicine. Natcha is passionate about empowering people with scientifically valid health information, helping women become masters of their bodies through strength training, education about health, self-quantification technologies and functional lab medicine, and real foods for the environment and health! Connect with Natcha: Website | Nutrition: Instagram | Fitness Instagram | Youtube[/author_info] [/author]