my thoughts on weight loss
Weight loss -- it’s such a controversial topic. Two words that have the ability to make people run screaming in the other direction. In our modern world, being thin is associated with being healthy, and is seen by society as the only way to be beautiful. Weight loss attempts often involve yo-yo dieting, calorie restriction, over exercising, under eating and other unsustainable ways of life. They can sometimes lead to disordered eating and body dysmorphia as well.
People in the body positivity and holistic wellness communities often say it’s more about how you feel than how you look - and to that I COMPLETELY AGREE (and tell my clients this often). Actually feeling great on the inside and having confidence are absolutely the most important things. However, in many circumstances, I also think it’s okay to want to lose some weight. I personally feel my best when I’m around a certain weight; that’s when my body is really thriving and taking care of itself properly. Will I kill myself in the gym, restrict my eating and obsessively try to make it to that weight? Absolutely not. But, I can make the right choices for my body so that I feel AND look my best, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Weight loss is not a bad thing as long as your focus is lifestyle change, nourishment, and treating your body with the respect it deserves.
Let’s unpack this a little more. Weight gain, especially in a short period of time, is a symptom of imbalance in the body. It’s simply your body trying to tell you something may be wrong. Often with extra weight we may also feel fatigued, sluggish, brain fogged, etc and these are the symptoms we need to focus on as well. Getting to the root cause of your symptoms, including weight gain, is the key to losing weight and keeping it off.
The key here is this: we are all BIO-INDIVIDUALS, meaning there is no “one size cures all” diet that will magically make everyone lose weight and keep it off. The purpose of getting to the root cause of your symptoms is to heal your body from the inside out in a way that suits your body’s unique needs. What works for one person may not work for another, and that’s okay.
If you’re feeling like your body is telling you something through weight gain and other symptoms, it’s best to work with a holistic practitioner that understands how unique each person is and will help you figure out what your body needs.
Since I know how much we all love lists in a blog post, here we go - the top 5 ways to start losing weight (and improve your overall health).
Address the root cause. Yes, I already talked about this above, and I’m reiterating it here because it’s the #1 most important thing you can do when trying to get healthy. There IS a reason you have gained weight.
- Some common root causes of weight gain include: leaky gut or other digestive disorders, microbiome imbalances, autoimmune conditions, thyroid imbalances, blood sugar dysregulation, poor diet, dehydration, and hormone imbalance.
Reduce stress. Stress has a HUGE impact on the way our bodies perform. Stress can affect your quality of sleep, your ability to focus, your immune system, your digestion, and so much more. In states of chronic stress, your body is constantly in “fight or flight” mode and is unable to perform properly. Finding ways to de-stress (or focusing on our mindset and how we react to situations) is a key factor in healing our bodies.
Move every day. Regular exercise is essential for good health, but that’s not all I’m referring to here. Especially if you are sedentary most of the day at work, it’s very important to get up often and move around. Studies show that exercise may not be enough for people who sit for long periods in a day. Here is a great article by Chris Kresser on why we should move more.
Stay hydrated. Hydration is SO important to our health. Water plays many important roles in the body. It improves oxygen delivery to our cells, it transports nutrients, enables cellular hydration, cushions our bones and joints, regulates our body temperature, removes wastes, flushes toxins, lubricates joints, and many more. As a rough estimate, you should drink about half your body weight in ounces per water each day. Read more about hydration in this post!
Detoxify your life. Whether environmental or through the food we eat/products we put on our skin and clean our homes with, toxins are EVERYWHERE these days. In fact, a recent study done by the Environmental Working Group found the average person has over 91 toxic chemicals in their body. 91! Many of these toxins lead to cancer, birth defects, toxicity to the brain and nervous system, cause oxidative stress and inflammation, alter thyroid function, and so much more. I will have to do a whole separate blog post on this one, because it’s a very wide topic and I’d love to help people detoxify their lives because I know firsthand the benefits it can have!
If you’re wanting to lose weight, I would encourage you to pay closer attention to your body. What other symptoms are you experiencing? What is your body trying to tell you?
If you’d like my help in getting to the root of what you may be dealing with, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Click here if you’d like to schedule a discovery call to talk about what nutritional therapy can do for you!