By Maureen Nagle M.S., L.N.
What is your New Year’s resolution? Does it include weight loss?
When I sit down with a client who is interested in losing weight, they have usually tried several other diet programs, low fat, low calorie, liquid diets, starvation, you name it they’ve tried it. Only to find that each time they go on a diet they end up gaining back more weight later. Sound familiar?
Many of the weight loss programs on the market recommend utilizing their bars and frozen meals as a way to control portions. However the cost of this adds up quickly and most concerning is these products contain numerous chemicals and trans fatty acids (hydrogenated oils). According to Walter Willett M.D., PhD at Harvard University, “Trans fats are responsible for an alarming 30,000 cardiovascular related deaths per year.”
Maintaining a healthy weight and level of body fat is important for everyone’s health. Research supports that the individuals who age the slowest and maintain a healthy weight are the people who have the most lean muscle mass. Why is this relevant to weight loss? When people take weight loss into their own hands they often restrict their calories below a healthy level which decreases their level of lean muscle mass. Although they may initially lose weight more quickly by cutting back on calories, and fat, long term they are decreasing their lean muscle mass and setting themselves up to gain back the weight they lost and then some.
The most important element of healthy weight loss is educating clients about how to eat properly for life. When we eat properly we are able to lose body fat and maintain our level of lean mass. Metabolically this creates a lean mean calorie burning machine.
Clients give me regular feedback that learning how to manage their blood sugar has been the single most helpful tool in decreasing their cravings for the wrong foods, empowering them to feel in control of their food choices. Let’s face it, will power eventually wears off and if we aren’t eating properly we will end up with a lot of cravings that will sabotage even the most determined dieter.
In order to set someone up for success it is key to help them decrease and manage their cravings for processed carbs and sugar. Blood sugar management is for everyone not just diabetics. In order to maintain a healthy level of blood sugar all day it is necessary to eat every 3-4 hours and each time we eat it should consist of some protein, fat, and carbohydrate. Maintaining a healthy weight is about more than just calories in and calories out. Each time we eat we create hormones that can either create more energy and speed up fat burning or zap energy and store fat.
Many choose to eat low fat foods when they are trying to lose weight. Low fat foods are more processed and contain higher amounts of sugar, artificial chemicals and sweeteners. These types of foods actually stimulate hunger and set us up for the blood sugar fluctuations which later cause cravings for the wrong foods. Over consuming processed carbohydrates causes our blood sugar to elevate stimulating more of the fat storing hormone insulin. When working towards weight loss is it essential to consume healthy fats. The types of fats that stabilize blood sugar and help produce more of the fat burning hormone glucagon are: olive oil, avocado, and nuts.
Protein has demonstrated to be a natural appetite suppressant, because it helps us stay full longer and supports lean muscle mass. Most people who struggle with weight problems do not eat enough protein frequently throughout the day.
What are the healthiest ways to increase metabolism for life:
- Stop Dieting
- Eat every 3-4 hours
- Eat 5-8 time per day
- Each time you eat consume some protein, fat, and carbohydrate
- Protein intake should be the size of the palm of your hand at each meal and half of that at snacks
- Focus carb intake on mostly vegetables, fruits and smaller amounts of root veggies and grains
- Healthy Fats are key for weight loss because they support balanced blood sugar and satiety longer which helps us avoid the wrong foods
- Water is key to weight loss–divide your body weight by two and the number you come up with is the number of ounces you need to drink in a day
- Exercise- cross training is optimal which includes cardio and resistance training
Changing our lifestyle is key to successfully losing weight. I encourage people to seek advice from a person who is trained and has a degree in nutrition when deciding how to go about losing weight.
Maureen Nagle M.S., L.N.
Licensed Nutritionist and Founder of Nutritional Resources
Nourishing Your Mind, Body and Soul
7200 France Ave S Ste 236
Edina, MN 55435
Educating and empowering clients to achieve optimal health through nutrition based lifestyle changes
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