Bad news everyone! Calorie-restrictive diets do not work in the long-term. A simple survival mechanism means that our bodies will always figure out a way to lay down stores of fat. By depriving your body of food and placing it under the stress of restricted calorie intake it releases cortisol that, in the long run, makes weight loss harder to achieve.
There are many other obstacles to weight loss that have little to do with your calorie intake or how much you exercise. These involve nutritional and hormonal imbalances, leaky gut, changes in your micro-biome, environmental toxins and even your genes.
So what are the key things we need to look at if you want to lose weight in an effective and sustainable way?
The monster hormone that causes weight gain, inflammation and chronic disease is insulin. The consumption of sugar, flour and refined carbs can cause a spike in your insulin levels and, when this happens just a bit too often, your cells become resistant to its effects. This results in more insulin being produced – and you become trapped in a vicious cycle of insulin resistance and increased production.
Balance blood sugar levels:
Extra weight around your middle, cravings for carbs and sugar, “crashing” (especially after eating carbs), having “moobs” (man boobs) and feeling angry when you are actually just hungry might all be signs that your blood sugar levels are out of balance.
Consume metabolic-enhancing foods:
Protein-rich foods give your metabolism a boost by requiring more energy to digest. Known as the TEF (Thermic Effect of Food), it refers to the number of calories needed by your body to absorb the nutrients in your meal. Other foods such as chilli or ginger can have metabolic enhancing properties.
Ensure healthy thyroid function:
Your thyroid gland regulates your metabolism. Iron, zinc, and selenium are all required for its proper functioning. Other foods including cruciferous vegetables (when raw in salads or juices), soy products and those that contain gluten, contain thyroid-blocking compounds if consumed in large quantities.
However, these are general guidlines and you cannot look at them in isolation. Your body is unique to you and all these factors have a complex and interconnected part to play in how your body metabolises the food you put in your mouth. Nutritional therapy is an evidence-based practice that looks at your requirements on an individual basis.
It is only by addressing all these issues personal to you and combining this with positive lifestyle changes that you have any chance of sustaining a healthy weight.
As a nutritional therapists I can offer you a full dietary analysis along with appropriate testing to identify what your body needs and help you achieve the results you want.