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Jun 04

Lose Weight Naturally and Healthily

This is a bold title. If weight loss was a matter of understanding a top 3 tip list, then you would probably not be reading this post right now. It’s hard, complicated, confusing and not a one size fits all approach. But with the tidbits I am going to list will help all people in the journey of losing pounds; and surely it is NOT a formula of calories in (eaten) = calories out (exercise).

Chicago Dietitian

Chicago Nutritionist

Chicago RD

Tip #1 – Eat foods ideal for a hormonal/metabolic response in the body.

What does this mean? We want to make meals and snacks from foods that do not cause an insulin/blood sugar spike nor inflammation. What foods does this mean to avoid? Obvious ingredients such as processed foods, man-made oils, vegetable oils, sugar, gluten containing grains, and all grains for some, dairy for some, GMO foods, conventional protein, to name a few. It’s hard to tell what foods we are each individually sensitive to, thus this proves to be one negotiable reason to do an elimination diet, following a paleo template by eating foods of only clean protein (wild seafood, grassfed meat, organic poultry, pasture-raised eggs), heaps of vegetables, including starchy forms like yams, sweet potatoes and the likes, fruit, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats from olive oil, coconut oil, lard, bacon grease and avocado. Once the lapse of time is up, reintroduce avoided foods, dairy, grains gluten free versions and gluten full grains and legumes and assess how the foods affect digestion, sleep, energy, mental clarity and mood to determine if it’s a good fit for you or not.

Tip #2 – Focus on quality over quantity.

I was listening to a podcast yesterday, The Paleo View, and the hosts were elaborating on how other (healthier) countries spend more on food and less on healthcare, vs the U.S. stance on spending more money on healthcare compared to our cheap food supply. What does this indicate? While it does not prove a causal relationship it’s interesting to consider when we are forced to spend more on our food, perhaps we appreciate it more and make better choices. Just a thought, and indeed this is something I brought to light when I lived in Australia where food was much pricier than a grocery run here in the States. Yet, let’s hit directly on this tip. What do I mean by quality over quantity. Do you know anyone who lost weight by eating 100 cal packs? I do. But can I vouch they sustained that weight loss? I am afraid not. When we want to lose weight, we need to choose healthy ingredients, including foods that are rich in nutrition, protein, fat and fiber. Many of my clients come to our first session a bit fat-phobic, and I have to help them feel comfortable in adding more fat items to their meals, enabling satiety and happiness from their food. As well, protein is very important. We need a base of it at each meal to help keep us sustained for hours. Lastly, when and if budget allows, sourcing produce that is organic (I recommend following a dirty dozen/clean 15 list), high quality protein, clean dairy (organic, grassfed, raw, and only if one tolerates it) can also enhance nutrition in one’s diet. Lastly, losing weight is not about tracking every bite of food in a journal or app. It’s not about hitting an exact calorie target. It’s about eating a balance of protein, fat and carbohydrates and growing an intuition of understanding what our body craves and needs. We are naturally inclined to eat ideal portions of protein, where we could use more structure on carbs and fat. To know what can work, think about what your body wants. If it’s ice-cream, dig deeper to understand what can fill that craving. Perhaps it’s an emotional void, perhaps you need more fat in your diet. Work to understand what your body needs.

Tip #3 – Being health is a journey, and bring a water bottle!

One of the easiest things we can do is drink more water. Hydrate throughout throughout the day and keep water handy wherever you may be. And understand health is a journey. If we take 2 steps forward and one step back, that is success. Enjoy the ride because life is short and food is pleasure.