Most people who diet gain their weight back. And the weight fluctuation created by yo-yo dieting is actually worse for your health than just staying overweight!
Diets are not sustainable. They are alienating, stressful, depressing and restrictive. Most people can stick to a certain protocol for a while, but most of them have requirements that make them hard to sustain in the real world, where we all have different things to juggle in our personal life, career, and family responsibilities.
Diets do not take into account bio-individuality, which means that every body is different. How the body metabolizes nutrients, and how each individual has a different lifestyle that may or may not fit well with the rigid requirements.
Diets are expensive. Most diets require participants to buy specialty foods or prepared meals. On top of that, if you rely on prepared meals in order to know what you can eat, is this method sustainable? Do you know what you can eat or order when you are eating out or visiting friends and families?
Sometimes these protocols require supplements because certain foods are eliminated, thereby stripping the diet from certain nutrients. Supplements can be expensive. Moreover, there is no telling whether the body is actually utilizing those nutrients in the supplements. If the supplements are not in bio-available forms that are optimized for absorption, they will just pass out of the body and are practically useless.
Cravings can be a way that your body is telling you something. Honor your cravings by getting to the root cause of it, and find out what your body really needs.
When we eat too much Yang foods – such as red meat, salt and egg, our body will want some Yin foods to restore balance. Sugar and alcohol are extreme Yin foods that our body would usually crave.
Armed with this knowledge, you can reduce your sugar cravings by eating less extreme yang foods and instead, choose foods that are more neutral on the spectrum. Examples are whole grains, fish, sea vegetables, beans, root vegetables, and winter squash.
Energy Quick Fix
Cravings for sugar or refined carbohydrates can happen when our body needs a quick energy fix. To create sustained energy, eat meals that are low in glycemic load. To create a meal of low GL, whole unprocessed foods such as whole grains, vegetables, and beans are great choices. They are high in fiber, which is particularly important because it moderate the speed at which the sugar is absorbed by the body. Also, make sure you include a moderate amount of good fat and lean protein to slow down absorption and increase satiety.
Cravings can be a sign of nutrient deficiency. Cravings for different flavor or texture can translate to a lack of various nutrients.
Cravings can be caused by dehydration. Our body often misinterprets the sensation of thirst and translates that into hunger. Next time when you feel your cravings coming on, drink a glass of water and wait 15 minutes, and see if you are still hungry.
Waste = Weight
You retain weight when your body holds onto metabolic waste, fluid, and toxins. Your body retains fat to protect itself from fat-soluble toxins. Until you let the toxins go, your body will not release the fat. You want to help you body get the existing toxins out, while reducing the amount of environmental toxins that you put into your body.
Some toxins also affect our endocrine system, our hormonal balance, our thyroid function, and our metabolism.
The human body is very intelligent. Many organs perform the function of detoxification and elimination. The first step is just simply to put less “junk” and toxic substances into your body, so that your detox organs can free up bandwidth to deal with toxins that have been accumulating in your body.
Here are 3 tips to help you reduce your toxic load:
- Buy organic produce as much as possible – learn about the Dirty Dozen list.
- Reduce and work toward eliminating processed and packaged food from you life.
- You can also facilitate your body’s elimination process, reduce fluid retention, and aid your body’s natural detoxification process by eating cleansing foods such as berries and leafy greens.
So what does stress has to do with weight? Turns out to be a lot!
When we are stressed, our body produces the stress hormone cortisol, which packs a triple whammy. Cortisol slows metabolism, affects blood sugar level, interfere with insulin secretion, increase fat storage – especially around the mid-section, and promotes cravings for fatty, salty and sugary foods.
Plus, if you are stressed, you can’t relax and get the rest you need, which further spikes cortisol production – creating a vicious cycle.
There are various herbs that you can take to nourish your nervous system – depending whether you want to strengthen and restore it, or to encourage calm and relaxation. Try adeptogens such as ginseng or holy basil, or relaxing herbs such as chamomile, lemon balm and oats.
Calcium has a calming effect on the nervous system, so load up on calcium-rich foods such as leafy greens or bone broth during dinner.
Of course, avoid caffeinated beverages as much as you can, and explore coffee alternatives such as black tea, green tea, yerba mate, or rooibos.
Medical Conditions and Weight Gain
If you have pounds that just won’t go anywhere, you will want to look into a few things that are medically related. A common example is low thyroid condition. Thyroid hormone is closely related to metabolism, and low thyroid can mean a slower metabolism, translating into fewer calories burned.
Some women retain weight because of estrogen-dominance. If you are also suffering from PMS, you weight issue may be partly due to estrogen dominance.
Some medication can also lead to weight gain. That includes certain steroids, some antidepressants, anti-seizure medication, diabetes drugs, high blood pressure drugs, as well as certain heartburn drugs.
Of course, for anything related to prescription medication, make sure you discuss your condition with your doctor before making any decisions.
Food sensitivities can cause the body to retain up to 5 – 8 pounds of water very rapidly. An elimination diet, with the guidance of a trained health professional, is a good way to find out if food sensitivities are causing weight gain for you. Some usual suspects include gluten, dairy, egg (egg white has higher allergenic potential than egg yolk), and soy.