Updated: Jan 31, 2021
Welcome to January! A fresh start in a new year. This is the time of year most of us plan for what we want to change in our lives. The #1 goal for most people is to get healthy. What that means specifically will vary from person to person. If you are like most people, losing weight will be in the Top 5. Unfortunately, most people will fail at their goals.
Why? Because changing our already established routines is hard. Routines exist for a very good reason - they make life easy. Without a routine we would have to make decisions on everything we do every single day. That would be way too overwhelming, which is why routines work. Our routines either promote health and wellness or illness and disease. While it may seem impossible to change our routines, there are tips and tricks to doing so.
In this article we will cover:
What Does Obese Mean
What Is A Fad Diet
Why Diets Don't Work
How To Lose Weight Without Dieting
WHAT DOES OBESE MEAN?
Obesity defined: the state of being well above one's normal weight. (Source: MedicineNet) You may or may not be obese. But chances are if you are focused on losing weight, you are aware that something just isn't right about your health and losing weight can help.
Carrying excess weight (it doesn't mean you are obese) can lead to a variety of illnesses and diseases. Such as:
Type 2 Diabetes
Prostate and Colon Cancer
Any of these conditions can lead to additional illnesses such as contracting viruses like Covid-19. (Source: MedicineNet) Getting to and maintaining a healthy weight is really important to avoid lifestyle diseases such as the ones listed above. But the number on the scale is not the only number you need to be concerned with. The other number is the size of your waist.
By managing the size of your waist you can avoid the above diseases. Why? Measuring your waist is a good way to check you're not carrying too much fat around your stomach, which can raise your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer and stroke. You can have a healthy weight and still have too much tummy fat, meaning you're still at risk of developing these diseases. (Source: NHS)
The general guidelines are:
Women: waist is no larger than 35 inches and less than the size of their hips
Men: waist is no larger than 40 inches and equal to the size of their hips
HOW DIET IMPACTS THE GUT
A vital system for our overall health is the gut. The gut is known to regulate our emotions, strengthen the immune system and impact our weight. When the gut is unhealthy, so is the rest of our body. How do you know if your gut is unhealthy? There are a lot of symptoms but here are a couple of critical ones.
Gaining or losing weight without making changes to your diet or exercise habits may be a sign of an unhealthy gut. An imbalanced gut can impair your body’s ability to absorb nutrients, regulate blood sugar, and store fat. Weight loss may be caused by small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), while weight gain may be caused by insulin resistance (more on this later) or the urge to overeat due to decreased nutrient absorption.
A diet high in processed foods and added sugars can decrease the amount of good bacteria in your gut. This imbalance can cause increased sugar cravings, which can damage your gut still further. High amounts of refined sugars, particularly high-fructose corn syrup, have been linked to increased inflammation in the body. Inflammation can be the precursor to a number of diseases and even cancers. (Source: HealthLine)
Working to improve the health of your gut will result in your body normalizing to a weight that is appropriate for you.
Do you want to?
👍Avoid getting colds and flu
👍Increase your energy
👍Boost mental clarity
👍Lose weight and keep it off
👍Stop bloating and excess gas
👍Eliminate constipation and/or diarrhea
👍Feel less stressed
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WHAT IS A FAD DIET?
Fad diets are diets that are promoted via an unscientific theory, may cause dramatic weight loss but are not healthy. Diets that come to mind are the cabbage soup diet and the Hollywood diet, which promoted eating a grapefruit with every meal. Quite honestly, any change in your current eating routine will start to chip away at the weight you would like to lose. However, these type of diets are not sustainable, hard to follow and the weight will come back eventually.
WHY DIETS DON'T WORK
Diets don't work regardless if they are a fad diet or not because they imply a short term situation. Think about how many times you said to yourself that you will lose 10 pounds in 30 days. You achieved the goal but a few months later, the 10 pounds (and maybe more) are back. Diets don't address the key issue of lifestyle and routine.
Our lifestyle is a critical piece of why we either achieve our goals or not. Think about it, the worst thing you could do is rely on a general plan that doesn't fit your lifestyle. Maybe you can't schedule eating a breakfast by 8:00 AM, then lunch at 12:00 and dinner by 6:00 PM because you have a long commute or you work a job where your shift is always changing.
This is where I see most failures happen. Not because the person wasn't trying. They just couldn't make the plan work within their time constraints and routine. When this happens, feelings of frustrations and failure creep in. Then feelings of defeat creep in and the eating plan is abandoned.
Another reason it is hard to lose weight when dieting is due to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance weight loss is complicated because the cells in our body are no longer listening to insulin. Insulin is the key to regulating our blood sugar. Due to years of eating processed foods, simple carbohydrates and too much sugar laden foods (both sweets and foods like white pasta) the body can no longer manage insulin levels effectively. When we try to diet, the insulin in our cells tells the body "don't burn" the fat in the cells.
The only way to improve insulin resistance is to change your routine. That's right! Instead of focusing on losing weight, the focus must first be to restore insulin working in the body. If you don't work on restoring insulin, your body will never be able to maintain a healthy weight. How do you become less insulin resistant? It's going to sound like a diet, but it's not!
Eat complex carbohydrates, such as beans, legumes, whole grains
Eat smaller portions
Eat whole foods, mainly vegetables and fruits
Eat lean meat, such as wild salmon and chicken breast
HOW TO LOSE WEIGHT WITHOUT DIETING
The only way to lose weight and keep it off is to make lasting changes in your routine. That means identifying areas for improvement and creating a plan to make a change. The changes that become part of your routine are the ones that fit your lifestyle and you can practice regularly.
This doesn't mean you aren't going to have "off" days or even a week (like when on vacation). In fact, it is encouraged to leave your routine occasionally. Not following your routine results in feelings that are no longer part of your routine and may even have physical consequences. For example, maybe on vacation you have a steak dinner, something that is not part of your normal routine any more. You may feel gassy, bloated and tired after eating it. This is a great reminder of why a steak is now a treat and not your routine.
A couple of tips of how to create a change in your routine:
Define why you are making the change. It may be that you want to be able to play with grandchildren, have the energy to keep up with the kids or to stop feeling so tired. There is not a right answer here. It is important to know why you are making a change so you can remind yourself when you are saying no to an old habit and yes to a new habit.
Create goals. How many you create are up to you. To be successful, it is better to have a short list of goals because each goal will need actions assigned to it. Creating too many goals, will result in too much change all at once and potentially result in not achieving any goals.
Assign actions to the goals. The actions must fit your lifestyle. Maybe your goal is to cook more at home and eat less take out. Be realistic on your ability to food shop regularly and have the time to cook. You may need to rely on a food delivery service with recipes to actually achieve this goal.
Make the actions measurable. Taking the last example of using a food delivery service, maybe you can do this once a month to start. Simply record if you did the action you wrote down. When you are ready, maybe you can have the delivery service twice a month. Again, measure the action you take. If you don't achieve the action, it may be that the action was not appropriate fo