While working within the Integrative Clinical Nutrition field, I’ve met countless people who want to lose weight and most importantly keep it off. I’ve seen them all — and maybe you see yourself on this list — if you’ve ever been a…
- yo-yo dieter
- fad diet dieter
- calorie counter
- diet pill dieter
- ‘hangry’ dieter
- scale obsessed dieter
- all or nothing dieter
- crash dieter
What do these ways of dieting have in common? They’re not sustainable, and the weight comes right back.
So, how do you lose weight, feel good, and keep it off?
Start with shifting your mindset from ‘diets’ to lifestyle changes. Understanding how your body works will guide your new choices, so you’ll finally meet that weight loss goal and stay there.
The key is surprisingly simple: learn to maintain balanced blood sugar levels.
Blood sugar is the amount of glucose circulating in the blood that either provides instant energy to the cells or gets stored for future use. Glucose is sugar that you receive from carbohydrates like fruit, grains (bread, pasta, cereal), beans, and vegetables (starchy and non-starchy). Insulin is a hormone, produced by the pancreas that regulates glucose in the blood. Too much glucose leads to high blood sugar levels and insulin spikes, and when insulin spikes, you store fat, period.
Ideally, blood sugar levels should remain constant throughout the day as ups and downs are not healthy in the long term.
Not all foods have the same impact on blood sugar levels and insulin. Using a credible glycemic index (GI) chart (online or download an app) is a great way to measure this impact of a portion of food. The glycemic index is a carbohydrate ranking scale that ranks food from low GI at 0, to high GI at 100 based on how quickly a food raises your blood sugar. Preferably, you want to stay at 55 or below, though medium GI foods (56-69) can be eaten occasionally and preferably with protein or healthy fats to dull the glycemic effect.
If you want to finally lose that weight, feel great, and keep it off then here is what to do:
- Eat three meals a day. The average meal should provide at least four hours of energy before feeling hungry again. A balanced meal should leave you satisfied with a clear head and energy. If you are hungry between meals, then the meal was missing something, most likely adequate protein, healthy fats, or vegetables.
- Remember, healthy fats do not make you fat … sugar does. In fact, healthy fats such as fish, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, grass-fed butter and/or ghee, olives, and avocado will keep you fuller longer and keep the cravings at bay.
- Eat cooked vegetables over raw. Many decide to eat salads for breakfast, lunch, and dinner when they are on a diet or trying to eat healthier. Unfortunately, this tends to cause bloating, gas, constipation, and frustration. We have trouble breaking down cellulose in raw vegetables, so lightly sautéing, steaming, and roasting your vegetables can give you the nutrients you need without the pain.
- Be sure to include protein in every meal, and make it your first bite. Protein stabilizes blood sugar!
If you’re still having issues losing weight, have continuous sweet cravings, or have other symptoms including brain fog, fatigue, muscle aches, headaches, gas, and/or bloating, then this may indicate other issues that may need to be considered first such as food sensitivities, digestive problems, and gut infections. Either way, the staff at BeWell Associates is here to help.
In good health,
Mary Kate Gowdy is the newest member of the BeWell team. She is a Certified Holistic Health Practitioner, Reiki Master Teacher Practitioner, and an Integrative Clinical Nutritionist. Email her at email@example.com.