Weight loss is about more than food. In some cases, it is more than calories in vs. calories out. In fact, it can be a deep issue involving powerful hormones, neurotransmitters, and emotions. Because of these influencing factors, weight loss can be a struggle. However, long-term lifestyle changes can make a difference! I am constantly asked for dieting and weight loss advice, so here are my real-food, whole-food tips for healthy weight management:
1. EAT REAL FOOD prepared at home in its whole form. Avoid packaged food.
2. Quality is more important than quantity. Consider a ‘mindful eating’ approach vs. using sheer willpower to count calories. 100 calories of broccoli is NOT the same as 100 calories of cookies.
3. Every meal should include at least some protein for appetite control.
4. Don’t fear fat! Eat nuts, seeds, and avocado daily. Choose pastured eggs, wild fish, and grass-fed meats.
5. Eat mostly plants. Fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables.
6. Limit sugar and starch. Consume up to ½ cup of cooked grains per meal in their whole form.
7. Eliminate pesticides, artificial sweeteners, and chemical food additives.
8. Ask a dietitian about possible nutrient deficiencies and how to test for them. Nutrient deficiencies are common, especially in athletes, chronic dieters, those with food restrictions (vegetarian, gluten-free), the elderly, and obese.
9. Consider a probiotic. Preliminary research indicates that beneficial bacteria in the gut are involved with energy regulation and inflammation, which may help or hurt weight loss efforts.
10. If you have additional chronic symptoms such as IBS migraines, sinusitis/allergies, fibromyalgia, or chronic pain, ask a dietitian about food sensitivity testing and a custom elimination diet tailored specifically to you. Sometimes weight management is a struggle when chronic, low-grade inflammation is present and causing symptoms that may seem unrelated.
If you continue to struggle, consider working with a functional medicine doctor to address hormonal imbalances which may be contributing to stubborn weight gain.
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