Losing Weight… Why do we struggle with this?

weight-loss-diet

Everywhere we look we are bombarded with information about how to lose weight.  To be successful with weight loss, and maintaining it, we need to understand some key concepts.  First we will look at calories in vs calories out and that not all calories are created equal!  As a follow up, we will examine the hormone component and how gut health affects our weight.

Some places will promote the miracle pill (or two) that we can take and the weight will magically fall off without changing our diet or even exercising!  Sounds like a dream, right?  While other places will give us complicated instructions about what to eat when and on what days that is exhausting to just read through.  And of course, recently all over Facebook, there has been the diet of cutting out just 5 foods to lose weight.  Not saying that these are all bad ideas but there is a little more to the picture…

It’s clear that the obesity epidemic is growing just like our waistlines and it’s leaving no one out.  Obesity among adolescents is right up there with the adult population. A little over 30% of all adults and adolescents in this country are obese.  With that, there are increased health risks but also an emotional toll that isn’t as easily measured.

What do we do?  Is there a simple answer to all of this?
Yes and no…

Everyone talks about the math equation for weight loss… calories in vs calories out.  If only it was that simple!  But recent research and films like Fed Up have shown us that it just isn’t true.  If it was true, we could technically eat our allotted calories in donuts every day and not gain weight. Or lose weight if we ate just a half of a donut less.  Even if we would like to believe that, we know it’s simply not true.  (Sorry to disappoint you!)  But we are actually doing the equivalent of that in the food choices we make!  We are eating dead devitalized food that is full of sugar and toxic additives that make us fat and crave more of that same food.

farmers-market-local-produce-520

So when it comes to the food equation, it matters how much you eat and what you eat!  Eat real food that can actually expire in your pantry after a few days.  Whenever possible eat food that is fresh, local and organic.  If fresh isn’t available, choose frozen.  Limit the amount of starches and grains that are in your diet; or eliminate them altogether for a time to see how they are really affecting you.  And finally, too much of anything, good or not, is simply too much!  Which is to say that portion control is important.  But feel free to eat unlimited amounts of vegetables!  (Just don’t drown them in cheese or poor quality salad dressings.)

grocery store

Movement is necessary for proper weight management.  We know that lean muscle burns more calories at rest than fat.  But how much movement or exercise is necessary?

Believe it or not, depending on our ability to burn fat, too much cardio or excessive exercise will keep us from losing weight.  We need to pay attention to the cues our body is giving us and see if we are even losing weight on our current program!

Walking

First off, start with simply walking.  We should walk at least 30-60 minutes every day.  We need to create the habit of movement first.  Then we can look to do a variety of exercises to promote lean muscle and healthy weight management.  We need to find a program that we enjoy because then we are more likely to stick to it.  Play around and experiment to find what fits!  (I love following the guys at Metabolic Effect.)

Summary:
Eat quality food and remove the junk out of the diet.
Drink plenty of water and say no to the sugary beverages.
Get walking!

Join me next time around to learn more about what’s going on with our body when the weight is stuck because of hormones or poor gut health.

Yours in health,
Dr. Annette

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