While successful weight loss can be challenging, there are some factors that, once under control, make the battle easier. We all know that to lose weight, we must burn more energy than we consume, but there is more to it, as you will see.
These 6 fixes for successful weight loss include the struggles many dieters face and what we can do to fix them.
The Problem - Your
hormones have a lot to say about your metabolism, appetite and even
Your hormonal system, or endocrine system, includes your thyroid and the balance of many hormones that are required for your body to function on a day-to-day basis. Depressed, low or sluggish thyroid is a common health problem and is especially prevalent in women. Hormonal imbalance is most commonly associated with aging, but in reality can happen to anyone.
Low thyroid, also known as hypothyroidism, is associated with an abundance of health problems such as; weight gain, depression, fatigue, dry skin, low metabolism and inability to lose weight. There are a number of reasons for sluggish thyroid including low iodine in the body and internal inflammation.
Hormones can easily become out of balance for many reasons including aging, diet and environmental toxins. Estrogen, cortisol and leptin are three hormones that play a role in how your body regulates fat storage and other weight related functions. Environmental toxins, such as DDTs (a pesticide residue in food and water supplies) mimic hormones and easily throw natural estrogen out of balance. Stress can increase cortisol levels, which can add to weight gain. Leptin, which controls appetite and fat storage, can be suppressed with some calorie restricted diets.
The Fix #1: Eat foods that can help balance your endocrine system instead of hindering it. Diet is a major contributor to health and successful weight loss, and can be the best natural remedy for control of thyroid function and hormonal balance. Avoiding foods that include non-fermented soy, such as tofu, is a great start, as they can cause an over abundance of estrogen, leading to bloating, weight gain and even digestive problems. Fermented soy foods, like tempeh, are a better option.
Include fiber in your daily diet. Studies show that consuming healthy fiber through a diet of fresh vegetables and fruits or a fiber supplement can help your body remove excess estrogen. (1) Fiber is also shown to help remove bad cholesterol and excess buildup of waste in the intestinal tract, that can inhibit your body's ability to remove harmful fats.
To support your thyroid, try a daily supplement of green superfoods, such as kelp or spirulina. These are high in dietary iodine and are known to help the body remove harmful, environmental toxins. Another source of dietary iodine is Himalayan Crystal Salt, which is a healthy alternative to table salt. (And as we all know about any salt – moderation is good.)
Healthy fats found in avocados, walnuts and flax seeds (or flax seed oil) are high in Omega 3s to help counteract an abundance of Omega 6s. A healthy balance of these two fats not only leads to better health but reduces internal inflammation, which can also be a factor in many hormone related issues.
The Problem - Mental Barriers may determine whether you reach your weight loss goals or not.
We all have our personal issues, and unfortunately these often go unnoticed. For example, we think we want to lose weight, but something inside holds us back. But what is that mental barrier?
Fear of change is one of the most problematic yet common. “I will never be able to enjoy my comfort food again,” or “I will never be able to find comfort in things other than my favorite food” may be barriers to your successful weight loss. This is fairly normal as we learn to let go of a food habit that we have enjoyed for some time. Some of use weight as a protective barrier against the world. This is one you may not even realize until you actually lose weight.
The Fix #2: Take a step back and try to understand any habits that hinder your efforts for successful weight loss. Realize that it is possible to find comfort in other things such as music, nature, photography, and even exercise. As you let go of unhealthy food habits, learn to replace the time you spent eating with healthier pastimes that are enjoyable for you. Take up a new hobby or enjoy a walk with a friend. Both can occupy your time and will help you get healthier in the process. Make a list of activities you find enjoyable and keep it handy when you want to eat an unhealthy snack.
In addition, take comfort in the fact that you can eat foods you enjoy by learning how to make a healthier version of them. For example, if fried chicken is your thing, try a healthier cereal breading on chicken breast strips and oven bake it. If you like sweets, experiment with raw desserts for they contain more minerals, vitamins and enzymes, turning dessert into another food in your bank of health.
Lastly, if you feel the need, talk to a professional. Often our mental health goes unexplored and can make weight loss an up and down battle with no end in sight. Life is challenging, and paying attention to mental health is as important as your physical health; they do go hand-in-hand.
The Problem - Watch out for unhealthy proteins and meat replacements in an effort to get healthy.
Successful weight loss requires a well balanced diet. Protein is an extremely important component of our diet. It has many functions including; maintaining lean muscle, recovering from workouts, and keeping your hair healthy while you're dieting. Since research showed that less meat eating means less cancer, many people have tried to amp up their health with vegetarian protein choices. Unfortunately many of these can lead to health issues including what we are trying to avoid; weight gain.
Soy is used as a popular meat replacement by many who want a healthier lifestyle. There are a variety of soy products on the market from tofu to tempeh, soy milk, and edamame as a snack. The background that soy is a healthy protein came from Asia, where it was consumed as a fermented food such as in fish sauce or as tempeh. Fermented soy is more digestible than any of the non-fermented soy products and is a healthy diet addition.
on the other hand, un-fermented soy products can be detrimental and lead to digestive issues. They contain anti-nutrients, which make it difficult for your body to absorb real nutrients from real foods. It also blocks mineral absorption in your digestive tract and may even be a thyroid inhibitor. (2)
Protein bars may be another food to avoid, as most are made with excess sugar (or a form of it), soy protein, and plenty of fillers that can add to weight gain. Often the sugar content is 30 grams or more, making it higher than a regular candy bar. While the label shows many added vitamins and minerals, these do not have the same health impact as the phytonutrients and bioflavonoids from whole foods.
The Fix #3: For successful weight loss, use protein sources have the most value for your weight loss goals. If you are vegetarian, or want to stop eating meat for a while, look for protein supplements that include raw, vegetable protein like those found in some protein drinks and even raw protein or superfood bars. Other healthy and bioavailable sources include sprouts, beans, nuts and seeds. If you work out or are older, you have a higher protein requirement. If you eat animal protein, opt for grass-fed, free range for the most nutritional value. Keeping the portion the same size as the palm of your hand ensures your body will absorb more amino acids and store less waste.
As for protein bars, there are healthy alternatives on the market that include protein from raw nuts, seeds and vegetable sources. Some add green superfoods like chlorella and spirulina, making them an even more powerful nutrient source. Another benefit of these superfoods is they contain a high-quality protein that is easily used by your body, and some even taste delicious, due to the dates used to sweeten them.