Since weight loss is the most common resolution for the New Year, I figured a post on this was necessary. A note, though: I think the success of “weight loss” would be much higher if we referred to it as burning fat. The human subconscious doesn’t like loss as it generally is associated with something negative. Say it though we might, our subconscious minds just don’t like to “lose” anything. Now fat, that is generally a bad thing (which is a tough misconception to break on a strictly dietary level) but the subconscious doesn’t mind letting go of it so much. I think a movement away from “diets” and toward “healthy lifestyle” would be helpful in reforming some negative subconscious associations as well. Enough of that, though… on to the practical strategies!
The good news here is that weight loss if often much easier than one expects, at least once we break through the brick wall of health misconceptions out there. This means, at times, doubting conventional wisdom, questioning the advise of your doctor (gasp) or disregarding the “tips for flat abs” spit out by the latest beauty magazine. As you may have noticed, the average person, your doctor, and the models in many magazines all look unhealthy, though for different reasons.
So what’s a person to do? How do you sort through the options? I suggest trying what works, and letting go of any long-held dietary assumptions that don’t seem to be working. Seems like common sense, but while people have been encouraged to eat “low-fat” to lose weight and prevent disease the last 50 years, the obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer rates continue to rise… a lot. Perhaps the old paradigm isn’t working?
The Typical American Diet is making us sicker!
The typical low-fat, “healthy whole grain” diet that is often recommended as the standard of health these days just isn’t working anymore. In fact, this diet often leads to more problems that it corrects. While some people do notice some weight loss from strict calorie restriction, this model is not the easiest or healthiest way to lose weight. Take case studies from several of my clients (names have been changed):
Deborah, Age 35
Deborah came to me with two goals: weight loss and increased fertility. She was hoping to conceive another child and after 4 miscarriages was having trouble conceiving. She suspected hormone imbalance and possible thyroid issues. She wanted to lose 10-15 pounds and have more energy. She already had several children and realized that any change would have to be family wide to be feasible. Her husband eventually became a client also as he suffered from high blood pressure, hypoglycemia, and skin issues.
We concentrated on simple diet and lifestyle adjustments that she could incorporate with the whole family. Deborah admitted that she wasn’t much of a cook so we worked on specific meal plans and recipes to simplify her cooking routine. Her husband and kids resisted at first but soon adjusted and liked their new lifestyle (which contained a lot more protein and healthy fats!).
At the one-month follow-up, Deborah had lost 10 pounds and her skin looked extremely healthy. She explained that her husband had lost weight also and wasn’t struggling with hypoglycemia anymore. His blood pressure was down and the kids were less irritable and sleeping better. Her symptoms of hormone imbalance and thyroid issues were gone and she felt great.
Deborah called me several weeks later to see if she needed to adjust any of her diet or supplement plans during her pregnancy! Though her doctor assumed that she would lose the baby as she had with the last four, Deborah went on to continue her new lifestyle throughout the pregnancy and now has a healthy baby.
Andrew, Age 27
Andrew came to me with one goal: weight loss. He was tall, but over 100 pounds overweight for his size. He admitted that he had strong food cravings and had trouble sticking to any kind of “diet.” He wanted to build muscle and eventually be lean and fit. His current diet was almost entirely processed foods and he admitted that, as a single guy, he didn’t often cook. He was having digestive troubles, skin issues and trouble sleeping. He had recently also started developing anxiety and mental disturbances.
He was fed up with the way he looked and felt and very open to change. He jumped into a healthy lifestyle and called often with questions about foods and recipes. At his one month follow up he had lost over 20 pounds and he had lost 40 by his 2 month follow up. He also noticed that all of his digestive, skin, and mental issues went away and he had started exercising more because he wanted to. Today, he is on his way to his goal weight and physique.