Naturopaths have a different approach to weight loss. Primarily we like to make sure that you are healthy! That you have realistic goals around your body image and weight, that you lose fat not muscle or water during a program. Being realistic about your body size in important and it may not be reasonable for you to return for example to exactly your pre-baby weight or the body you had at 20 when you are 50. Yes I know your friend lost the baby weight in 3 weeks but she may have completely different metabolism than you! And she may not have done it in a healthy way. We want you to –
FEEL GOOD IN YOUR OWN SKIN!
Remember the success of online diet meal delivery services are often because of REPEAT BUSINESS! Calorie controlled meal delivery services (you know who they are) often rely on this to make money.
Did you know?
- Every BODY needs a different diet: some do well on pescatarian, paleo, vegetarian, vegan, gluten free and some don’t!
- Did you hear the one about the rats? There was a skinny rat and fat rat – the skinny rat had a fecal transplant (FMT) from a fat rat and guess what? She put on weight!! True story read about it here and here in a human.
- Dieting has been shown to alter the metabolism, change energy production and increases hunger! This helps to defend the set point (below) and undermines weight loss.
- Set Points – many people return to their SET POINT weight after a weight loss program. Eg they started at 80kg, lost 10kg but returned to 80kg. Why is this? It can be complicated as it can involve many different mechanisms so it is best to speak to your Naturopath or Nutritionist. Reasons can be varied and there are ways to RESET your SET POINT.
- Rebound weight gain – most of the Biggest Loser Competitors REGAINED THE WEIGHT THEY LOST AND SOME!! Why? Because their metabolism frequently dropped by 500-800 calories a day. Which means they need to eat less (often 1200 calories a day for life) in order to maintain their new weight. True!!
- ‘Pulsing’ or having regular diet breaks can lead to more efficient weight and fat loss while bypassing the regular adaptive responses mentioned above. Demonstrated in The Matador Study.
So what kind of foods ARE best to eat?
I believe that if you stick to these guidelines you can’t go wrong…
- Have a balance (for your body type/activity level) of PROTEIN, GOOD FATS & WHOLEGRAINS each day.
- Lots of vegetables and fruits in moderation, in fact an 80% plant based diet is recommended.
- Eat 90 % for health and 10 % for love!
- I don’t support a KETOGENIC diet long term (but it may be beneficial short term in some cases or for medical conditions like Epilepsy) but it is very important for you to eat RESISTANT STARCH in order to feed your beneficial gut bacteria! This is why many people fail on a Paleo diet by just eating protein and veggies without replacing wholegrains/nuts with an alternative fuel source for their beneficial bacteria.
- I do recommend 1-1.2g protein PER 1kg body weight (dependant on your activity level). BUT Children need 1.5g: 1kg AND Pregnant women need 70g protein minimum per day. EG. if you weigh 60 kg you need between 60-72 g of protein a day.
- Remember if you are a vegetarian combine your vegetarian proteins with at least 2 of the 4 groups in one meal. They are = WHOLEGRAINS, LEGUMES/PULSES, NUTS/SEEDS AND DAIRY in order to get your complete protein (and all the essential amino acids for life). So lentil curry with brown rice, yoghurt with nuts/seeds, baked beans on wholegrain toast etc…
- There is a new food pyramid that I am attaching below and the main change is that the bottom which was grains is now replaced with fruits and vegetables.
- Some important nutrients for weight loss/fat metabolism are MAGNESIUM, B-VITAMINS, ZINC, L-CARNITINE & ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS/OMEGA 3 OILS. Especially if you are having problems losing body fat.
- Protein powders can be beneficial IF you cannot get enough protein through your diet or for instance you are working out in the morning and rushing to work without breakfast the RIGHT TYPE of protein may be beneficial for you in a shake.
- Have you heard of EATING RIGHT FOR YOUR BLOOD TYPE? D’ Adamo says A’s should eat more veg less dairy, O’s should eat more meat, B’s should be omnivorous: WHAT BLOOD TYPE ARE YOU? This type of eating does suit some people.
How many carbs, proteins and healthy fats that we should be eating a day?
PROTEIN: Should be palm sized (AROUND 120G PER SERVE, REMEMBER 120g of chicken/beef/fish/tofu approx. = 20g of protein. This could be alongside a small amount of wholegrains: brown rice, quinoa, whole oats, sweet potato and also include vegetables (especially green leafy veg)! Experiment with different cuisines and spices/herbs. Throw in some fermented vegetables as well as resistant starch sometimes instead of wholegrains like cold potatoes or rice and how about some seaweed for iodine, calcium and zinc. Sprinkle some nuts and seeds on like chia or pumpkin or pine nuts for essential fats. Now you’re talking!
FRUIT should be 1-3 serves a day MAX – fruit is full of vitamins and enzymes for our energy, gut and vitality. It is alkalising and life giving!
MY RULE: PROTEIN WILL KEEP YOU FULL, FEED AND REPAIR MUSCLES, WHOLEGRAINS WILL SLOW THE RELEASE OF GLUCOSE AND FEED YOUR GUT BUGS, FATS WILL SUPPORT YOUR BRAIN CELLS AND KEEP YOU SATIATED FOR LONGER.
What happens if I can’t seem to lose weight even though I am exercising?
WHAT IF YOU ARE NOT LOSING WEIGHT?
I see clients who are eating so few calories and working out like a demon and are not losing weight!! It can be frustrating! But here are some things to consider –
- THYROID – Is your thyroid functioning properly? If you are hypothyroid (even sub-clinically which means it does not show up on any blood test then it will be harder for you to lose weight). Talk to your Naturopath/Nutritionist or Integrative GP about functional testing.
- LOW IODINE – Frequently low in the diet and definitely low in the soil in Australia. If your thyroid is ok but you are low in this essential element which helps make active thyroid hormone and burn energy efficiently you may need a supplement. Iodine deficiency is icked up by a simple urine test ask your Naturopath or Doctor about this… it is not covered my Medicare but is inexpensive. NOTE: remember to make sure the level is corrected for dilution (divide iodine by creatinine x 8.85 if it’s not done by the lab)
- CORTISOL – the stress hormone can make it very difficult for you to lose weight, it can affect your blood sugar and insulin levels and make you crave junk foods! Say what??? Stress management is VITAL!
- HORMONAL IMBALANCES – Low oestrogen can cause your body to deposit fat abdominally as this fat produces a small amount of oestrogen. This is why many women put on abdominal fat after menopause or during perimenopause and find it hard to lose.
- INFLAMMATION* – low grade systemic inflammation coming from an injury, arthritis or gut issues (leaky gut, IBD) can make it hard for you to lose weight.
- INSUFFICIENT SLEEP – affects our hunger signals, metabolism and hormone levels. Plus it impacts our energy levels during a exercise.
- FOOD INTOLERANCES – can create fluid retention and weight gain.
- EXERCISING WRONGLY FOR YOUR BODY TYPE – may create inflammation (*see above).
- TOO MANY HIGH GLYCAEMIC INDEX FOODS – can create insulin resistance which forces glucose to be stored as body fat not use for energy.
- EATING THE WRONG KINDS OF FOODS FOR YOUR BODY TYPE – can cause low grade inflammation (*see above)
- NOT FEEDING YOUR MICROBIOME – impacts our ability to absorb, utilize and metabolise foods, it can lead to the wrong messages being passed around your body via the gut brain axis. See fat & skinny rat story above.
- NOT ENTERING FAT BURNING – Reasons can be above or they can be because of other reasons like eating too many calories for the amount of exercise you are doing eg energy in ^^ = energy out >> or eating too many of the wrong foods or too many carbohydrates for instance.
- CONSTIPATION – not moving your bowels can indicate poor microbial balance in your gut, low fiber intake or lack of peristalsis and therefore removal of toxins which can create inflammation*.
- NUTRIENT DEFICIENCIES: MAGNESIUM, ZINC, EFA can make it hard to mobilise fat, feed our hormones, balance our metabolism, work with insulin, reduce inflammation etc… etc…
- HEAVY METALS – can be stored in our fat and bones and our bodies may want to hold on to them until they have the right nutrients to do it safely so it may ‘hold on to’ fat until this happens.
- FATTY LIVER – Our liver is the organ that helps break down and eliminate fat cells so if you have fatty liver (caused by NAFLD or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease or alcoholic fatty liver disease or toxicant associated fatty liver disease) then this will be MUCH harder.
- ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION – moderate alcohol consumption is fine but it is an empty calorie and can have detrimental effects on our gut and liver if consumed in excess.
Many of these body processes are protective which means our bodies are trying to protect not harm us by helping us keep body fat. It does not seem that way though does it?
WHAT ABOUT FASTING?
The evidence for fasting is good: fasting can help us repair our gut, effectively metabolise blood sugar, burn fat and regulate our appetite. Remember fasting means no food but water/herbal teas are allowed. The other thing to consider though is that much of the research on fasting has been done on men not women. Think about that!? Women are VERY different physiologically than women.
Fasting is an important way for our cells to improve the removal of cellular debris and pathogens and keeping our DNA healthy. This is termed ‘Autophagy’ which can be of immense value for a diverse range of diseases including:
- Metabolic conditions such as insulin resistance and blood sugar dysregulation
- Neurodegenerative diseases and the prevention of cognitive decline
- Infectious diseases and immune dysfunction
- Endocrine disorders and dysfunctional stress adaptation
Autophagy is stimulated in response to cellular danger signals such as oxidative stress, toxins, and infection. However, it has now become clear that the most potent activator of autophagy is calorie restriction and fasting.
Intermittent fasting, calorie restriction, time restricted feeding, and periodic fasting may all stimulate cellular autophagy, making these dietary interventions clinically important; however information on the topic is sometimes conflicting, confusing, or just unfounded.
There are a few different ways to fast such as:
- 5:2 (5 days of ‘normal’ eating and 2 days of eating 400 calories in a week)
- 16:8 ( 8 hours of eating nutritionally dense foods and 16 hours of fasting allowed in 24 hours)
- 12:12 ( 12 hours eating: 12 hours fasting in 24 hours)
Look out for a blog soon on Autophagy and Fasting!
When we should be eating?
- Some evidence shows that we should be eating regularly every 2-4 hours to stop any blood sugar fluctuations during the day.
- Fasting once or twice per week may be ideal for your body type. With any type of fasting speak to your Naturopath or Doctor first.
- Protein with each meal and as part of a snack between meals can be helpful. EG a piece of fruit with a handful of nuts or humus and veggie sticks, a homemade bliss ball or yoghurt with chia seeds.
YOU MAY NEED TO START WITH A DETOX!
- A Detox is an ideal way to start a weight loss or healthy eating plan.
- It is a minimum of 2-6 weeks so that’s long enough to form a habit!
- It may improve your liver function which will help you burn fat
- It may improve your gut function and microbiome balance
- It may uncover food intolerances by eliminating them for a short time then following up with challenges when you go back to your normal diet.
- It will eliminate caffeine, alcohol and sugar (empty calories and addictive for many of us)
- It will leave you with a clear mind and more energy to make effective change in your life
- You may even save money as you aren’t spending it on ‘other things’ 😉
- Spring is the perfect time to do it!
- Book one here!
Stay Well !
Fin Mackenzie – Naturopath & Herbalist
BHSc(CompMed), ADNat, DNut, DRM, MATMS