There are few of us who have not come across some crazy diet fads or extreme diets promising the world when it comes to weight loss. It’s a whole industry and a massive one at that, so no wonder that people fall into believing. There is no one way of finding what works because a healthy weight is never the dreaded ‘one size fits all’. We are each unique and that is a beautiful thing.
Ultimately, it comes down to settling on a way of eating that we can sustain and we can do without stressing. Food is supposed to be a beautiful thing, not a scary one. No one will ever convince me otherwise.
Work through the usual culprits
- Reduce alcohol intake (aka empty and actually ‘damaging to your health’ calories)
- Keep your saturated fat intake (think fatty cuts of meat, full fat dairy and butter) to 10 percent of your total daily food intake (this helps with reducing the blood cholesterol and apoB protein levels, which I discussed last week).
- Eat fibre and fermented foods: prebiotics and probiotics make your gut happy 🙂. Filling half your plate with veggies is a good way to eat nutrient-rich foods that improve your health.
- Reduce/eliminate liquid sugar (sugary beverages, including fruit juices). Drink water instead!
- Reduce your intake of fast foods and ultra processed foods. They are usually calorie-rich and nutrient-poor, so save for an occasional treat, but do consider better-for-you options, whether homemade or not. Here’s a blog post on the topic.
- Skip the night snack and opt for herbal tea instead.
And that’s not all
Lifestyle factors matter too, and they matter a lot! If you ever have short nights or just bad, interrupted sleep (who hasn’t??) you know how you turn all munchy during the day. And it’s not ‘I’ll eat my greens and beets’ munchy either, but a sugar-and-fat kinda combination we’re after. Yes, sleep has to do with weight gain. And stress has to do with sleep, so you see where I am going with this.
It’s not just what we put on our plates that matters. Then comes moving. We’re no longer holding the belief that eating better and moving more is the secret to weight loss but having enough intentional movement such as aerobic and resistance exercise makes us feel good in our bodies. A strong body is an empowered body.
But what if you want to gain some weight?
I know people who struggle to gain weight and it’s frustrating. To many, that seems like a dream come true, but it’s not. Again, feeling good in our bodies is what it comes down too and being too thin and constantly worrying about losing weight is just as stressful as being worried about gaining.
Here are some tips on how to get started:
- Eat more frequently and make sure to include all macronutrients: healthy fats, protein and carbohydrates, ideally from whole foods rather than added sugar. *While it may be easy to gain weight by eating lots of ultra processed foods, sugary foods and drinks, I think we have to consider the impact on health in the long-term.
- Have a couple of snacks a day consisting of nuts, seeds, dried fruit and homemade healthy cookies (see recipes on my site!)
- Assess your movement regimen and adjust if excessive cardiovascular activity in favor of weight training which can help add muscle mass.
- Have nutrient-rich smoothies throughout the day as desired (make sure to use a good quality protein supplement as needed).