Let’s talk about weight loss. If your diet isn’t working, despite strict portion control, calorie counting, and flogging yourself in the gym five times a week, you’re certainly not alone.
Here’s the thing:
It isn’t just as simple as creating a calorie deficit
On the surface, this theory makes perfect sense; after all, it is a basic interpretation of the first law of thermodynamics. But we’re not cars burning petrol; we’re far more complex, with intricate bioenergetic processes.
Hidden influences at play
Hormones like oestrogen and cortisol (the stress hormone) can influence weight, as well as where this weight is stored (i.e. around the abdomen), and environmental toxins like BPA interfere with our genetic expression and the function of our mitochondria – the cells in our body responsible for processing food into energy.
Why diets don’t work
This is why certain diets work for some people but not for others; there are multiple factors influencing our appetite, metabolism, weight and fat storage outside of just what we eat and how much we exercise.
What you can do
Stop counting calories, and start counting nutrients
When your calories come from whole food sources, you won’t need to count them. Kick the processed crap to the curb and fill up on fibre instead.
Fibre-rich whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes will leave you feeling full and satiated. You might even need to eat MORE volume than you are used to!
Highly satiating starchy vegetables and legumes are low in calorie density but high in nutrient density, and consuming a diet rich in micronutrients – vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals – is a key strategy in keeping your hormones balanced and protecting your body against the harmful free-radicals found in environmental toxins.
Before making any changes to your diet, you should speak to your doctor, especially if you are already dealing with a chronic disease or taking medication. Consider working with a dietician or nutritional therapist to ensure you are implementing dietary changes correctly and getting all the nutrients your body needs.
Easier said than done, right?
Well, we have to start taking this more seriously and make time for our mental health, because health doesn’t mean the absence of disease. Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being.
Thankfully, it’s becoming more well recognised that keeping stress levels in check can contribute to your good, holistic health.
A few simple (and zero cost!) ways to reduce stress in your life include:
- Doing regular exercise
- Limiting caffeine
- Meditation and deep-breathing techniques
- Learning to say no 👈🏼 start today!
- Practising mindfulness
- Spending more time with loved ones and pets
Employing these techniques takes time and practice, but the rewards are well worth the effort.
Reduce exposure to toxins
Environmental toxins are all around us. From the beauty and cleaning products we use, to the food we eat, sometimes we can’t avoid our chemical-laced environment, even in naturally occurring substances.
So, while it’s impossible to completely eliminate exposure to these endocrine-disrupting, cancer-promoting toxins, reducing exposure is possible:
- Wash fruits, veggies and legumes thoroughly to remove any pesticides (15 mins in a bath of bicarbonate of soda will do the trick)
- Choose plastics without PVC and BPA (check the bottom of the container; numbers 3 and 7 indicate they are present)
- Avoid microwaving and dishwashing plastics, and discard them if they become scratched or damaged
- Better still, just use glass containers where possible
- Avoid hygiene and beauty products containing phthalates
- Reduce the use of products that contain ‘fragrance’
- Drink filtered tap water instead of bottled water
- Don’t smoke and avoid smoky places
- Fill your home with air-cleaning plants
- Eat a healthy diet full of antioxidants
Our bodies are incredibly well-versed at detoxifying, so there is no need to drive yourself crazy trying to avoid environmental toxins – it’s an exercise in futility. But you can easily make a few small changes to avoid any build-up of toxins and reduce your risk of over-exposure.
To say that diets don’t work FULL STOP would be a bit misleading (sorry, not sorry – the headline caught your attention, right!). But the fact is, that your diet hasn’t failed, and nor have you. We just need to look outside of the usual calories-in, calories-out diet strategy and look to our environments for external clues.
The good news is that this is all within your control, but there is no one-size-fits-all diet that works for every person. Our bodies are all unique and a personalised approach should be taken when it comes to applying a weight loss solution.