Do you feel that:
“I have done everything…I just can’t lose weight”;
“I haven’t changed anything and I am gaining weight!”;
“I exercise all the time and still can’t lose weight”;
“I don’t eat much and I am getting heavier!”.
If any of these is ringing true take a close look at the following tips , I’ll bet there will be one, if not more that will help you with your frustration.
Oh and by the way, only the last tip has anything to do with food.
One: See your Doc
Get a physical from your Doctor. Tell them everything you have been doing and what your experience has been. There are many health issues that can cause weight gain, some more serious than others. Regardless getting this information will either get you an answer or help you eliminate this possibility.
Two: Get real
Be honest, be real. Are you really trying EVERYTHING??? Sometimes what we feel/think might be different than what actually is. Take AT LEAST one week where you write down all you eat and all you do for movement. Write the times, the portions etc. Yup it is work but yup it is worth it.
Odds are even before the week is out you might be feeling a little less sure that you are doing all you can. To help move forward keep up the diary…it will help you stay honest with yourself.
Three: “Do what you have always done, and you will get what you have always got”
Over your lifetime you have accumulated “truths” about lifestyle choices and the impacts they have. They might be from experience, reading, or hearsay.
Bottom line is those “truths” might no longer be serving you and you aren’t even aware of it.
They might not have been “true” from the beginning or they might be things that are no longer accepted given recent studies (science is always learning right?), or they might no longer be appropriate for your gender/age/health or activity levels or types.
Whatever the reason, you might need to LET GO.
So how do you know what to hold on to and what not? Here is where working with a respected professional can really help, they can sift through the info for you and guide you along the way. Another option would be to talk to a friend that seems to have it figured.
If you want to try on your own do some research. The net offers a tonne of info but remember the source…look for reputable sources. Read, (not the magazines that promise quick fixes…as tempting as it is they don’t exist) and learn. Then start to make changes, one thing at a time, record/note the impact stick with what works and let go of the rest.
Regardless of how you slice it CHANGE is required so be prepared to let go.
Four: Are you stressed???
Stress levels in North America run rather high. The real yucky thing about it is stress is far more than feeling crappy in the present moment. It can spike your blood pressure, put you at a greater risk for heart disease (and a host of other things) and yes it can make you gain weight…especially around the middle.
Stress can come in many forms, beyond things like, financial issues, getting to work on time, dealing with tough co-workers…although all of these can be stressful. Other forms of stress include physical, nutritional and environmental stress. Think of working out too much (yes there is such a thing), eating poorly or being in environments that are too hot/too cold.
Don’t fool yourself…the little stresses do add up so you don’t have to be dealing with a breakup, serious illness or even death of a loved one to feel stress.
So once you recognize the stressors in your life do your best to reduce and manage stress.
Can you say NO sometimes and reduce the load on your plate??? Can you add stress managing activities like meditation, yoga and moderate exercise (appropriate levels for the individual) to your schedule? All of this will help.
Warning…YOGA plug: Studies have shown yoga to be an EXCELLENT way to manage stress. There are tonnes of opportunities to practice. You don’t even have to go to a studio; you can get a DVD or download something from the net. There is a yoga class for everyone and everybody. If you are in Kimberley or Calgary I can certainly give a recommendation.
Five: Are you sleeping well?
Lack of sleep and disturbed sleep can also negatively affect your weight. Like the stress that we spoke of in tip four, stress, poor sleep can impact hormones in your body that will have you packing on the pounds (even without late night runs to the refrigerator).
Some helpers for sleep:
- Go to bed and wake up at the same times every day this will help your body get into a routine
- The average human needs 7-9 hours of sleep EACH night. Make sure you get yours.
- Make your bedroom an oasis for sleep and sleep only (no work here!), it should be cool, dark, comfy and void of electronics. If your bedside alarm has a bright digital display…see if you can dim it or cover it up until you need to look at it.
- Create a routine that helps wind you down before you go to bed, this includes no electronics (TV, Ipads, Computers etc) for at least an hour, preferably longer.
If your sleep issues are not solved by these types of actions be sure to check in with your doctor and tell them your story. Actually a really great doctor will already ask you about sleep if you take the action suggested in Tip #1.
And ladies in menopause…you don’t have to suffer in silence, there are nutritional choices you can make that will help lessen the impact of the sleep disturbances you are encountering as well as lifestyle choices. A naturopath can make some suggestions here.
Tip Six: Are you feeling depressed?
Have you been diagnosed with depression, does it run in your family or have you been down for a while?
As if feeling and being depressed isn’t enough already, yes depression can cause weight gain (in some individual’s loss). Again I go back to Tip #1, see your doctor to get advice/direction here. This is so important I will repeat, SEE YOUR DOCTOR and get help.
Some other things that can also help
- Seeing a qualified therapist;
- Exercise(this is also another place where studies have shown a positive impact with yoga);
- Being kind to ((yourself))
Depression can and does happen to the best of us (myself included). It is nothing to be ashamed of or reason to create negative self talk on how “weak” you are. It is a chemical imbalance in the body that needs treatment and support. You are SOOOO WORTH getting the help you need.
Tip Seven: Sarcopenia….
Sarcopenia is the name given to the loss of muscle mass that occurs with aging. If you are getting older (and if you aren’t please let me know your secret!) then you will experience sarcopenia. Why is this important?
How much fuel (aka food, specifically carbohydrates) we burn in a day is directly related to the amount of muscle on our bodies. The more muscle you have the more you can eat, that simple.
So think of yourself 10 years ago…remember what you could eat and “get away” with then? Is it different than now? Sarcopenia might be why.
To manage sarcopenia is simple – resistance training! It is soooo important to move and exercise but also to do movements that are against a resistance.
Traditionally this is thought of as lifting weights, but you can use body weight or bands or walk against the current in the lazy river at the pool, whatever turns your crank! Just do something that will encourage muscle tone (and muscle gain).
If you need help to determine the options that might work well for you check in with a respected trainer and they can help.
Tip Eight: Not eating enough
Did you know that not eating enough of the right kinds of foods can actually make you gain weight, just like eating too much will? When you miss meals or go hungry for long periods of time your body starts to economize. It figures there is a famine or shortage and it needs to hunker down and save every calorie it can.
This is certainly a situation you should avoid, not only is depriving yourself no fun, you won’t get the nourishment you need and you will start to gain. If this has been the case for a while it will take your metabolism (the main consumer of calories in your body) a while to kick start again revving at a normal rate.
Here are some things that you can do to help yourself:
- Eat breakfast as soon as you get up and make sure there is quality protein with it;
- Continue to eat every 3-4 hours during the day, with snacks between breakfast and lunch and lunch and dinner;
- Choose quality real foods (not processed);
- Stop eating about two hours before bedtime;
- Learn about how much food you should be eating in a day. To get an idea on this you need to have your sex, age, current weight, height, and activity level known. There are lots of “calculators” on the net to input this information to determine the number of calories you should consume in a day. Remember if you are looking to lose weight you should eat with a slight calorie deficit (a safe place to start might be 10% less per day) Here are links to two calculators for you to check out. One includes activity level, the other doesn’t.
Of course another way of dealing with this is to see someone qualified to do this for you. Zeal & Zen offers free one hour nutritional consultations that can help you get started. Just contact me to get yourself set up. These consults can also be done on line using skype, so your location doesn’t matter.
There you are, eight tips to get you unstuck and start losing weight.
I would love to help you on your journey. Either contact me directly or watch my facebook page and newsletters for more tips or feedback. Thanks so much for your support and Good LUCK on your journey to wellness!