We’ve all been told that the secret to losing weight isn’t really a secret at all…simply eat less and exercise more! Right? Well, it seems to me that if it was that simple we wouldn’t see the numbers on the scales going up every year. Turns out this little formula works for some but for the majority of people it is lot more complicated.
Our bodies actually have powerful mechanisms in place that work against us when we try to restrict our calories too much.
First of all, when we are depriving ourselves of the calories that our bodies need to operate, we quickly feel hungry and irritable and chances are that we aren’t going to sustain that for very long before our ‘will power’ caves in and we over eat to compensate.
Our bodies are pretty wise and when we under eat, our metabolism actually slows down so that we can preserve energy. That makes us less efficient in burning our stored energy (fat) for fuel.
Our bodies become even more efficient in absorbing calories from the foods we do eat so we end up getting more than we thought.
So if restricting caloric intake and working out harder isn’t the answer for sustainable weight loss, what is? I’ve covered the positive health impact of many of the 7 Pillars of Wellness in previous posts (here, and here) but we all know that what we put in our mouths is the single most critical area to focus on for weight loss.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll cover some of the best approaches to diet for weight loss and overall health so you can decide which feels best for you to adopt over the next several weeks as you push the “reset” button on your health.
The Paleo Template
By now most of you have at least heard of the Paleo Diet. The diet approach is based on the simple concept that we should base our dietary intake on modern foods that might resemble the foods available to our hunter-gatherer ancestors prior to the agricultural farming of grains.
The Paleo approach emphasizes whole, real foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, healthy fats, grass fed beef, wild game, organ meats, wild caught fish and sea food. This approach avoids legumes, grains, refined sugars and artificial sweeteners and most dairy products.
How Does It Aid in Weight Loss?
Moving from a Standard American Diet to a Paleo template creates a myriad of beneficial shifts in your body that can dramatically improve your body composition. Some of the benefits come directly from the abundance of healthy foods that you can eat and the other benefits come simply from avoiding the negative consequences of foods on the “naughty list”.
Much of our modern convenience food is loaded with artificial chemicals and flavorings that add to our body’s toxic burden. Eliminating these foods allows our body to detoxify and that leads to improved cellular function.
Even though the Paleo template isn’t specifically “low carb”, the simple fact that you are eliminating grains (breads, pasta, crackers etc.) and refined sugars will help stabilize blood sugar. When we don’t have sugar spikes, we don’t produce as much insulin and since insulin is a fat storage hormone, we end up losing that spare tire around our midsection.
Eating more protein and fat and less carbohydrates makes us feel full faster so we naturally eat less food. In addition, these foods keep our energy balanced for a longer period of time and so we feel less inclined to snack and nibble all day long.
Eliminating gluten and other grains lowers the amount of inflammation in our gut and that leads to less bloating and water retention.
The abundance of non-starchy vegetables and fruits provide ample amounts of fiber. Fiber is essential for a healthy gut microbiome and keeps us feeling full.
The Paleo approach is the most nutrient-dense diet. Eating Paleo means that you’ll be getting more antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, and Omega-3 essential fatty acids than you may have ever eaten.
The Healing Diet – 30 Day Reset Program
If you are considering shedding 10-25 lbs. in 2018, might we suggest a 30-day Paleo template program that we created called The Healing Diet Reset. It’s our version of the popular “Whole30” program based on the NY Times best-selling book “It Starts With Food” by Melissa Hartwig.
Committing to a solid 30 days of clean eating will simply be the single most powerful thing you can do to improve your health. We’ve routinely seen our patients lose between 10-25 of excess body fat without any added time in the gym and without counting calories at all.
What’s even better is that the “side benefits” are amazing! Less fatigue, less bloating and gut problems, less brain fog, no more heartburn, lower blood sugar levels, lower blood pressure, less aching joints…you get the idea. This is a no-brainer for weight loss and a perfect spring board for overall health. What’s more, it is sustainable!
No More Yo-Yo’s
Most people have had the sad experience of losing weight only to gain it right back again plus an extra few pounds. Isn’t that frustrating?! One of the best things about the Paleo template approach to diet is that it is sustainable as a long-term lifestyle.
Sure it will take some time to get used to a life without grains but there is such an abundance of variety on a Paleo diet that once your taste buds settle in, you’ll realize that you really aren’t missing much.
We find that most of our patients can easily transition from a 100% Healing Diet program to a “90-10” (meaning that 90% of the time you follow the plan but 10% of the time you relax a bit) approach for the long-term.
Learn more about the Healing Diet Reset here.
Next week we’ll be covering a slight modification of the Paleo Diet for Detoxification so stay tuned…
Featured image photo credit: www.stock.adobe.com