The truth is that from a physiological perspective weight loss is not supported by many mechanisms in the body, which is frustrating for a lot of us who pursue a weight loss goal.
However, our physiology was designed to maintain a healthy balance in the body and to store an adequate amount of fat. How much fat we accumulate, is different for each person, and determined by genetics, and largely by lifestyle.
That said, there are lots of things we can do to keep the body in healthy balance and to prevent obesity genes from manifesting in our body. (Nutrition, exercise, attitude, physical activity, etc.) It all counts.
Often times we have to play around with different approaches to find what works best for us at a given time, because we are in constant change and adaptation.
In a previous post I discussed the main obstacles that often impede weight loss in women.
In this post I want to give you a few simple suggestions and tricks that will allow you to support your bodily mechanisms for weight loss.
The suggestions below can boost your ability to lose fat, when paired with an adequate nutritional and exercise plan.
Low carb- high fat diets work, Low fat – high carb diets can work too!
Try not to demonize any macro-nutrient. They exist in nature for a reason; and they all have different properties that the body can benefit from.
When it comes to weight loss, it seems like diets high in both, fat and carbs are the most nourishing and potentially fattening. So, if your goal is fat and weight loss try either low carb or low fat, and see which one fits your metabolic type better.
I suggest working with a Nutritionist or Coach to determine the adequate amount of nutrients for your age, size, activity, level of health etc. However, if you like to figure things out on your own, there are some great resources out there that can help you shape up a plan, like this one.
Explore and find the one that your body loves. Switch from time to time, and then switch again. Our body’s needs are in constant change. I personally have tried them both, and they both have worked at different times.
I love carbohydrates like root vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, so a low carb diet is not very pleasant for me, however, sometimes I feel like I need less of them so I eat more fat and lower the amount of carbohydrates I eat.
Listening to what your body needs is key. If you are new to Listening to your body, visit the home page and sign up for my Free mini course to get started in building this valuable skill.
How to eat around your menstrual cycle to improve fat loss
During your cycle it is normal to put on some weight due to water retention, Don’t panic about it!, it will go away!.It is a time to nourish the body properly so that we can support the process, and go through it with ease.
You might notice that you have certain cravings around your cycle, this is caused by changes in different hormones like estrogen, and progesterone. Your appetite will increase, and your body likely needs the extra food intake, don’t worry! Your body will balance it out.
According to the book Weight-loss Unlocked eating more carbohydrates the first two weeks of the cycle, almost as many as you crave (keep it healthy please!) and less fat, while eating more fat, and less carbohydrates in the last two weeks of the cycle supports weight loss because of the fluctuations in progesterone and its influence on insulin sensitivity.
This book also teaches you how to modify your exercise routine around your cycle to work with your hormones and promote weight loss. I encourage you to read it, it is a very valuable tool for women, especially if your goal is long lasting weight loss.
Interestingly, according to the Ayurveda, your menstrual cycle is a time to slow down – to be connected to your nature. It should be a quiet time where strenuous physical activity is not recommended. Try not to book yourself with too many activities during that time, and instead give yourself more time to just be.
Improve your ability to be a good fat burner.
Dr. John Douillard, who I love listening to, is an expert in Ayurveda; he talks about how eating 5, 6 or more meals a day does not always work for sustainable fat loss.
During the time between meals, the body is using the food we ate to support body functions, replenish storage, and produce energy. When it runs out of fuel, it uses the your stored fat.
If we abstain from eating between meals, we give the body a chance to find that fuel in our fat storage.
However, if we are constantly eating, the body has less opportunity to access stored energy in the form of fat. The body has very peculiar priorities, and sadly for us, burning fat is not one of them.
A sound recommendation is to eat 2 to 3 complete meals, with sufficient amounts to take you from meal to meal without depriving yourself or going into starvation mode.
Now, that said, this concept applies to a normal healthy person, but not so much for someone with adrenal issues, like me! or someone who is under constant stress, or someone whose metabolism has been damaged.
In these cases eating several small meals a day can be effective in healing and managing these conditions. The body consumes a lot more nutrients when under stress, and it is important to nourish the body adequately to bring hormones back to balance.
Remember, your needs are unique and it is extremely valuable to tailor any program to your own unique physiology. This is exactly what I do with my clients. Together we find what works best for them and they get results.
Because we are all at different levels of health, it is important to evaluate where we are at, before deciding which approach to take.
Sip hot water throughout the day with lemon juice
This helps open the detoxification channels, improves digestion, and helps the lymph move waste throughout the body more efficiently. Good detoxification equals much better chances at weight loss.
Get the most nutrients possible with the least amount of food.
By this I do not mean starve yourself, as I have explained above.
I am convinced that this doesn’t work well in a women’s body, and the consequences are great. But we still want to maintain good balance between the energy that we consume, and the energy that our body requires for daily functions and physical activity.
What I am referring to, is to focus on nutrient dense foods to provide the body with all the nutrients it needs without excessive energy.
Focus on Vegetables, fruits, healthy fat, and clean proteins from a variety of plant and animal sources, preferably organic to maximize nutrients, and minimize chemicals and toxins.
When you focus on highly nourishing foods for the high majority of your diet, you naturally consume more nutrients and less calories, because you will meet your nutritional requirements, and become satiated with less food intake.
Of course it is fine to have your favorite treat once in a while.
Find an adequate amount of activity that makes you feel energized and healthy.
It is not necessary to train hard 6 days a week, like a lot of different fitness magazines make us believe. Different amounts of exercise will work for different women. It is important to know your body and your limitations.
A lot of fitness experts advocate the idea of pushing more, going the extra mile, always fit in one more rep, etc. which can be a positive message depending on how you apply it to your life, but can also be damaging if we already have obsessive behaviors with food and exercise.
I think a better approach is to make your best effort, which doesn’t mean pushing your body’s boundaries to the point that you compromise your health. Making your best effort considering your current state of health and limitation will prevent you from over-training
I encourage you to evaluate whether your current workout or training routing is helping or hurting your health and weight loss efforts.
The rule of thumb is to notice how you feel after you work out, right after, and the day after. If you feel vitalized and energized, you are on the right track!. If you feel worn out, tired, extremely sore or have less energy you probably will benefit more from exercising less, in order to let the body repair and reduce stress.
Weight loss is challenging, there is no question about it! If it was easy there wouldn’t be so many programs out there on weight loss.
The truth is that for long lasting success the best thing is to work with a practitioner who understands how the body works and who can work with your unique physiology to find the support that your body needs to lose unwanted weight.
I am passionate about helping my clients lose weight in a way that feels natural, effortless and even enjoyable for them.
If you are interested in learning about how this could look like for you, Click here to request a complimentary coaching call.
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