A Weighty Issue
Many of us find ourselves on the weight loss journey at one (or sometimes) many stages of life and sadly lockdowns have certainly propelled many into this sphere once again.
It only takes a quick Google, sometimes not even that. With an influx of pop-up ads hitting our social media confusing us with a wealth of information out there pertaining to weight loss, quick fixes and simple diet guides. We want to chase the magical unicorns that promise us “AMAZING” results in just a few weeks, drinks that simply just melt the fat away… and all the other hyped promises. As the old saying goes – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
Weight loss should always begin with what you put in your mouth, and how much of it! While there is an array of eating styles (I hate the word diet – see here for why https://www.fundamentalwellbeing.com.au/single-post/2018/01/31/argh-diets-a-real-world-experience) out there all promising a healthier slimmer you, they all have one commonality. Yep, Vegan and Keto have the same base philosophy, as do Vegetarian, Pescatarian and Paleo. What is it I hear you ask? WHOLEFOODS! They are wholefoods-based diet, centering their cores on good, clean, unprocessed fruits and vegetables, grains and meats. Well maybe not for the Vegans but you see my point! They should not have you relying on packaged or proceeded foods, shakes or other meal replacements, just good simple nutritious foods!
Picking one of these whole foods philosophy and following it is only step one on the way to our weight loss journey and it doesn’t matter which one you pick just that you are conscious of your eating style and that it can be sustained long term. Eating styles that are overly restrictive may help shred the kilos at first but are often difficult to maintain and when participants abandon their new eating style they find that the Kgs not only come back but bring a few more to the party.
When working with clients who have food sensitivities, we do restrict a lot of their foods, however, this is usually for only a period of time while we carry out the gut health and strengthen work as well as help address the immune issues present. This allows these foods can be re-introduced.
So, we have picked our wholefoods path and now we are on our way. Many people find at least initially that cutting the processed stuff out of their diet will yield rewards in not only their waistline but also their energy and overall feeling of wellbeing. So, what happens if you plateau in your weight or just doesn’t seem to be moving forward? Well, it could also be a matter of how much you are eating! Yep, Calories matter, although not so much when eating good sources of whole foods – let me explain.
As I mentioned earlier all of the eating styles are centred around the wholefoods philosophy and should mean that your plate is overburdened with vegetables and maybe fruits. Typically, these foods are lower in calories but are packed full of fibre and nutrients. Next comes out proteins and healthy fats. These guys are higher in calories but provide us with essential amino acids and omega fatty acids to help ensure you function physically and mentally at optimum levels. What’s more, these foods help ensure that your satiety levels are optimised. When we are satisfied, we generally can eat more intuitive. However, sometimes our intuition is a little misguided (like that time you thought you could jump over the puddle, but landed straight in it). When this happens, we can find ourselves eating more than we need, or creating imbalances on our plate of more fats and proteins than vegetables.
When this occurs it's often the time to bring out the food scales and the food diary and take note of how much we're actually eating! Yep, good old calorie counting! While this shouldn’t be a long term strategy it is something I use with clients. Weighing and measuring food, while tedious is useful as a reset and to help create awareness. Because sometimes that handful of rolled oats we thought was on ¼ cup is in fact ½ a cup – these of the sort of things that can sneak up on you.
While overeating is commonly the source of people’s energy imbalance, there are also the undereaters, those who struggle to meat (see what I did there?) their nutritional goals. Many of us have been raised with the calories in vs calories out for weight loss, and while very basic it has an element of truth, but there has been this weird morphing of it to equate to the less we eat the skinnier/healthier we will be. This is where things can get complicated! While on paper it’s a sound theory, it can be just that, theoretical. Hitting close to your caloric target with whole foods will yield the best outcomes in both nutritional status, weight management and overall wellbeing.
If you’re not sure which eating style to try or what specific caloric/nutritional requirements are best for you, make an appointment to discuss your options.
Allison is a qualified Naturopathy and Nutritional & Western Herbal Medicine. As the founder of Fundamental Wellbeing in Mudgee, she specialises in gut health and stress-related conditions. Allison possesses a strong passion for all things health and wellness, she understands that balance is essential to life, looking for real-world solutions to help clients reach their health goals.