Power through Your Weight Loss Plateau By Dr. Natasha Turner, ND
If you are stuck, need a push or want to mix things up in your weight loss program, try one or more of these tips to keep your mind off the scale and your spirits as high as they can be.
Tips for revamping your diet:
Be aware of the diet saboteurs such as
Fat-free yogurt with added fruit. Plain yogurt is better for you as it typically contains 6grams of protein, 6grams of carbohydrates and a few grams of fat. A fat-free yogurt contains 27 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of protein and no fat. Purchase plain yogurt and add your own fruit. Or, if you really must have the sweetened yogurt, mix half of it with unsweetened or plain yogurt to decrease the amount of sugar per serving.
Packets of artificial sweeteners and foods containing artificial sweeteners. This includes diet pop! Although sweeteners do not seem to influence blood sugars, they have been found to alter insulin, resulting in increased cravings and hunger. Many sweeteners have also been linked to certain types of cancers.
Packaged nuts (almonds, peanuts). Most of these products contain hydrogenated oils or vegetable oils. Substitute with raw nuts you can purchase from a health food or bulk food store.
Cereals which are marketed as healthy choices. For example, Kelloggs Vector cereal does contain more vitamins and minerals than other cereals, but it also contains a ton of sugar. The only breakfast cereal I would recommend is Kashi GoLEAN or slow-cooked oatmeal. Even with both of these options, you still need to add more protein to your breakfast (such as two or three egg whites) to remain in glycemic balance.
Too much fruit. Fruits contain natural sugars and just like anything else, too much is rarely a good thing. Aim for a maximum of three fruits per day and at least one of these daily servings should be berries. Other fruits you can enjoy include apples, pears, peaches, cherries or grapefruit. Avoid bananas and melons and never eat fruits on their own. Always enjoy fruits with foods that contain fat and protein such as nuts, yogurt or cheese.
Fizzy water (Perrier, etc.). Although fizzy water has little or no calories, it is very high in sodium and can cause water retention and bloating. Choose sodium-free options or better yet, drink pure water with lemon instead.
Coffee, lattes, teas. Too much caffeine interferes with fat metabolism. It influences blood sugar and insulin balance and can contribute to more abdominal fat. Although it is beneficial for weight loss to consume caffeine before a workout, high amounts of caffeine consumed throughout the day can be detrimental to your health. Drink green tea instead and limit your coffee intake to once daily. Avoid sugary drinks such as caramel or vanilla lattes that are high in calories.
Skipping meals, especially breakfast, and excessive caloric restriction. We should eat every three to four hours to make sure our metabolic engines keep running at top speed. Never skip meals and travel with snacks such as pieces of string cheese, raw almonds and cashews. Skipping meals and caloric restriction messes with blood sugar balance which may cause us to overeat later in the day. Skipping meals also raises stress hormones which inhibit weight loss and damage metabolism.
Tips to keep your health in check:
Measure your waist and hip ratio. Measure your waist and divide it by the measurement of your hips. If the number is greater than 0.8 (women) or 1.0 (men), you could be at risk for insulin resistance. With insulin resistance, insulin levels are raised causing more abdominal weight gain and problems with weight loss in general. With insulin resistance, protein, fiber and healthy fats become crucial components of a dietary plan. Supplements such as CLA, Alpha lipoic acid, biotin, vanadium, zinc, magnesium and green tea are helpful. It is also beneficial to add cinnamon to your diet.
Check your stress. Elevated cortisol inhibits thyroid gland function and therefore interferes with metabolism, increases water retention and causes abdominal fat. If you are under a lot of stress, take Relora to lower stress, improve sleep and reduce stress-related eating.
Sleep well. Pay close attention to your sleep habits as you would to your diet and exercise programs. They all provide the foundation for weight loss. Sleeping in complete darkness and getting to bed before 11 PM ensures optimal release of hormones that affect body composition. If you are sleep-deprived, it may cause weight gain and a tendency to overeat. Visit the Truestar Sleep section for sleep tips or try using natural sleep aids such as TrueCALM or melatonin, if necessary.
Exercise enough and dont be afraid to increase your weights or intensity of your workout (if you are healthy). Studies show about 150 minutes minimum (optimally, 200 minutes) of exercise per week is needed for weight loss. For an extra fat-burning boost, pump up the intensity of your cardio sessions with intervals rather than making them longer.
Get a thyroid blood test. Thyroid hormone governs our metabolism. Before a weight loss program, TSH, Free T3 and Free T4 should be tested. TSH should be less than 2.0 to 2.5, not 5, the previously accepted normal reading. If you are menopausal or just gave birth, problems of the thyroid gland tend to occur more often.
The key to successful weight loss is consistency and persistence. Be kind to yourself and remember, even if your weight is not a health issue, these healthy lifestyle changes benefit your heart, body, mind and soul for life.
Wishing you perfect health,
Dr. Natasha Turner, B.Sc., ND