The more clients I work with, and the more I dig into diet, the more confusing it sometimes seems to be…Because I have learned there’s no one-size fits all approach, and I would be suspicious of anyone who tries to tell you otherwise. This is especially true when it comes to weight loss. It seems some people look at sugar or bread and gain pounds, while others can eat a pint of ice cream a night with no visible body composition repercussions. It’s an unfair world we live in. Though there isn’t a golden rule, over the years I have witnessed some general trends and some fairly powerful anecdotes from clients who struggled for months, years or decades to lose weight, and were finally able to figure it out. If you’re one of these people—struggling to make sense of why your body isn’t losing the weight you want—consider the following: GET OFF ALLLLLLLLL OF THE SUGAR You might think sugar just means refined sugars, like putting a sugar cube in your coffee, pounding daily Cokes, or eating apple pie for dessert, all the while you continue to eat fruit every morning, handfuls of figs at lunch and put honey in your coffee because it’s a more “natural” sugar, you have been told. I worked with a client once—and have heard many other similar success stories—who finally decided to give up all forms of sweeteners, including maple syrup, honey, agave, dried fruit, fresh fruit—you name it. The moment she did: BOOM! Weight loss galore. If the thought of not being able to eat fruit or honey or anything sweet ever again makes you suicidal, relax a moment. Many people are able to re-introduce some sweet things back into their diet after a few months of zero tolerance. But you need to go through the zero tolerance period first. Try it for 30 days and see what happens. HEAL YOUR GUT The problem for some is they’re eating lots of good food, but their gut bacteria is messed up, so their bodies have lost the ability to absorb nutrients effectively, which means their metabolism and digestive systems aren’t working as well as they should. 5 quick tips for gut health:
- Eliminate inflammatory foods from your diet (gluten, dairy, soy, sugar, legumes)
- Take a probiotic supplement (the higher CFU count the better)
- Eat more soluble fiber
- Consume apple cider vinegar and bone broth
- Look into supplements (namely Vitamin D, zinc, L-Glutamine, Betaine HCL, fish oil)
FIX YOUR SLEEP Don’t believe me that sleep is THAT important for bodily processes like metabolism (i.e. weight loss)? You have probably worked out after a night or two of bad eating. Maybe even after a night or two of heavy boozing. Maybe you even PRed your back squat when you were hungover… But imagine going two nights without any sleep and then trying to workout at intensity. The thought of it is painful, right? Two consecutive nights of little to no sleep and you probably feel way more ruined than you do from an entire month of poor food choices. This article from the International Journal of Endocrinology explains more (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2929498/) about how sleep deprivation has profound impacts on your hormones, your metabolism and your cardiovascular health. In short, if there IS a magic bullet solution, it might just be sleep. Sleep tight, folks. And avoid the sugar.