Tag Archives: weight loss

Eat breakfast to lose weight

eat breakfast to lose weight copy

If you’re like most Americans, you eat a high-carb breakfast packed with grains, dairy, and sugar, or you don’t eat breakfast at all either because you’re too busy or you want to lose weight. Either way, you’re not doing yourself any favors.

Breakfast is exactly what it sounds like — the breaking of a fast. After 8-plus hours of no food, your body needs fuel to bring its systems up to speed and maintain even energy for the day. As it turns out, eating a solid breakfast is one of the best things you can do to lose weight. It also helps assure a clear mind, steady emotions, and plentiful energy throughout the day.

Skipping breakfast can actually make you gain weight!

We’ve all been taught the “calories in vs. calories out” theory for weight loss. In an effort to cut calories, we skip breakfast because it’s the easiest meal to do without, especially if we tend to wake up with no appetite or we’re always in a rush to get to work. But while calories can matter, skipping breakfast can actually lead to weight gain:

When you wake in the morning, your blood sugar is already low. Skipping breakfast (or any meal) allows it to go lower and impairs insulin sensitivity, which leads to weight gain.

Chronic low blood sugar creates a cascade effect in your hormonal system that directly affects your body’s ability to deal with stress. This can result in increased inflammation throughout your body, which can lead to weight gain. Low blood sugar also causes brain fog, mood issues, insomnia, decreased brain function, and other health issues. None of these symptoms will help you stick to a healthier eating plan.

Skipping breakfast has interesting behavioral effects; research shows that people who skip breakfast tend to reach for higher calorie foods once they do eat, leading to higher total daily calorie consumption than those who ate a solid breakfast. This is partly because missing meals causes the brain to become primed toward higher-calorie foods like it would during starvation or famine.

Skipping breakfast makes you more likely to binge on sugary foods that result in an energy crash later in the day—making you less likely to go out and get that much-needed exercise. (PS: A big sweet, milky coffee drink with whipped cream is not a breakfast.)

Eat a protein-strong breakfast for weight loss and steady energy

You know you need to eat breakfast. But eating traditional carb-heavy breakfast foods such as cereals, bagels, muffins, and fruit smoothies isn’t a great idea; they sabotage your weight loss goals by destabilizing blood glucose and insulin after the night’s fast, as well as kicking cravings for quick-energy sugary stuff and junk foods into high gear.

Eating a nutrient-dense, lower carb breakfast with plenty of protein and healthy fats provides the brain and body with proper fuel, balances your blood sugar and insulin, and gives your metabolism a boost for the day.

Studies show a protein-strong breakfast can also reduce hunger hormones, increase the chemical that tells your brain to stop eating, improve your sense of satiety, and reduce evening snacking.

Why diets don’t work

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After studying dieting for 20 years, a researcher concluded diets simply don’t work, a fact countless Americans have spent 20-plus years of their own lives validating.

Why? Dieting is constructed around faulty principles that defy human biology and psychology. The “calories in versus calories out” model fails to account for hormonal shifts during weight loss, the psychological consequences of deprivation, and the futility of willpower when it comes to eating.

In a nutshell, the human body has mechanisms in place designed to compensate for starvation.

Three things that cause diets to fail

The researcher found three key reasons why diets fail:

  • The deprivation of dieting wires your brain to notice food more and to make food appear more appetizing, tempting, and harder to resist.
  • Weight loss through calorie restriction causes hormonal shifts that decrease satiety hormones and increase hunger hormones. As a result, you feel less full on the same amount of food than you used to.
  • Calorie restriction slows down your metabolism so that you become more efficient at storing fat and less efficient at burning it. This is why people actually become heavier after each diet.

In essence, dieting is starving, and your body responds to a diet just as it would to a famine — with these responses that have kept humans alive throughout the ages.

What’s worse, the dieting industry has spun this built-in failure into a $61 billion dollar industry that preys on insecurities and hopes while ignoring some basic tenets of human function.

What about willpower?

When it comes to dieting, willpower is a poor tool. For example, if you use willpower to avoid Facebook during a two-hour work project and succeed except for during the last 10 minutes, that last-minute lapse does not undo your previous success. However, if you sit in front of a platter of donuts during a two-hour meeting and resist them except during the last 10 minutes, that last-minute lapse has undone your previous success.

The study found that the slightest distractions can trigger overeating in those who are dieting. It also concluded that the paltry 5 percent who do succeed at maintaining their weight loss devote their lives to their weight, living like a starving person.

So does this mean I can never lose weight?

Thankfully, no. The key is to eat consciously with a focus on health and nutrition, not to starve your body and trigger binges and rebounds. Many people who follow a functional medicine approach to health find weight loss is just one of the many benefits they experience.

For instance, your excess weight could be the result of low thyroid function, food intolerances, blood sugar imbalances, sleep deprivation, and even over exercising. Excess weight is typically a symptom of a deeper problem and addressing the underlying cause can result in gradual, healthy, and hunger-free weight loss. And not everyone is meant to be rail thin — you may need to adjust your expectations to honor your body’s set point and not society’s.

Also, many people have dug themselves into a deep hole of self-loathing because of their many dieting failures. This causes chronic and sometimes severe stress that can impact your biology and serve as another barrier to weight loss. It’s important to honor your physiology and rewire your belief systems around eating and your body to facilitate more positivity and relaxation.

Ask me for more advice on the proper care and feeding of your body.

Where does fat go when you lose weight?

434 where fat goes when you lose weight

If you’re like most people you are hoping to start the New Year by losing a few pounds. However, did you ever stop to wonder just where those pounds go when you lose them? Turns out most experts don’t know either, and the answer may surprise you.

Most people think that when we burn fat it creates heat and energy, but that’s not true. Instead, the majority of the fat we burn leaves through our lungs when we breathe – the more you breathe the more fat you can burn (providing of course you’re eating consciously). And what’s the best way to increase respiration? That’s right, exercise! So although exercise promotes weight loss by boosting metabolism and building muscle, simply increasing the number of breaths you take is going to help release those unwanted pounds from your body.

A recent Australian study was able to show exactly where our fat goes when we lose weight. For every 22 pounds of weight lost, more than 18 pounds are exhaled as carbon dioxide. The rest leaves as water through urine, sweat, tears, and other bodily fluid. The extra breathing you do when you exercise unlocks the carbon atoms found in fat, thus breaking the fat molecules down. The carbon then leaves through your lungs.

On average, people breathe about 12 times a minute when at rest, which takes with it 10 milligrams of carbon. If you’re completely sedentary and not going above that 12 breaths a minute it will put a cap on how much fat you can release.

And in case you’re wondering, losing weight is not contributing to climate change. It is simply returning carbon atoms that previously had been trapped in food to the atmosphere.

How you gain weight

We gain weight when we eat more food than we need. Those excess carbohydrates and proteins are converted into triglycerides (compounds made up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen), which are stored in lipid droplets inside fat cells. Losing weight requires breaking down those triglycerides to access their carbon.

Making triglycerides is an energy demanding process. Do you ever feel sleepy after a high-carbohydrate meal, like a big plate of pasta, a bowl or rice, a large dessert, or maybe simply too much food? That tired feeling stems in part from the energy your body requires to make triglycerides that can be stored as fat.

Other weight loss tips

Naturally, you want to avoid that sleepy feeling, not only because naps are inappropriate at your work desk, but also because you’re making fat! Try reducing the amount of carbohydrates you eat and/or the amount of food to avoid that fat-promoting sleepy feeling. If you still feel sleepy after eating a healthy meal of moderate portion size and sensible carbohydrate content, you may need nutritional support to address insulin resistance. There are some nutrients and herbs that are very effective at helping stabilize blood sugar.

Regular exercise not only helps you breathe away excess fat, but it also better sensitizes and regulates cell function to be fat burning rather than fat promoting.

The key to promoting fat burning is to keep your blood sugar stable by not overdoing carbohydrates or portion sizes and by keeping your body active.

Ask me for more advice on how to turn your body into a better fat burner.

How gut bacteria make you thin or fat

thin and fat bacteria

Obesity has long been blamed on laziness and lack of will power, but exciting new research shows the composition of your gut bacteria, which may have been set since birth, can play a deciding role in whether you’re thin or fat. In mice studies, mice that received bacteria from an obese person became obese. What’s more exciting is mice studies show that transplanting bacteria from thin humans into obese mice causes the obese mice to lose weight. This is a promising discovery for those who cannot lose weight despite diet and exercise.

It appears these bacteria affect the mechanisms that promote leanness, one of the more notable being insulin sensitivity. Insulin resistance is typical in obese people. The most common culprit is a diet high in sweets, soda, and starches (breads, pasta, rice, corn, potatoes, etc.) This diet consistently raises blood sugar levels, which in turn requires the body to secrete high levels of insulin to lower blood sugar. Eventually these insulin surges exhaust the body’s cells and they refuse entry to insulin. Insulin resistance promotes chronic hunger, obesity, inflammation, and a host of other health disorders.

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Lack of sleep can make you fat

lack of sleep makes you fat

Finding it hard to lose weight? Although many factors can hinder weight loss, one of the sneakier is sleep deprivation. Research shows people who regularly sleep five hours or less a night can gain as much as two pounds in a week. One study showed women who slept five or fewer hours were more likely to gain about 30 pounds over time compared to women who slept at least seven hours per night. Poor sleepers are also more prone to obesity-related diseases such as Type 2 diabetes.

Lack of sleep increases snacking on starchy foods

Lack of sleep increases cravings so people snack more frequently, particularly at night—eating on average an extra 300 calories a day. The sleep-deprived also tend to eat a small breakfast and choose high-carbohydrate snacks, undoubtedly for that quick energy fix, both of which lead to blood sugar imbalances and weight gain.

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Are gut bacteria making you depressed, anxious, and overweight?

3 03 gut bacteria obesity depression anxietyWe all carry trillions of bacteria in our guts, with as many as a thousand different strains. The composition of these strains, or our “bacterial fingerprint,” can influence whether we are prone to depression, anxiety, or obesity.

Some gut bacteria can make you fat

Studies have shown people (and mice) who are overweight have much higher levels of particular strains of bacteria than thinner subjects. When thin mice are inoculated with bacteria from heavy mice, they gain weight. This is because these fat-promoting bacteria have been shown to encourage overeating, promote weight gain, prevent the burning of fat, and make obese people better at deriving calories from food than thin people.

In a nutshell, your “bacterial fingerprint” plays a role in how much fat you carry and how easy or difficult it is for you to lose weight. Although diet and exercise are important, these findings help to explain why solely relying on the “eat less and exercise more” approach to weight loss is outdated. Continue reading

Weight loss is bonus to anti-inflammatory diet

3 02 anti inflammatory diet is weight loss dietCounting calories, avoiding fats, miniscule portions, living with hunger—dieting is a drag and the majority of people eventually gain back the pounds they fought so hard to lose. Newer research shows sloth and gluttony aren’t necessarily to blame for excess weight, but instead inflammation, leaky gut, stress, and other health imbalances.

Dieting slows the metabolism, influences hormones that control appetite so you may become hungrier, and can create a cycle of unhealthy yo-yo dieting.

You’ll have better success if you eat with a focus on lowering inflammation, detoxifying the system, and meeting your nutritional needs. Many people take on anti-inflammatory diets to manage constant pain, digestive complaints, skin rashes such as eczema or psoriasis, an autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, and other chronic health problems.

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Why you should start walking today, even if you already work out

walk even if you work outWe sit at desks, sit in traffic, and sit at home in front of the TV. Americans have lost touch with the human being’s most basic and unique design function: to walk. Walking daily not only wards off more diseases than you count on both hands, it also soothes the mind, inspires creativity, and heightens the mood. Even if you already work out regularly, walking can still deliver its ancient benefits.

Walking shaped the human brain and keeps it healthy

We departed from the rest of the animal kingdom when we evolved to walk upright on two legs. This adaptation freed our arms and allowed us to conserve energy while moving over long distances, giving us more endurance than any other animal on the planet. The ability to walk also stimulated the development of the human brain into the fascinating and complex organ it is today.

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Chew more thoroughly for better health and weight loss

image3Gandhi’s advice to chew your drink and drink your food has stood the test of time. Although what you eat is important, how you eat deserves equal attention as research shows chewing thoroughly and eating slowly helps prevent weight gain and improves digestion.

Chewing more thoroughly suppresses appetite

A series of recent studies show chewing each bite thoroughly reduces appetite, lowers calorie intake, and can aid weight loss. That’s because the hormones that leave us feeling satiated don’t kick in until 20 to 40 minutes after you begin eating.

For instance, one study measured the release of gut hormones that suppress appetite in subjects five minutes and 30 minutes after they consumed a meal. The results showed eating the meal more slowly increased the secretion of appetite-reducing hormones.

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Why eating breakfast prevents weight gain and fatigue

image4Breakfast is the easiest meal to skip—mornings are rushed and many people don’t have an appetite when they wake up. Some people even feel nauseous in the morning (which indicates a blood sugar disorder). But if you skip breakfast you may be sabotaging your weight loss efforts, increasing your risk of obesity and blood sugar disorders, and robbing your brain of energy.

Skipping breakfast associated with obesity

Numerous studies show skipping breakfast is associated with higher rates of obesity in both children and adults. Some people erroneously think that by skipping breakfast they consume fewer calories and thus aid weight loss. However, skipping breakfast can set into motion an unhealthy metabolic cascade that eventually leads to excess fat.

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