Have you ever tried to diet, and no matter what you ate you didn't manage to lose weight ... no matter how much you exercised you just couldn't lose that stubborn belly fat? Then you have experienced the 'weight loss plateau'.
I've had times in my life where I have piled on the pounds in a matter of a few months, then it's taken me a few years to lose the weight. Sound familiar?
I've recently discovered a few weight loss secrets, thanks to naturopath Kate Warner from Melville Naturopathy. Kate spoke recently to a Weightwatchers Group in Perth about the 'weight loss plateau' and it's made me look at weight loss in a whole new light.
Did you know that weight loss can be affected by hormone imbalance, blood sugar levels, toxic overload, poor gut health, mood, stress, and your attitude?
Interesting isn't it? Calorie counting may not actually be the answer to squeezing back into those size 10 jeans.
Imagine for instance, carefully counting your calories every day, but you are eating mainly processed foods, with very little nutritious value. Sure, you are keeping under your 'recommended calorie intake' for the day, but how much real nutritious value are you getting from you food. Is it freshly prepared? Does it include a lot of green leafy vegetables? If you are constantly hungry on your calorie counting diet, then maybe your body is not getting the 'real' food that it craves.
If you have hit a weight loss plateau, there are a number of things that you can do to get going again on the road to successfully reaching your ideal, healthy weight. Here are some suggestions for losing that stubborn fat that just won't budge:
- Set goals and visualise your success
Cut out the sugar
- Eat regular meals
- Cut out the toxins
- Good gut health
Drink more water
De-stress and be happy!
Let's look at each topic in more detail:
Set goals and visualise your success
Having clarity surrounding your health and fitness goals is very important. Goals should be measurable, challenging and expressed in a way that is inspiring and achievable.
Author and Life Coach Geoff Edwards suggests that we should visualise our success. Apparently our thoughts and images create neurological patterns, which in turn, lead to muscular responses. This means that repetitive thoughts and images have a higher probability of becoming real.
Research has shown that if we have stable blood sugar levels, our will power is much stronger and we are more likely to reach our goals.
Measure your progress, both with scales and a tape measure. Sometimes we aren't losing weight because we are gaining muscle, which is denser that fat, but we are losing inches.
Avoiding processed foods may be the key to helping you break that weight loss plateau. If you haven't been eating many calories or eating little or no vegetables, try to provide your body with extra nutrients through healthier freshly prepared foods. It may be that your body is just missing certain vitamins, minerals or food groups and this might be just the thing to get your through your plateau.
Avoid 'low fat' and 'sugar free' foods. These may contain harmful additives that will increase the toxic load on your body. If you have been avoiding fats to lose weight, try eating foods that contain healthy saturate fats, such as avocados, coconut oil, nuts, some organic meat and fish.
Try to eat alkalising foods such as green leafy vegetables, legumes and nuts to help balance your pH. Reaching your ideal weight is much more achievable if your pH is at the optimal level.
Cut out the sugar
A recent article in the UK newspaper the Guardian, suggests that sugar, and not fat, is causing our obesity epidemic. Author and media commentator Sarah Wilson considers sugar 'toxic' and explains why in her book Why I Quit Sugar.
According to Kate Warner, our bodies haven't evolved quickly enough to process sugar effectively and give us that feeling of feeling full when we have too much.
By cutting out the immediate intake of sugar the body has no alternative but to use the fat already stored to give it the energy it needs to function.
Eat Regular Meals
Skipping breakfast is not the way to lose weight. Three main meals and some healthy in between snacks is the way to go. Eating regular healthy meals can:
Cut out the toxins
Toxins can pose a major challenge to weight loss. A person who has too many toxins to process will make new fat cells and store those toxins along with fat in them. This is first a form of self-defence against being poisoned, and second, a strategy to get toxins out of the circulation and away from major organs. This means that some people will not be able to lose any weight at all, regardless of how little they eat, until they have successfully removed the toxins.
During weight loss and detox diets, these toxins are released back into circulation and this can interfere with thyroid hormone function, as well as make us feel unwell. A high amount of toxins can interfere with our metabolism and cause digestive issues and is often indicated by cravings for sugar, carbohydrates and/or high calorie foods.
It is important to support the body during detox and you can read more about the benefits of a detox diet here.
Try to reduce the amount of toxins in your daily routines and switch to chemical free cleaning and skin care products.
Good gut health
A recent article in the New York Times highlights the importance of gut health for people wanting to lose weight. And several studies have shown that different microbes in the gut can help with weight loss. A detox diet and a good probiotic supplement such as dōTERRA's PB Assist or fermented product such as kefir can help improve your gut health. An overgrowth of candida can cause an imbalance in our gut health and affect our ability to lose weight.
Drink more water
Dr Batmanghelidj, author of Your Body's Many Cries for Water, suggests that not drinking enough water can affect how easily and quickly you lose weight. We should on average, be drinking around 1l per 20kgof body weight. Most of us are dehydrated. Click here to read more.
Also consider some kind of water purification and alkalizing system. I've recently started using a water filter jug that removes almost all fluoride and heavy metals, yet doesn't remove some of the important minerals that we need, and also alkalises the water.
Exercise can provide a dramatic boost to your weight loss and can also help protect you from heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, back pain, osteoporosis as well as help manage stress.
If you are not already exercising and have reached a weight loss plateau, consider walking, running, cycling, swimming, joining a local gym or even hiring a personal trainer.
If you are exercising, but can't seem to shift those extra pounds, then consider some of the other suggestions in this blog.
De-stress and be Happy!
"Even if you usually eat healthfully and exercise, chronic high stress can prevent you from losing weight—or even add pounds," says Pamela Peeke, MD, MPH, a Prevention advisor and the author of Body for Life for Women.
When we are stressed, our bodies produce the hormone cortisol, and this surge in cortisol can make us feel hungry.
Maybe consider some ways that you can reduce the stress in your life and take some time out for you! What do you enjoy doing? Whatever it is, try and do more of it! Also, consider meditating or using aromatherapy to help you relax and de-stress.
Make sure that you are getting enough sleep. This is critical to maintaining balanced hormones, which also have a major impact on how easily we can lose weight.
It has also been suggested that if we have a positive outlook on life, then it's easier for us to lose weight that if we have a more pessimistic and negative outlook.
Maybe consider a day off from your diet and just eat whatever you want and forget about calories, carbs and fat for a while and just enjoy yourself. One care free day of eating is not going to sabotage your whole plan. This may be just what your mind and body need to get back on track and help you achieve success.
Consider supplements, superfoods and essential oils
Supplementing while you are dieting or detoxing can help support the elimination of toxins and reduce any detoxification side effects. You can read more about the doTERRA supplements that I use and recommend in my 'Why Detox' blog post, and here is some information on dōTERRA's LifeLongVitality supplement.
Food cravings can be caused by certain mineral deficiencies (eg magnesium in chocolate!). There are a number of Superfoods that can help with cravings and weightloss (raw chocolate is one of them!!), and therapeutic grade essential oils can also be used to help stabilise metabolism and reduce cravings. I am a big fan of dōTERRA's Slim and Sassy essential oil blend.
Weight loss plateaus are best thought of as maintenance periods that will not last forever. Keep your eye on your long terms goals and keep going with your weight loss plan. Above all, be patient, the road to your ultimate weight goal is likely to be a long one that is achieved one small step at a time.
You might want to consider some lifestyle changes rather than a short term diet. There is little point in dieting or detoxing, only to go straight back to your old ways when you reach your ideal weight. Try and make a few changes along the way, like increasing the amount that you exercise, cutting down or even better, cutting out sugar, eating more leafy greens and raw fruit and veg etc. And do more of whatever it is that you enjoy doing!
Strict dieting can lead to lower metabolism by causing your body to switch to an efficient starvation mode. The key to a healthier you is to improve your overall eating habits over the long term.
Above are a few suggestions that should help you get through a weight loss plateau.
Your best chance of success in getting through is to remain positive while on your weight loss journey. If losing weight is causing you stress and frustration, slow down. You don't have to lose every pound this week, this month, or even this year.
Just remember, a truly healthy lifestyle is one in which you eat, drink, exercise and be merry. If you develop the right habits, you can be happy, healthy and the perfect weight for you - all without sacrificing the things you really love.
Good luck overcoming your weight loss plateaus and thanks for visiting Greenlifeorganics!
If you’d like to learn more about how I use essential oils for our health and happiness, why not pop over to my GreenLifeOrganics Facebook Page or our online community GreenLifeOils. Or, in the meantime, you can request some free samples to get you started or click here for step by step ordering instructions. If you are not sure where to start then contact me on +44 (0) 7557337363 or email@example.com for a free 20min wellness consultation.
This information is not intended as medical advice. Everyone should make their own health care decisions, with advice from qualified professionals.