2018 July 18 by Dr. Randy
In a previous article I talked about the metabolic factors involved with difficulty losing weight. Those include factors like thyroid function, leptin, insulin, and other hormonal balance issues that can all make it difficult to lose weight. Those interacting factors can be complicated and require a holistic medical evaluation. Dietary issues, however, are pretty simple. There are some basic principles to maintaining a diet that prevents weight gain.
What to eat
- Do not restrict calories. Eating a low calorie diet and skipping meals will just lower your metabolism. That will cause your body to burn less calories, exactly what you don’t want.
- Eat relatively low glycemic index foods. Some foods will stimulate more insulin production that encourages a cascade of factors that will store excess fat in your fat cells. Foods with a high glycemic index include, grains (especially wheat), potatoes, tropical fruits or dried fruits that are higher in sugar, and processed products with refined sugar. Eat all of these sparingly.
- Eat foods as they grow in nature. That includes fresh fruits and vegetables (raw or cooked), nuts and beans, and animal products (eggs, dairy, chicken, fish). Try to avoid packaged foods that contain with a long list of ingredients.
- Don’t avoid fats. Your body needs fats and cholesterol to make hormones. The best fats are butter, coconut oil, sesame oil, olive oil, avocados, and fish oil supplements. Try to avoid vegetable oils. Remember fats do not make you fat, excess carbohydrates make you fat.
How to eat
- Eat protein in the morning.
- Eat three meals a day. Don’t skip meals and leave space between meals. Try to avoid snacking on carbohydrates. If your blood sugar gets low and you start to feel tired or light-headed, then eat protein snacks.
- Don’t eat late at night. Leave 2-3 hours between your last meal of the day and bedtime. If you eat before sleeping when your metabolism slows down, that food will turn to fat. And often those late night snacks are also high in carbohydrates, making the problem even worse.
- Be kind to yourself. If you crave sugar and carbohydrates, there is a reason that needs to be addressed. It may be a problem with glucose metabolism, thyroid dysfunction, or insulin or leptin resistance. There are specific supplement programs that can help all of these issues. Don’t blame yourself for having weak will power.
- Be consistent. Establishing good eating habits will reinforce and establish healthy behaviors. Every day that you continue on a program will reinforce your confidence and determination.
- Don’t expect quick results. Fad diets and restricted diets will cause loss of fluid retention and some quick weight loss, but you will gain back that weight again and become frustrated. Do not attempt extreme diets (like the ketogenic diet). If you maintain these for a while you may lose weight, but if you go off the diet the rebound effect may leave you with more weight than when you began.
- Stay positive. Losing weight is a gradual process. But once you are more healthy and fit, you will feel better and your cravings will decrease.