Friday, June 19, 2009

Top 10 Tips for Losing Weight

by Bedford Naturopath , Dr. Kristen ODell

Quite often, I will be winding down a visit with a client and they will say: "one last thing, any suggestions on how to lose weight?"  As most people know, weight loss is more complicated than creating a deficit of calories (burning more than you are consuming).  Weight loss techniques can vary from person to person.  However, I do believe there are a few basic tenements that are helpful for losing weight in a healthy manner.   So here my two cents:


Stop eating 3 hours before you go to sleep.  This allows your body to repair and restore during sleep instead of digesting food, which interferes with a good nights sleep.

Eat a high fiber diet.  Shoot for 25-20 grams of fiber a day.  Fiber fills us up, slows down digestion, promotes a healthy digestive system, lowers cholesterol, and stabilizes blood sugar.  Fiber also binds to toxins which can then be eliminated in our stool.

Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.  Dinner should not be our largest meal.  If you want to lose weight, limit dinner to vegetables and a protein and skip the starch all together.

Drink 64 ounces of water a day.  Sometimes when a person is dehydrated, the body sends out a signal that is confused as hunger.  Drink a glass of water if you think you are hungry then wait a few minutes to see if that signal disappears.  You might just be dehydrated.

Do not skip meals.  Our metabolism is our internal fire.  If you do not put logs or fuel into the fire, it will not burn.  Try not to allow more than 4 hours without at least a snack. 

Eat in a parasympathetic state, this means in a calm environment with the purpose of nourishing your body.  The body was not designed to eat/digest under pressure, when rushed or anxious.  Digestion works best when in  a calm, undistracted  state.

Chew each bite 20-30 times.  Your food should be liquefied before it is swallowed.  This allows for increased surface area so the gut can absorb the nutrients from our food.  This also usually leads to consuming less calories.  

Eat slowly, it takes 20-25 minutes for our body to get a signal that it is full.  If you are finished eating in 15 minutes, you wont realize you’ve overeaten until 10 minutes after you have completed your meal.

Avoid saturated fats, processed foods, artificial sugars, fried foods, sodas.  These are empty calories without any health benefits.

Exercise!  I hope that is a given.   Exercise for 30 minutes 5 days a week.  You need to break a sweat and elevate your heart rate.  It is most beneficial to include weight training into your exercise routine.  One pound of fat burns 2 calories per day where a pound of muscle burns 22-25 calories per day.  

Remember, losing weight is meant to be a lifestyle change not a short term solution!


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