While your genes play some role, they do not determine your destiny. Regardless of your genetics and other conditions, everyone can start with these seven strategies for weight loss and optimal health:
- Focus on eating real, whole foods. Eat plenty of non-starchy vegetables, some lower-sugar fruits if you can tolerate them, grass-fed meats, pastured chicken and eggs and wild-caught fish.
- Eat plenty of healthy fats like avocados, coconut oil, nuts and seeds, extra-virgin olive oil, and some grass-fed butter. Eating healthy fats helps burn fat by speeding up your metabolism. Your cells and brain also require fat to function at optimally.
- Avoid processed sugars and refined carbohydrates. Limit your grain intake from breads, cereals, pastas, rice and starches. Avoid baked goods and sweets and watch your intake of alcohol.
- Take optimal nutrients. A good multivitamin and multimineral covers the nutrients that you’re probably not getting from food. I also recommend a professional-quality fish oil, extra vitamin D and magnesium, a probiotic, and a fiber supplement to help balance blood sugar levels. You can find all these and other quality supplements in my store.
- Control stress levels. Being constantly stressed out wreaks havoc on your health, hormones and weight. Find something that helps you tamp down stress, whether it’s yoga, meditation or deep breathing. Many patients find my UltraCalm CD helps dial down stress levels.
- Get adequate sleep. Sleep deprivation makes you fat and can also contribute to depression, pain and inflammation, heart disease, diabetes and many other health issues. Getting at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep is vital to optimal health. Avoid exposure to artificial light from smart phones, television and other electronics too close to bedtime. Read 19 of my top sleep tips here.
- Exercise regularly. Get on a regular routine of exercise and move your body. You can’t exercise your way out of a bad diet, but exercise does make your cells and muscles more sensitive to insulin so you don’t need as much. Less insulin means less inflammation and less body fat, especially dangerous belly fat. If all you are able to do is walk that is fine. You’ll want to do a minimum of 30 minutes of walking daily. Others may be able to handle more advanced exercise. Studies demonstrate the benefits of high intensity interval training (HIIT), which you can do in as little as 20 minutes. It’s much more effective than longer durations of low-intensity cardio workouts.
Written by Jessica Lewis, CPT, CNC, HCC Lifestyle Coach