Truly, I have been overweight all my life. I tell people that I was born with these thighs, and I will probably never be able to exercise them away. I’m finally okay with that. Like every girl and woman (boys and men) growing up in America I was told that thin is desirable and that I must be fat because I was lazy or ate too much…
I tried every diet on Earth, counted every calorie I ate, ran hundreds of miles, and worked out with personal trainers to lose weight. Then life happens and the weight comes back on. My story is like so many of my patients’ stories.
Sometime in my late 30s, after years of dieting and 2 children I really started to appreciate my body for who she is…a survivor and my partner in this world. After years of telling her she was not good enough I embraced her unique needs and ditched diets. I figured out a lifestyle that worked with her as my partner.
The most important thing to realize about weight loss is that there is no single perfect diet. Diets in general are hard to follow because we think that once we reach a specific number on a scale, we will be happy and can stop the diet. I don’t know about you, but I rather be happy NOW.
Things I believe all people should think about when addressing weight loss goals.
Condition your body to be strong, flexible, and healthy. Think about what activities you want to be able to do and plan your fitness around that. Is it playing a 30-minute pickup basketball game without hurting yourself? Hiking on the weekend without needing search and rescue to save you? Playing on the floor with your kids or grand-kids?
Participate in activities that you enjoy. If golfing is fun, schedule games often and walk the course. Make the activities a fun habit not a punishment.
Don’t diet. Adapt a lifestyle change of eating the foods that nourish your body and that you enjoy. Some foods that make your body feel healthy and energized are more often on the menu and foods that leave you sluggish and trigger cravings should be less frequent guests on your plate.
Know your food sensitivities and avoid them while you improve your gut health. Add back the foods when appropriate, likely in moderation. I like running Mosaic Diagnostic’s (formerly Great Plains Laboratory) IgG Food Map to check on my food sensitivities every year or two…
Eat meals free of distractions to avoid overeating and improve digestion. Ideally shared meals with good company.
Weight and weight loss is complicated. I’m always happy to help patients figure out general goals for how much protein, carbs and fat their body needs and how many calories they should aim for as a general framework for health, but I recommend that they forgive themselves if their diet is a little off here and there.
Generally, when people are eating the right foods in appropriate amounts and enjoying their lives with activities that they enjoy they lose weight. Sometimes other factors like hormone issues and environmental toxins become barriers to weight loss and there are many tools in a Naturopaths tool kit to address those factors…