First Of All
Dr. Daniel Soubhi Sima’an ND
The best way to begin losing weight is to take a survey of your life. Look at your diet, eating habits and physical activity. Write down your goals and objectives in losing weight. This will help to conceptualize your journey and help to engage your healthcare practitioner to get you where you want to go.
The most important thing you can do is shift your perspective. You are not losing weight, as this implies you will be expecting to find it again. This also creates a negative context around needing to “lose” something to be successful versus gaining a healthy body. You want to create a positive motivation around all the wonderful things you are bringing to yourself, not what you are losing. It may seem like just words, but those words hold a lot of power.
Dr. Tasneem Pirani-Sheriff, ND
Avoid the yo-yos and adopt the baby-steps! When it comes to weight loss success, it’s ALL about the maintenance. Choosing small, realistic and achievable goals to follow daily is key. An easy way to start is by controlling your portion sizes.
Dr. Aaron Wong
Weight loss is much more than discipline and willpower to eat healthy and exercise. When it comes to weight loss, as a Naturopathic Physician I focus much more on deeper personal work with patients. There is a deeper unconscious pathology and under-rides our behavior and the most longstanding sustainable changes happen from doing heart-centered work around mistaken beliefs and our relationship with ourselves.
Cindy Azevedo, ND, LAc
When allowed to splurge, splurge without the feeling of guilt. The guilt tears up the flow of enjoying a good life.
What To Eat
Dr. Tasneem Pirani-Sheriff, ND
My number one tip: trick your mind into eating less by eating on a smaller plate and filling at least half your plate with nutritious vegetables! Your plate will look fuller and, despite a smaller portion, you’re mind will think you’re eating just as much!
Simple but no one does it: focus on real, whole foods and eat a treat of choice once a week because #foodisgoodforthesoultoo and it helps break metabolic slowing
Exclusively eating fat and protein for breakfast provides satiety that typically lasts easily till lunchtime and often into the afternoon. By providing the body with substrate for muscle repair, hormone production, and by keeping insulin secretion low early in the day, metabolism and hunger signals are more easily kept in check. Shifting carbohydrate consumption to later in the day helps support serotonin and melatonin production, thereby encouraging a more restful sleep. These techniques have been shown to have favorable effects on body composition, energy, and a sense of well-being.
Dr. Joe Klassen, ND
One of the key food strategies I use is to plan the week’s meals ahead and make a shopping list. You cannot make good decisions if your fridge and pantry are not filled with good choices. Having a shopping list will help to reduce spontaneous purchases of unnecessary items, and also take some strain off the pocketbook. Having a high-fiber breakfast “cereal” mix such as chia/hemp seed/sliced almonds made up in bulk can save time and is not only filling, but nutritious, the fiber helps to keep the belly feeling full, but also helps to moderate fluctuations in blood sugar through the day which reduces “hangry” decisions. Making a pot of soup or stew on the weekend will give you healthy lunches for days that is healthy, quick and convenient. The time this saves compared to finding food at lunchtime can be used to go for a walk or do some breathing exercises – it’s a 2-for-1. So now you’ve finished your day having had 2 good meal choices and feeling positive about what you’ve done which is a great way to head into dinner and the evening.
Instead of grabbing a quick slice of toast or a bowl of cereal for breakfast, start each day with a nutrient-dense green smoothie! A smoothie is an easy way to get in some energizing greens, protein and a ton of nutrients first thing in the morning. Here is a recipe for one of my favourites:
-1 handful kale
-1 handful spinach
-juice of 1/2 lemon
-1/2 green apple, cored and diced
-1/2 cucumber, diced
-1-2 cups coconut water
-3 tbsp hemp hearts
-5 mint leaves
-handful of ice cubes
This smoothie will fill you right up, will give you lasting energy (so you can make it to the gym!), and packs over 10g protein!
I recommended getting 20 grams of protein for breakfast every single day. Not only does it help balance your blood sugar in the morning to give you energy, it also helps balance cortisol levels and prevent afternoon fatigue. You’ll notice a difference after trying it for only 3 days.
Raúl Guzmán Vidal, ND
To increase satiety and prevent overeating I recommend starting meals with foods that promote hunger suppression hormones. Omega 3 fatty acids are known to increase cholecystokinin levels, a hunger suppression hormone, so it will be a good idea to take your omega 3 supplements before eating. Olive oil and walnuts also contain long chain fatty acids that promote feeding suppressing hormones. Other hormones that signal a sensation of fullness to the brain are activated by prebiotic fiber, that work by promoting a healthy gut flora and decreasing inflammation. Prebiotic fiber can be found in foods such as salads, veggies, legumes and seeds. To make it simple, as a general recommendation to lose weight, start your meal with a big salad or veggies with olive oil or walnuts, and don’t forget to take your omega 3 supplement before eating.
Weight loss can be a very difficult process for many individuals, though it doesn’t have to be! There are many reasons why someone may have difficulty losing weight or keeping weight off. For the majority of overweight individuals there are 2 main considerations that will result in sustainable weight loss in the long term. By keeping these 2 things in mind you can expect to lose 5-10lbs per month and keep it off. The first one is energy balance. This basically means balancing how much energy (in the form of calories) that are consumed, vs. the amount of energy burned. As long as you are consuming fewer calories than you are burning, weight loss is inevitable. It is simply a physiological law. There are many good calculations available online that can provide solid estimates for the number of calories each individual person needs (according to height, weight, sex, etc.). A Naturopathic doctor can also help you find this number and estimate your own individual energy balance. Some people find restricting calories difficult, which is totally understandable. This is where medically supervised weight loss programs are very valuable. This is the second main consideration for long term sustained weight loss. By manipulating each of the macronutrients (protein, carbs, fats) it is possible to find an optimal ratio that is ideal for each individual in order to finally achieve the weight loss they desire without relying on fad diets or crash diet programs that result in yo-yo weight loss that is unsustainable. For more information about medically supervised weight loss book an appointment and start on the path to a healthy physique!
When To Eat
Dr. David Olarsch
Eat a larger lunch, and try to stop eating by 5PM. Your last meal should be as light as possible, mostly veggies or a fruit meal. Eliminate evening snacking or limit it to fruits or veggies. Any carbs after 5PM really count twice as much as daytime consumption. This really works and shows as weight loss in a short time!
One of the most important things we can do to lose weight is to stop eating late (especially carbs)! Have a cutoff point like 8pm or at least 2-3 hours before bed. If you must eat late, learn to go for healthy fats and lean protein (a hard-boiled egg with fresh extra virgin olive oil and a touch of (non-Himalayan) sea salt, turmeric and black pepper is a great option and a power food! Using too many resources to break down food instead of absorbing what’s already there forces your body to quickly package excess nutrients into fat. This coupled with an insulin surge before bed decreases the sensitivity to insulin and decreases the amount of receptors on your cells. This starves your cells over time and can lead to many disharmonies like brain fog, acne, hair loss, issues with libido, weight gain, depression, hirsutism, poor nutrient absorption, getting “hangry” when missing meals (because your cells are literally starving for energy), and the dreaded diabetes. I recommend periodically or regularly intermittent fasting (always consult your naturopathic doctor or nutrition specialist before trying) where you don’t eat for 12-16 hours. This can be easy if you cut off eating early and sleep for 8 of those hours! IF with the appropriate macronutrient focus can do wonders for most metabolic processes and can even serve to improve energy levels and reduce the way we handle stress. Stress is inevitable, weight gain doesn’t have to be!
My number one tip is planned leftovers. So many people spend lots of time, money and calories on buying lunch each day. Simply make enough at dinner to have leftovers the next day at lunch. You can do it!
The biggest complaint I hear from patients trying to lose weight is that they don’t have enough time to exercise. In my experience, exercise is the missing link in weight loss. Diet is a crucial component as well, but over time, our bodies will begin to adjust our resting metabolic rate to accommodate the caloric deficit causing plateaus in weight loss. Exercise is the ignition to the flame of our metabolism. Finding time to exercise is the most important thing you can do for your health now and for the long term. It’s estimated that the average American watches 5 hours of TV daily, not including additional screen time on computers and phones. If we simply carve out (at least) 30 minutes per day for cardiovascular exercise, high-intensity interval training or strength training, it will help to jump-start metabolism and prioritize burning fat for fuel.
Meditation cultivates mindfulness, is a proven stress hormone reducer, and improves sleep. These 3 results of meditation are a foundation for weight loss. When mindful, we eat our food for nourishment and our digestion improves. Our perception of stress changes, and with better quality sleep, our body can use and make hormones more efficiently, our appetite is more regulated, and we can rely on less willpower to reach our goals.
Practise mindful eating. Before each meal, take 10 deep belly breaths to bring your awareness into the present moment and to activate your parasympathetic nervous system (which is essential for optimal breakdown, absorption and assimilation of nutrients from our food). Once you are in a relaxed state begin eating. With each bite focus on tasting and feeling the food in your mouth; enjoy it and relish the unique flavours. Do not rush through a meal, take your time to chew properly. After each bite pause for a moment before taking the next to take note of how you feel. Stop eating when you are 80% full. Doing your best to follow this practice will optimize your satisfaction and satiety with each meal to ensure you are not over-eating.
Weight loss is truly about self-love. When you are at the place of nurturing and caring for yourself, more than others, you stand in your power and honour the vessel you live in and experience life with. This is not an act of being selfishness, it’s an act of pure love. So you eat and drink high vibrational, clean nourishing food because you matter!!!
Weight loss can happen in many ways. Through counting calories, tracking macros, intermittent fasting, reducing inflammation, healing the gut, balancing hormones, sleeping well, hydrating well, managing stress well, and moving well (exercise, HIIT, walking… whatever gets you moving!). Many people have lost their weight, 10l bs, 25 lbs or 60 lbs once, twice or ten times doing one or few things listed here. However, in order to successfully lose it for good you need to find a sustainable solution AND bulletproof your MINDSET. Sustainability will come by learning to listen to your body and figuring out what works for YOU. This is a skillset many are ill-equipped with these days. No one diet or exercise is perfect for everyone. Each individual has unique genetic makeup, biochemical, physiological and environmental challenges that need to be considered in designing a roadmap to your weight loss journey. Bulletproofing your mindset will come by getting clear on your desire and your WHY. What will happen if you don’t solve this problem? What’s the kind of life that you desire to live? How would that feel for you? Why is this so important for you? Then, figure out the obstacles and strategy that will get you there. When you take the ownership over your health and have created for yourself a burning desire, momentum and a winning strategy, you’re unstoppable!
Your Body Beyond Food And Exercise
Weight loss is 15% exercise, 35% diet and 50% how the rest of your body is functioning. You can not lose weight if your liver is overloaded or your thyroid is under functioning or your adrenal glands are producing too much cortisol or your blood sugar levels and insulin production is not balanced.
Dr. Chelsea Schreiner ND
Everybody is unique. That same uniqueness also applies to what foods are best for your body. This depends on your metabolism, genetic tendencies, any conditions you may have, as well as cravings and appetite. Determining what your body needs, versus what cravings are driven by imbalances in your body, is crucial to long-lasting, healthy weight loss.
When we think of the mechanisms by which the body is capable of shedding excess weight, we automatically think about how much food we’re eating, what type of food we’re eating and how much we’re exercising – or how much we should be! For some, even taking into account and being mindful of these factors is simply not enough. What we don’t tend to think about is the underlying reasons why our body is holding onto or is resistant to shedding the weight in the first place. It’s only when we understand those factors that we can really get a handle on the How To part of weight loss. Stress is by far the most underemphasized of those reasons! Think about it: when you’re chronically stressed, as many of us are in today’s world – your stress response is controlled and “fuelled” by cortisol. Aptly dubbed the “stress hormone”, cortisol increases blood glucose, suppresses inflammation, and regulates blood pressure. It also plays a critical role in metabolism, body composition, and hence the tendency to gain fat. In a nutshell, when cortisol is then chronically elevated, weight loss (especially fat loss) can be a near-impossible uphill battle. For this reason, you will want to be sure to employ as many stress management tools as possible; things like good sleep hygiene, deep breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, and of course – daily exercise. Your health – and waistline will thank you for it!
Dr. Jocelyn Taitt, ND
Weight loss is next to impossible when a person has insulin resistance (a state in which the cells of the body cannot effectively take up glucose from the blood), or adrenal fatigue. Fortunately, there are several easy things that can be done to help improve our insulin sensitivity and support our adrenals:
1) Conquer carbohydrates! Eliminate processed sugars, flours and refined grains. Eat in moderation: whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, steel-cut oats etc., starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes/yams, squashes. Monitor how you feel after meals – if you feel sleepy or crave something sweet after a meal, your meal likely contained more carbohydrates than your system can handle, so scale back at the next meal and bump up the green veggies, protein and good fats.
2) Eat good quality protein at breakfast. If you have insulin resistance or hypoglycemia, you may not feel hungry in the morning, and may even feel a bit nauseous. But if you force yourself to eat some protein in the morning, this will help to balance your blood sugar, and after a while, you may regain your morning appetite and lose the nausea. Try a handful of nuts or seeds (or nut/seed butters), a hard-boiled egg or two, a bit of meat, cheese (if not allergic to dairy), or a protein powder.
3) Avoid foods to which you’re allergic or intolerant, as these create blood sugar imbalances and further derail the adrenals. The most common offenders are gluten, soy, dairy, corn, eggs and yeast. If you’re not sure which foods you’re sensitive to, consult with your naturopathic doctor for guidance on food sensitivity testing and elimination.
#1 Love and accept yourself for who you are and where you’re at. Respect this just as much as your goal for where you’d like to be.
#2 Eat whole foods. No ingredients lists for the majority of your intake.
#3 Get your heart rate up for 30mins most days.
Your body has a memory. To create a new set point you have to keep your weight at a certain number for a whole year to create a new set point. If not you will just go back and start the yo-you dieting game. So, whatever weight loss you achieved you have to maintain for 365 days at least.
Dr. Dawn Gareau
One of the most important reminders about losing weight is that there is no “magic pill.” Persistence, commitment, humour (always good to laugh at your own mistakes) and a great team of health professionals to guide you on your way to a healthier YOU!