How to lose weight and keep it off
How to lose weight has been a major focus for most people on a yearly basis. However, if what you are doing is working, why is it something that most Americans focus on as New Year’s Resolutions year after year? Think about the five people closest to you, what have their Resolutions been for the past 5 years? Most commonly is weight loss, but the idea of a resolution is to accomplish is to achieve it and move to the next goal. For the majority of the population, it doesn’t happen and here are a few explanations as to why.
Most people are doing whatever the newest fad diet is and have put no thought to if it is how they need to be eating for their genes. Did you know that, encoded in your DNA, is actually HOW you need to be eating for life? There is a marker, or apoenzyme, that is encoded in your DNA for how you need to be eating and how your body can handle proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Many people try a ketogenic diet and have terrible results because their body can not process nutrients in that way. The same is true for higher protein or plant-based diets. This is the same reason that your sister can eat a certain way and the pounds fall off, but when you try to do it, the opposite happens. Everyone is designed differently. In order to succeed at lifestyle modification, it has to be sustainable for a long period of time, must be realistic, and must be right for YOU. There must also be checkpoints along the way to see if you are actually on track to meeting those health goals. You don’t want to get six months down the road and realize things aren’t happening like you wanted them to. If there are small checkpoints along the way, you can make tweaks here and there to change things before you get frustrated and quit.
What are some steps that most people need help with? One is getting tested to see what their genes look like, and I don’t meat 23andme.com. I mean an assessment by a functional wellness doctor, like myself, to see HOW they need to be eating and then they need accountability and someone to hold their hand along the way to help them actually do it. This is why we get such great results in my practice, because we have all of the above in place. Testing reveals a lot of information, but it’s how you handle the information and what you choose to do with it that makes the real difference. For example, we test for the Alzheimer’s gene, but that test also tells us how someone should be eating to PREVENT that disease from occurring. It also tells a risk for cardiovascular disease, what effect exercise will have with someone, how moderate alcohol intake and hormone replacement will affect the person, as well. A myriad of information. But, give it to someone who doesn’t understand it or doesn’t know what to do with it and it is a recipe for disaster. Having that accountability partner in place is also something that is too often missed with doctor-led programs. I can tell anyone how to eat, but the secret is having someone in place to help with that, to hold patients accountable, and to take them grocery shopping. You see, the eating part is the most difficult because that‘s what patients do on their own. Having someone guide you along the way and show you HOW to make healthier choices by looking at favorite foods and finding ingredient replacements ensures success. The last thing that most need help with is behavior change. Lap band procedures are usually successful in the beginning, but long term results aren’t too common because they left out the brain side of it, the behavior. If long-term habit change were put into place, there would be much more success. Some say it takes 21 days to make a habit, other studies show 56 days, we start with 90 days. This is how our patients continue on to lose weight and gain better health over a lifetime.
What are some things you can start doing right now to begin making changes? One is to shop the perimeter of the grocery store. Something you have heard time and again, but, for the most part, there are no ingredient labels on the fresh produce and meat aisle, meaning there are no preservatives, fillers, anything except the food. The middle of the aisle is where the boxed and packaged foods are, the ones filled with chemicals that we can’t even pronounce. If you can’t pronounce the ingredient, chances are that it was made in a lab. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to put those things into my body. If I don’t recognize it as food, my body sure isn’t going to. Another thing that you can start doing right away is watch the amount of carbohydrates that you take it. For the longest time, we have been taught that calories are the bad guy, that if we take less calories in and eat more, we will lose weight. Most of us have learned the hard way that isn’t true. Carbohydrates break down into sugar and the more of those that we take in, the more pounds we will pack on. Carbs are found in almost everything except for most meats and cheeses. To give you an idea of how many carbohydrates we actually consume, the average American takes in 350 grams of carbohydrates per day. The max we should actually have in a day is less than 50 grams! Now you can begin to see how this can become a problem. If most of what we are eating is essentially turning to sugar, we will continue to have weight loss struggles until this is addressed. The last thing that you can start doing right away is setting SMART goals. These are goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and have a timeline associated with them. When you set specific goals, put a date and time (March 14 at 6:14 pm), set a goal that you can actually reach and measure it along the way, you greatly increase the chances of you reaching it! Set those goals out in front of you and read them morning and night. Imagine what your emotional state will be when you fit into your size 8 jeans and look GOOD in them! When you are confident in that bikini on your anniversary trip! When your doctor can take you off of your medication because you no longer NEED it! That is health!