More To Weight Loss Than Eating Healthy Foods
Sometimes people who are eating healthy foods start or continue to put on weight. It can be frustrating and discouraging, but losing weight is not only about what we eat.
Several factors that might seem unrelated to the waistline can actually contribute to weight retention or gain.
If you are eating well and still struggling with extra pounds, consult with your doctor or a dietitian, and consider the following weight-relevant factors:
Healthy Portions. Healthy foods contain calories, so portion control is just as important when eating whole unprocessed foods as when eating fast, fatty, sugary, and processed ones. It may help to keep track of everything you eat for a couple weeks to see how many calories your healthy foods add up to.
Active Enough? Healthy eating will not make up for a sedentary lifestyle. If you are out of shape start slow by taking 20 minute walks, doing some gentle yoga stretches, or moving to your favorite music. Housekeeping chores and yard work are excellent forms of exercise.
No Skipping or Speeding. Eat slowly, and don’t skip meals. People generally eat more when they are rushed, and those who skip breakfast tend to be more overweight than breakfast eaters.
Gut Flora. The health of our gut bacteria affects our weight. If you spent years eating poorly, or have recently been treated with antibiotics (which can decimate gut bacteria) consider taking a quality probiotic supplement to restore the flora in your intestinal tract. Eating fermented foods can also keep digestive bacteria flourishing.
Hormones in Balance. Hormonal imbalances can make weight loss difficult or impossible. You may want your doctor to check your hormonal status, particularly if you are going through peri-menopause, menopause, or andropause, or if your family tree includes endocrine issues (e.g., polycystic ovarian syndrome, hypothyroidism, Cushing’s).
Med Effects. Certain medications contribute to weight gain. If you are taking a weight-promoting medication, your doctor might be able to change the prescription or lower the dose. If change is not feasible, a more disciplined diet and exercise routine may be the only solution.
Sleeping Well? Cultivate good slumber habits since hormonal changes and carbohydrate cravings are associated with poor sleep. It helps to practice a relaxing pre-bedtime routine (e.g., soft music, gentle stretching) and sleep in a quiet, dark, cool, electronics-free room. If you frequently experience headache, dry mouth, or fatigue after seven or eight hours sleep, see your doctor.
Chill Factor. Over time, high stress levels promote the accumulation of visceral fat, or fat that clings to the internal organs. Make time every day to enjoy your personal interests, play outdoors, socialize with friends, and enjoy relaxing activities.