People often come into my office with the goal of losing weight. While this is sometimes a good idea, it’s important to have the right attitude, approach and expectations.
To truly resolve weight gain and prevent disease, it’s important to address the root cause of it. For example, high cholesterol weight gain is a symptom of an underlying problem that can eventually lead to chronic, degenerative diseases like heart disease and diabetes.
To prevent unhealthy weight gain, it is important to address factors such as:
- Balancing blood sugar
- Reducing inflammation with anti-inflammatory foods
- Avoiding refined sugar and grains
- Reducing oxidative damage with antioxidant rich foods
- Increasing nutrient dense foods
It is also important to look at other pieces of the puzzle such as physical activity, sleep and emotional wellness.
A common mistake is to count your daily caloric intake. This does not address the quality of food. It has also been shown again and again to be ineffective at balancing weight. While one serving of Oreo cookies and two cups of blueberries have a similar calorie load, they have vastly different effects on your body. Cookies will spike your blood sugar, create inflammation and oxidative damage, while blueberries are rich in antioxidants, fiber, anti-inflammatory properties and many other nutrients. Try instead to focus on the quality of the foods in your diet in balanced proportions, and your calorie intake will naturally balance.
Another mistake is to constantly track your weight. This often creates anxiety, and draws your attention away from your goal. It also creates limited thinking. It’s important to focus on how you feel and look, not on what the scale says.
A positive attitude is critical during the process. I encourage my clients to love their bodies through every phase of this journey. Use this time as an opportunity to learn and transform, and to find new foods, physical activities and habits that build a lifelong sense of well being.
Above all, remember to be patient and trust the process. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Real change takes time.