Updated: Jun 16, 2020
In this episode Staci and I start to scratch the surface talking about things that impact your fat loss and overall feelings of wellness, things like cortisol levels and food intolerances. After Staci shares with us her personal weight loss journey we touch on how some of the tactics below helped her shed 14 lbs in one month, after months of being stuck at the same weight and feeling discouraged. We ended the episode giving you 7 actionable items that can help you to start losing weight and feeling better overall.
1. Keep a food journal – But NOT of macros and calories. I want you to be your own best food investigator. Find out which foods may be sabotaging your weight loss and health efforts. Write down what you ate (if its multiple ingredients try to include them for instance don’t just write “salad”, instead write spinach, cucumbers, hardboiled eggs, carrots, hemp seeds and (insert brand name of dressing), the time of day and then how you felt after you ate. Energetic? Bloated? Tired? Diarrhea? Mentally foggy? Headache? Food intolerances can manifest up to 72 hours later, which can make your investigative work a little trickier, but all the more reason to keep a journal.
2. Manage Stress. We don’t always take this one very seriously or we don’t realize that stress also comes in the form of environmental toxins (air, water, personal care items, makeup), food toxins, junk light (being indoors all day), emissions and bluelight from our cellphones, computers and TV, work stress, relationships, traffic, high sugar/carbohydrate diets, the Pandemic and other world and local news. When cortisol becomes chronically high it can lead to high blood sugar levels and increased fat storage in the abdomen (aka “Belly Bulge”). ALL of these things are dinging our health and energy on a cellular level. We must combat these offenders and here are a few ways how:
a. Lower cortisol, the stress hormone, with natural substances called
adaptogens. My personal favorite and what Staci used to lose lower her cortisol and
finally lose 14 lbs in a month is Ashwaghandha (click here) . Adaptogens do what is in
their name they help you “adapt” meaning if you are stressed they calm the mind and
body. If you are low energy they boost you up. It may also help lower blood sugar which
is another thing that can lower cortisol. In times of high stress they help you “endure”
more without your body taking such a negative hit. They reduce stress induced
impairment and stress related neuroendocrine and immune function. When taking an
adaptogen keep note of digestion, physical sensations (ie tingling, warm fuzzies,
numbness), and any mental changes (ie improved mood, improved symptoms of anxiety
and depression, energy/fatigue levels). Often adaptogens take a few days to really begin
having noticeable effects and those effects are incremental. Having a journal allows you
to look back and see the big picture and adjust your intake accordingly.
b. Workout in the morning. Work with your biology, meaning workout when your
cortisol is naturally on the rise instead of later in the day or evening when your body
should be calming down and preparing to make sleep hormones. Also, when you are
feeling run down or you are lacking sleep don’t push through an intense workout, instead
choose a more calming exercise like yoga or walking or take the day off to RECOVER!
Tearing your body down more won’t help repair your cortisol levels or metabolic health.
c. Deep breathing. Yes, deep breathing really does change your physiology and quite
quickly. Take deep belly-filling-full-lung-expanding-deep-slow-breaths! Set an alert on
your phone for every couple of hours as a reminder if you need to.
d. Mindful meditation. There is a reason that many highly functioning top-level
professionals have a daily meditative practice, it quite literally keeps them calm and sane.
A few minutes a day can help you rewire your brain, calm your stress reaction and set
you up for daily success.
3. Eat only when calm. Eating while stressed, emotional or rushed negatively impacts your digestion and ability to breakdown and utilize nutrients. Chew your food thoroughly to assist your body in the breakdown process. Digestion begins in your mouth with amylase (the digestive enzymes that breaks down carbohydrates) beginning the carb digestion process.
4. Take digestive enzymes with each meal. Supplemental full-spectrum digestive enzymes help you breakdown and process your food so you can better utilize the nutrients. This will also typically help if you get bloated and gassy with vegetables and dairy. I personally use this brand and formula click here for basic digestion and this formula for addressing more food intolerance symptoms. (side note: I researched this company extensively and spoke directly with them when I had my first daughter and she had acid reflux as an infant and I was unwilling to put her on medications for it - I added their basic digestive enzymes to her breast milk after pumping and her acid reflux was gone within two feedings! - story for another time, but point being is I trust this company with my childrens well-being and it has worked for many other infants and adults I know.)
5. Don’t drop your calories. The jig is up on the calories in calories out game. Drastically dropping calories only leads to undernourishment, increased stress on the body and slowing metabolic rate over time. This is the exact OPPOSITE of everything you want to actually be doing to lose weight and feel better. Instead of lowering calories, ditch the processed foods and refined carbohydrates. Focus on where your calories are coming from. You want nutrient dense, high quality foods.
a. grass-fed animal meats
b. wild-caught fish
c. organic eggs
d. organic full-fat dairy (unless intolerant)
f. Olive oils
h. Grass-fed butter
i. Non-starchy vegetables, get colorful with these!
6. Goodbye Gluten. Everyone can benefit from omitting gluten from their diet, not just full-blown Celiac disease sufferers. Our wheat, barley and rye (which are sources of gluten) are not what our ancestors used to grow. We have genetically altered our crops and flooded our systems with more processed products containing gluten than ever before in history. We are on overload! Gluten can cause gut lining damage which can then lead to inflammatory proteins, toxins leaking from our gut into our blood stream causing horrendous issues like thyroid problems, auto-immune disease, declining mental health, chronic inflammation and more. Gluten is not our friend. Stick or replacing gluten based flours with almond flour and coconut flour, pastas with whole vegetables (like zucchini noodles or cauliflower). BEWARE! Don’t just gobble up processed gluten-free alternatives – they can be made from corn which is extremely inflammatory and one of the most heavily genetically modified crops. Also, often the fiber has been stripped from these gluten-free products so they become higher glycemic leading to increased blood sugar and higher insulin release – meaning FAT STORAGE.
7. Increase your fiber intake. Fiber we know helps fill us up, but it also causes our body to produce Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFAs) by our gut microbes when you eat foods containing FIBER. SCFAs have been found to improve leaky gut and to help decrease levels of anxiety and stress. That is reason #652 I keep preaching more vegetables in your diet. It is also why I like almond flour and coconut flours as well as psyllium husk powder in recipes in moderation to boost fiber. Also, hemp seeds are an amazing source of fiber - sprinkle them on veggies and proteins for a slightly nutty, nutrition-packed flavor.
Bottom line is the more you know the better you can do each day. We invite you to keep coming back to our blog and subscribe to our Podcast and Youtube Channel to get more thought provoking information and real actionable items to start living better.