It can be difficult to lose weight and keep it off. Do you feel as though you’ve been trying to lose weight with little success? This could be because you are misinformed about what to do, or because you have an underlying health concern that is preventing you from successfully warding off those extra pounds.
First, let’s talk calories. The macronutrients we consume regularly provide us with different amounts of calories. Carbohydrates provide 4 calories per gram; proteins provide 4 calories per gram; and fats provide 9 calories per gram. Although not a macronutrient, the other substance that provides calories is alcohol - alcohol provides 7 calories per gram. If a Nutrition Facts Label says 12 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of fat, and 0 grams of protein, you know that this food has about 102 calories per serving (12 grams x 4 calories per gram of carbohydrates and 6 grams x 9 calories per gram of fat = 48 calories +54 calories = 102 calories). Health Canada recommends that the average diet be composed of 45-65% carbs, 10-30% protein, and 25-30% fat.
So which macronutrient should you focus on reducing in your diet in order to lose weight? Carbs, carbs, carbs. Carbohydrates are the limiting fuel source for our bodies and are also important for providing the body with “on-demand” energy. If carbohydrates sources are scarce, the body then proceeds to burn fat. If energy needs exceed those provided by fats in the diet, the body liquidates some of its fat tissue for energy production.
1) The average daily food intake should be approximately 2,000 calories per day per person. Check to see if you are consuming more or less calories on a daily basis by entering and tracking your daily food intake on Fit Day or My Fitness Pal. These programs are good at tracking the calories you are consuming based on serving size and food type. Be mindful of how much food you are eating! You can also enter exercise into these programs. Print a copy of your daily caloric intake, as well as exercise, and bring these papers to your Naturopathic Doctor for review. In order to lose weight, daily caloric intake and exercise may need to be modified. The goal is to decrease caloric intake in order to see slow and gradual weight loss. It is healthy and sustainable to lose weight at a rate of 1-2 pounds per week.
2) Portion your meals properly. The Canada Food Guide talks about portion sizes from different food groups and what a typical meal should look like: ½ of your plate should be vegetables and/or fruits, ¼ meat and alternatives, and ¼ grain products. This is a general guideline, and some people may have to modify this regime if they have food sensitivities or allergies. Vegetables and fruits provide us with healthy carbohydrate choices.
3) Drink 6-8 glasses of water per day. Water helps to boost metabolism. Aim to have your first glass of water in the early morning as soon as you wake up to support digestive function.
4) Exercise. Exercise has so many health benefits and is also used to manage health concerns. For instance, you may be overweight because you have type 2 diabetes or you are dealing with long-term stress. Exercise is beneficial for both of these concerns and for your overall well-being.
5) Avoid crash dieting. Most weight-loss diets are designed poorly, are unhealthy, and are not sustainable long-term!
Speak to your Naturopathic Doctor about your weight loss goals. There are many factors involved in weight gain and your Naturopathic Doctor can help determine what might be preventing you from losing those extra pounds. Call 613-761-1600 to book your initial visit today! Do you have questions about Naturopathic medicine? I also offer FREE 15-minute consultations to discuss alternative medicine with you in more detail. I look forward to helping you achieve your weight loss goals!
Ashley Kowalski is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor in Embrun, Cornwall, and Ottawa. She is currently accepting new patients.