Written by: Pamela Groh, Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RHN)
Ahhh weight resistance! I hear you my friend!
When I finally lost those extra 20 pounds that drove me crazy during my teenage years and into my early 30s I thought I had finally figured out. From now on, I thought, “all I have to do is watch my calories and exercise like a maniac. If I do this, I can still enjoy the occasional over-indulgence”. I managed to balance my weight (give or take 3 pounds) for a couple of years since I lost the extra weight and then the game changed.
Things got really interesting as I slowly transitioned into my mid-30s. My formula was not working anymore… and it was becoming more difficult to manage my weight from creeping up. For someone who had struggled to lose weight most of her life, the thought of going back to where I was kind of terrifying.
Because I had experience managing my weight, I knew that a healthy diet, lots of water and exercise were essential. From my perspective, I was doing everything right.
So, where was I failing?
What was I missing?
Was there more to weight management that watching my food and exercising?
Turns out the answer is yes!
You see, I have since then understood that the body is amazingly complex. And I decided to approach weight management as an art form. I reminded myself one of the key principles I’ve learnt: “that the only constant in life is change”, so instead of fighting my body and the changes that came with each season of my life, I was to become curious, artful and skillful and to treat my body as my best friend.
It was that sense of curiosity that also nurtured self-love. The more my self-love grew, the stronger the intention to take exquisite care of myself. Both inside and outside.
But I’ll be honest, in addition to learning to accept and love the body I have, I learnt and tested a lot of different practices and I have shared this holistic approach with other people and help them learn to manage their weight as well.
Along with good nutrition, the health of your nervous system, your liver and your gut is of outmost importance. So, if you’re doing “all the right things”, namely, you are eating all the right foods, drinking tons of water, having plenty of fiber in your diet and exercising regularly here are some of the possible reasons you are still struggling with your weight:
- You’re eating “little” but is still processed foods. Yup! Processed foods are full of additives that make weight loss very difficult;
- You eat out too often. “But is healthy food”, you say – still likely to be processed food. Sorry but this is true. I see clients cut on take out and the weight “mysteriously” disappears;
- You’re not eating enough fiber. This is key to keeping things moving and eliminating toxins from the body;
- You are super stressed and your cortisol levels are up the roof (and also, hanging out on your mid-section);
- You do crazy extreme workouts. Trust me I’ve been there! I’m absolutely guilty of being an exercise junkie. But you see, your body perceives those high-intensity workouts as physical stress, meaning, yet another form of stress. And remember, when you are chronically stressed, your cortisol levels are raised even further;
- You are under-eating or eating an unbalanced diet. Again, the body perceives this as stress, stress raises cortisol and high cortisol levels are responsible for fat storage in your mid-area. Also, when you under-eat, your body lacks the proper nutrients to perform key functions, such as detoxification;
- You’re not sleeping well. Also a possible sign of high cortisol;
- Your liver is loaded;
- You are on the pill;
- Your blood sugar is out of balance;
- Your hormones may be imbalanced– it is a good idea to ask your doctor to check your thyroid levels and your insulin/glucose;
- You drink too much alcohol and/or coffee– both raise your blood sugar levels AND affect the balance in your gut. Plus, alcohol is a source of empty calories;
- You’re simply eating too much. I see this happen often, people embark on the healthy eating journey but they’re simply eating too much: too many nuts and seed, gluten-free treats that are loaded with sugar and other “healthy foods”
Finally, there’s the whole emotional piece. Many people are emotional eaters. They eat very well and exercise the great majority of time but then sabotage their efforts by bingeing and overeating (for more on this read my article on Perfectionism and food). Over-indulging on sweets and carbs (you know… cake, chocolate, cookies, etc. etc), especially at the end of the day or the week, are clear sings that you are either restricting calories way too much, dealing with some sort of blood sugar imbalance, or that you are turning to food to soothe your emotions.
Other people are desperate to lose the extra weight but continue to hold on to it because at some level, it provides a sense of protection for them. This may be very unconscious and definitely worth exploring. There are tons of good quality literature out there that can be worked into your holistic approach to managing your weight.
And if you still want extra help, drop me a comment and I’ll be happy to share more resources or write a blog post on a topic of interest.
But trust me on the stress piece. And this also applies to how you’re approaching what you’re reading right now. I invite you to be curious about figuring out and solving the puzzle of managing your weight. It is absolutely feasible but it also goes well beyond calories-in/calories-out. Work though the list of pointers I gave you and definitely let me know how it goes!
Need some help on your weight loss journey?