Last week I shared with you a few tips on how to release weight that accumulates during times of stress, which happens to most of us over the holiday season. Stress weight gain is different from standard weight gain because it is stress-hormone driven. So focusing on rebalancing your adrenals — not dieting — is what works best.
But today, I want to give you a few more tips on releasing regular, non-stress related, weight gain. Normal weight gain over time usually reflects a decrease in metabolism, so I’ve got a fantastic list of actionable tips — taken directly from the medical literature! — that help jumpstart your metabolism and get you back to your goal weight with less stress, less struggle, and zero dieting.
The first step is to absolutely eliminate any negative self talk you might be having with your food choices. This fantastic, impressive study (published in Lancet in May 2019) was a global analysis of diet and health outcomes looking at 195 different countries over an almost 30 year span of time. Never before has such a large scale investigation of the relationship between dietary intake and disease ever been conducted.
This one study can replace everything we’ve based our current understanding of the correlation between diet and disease, because all other studies to date have been much smaller and isolated to smaller regions of the world. And here is the one, overriding conclusion from that study: It’s not about what you are eating, it’s about what you aren’t eating.
In other words, what makes the most impact on your disease risk isn’t so much what unhealthy foods you are eating, it’s what healthy foods you aren’t eating enough of.
Over the past several decades, the medical literature and most diet plans have focused on restricting foods such as sodium, sugar, processed meats and fats. But in this largest-study-to-date meta analysis, researchers found that it is actually inadequate intake of essential nutritional components (like nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables) that accounts for more disease and death than overconsumption of any food particular food such as red meat, fat, sugar, sodas or sweetened beverages.
In fact, inadequate nutrition causes more deaths worldwide than smoking does.
One of the authors of this study, Christopher Murray, MD, states that a “poor diet is responsible for more deaths than any other risk factor in the world.”
That means that inadequate intake of nutrients cause the body more illness, disease and death than consumption of sugar or processed meats or trans fats ever do. The researchers found that inadequate consumption of nutritional building blocks led to more heart disease, cancer, diabetes and death worldwide than did consumption of unhealthy foods.
Do you see the positives out of this realization?
You can stop beating yourself up for the cravings, snacks, and “cheat meals” that you eat, and instead simply focus on making sure that you are getting an adequate intake of the absolutely mandatory good nutrients that our bodies need to function optimally for a lifetime.
- Researchers found that lack of nutrition was far more deadly than consuming foods typically considered “disease causing” like fats and sugars.
- For example, when researchers evaluated whole grains intake, they found that a diet low in whole grains led to 3 million deaths and 82 million diseases world wide annually.
- When researchers evaluated low fruit intake, they found that a diet with inadequate fruit consumption led to 2 million deaths and 65 million diseases world wide annually.
- If you do want to restrict one thing from your diet, the results suggest focusing on sodium. High sodium consumption was associated with 3 million deaths and 70 million diseases world wide annually.
These three dietary culprits (low whole grains, low fruits, and high sodium) were the top three causes of morbidity and mortality world wide… causing far higher disease rates and death than consuming sugar, fats, processed meats and sugary drinks. The results suggest that it might be more important to be sure we are consuming adequate amounts of the good stuff instead of restricting the bad stuff.
What’s the good stuff? Be sure you are getting plenty of servings of:
- Whole grains
- Nuts and seeds
- Calcium &
- Seafood-derived omega-3 fatty acids.
Researchers suggest that focusing on increasing nutrient intake would prevent about 1 in every 5 deaths!
So today, try to shift your thinking from negative dietary restrictions to positively consuming healthy foods. I’ll help. Run through this list and see if you can select one or two ideas to incorporate into your food choices this week.
8 Unusual Ways To Release Weight More Easily:
1. Stop dieting and start eating instead.
Instead of restricting your food (a typical diet) plan your meals around being sure you are consuming enough healthy food… what a difference in mindframe!
Obviously a good diet is important, but this study tells me that even if you just can’t seem to get control over a sweet tooth, or a fatty snack is your go-to stress relief, or you splurge and eat a processed meat product, the things you do eat are not as damaging to your health as the things you don’t eat.
In other words, if you have a bowl of ice cream after dinner tonight, instead of going to bed feeling horrible and berating yourself for your food choices, let the ice cream dessert go and instead consider if you ate 2 — 3 servings of fruits and vegetables today.
2. Take a very high quality multivitamin to fill in the gaps.
Another important thing to consider is that if getting a baseline amount of healthy foods is more important than banishing non-healthy foods, then a really high quality multivitamin makes a lot of sense.
So one idea, beside upping your fruit and veggie and nut and seed intake, is to add on a multivitamin and mineral supplement (especially one that has a whole food certified organic blend of fruit and vegetables right in the supplement) to help cover any bases that your intake that day might have missed.
My favorite multivitamins are the MyKind Organics daily vitamin line and Pure Encapsulations multivitamin line. Both of these “best-of-the-best” nutritional supportive supplements are waiting for you in my online dispensary under the General Wellness tab.
Click over here to browse multivitamins now, so that you can round out your diet with the nutrients your body truly needs.
3. Allow a few pounds of extra weight.
There are survival advantages to being overweight as opposed to underweight… like surviving life threatening infections. Published June 2016 inCritical Care Medicine, the results of this study suggest that heavier weight allows the body to survive overwhelming bacterial infections, even at advanced age, something good to know as this pandemic continues. Researchers looked at the data of over 1,400 elderly people hospitalized with severe sepsis (requiring ICU care) and compared their body mass index (BMI) with clinical outcome 1 year after discharge. The results revealed a 25% improved mortality rate in severely obese, obese and overweight patients compared to normal weight patients.
Another medical study (published July 2017 in Cardiac Interventions) that found that obese and overweight patients actually have better survival rates and less complications after heart surgery (percutaneous cardiac interventions, or PCI) than normal weight and lean patients do. On top of that, the better outcomes persisted even 5 years later, with better outcomes for the overweight and obese patients than for normal or low weight patients.
Another medical study, published in JAMA Oncology on June 21, 2018, found that a higher BMI was associated with lowered breast cancer rates. The highest BMI group had over 4 times lower rates of breast cancer than the lowest BMI group. This inverse relationship between higher BMI resulting in significantly lowered breast cancer rates was particularly strong for hormone receptor positive breast cancers. Young women (ages 18 to 24) who were obese (BMI greater than or equal to 35) developed breast cancer 4.2 times less often than women who were underweight (BMI lower than 17.) This study was very large — almost one million patients — and was a rigorously analyzed. Considering breast cancer is the most common worldwide cancer diagnosis for women, particularly young women, this is very important news indeed.
And this is not limited to breast cancer. Published Oct 2016 in the Journal Of Clinical Oncology, researchers examined body mass (BMI) and metastatic renal (kidney) cancer survival rates. They found that obesity actually predicted improved survival in metastatic cancer… improving both the progression free survival rate and the over-all survival rate. The fact that obese patients have better outcomes in metastatic renal cancer is a real thing — this study had large patient numbers, was reproducible in different cohorts, and is statistically significant. The numbers are actually so significant that now physicians are encouraged to take the patient’s weight into account before sharing information on prognosis with their patients.
Of course, anything that shows there is a wide diversity to what is considered a “healthy weight” totally hidden by the media. That makes sense, as the weight loss industry is a 20 BILLION dollar industry IN THE UNITED STATES ALONE!!! So, of course the media wouldn’t want you to actually feel good about your current weight or feel there was any advantage in the slightest to having a higher BMI. But in fact, as I blogged about here, only when a person’s BMI exceeds 35 is there an increase in mortality rates.
So… if losing those last 10 pounds isn’t actually going to help you live longer… what defines your “ideal weight”? What defines your ideal weight is how you *feel* wearing the body you wear each day: your energy level, your flexibility, your capacity to get around, to get outside, and to enjoy the things you want to enjoy each day.
The real focus should ALWAYS BE on feeling as healthy and vibrant as possible.
This means focusing on muscle tone.
On heart strength.
On lung capacity.
On bone mass.
On energy levels.
On restorative sleep at night.
On quality time with loved ones.
On meaningful relationships.
On spiritual strength.
And even if you are at 35 BMI or higher? Focusing on energy levels, bone mass, restorative sleep, endurance and such will create a path of natural weight loss anyway.
4. If you still do want to diet… fast instead.
You’ve probably heard of fasting for weight loss, but most people are not aware of the decades of medical research that show just how profoundly intermittent fasting can boost health in ways that go way beyond weight management. From reducing diabetes risk to reducing dementia to reducing cancer rates, fasting has head-to-toe benefits… and doesn’t have to be difficult.
It can be intimidating to think about trying fasting, as images of going without food for days on end run through our minds and hunger pangs set in quickly. But fasting can be as simple as increasing the amount of time you are not eating at night by just 2 hours. Medical research shows that simply not eating after 8 PM can actually be measurably beneficial to your health.
Fasting has been shown to:
- Decrease inflammation: Published in the Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism in 2007, researchers found that fasting for 12 hours daily decreased all measured markers of inflammation by a statistically significant amount, including interleukin-6, C-reactive protein, and homocysteine levels.
- Decrease heart disease: A study published in the American Journal of Cardiology in 2009, showed that fasting just one day a month (one day a month!) was enough to significantly decrease risk of heart attack risk by reducing coronary artery disease. In addition to that, a study published in Nutritional Research in 2012 showed that fasting for 12 hours a day decreased blood pressure, and when fasting was increased to every other day for just four weeks, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides were reduced by more than 25%.
- Decrease asthma attacks: Published in Free Radical Biology & Medicine in 2007, reducing calorie intake every other day by just 20% allowed asthma suffers to lose 8% of their body weight in only two months, decrease their blood markers of stress and inflammation, and decrease asthma symptoms while improving quality of life.
- Protect your brain: Improved memory, improved mood, decreased Alzheimer rates, and decreased Parkinson’s rates… all from fasting? Yep. Published in the Journal of Neuroscience Research in 1999, the Journal of Molecular Neuroscience in 2000, the Neurobiology of Disease in 2007 (as well as many other studies) researchers have found that intermittent fasting can improve neuronal connections, increase the proliferation of neurons, and even protect against amyloid plaques.
- Decrease cancer recurrence rates: Prolonging the amount of time spent fasting â€” skipping evening snacks all together and fasting for 13+ hours each night — significantly reduced the risk of breast cancer, according to a study that spanned thousands of patients followed for over a decade. Published on March 31, 2016 in JAMA Oncology, researchers found that fasting at night for 13 hours or more was found to reduce the risk of cancer recurrence by one-third, as well as drop HbA1C levels and increase sleep length at night. Another study (published in Teteratgenesis, Carcinogenesis and Mutagenesis in 2002) found that alternate day fasting helped decrease tumor formation, while yet another study (published in Science Translational Medicine in 2012) found that a wide range of cancer cells exposed to fasting showed increased responsiveness and sensitivity to chemotherapy treatments as well as directly decreased tumor growth. So fasting for 13+ hours each night is an effective, drug free, holistic, all natural way to decrease cancer recurrence and help boost cancer treatment.
- Boost longevity: One study (published in the Journals of Gerontology in 1983) showed that fasting had a greater impact in improving longevity than even exercise did! And a more recent study, published in 2000 in the Mechanisms of Aging and Development, showed short term repeated fasting throughout life resulted in a lifespan that was 75% longer. In fact, a study published in Nature in 2009 stated that intermittent fasting is â€œthe most effective and reproducible intervention to extend lifespanâ€ that we know of… capable of significantly extending lifespan by reducing age-related disorders.
- Encourage long-term weight loss: Published in Nutrition Reviews in 2015, researchers looked at all forms of fasting… including alternate day fasting, whole day fasting, and even simply time restricted fasting (like a 13 hour nightly fast) and all of these techniques resulted in significantly reduced body fat, significantly reduced body weight, and reduced blood lipid levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.
If you want to try fasting, take care to stay very well hydrated, get plenty of rest, and when you do eat, make sure the foods you choose are nutrient dense, chock full of protein and healthy fats. And of course, run your fasting plan by your doctor if you have any chronic health conditions or are planning to fast for more than a 24 hour period of time.
I’m going to give you more tips on how to introduce fasting on the blog next week — be sure you are signed up for my newsletter by entering your email address in the sign up box right here to get that article directly into your inbox!
5. Sleep more.
I always ask patients who are having trouble loosing weight about their sleep. That’s because a medical study (that I shared with you back in August of 2013) showed that poor sleep caused study participants to gain weight 9 times faster than participants who slept well. Nine times faster weight gain!
Previous studies have shown a link between poor sleep and weight gain, but this was the first study where participants slept in-house in a sleep facility and the actual weight gain was measurably significant after only a handful of 4 hour nights in a row. If healthy individuals who experienced a short period of sleep deprivation gained 9 times as much weight as healthy individuals who get a full night of sleep, what does this predict for folks who are chronically sleep deprived?
Many of us live and function daily in a state of catching only a few hours of sleep a night… not just for 4 days but for weeks, months, even years at a time. This has a huge impact on your weight. Imagine gaining 9 times as much weight over the course of a year of poor sleep as you normally would had you slept well. If you are feeling exhausted from not sleeping well, than your body is going to urge you to reach for food as a way to sustain your energy. This is your body’s way of ensuring your survival!
So if you are watching your weight or struggling to understand why your best efforts are not good enough to prevent you from gaining weight, examine your sleep. Hop over here for some tips on deepening your sleep at night, naturally.
6. Trust the resiliency of your body.
Your body functions on the basis of resiliency. It resets again and again and again and again. Adapting, recalibrating, adjusting, and realigning to health over and over again. The human body is incredibly resilient, and the basis of our existence is that your body is adaptable. Your health is forgiving and intuitive. Your body can return to wellness despite challenges (like that chocolate bar I just ate while typing up this blog post. You might think I’m joking but I am absolutely not.)
Your body can handle you eating unhealthy foods (as long as you have a good nutritional intake otherwise) so much better than it can handle not eating enough healthy foods in the first place. So instead of beating yourself up over having a cheat meal or a decedent dessert or that midnight snack, focus on making sure you are eating all of the nutritional building blocks your body needs to maintain health in the first place.
Stick with making sure you are eating the nutritional building blocks, and your body can handle the extra not-so-healthy things you might consume alongside that. Trust in your body’s resiliency.
7. Ground your body while you eat.
Grounding has a profound impact on your digestion, boosting your vagal tone (which supports the function of your entire digestive tract, from your esophagus to your colon and everything in between!) while meanwhile directly impacting your ability to feel full and satiated, even enhancing absorption by decreasing inflammation, which also helps with recovery after a meal.
From every single angle, eating grounded helps: putting you more deeply in touch with your hunger and satiation, helping you digest and absorb your nutrients better, boosting your metabolism and keeping weight gain at bay, even decreasing discomfort after eating.
Even if you eat completely organic, fresh, dairy-free, gluten-free, best-diet-in-the-world you can easily still have irritable bowel issues, or indigestion, or bloating, or pain.
That’s because you can’t fully resolve bowel inflammation without being grounded.
In case you didn’t watch the video I made for you on how grounding supports your digestion that I blogged about last week, you can still hop over here to watch that video to understand why adding grounding to your daily routine is the quickest way to heal your digestion. And for more tips on how grounding profoundly supports your health from head to toe, and how to easily incorporate grounding into your daily life to see profound results, grab my book The Earth Prescription, available as a paperback, a digital book, and an audiobook, right here.
8. Allow Yourself To Fidget
This very interesting medical study was sent to me by an awesome reader (thank you Lansing!) which found that study participants who fidgeted while sitting attenuated the risk of death associated with long periods of time spent sedentary. Published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine in 2016, researchers followed over 12,000 participants for over three years and found that moderate to high fidgeting levels completely removed the risk of death from prolonged sitting. This is incredible because even exercise is not enough to reverse the mortality risk of prolonged sitting, and this is because exercising once or twice in the day does nothing to break up the long periods of sitting spent in between exercise sessions. But fidgetting allows you to keep moving, even during the time spent seated, completely ameliorating the mortality risk usually associated with a sedentary lifestyle.
So can fidgeting also help not only prolong lifespan but actually help burn calories too? Yep. Fidgetting falls under the “non-exercise activity thermogenesis” type of calorie burn (NEAT) and can burn as much calories as someone who exercise strenuously two or three times a week — about 350 calories a day, or well over 2,000 calories a week, according to this study published in Science in 2005. Foot tapping, seat shifting, finger drumming, etc… all count. Researchers suggest that this benefit only works for those that naturally fidget, as they generally fidget up to 10 hours a day without effort. Those that do not naturally fidget can not train themselves to do it consistently enough to make a difference, and must be conscious about breaking up sedentary time with a more intentional activity, like walking or going up and down a flight of steps.
Want more tips on how to safely, easily, and effectively lose weight in a way that supports your innate health?
I’ve got you. Join me here:
This quick and easy, completely transformative 5 day Weight Reset Online Class will give you the 5 pillars of sustainable, feel-good weight loss and totally make over the way you view your body and your weight.
I’ve based this course directly off of the medical literature and my 20 years of experience helping to support my patients with their weight loss goals.
To your resilient, innate health!