Nourish not Punish: Sustainable Weight Loss

Hello Spring! With the warmer weather rolling in it’s a great time to get outdoors and get started with some healthy habits! Also this time of year there seems to be a great focus on losing weight (fast) to bring out that summer bod. The problem with fast weight loss is that it can be unsustainable and often leaves us worse than where we started. Try to avoid the yo-yo dieting trap and ensure you’re still giving your body the nutrients and good health it needs! If weight loss is the goal, it can definitely be achieved without punishment and deprivation. 

We’ve asked our nutritionist, Nicole, to weigh in on some of the more sustainable ways to maintain a healthy weight. 

Yes you can still have pancakes.

  1. Drink more water. The reason every nutritionist / dietitian / health professional harp on about this one so much is not only because water is essential for our survival and plays such a massive role in our health, but also because the body cannot tell the difference between hunger and thirst. It all feels the same to the body so often we mistake our thirst signals for hunger and will turn to food when perhaps what we really needed was water. Stay well hydrated during the day (aim for 2-3L) to avoid this problem, but avoid drinking water WITH meals as this can hinder the digestion process. 

  2. Increase your fibre intake. Fibre plays a number of important roles for our gut health such as fermenting and feeding our good gut bacteria, adding bulk to our stools, and keeping us regular. From a weight management point of view, fibre helps to keep us fuller for longer as it takes longer for the body to break down and digest fibre-rich foods. Increase your fibre intake by having more fruit and vegetables, unrefined grains, nuts and seeds. 

  3. Ensure you are getting adequate protein. The body actually works harder (ie. burns more calories) to break down protein than it does other macronutrients (carbs and fat). In addition to this, your body has a specific protein requirement that it needs every day. This is separate to your daily energy requirement, and what it means is that you will continue to be hungry until you’ve met your daily protein requirement, independent of how much total energy (calories) you have consumed. Spread your protein intake throughout the day to keep your blood sugar levels stable and your hunger satisfied.

  4. Cut back the late night snacks. Late in the evening is when our bodies are in our rest phase. We (ideally) should be taking this time to wind down for bed and slow down our activity. Consequently, we don’t need as much energy as we do during the early parts of the day. Consuming excess food in the evenings will typically result in increased fat storage due to reduced energy expenditure during this time of the day. If you enjoy a post-dinner snack try something like a couple of squares of dark chocolate and a herbal tea. If you find yourself overly hungry in the evenings try eating more during the day so that you’re not consuming so much of your food late at night. 

  5. Eat a variety of seasonal wholefoods. Try to limit packaged foods as much as possible as these tend to be high in calories, but low in nutrients. Consequently, they will satisfy your tastebuds but not your hunger levels, so you’ll likely consume more than you need. Reserve these foods as treats and try to get the majority of your foods from unrefined sources such as fruits and vegetables, quality proteins, nuts, seeds and wholegrains. 

If you already follow these tips and are not seeing the results you’re after there could likely be an underlying health issue which is coming into play. Gut problems, hormonal imbalances, thyroid issues, and/or nutrient deficiencies are just a few of the common problems which can have a strong impact on weight management. If you’re struggling to meet your goals or just want some guidance to get started, book in for a consult with Nicole. Nicole takes a holistic approach in her practice to look at all factors influencing your health, rather than treating symptoms alone. 

Disclaimer: This blog post is intended for educational purposes only. Please do not use this information to diagnose or treat any health concerns you may have. This information is not intended to replace the advice given to you by a qualified health professional. Get in contact with a Tonic Health consultant or a relevant health professional if you need guidance on your individual health journey.