I have had my ups and downs when it comes to weight loss. I have tried many different strategies. As a health and wellness coach I now know the benefits of healthy eating and the amazing effects it has on the body and mind; however I notice that this healthy eating way of life does not always work for weight loss.
Many of us have been lead to assume that weight loss comes from healthy eating and exercise. However, this is not entirely true. In my early 20’s, I was a size 4. I could eat what ever I wanted, exercise once a week and maintain my figure. This weight loss routine worked until my mid to late thirties, when I noticed that regular exercise no longer worked to control my weight. No matter what diet restrictions I followed, or how much I worked out, I could not lose weight. In fact, with every passing year, I actually gained weight. I would diet and exercise way more than people that were smaller than me, but nothing seemed to work.
I researched, read books, listened to other people’s stories of how they miraculously lost weight, but none of this seemed to work for me. I knew as a wellness coach I would have some clients that have run into the same obstacle as I was facing, what was I going to tell them? How was I going to deal with my own weight?
After researching many different diets like the Paleo diet which tries to mimic cave man ways of eating, Atkins diet which is a low carb diet, Ketogenic diet which is high protein and high fat diet and many more ridiculous diets that seem impossible to follow for long periods of time. I realized that I never dieted when I was younger and did not have to work hard to keep my figure.
Many other people who are the size that I wish to be, eat and drink foods that mostly contain high fructose corn syrup or junk food, which I try to avoid. I just couldn’t figure out why I could no longer lose weight the way I used to. The answer came to me while I was in a fast food chicken restaurant with a friend one afternoon. After a morning of yoga sessions we did together, I tried to find a healthy option on the menu of the restaurant my friend suggested, as I am debating on what to eat, my friend standing in line in front of me, orders fried chicken, fries and topped it off with a large strawberry soda. I looked up and down at her figure and thought wow, if I ordered that I would have to do cardio for about 2 hours just to work it off so it doesn’t end up on my already too big thighs that are currently stretching these yoga pants past their intended limits. After I ordered that exact same thing, but without the strawberry soda, (I mean come on, I don’t want to over do it) I always have a water with greasy foods in hopes to thin out the grease in my system. Not saying it works but I feel better about my unhealthy decision. Ha Ha.
I began to think about what was the difference between me and her, as I chowed down, I looked up as she was finishing her last bite and realized that the big difference between us, was our age. She was in her mid twenties and I was in my mid thirties. When I was twenty five I still didn’t eat fried chicken all the time, but if I did, I could have lost the weight easier than I could today. After getting home and researching even more, I found out that I was not doing anything wrong, my working out was good for me and so were my healthy eating choices, the issue was my metabolism. Starting in your twenties your metabolism slows down. You will notice it more as you age though. This means I can eat the same exact thing as someone who is a size 6 and exercise the same, but I may not lose weight like they would.
I was relived to know that I wasn’t crazy and the weight was not because I was eating too much. I mean looking back I remember feeling so hungry at times, even starving myself only to give in and eat one potato chip and have all the wieght Iost, pack back on in a matter of days. Starving yourself actually makes you retain more fat when you start back eating again, because your body assumes you will starve it again, so it will store fat just in case of another episode of starvation.
There are many reasons besides age that slows your metabolism. Age is the most common reason, hormonal imbalance, depression, vitamin deficiencies, allergies and food sensitivities can also contribute to a slow metabolism. This is where you may need a doctors advice or lab test done to determine if one of these issues are the cause. If you don’t see a general doctor regularly, please do so to assess your health. You may have high blood pressure, be pre diabetic, or have other underlying issues that are more serious that only a doctor is best at determining. There are specific test for thyroid, adrenal glands and food sensitivities that may be beneficial. Food sensitivities are important factors to consider. As you age you will notice that you become more sensitive to certain foods, like hot and spicy or really greasy foods. Food sensitivities are different from food allergies, for example you may feel more sluggish, have indigestion, bloating, mental fogginess or a minor rash after consuming certain foods but you are not actually allergic to them, they just cause symptoms that you may not even realize are food related. For example, food additives like MSG causes headaches in many people, red dye 40 can cause hyperactivity in children and dairy can be hard to digest for some or increase eczema flare ups. To make it simple, some foods you need to avoid depending on your own specific sensitivities, this will help keep your hormones and metabolism in balance.
Having a food journal is one way to keep track if you are not ready for a food sensitivity test. First try to write down all your issues that affect you no matter how small. Lack of concentration, focus, fatigue, rashes, dandruff, dry skin, bloating, restless leg syndrome, heartburn, migraines and etc… you get the point!
Give yourself about a week to write down all your issues as you may not be able to think of them all in just one sitting. Think of foods that you eat regularly, do you have coffee and orange juice almost every morning, do you eat pork, or spicy food often? Begin to eliminate certain foods one by one. Like first eliminate all dairy for at least 2 weeks and go down your list one by one and see if you notice any changes in issues that you suffer for the last week. You need at least 2 weeks of elimination of a certain food to figure out if it is the cause of any issues you experience. Just one week of elimination may not be long enough for your body to show a difference because the food symptoms could still be at work in your system, by the second week you may start to notice changes. You may need longer if you suspect a certain foods. I have found through my own food journaling and elimination strategies that spicy and acidic foods were the cause of my restless legs and feet tingling at night. After cutting them out of my diet I can finally get a good nights sleep.
Once you have done your elimination diet and removed certain food from your diet, you will have done wonders for your metabolism from that alone. Now that you have removed food from your daily diet, its time to add some food to your daily diet. I know, crazy right? But there are some foods that help with boosting your metabolism.
There are many foods that help to reduce metabolism; cinnamon, almonds, green tea, spinach, hot peppers and grapefruit. Adding these to your healthy diet routine can help speed up your weight loss by boosting your metabolism.
I am going to share with you what did worked for me. I am the research queen and have tried many different strategies on losing weight and boosting my metabolism. I have also tried many of the detox waters and teas that claim to help.
What actually worked for me; I drink warm water with cinnamon and honey every morning before breakfast. This worked tremendously for me. Because I do have signs of a possible hormonal issues (still waiting for my doctors’ appointment) I decided to drink mine with Holy Basil tea. Holy Basil teas are said to help with hormonal issues, this type of tea is pretty cheap only around $4-6 bucks. Also I love spicy food and spicy food can boost metabolism too. Be careful though it is not so good for your gallbladder though so pace yourself.
So, if you have tried many diets, and weight loss tricks that did not work for you then food journaling, adding metabolism boosting foods to your diet and drinking warm water with cinnamon and honey in the mornings may work for you. Doing these 3 things has made the biggest difference for me, especially the warm cinnamon honey water, can’t find any scientific proof for why it works, but it has done wonders for me. It is cheap, easy and does’t taste bad. Try it and let me know if it works for you!