Updated: May 22
Ah, the topic of weight loss!
I have intentionally avoided talking about this topic for many years because I believe that our society fixates on weight and although weight is an indicator of health, it's not the ONLY indicator of health and happiness.
I definitely picked up some bad habits in terms of my relationship with my body, my weight, and my self worth from a young age. The media was not nearly as body-positive 15 years ago as they are now. Enter: crazy fad diets of the early-mid 2000's. The Atkins Diet. The Special K Diet. When I was 17, I did this weird thing where I ate boiled egg whites and half a grapefruit every day (ew). And sometimes, I hate to admit, I just didn't eat at all. It took me a few years to really start to love my body again, and it's something I work at daily. I weigh more now than I ever have, however, I also FEEL the best I ever have because my focus is on HEALTH, and not weight.
I know that many of you reading this are not immune to this feeling of inadequacy- you don't have to go far to be given your own dose of body image issues these days. Research suggests that children as young as 3 can develop body image issues. The media has been perpetuating a certain body image for all of time. Women's bodies have become a "trend". The "heroine chic" trend of the early 2000's had women starving themselves. The "slim thick" trend of the 2010's had women dropping SERIOUS cash on BBL's (Brazilian butt lift), waist trainers and fillers. I don't even know what's "on trend" these days, but what a do know is, YOUR BODY IS NOT A TREND.
Please hear me when I say- your body is beautiful the way it is. You do not NEED to change anything to fit a certain "trend" or "beauty standard". That being said, there is also NOTHING WRONG with wanting to change your body composition to help you look and feel YOUR best.
The main goal here is HEALTH. We owe it to ourselves and our future children (if we choose to have them) to maintain a HEALTHY weight (that is appropriate for our body type and season of life), to heal our relationships with our bodies and not pass down any more generational trauma around weight + body image.
This is one of the main reasons I created Holistic in Houston almost 5 years ago- I wanted to create a resource and a community for people who want to be healthier + look and feel great in the most natural way possible.
Maintaining a healthy weight can not only improve your health and your life expectancy; it can also significantly increase your confidence. your energy levels, and more. So today, I want to take about ways you can lose weight in a holistic way, create habits to maintain a healthy weight, and throw in a few tips on how to improve your relationship with your body.
1. Increase protein intake at every meal
The #1 way to maintain a healthy weight is getting adequate protein at each meal. This will help keep your blood sugar balanced, which is essential for maintaining energy levels, metabolism, and a heathy weight. It has been shown that higher-protein diets can help reduce cravings and decrease overall calorie intake. Eating enough protein helps the body build lean muscle mass, rev up the metabolism and burn more fat. Additionally, proteins are known to improve satiety - making us feel fuller for longer periods of time - so we don’t get hungry as quickly after eating meals or snacks. Try to get AT LEAST 20g of protein at each meal, but closer to 30 is ideal (especially if you are an active person or if you practice resistance training). You don't need a fancy scale at home to figure this out- having a serving of protein that is about the size of your palm for each meal is a great way to "eyeball" it!
Great sources of protein include:
Lean meats like pastured chicken, beef, turkey
Wild-caught fish like salmon, tuna, halibut
Fermented, organic tofu or tempeh
2. Resistance training
Second to protein intake, resistance training is one of the most effective ways to burn body fat and build muscle. Building muscle increases your metabolism, which means you can eat more without gaining weight. If that's not enough to convince, you, resistance training also has some SERIOUS mood-boosting effects. What more could you ask for?!
The ideal amount of resistance training is 4x/week, but if you're just getting started, even 2x/week can have a big impact on your body composition over the course of a few months. The key is CONSISTENCY. Life weights, do a resistance band workout, or try a barre or Pilates class (I love Pure Barre Heights!)
3. Keep blood sugar balanced
For many people trying to lose weight, balancing their blood sugar levels is key. High blood sugar levels cause spikes in insulin that tell the body to store fat instead of burning it off as energy. To balance blood sugar levels, it’s important to eat meals with enough protein, complex carbohydrates like whole grains and legumes as well as healthy fats like those found in nuts and seeds. Balancing your blood sugar also means avoiding sugary drinks and processed snack foods that can spike insulin levels quickly. Eat your protein, fats, and fiber FIRST, carbs LAST.
Try to eat 3-4 meals per day spaced about by 3-5 hours. Always keep snacks on hand when you are on the go so that your blood sugar doesn't dip.
4. Heal your relationship with food
We all know what it feels like when we eat too much or feel guilty after eating something we deem "unhealthy" - these feelings aren’t conducive towards forming healthier habits around food! That’s why it's essential for anyone looking for sustainable ways of losing weight that they work on healing their relationship with food first by being mindful about what they put into their bodies and treating themselves with kind words rather than negative ones after indulging in something every once in awhile.
Instead of labeling foods as "good' and "bad", try ranking foods in terms of how nutrient-dense they are, and make it a goal to have MOSTLY nutrient-dense foods at each meal, with space for a few foods that don't have as many nutrients and try to always eat the nutrient-dense foods FIRST. For example, instead of saying "I can't have ice cream because it's "bad", try saying, "I can have ice cream, but first I'm going to have a high-protein meal and then wait 20 minutes and have a scoop of ice cream for dessert". Chances are you may not be craving the ice cream after 20 minutes, and if you still want it, you can enjoy it knowing that it won't spike your blood sugar as much since you had a high-protein meal beforehand.
5. Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting has become increasingly popular among health enthusiasts looking for an easy way to shed pounds quickly while still maintaining good nutrition practices. Intermittent fasting involves alternating periods of eating (or drinking) with periods of abstaining from food for several hours at a time - usually 16 hours per day or more depending on which method is followed. This approach allows the body more time between meals which gives it time to rest and reset its systems for optimal health benefits which include weight loss!
I personally fast for 14 hours. This looks like: I finish eating for the day by 7pm, and then I don't eat breakfast the next day until 9am. This works great for me and many of my clients!
Find a fasting window and a routine that fits for you- there's no "one size fits all" but the evidence shows that intermittent fasting can help not only with weight management, but also with improved mental and physical performance. During your "fasting window", you can still enjoy water, coffee and tea like normal (and it's encouraged to drink lots of water to help with detoxification!).
6. Balancing Your Hormones
Hormones play an incredibly important role in our ability (or inability) to lose weight effectively; imbalances can cause cravings for unhealthy foods as well as issues such as thyroid dysfunction which can make it extra hard for us shed pounds even if we're following all other methods correctly! Some simple steps we can take at home towards balancing hormones include reducing stress levels through things like yoga or meditation; getting adequate sleep; limiting alcohol consumption; avoiding foods high in trans fats; eating plenty of fiber-rich foods like veggies; exercising regularly; taking supplements where necessary; consulting with a doctor, health coach, or nutritionist if needed etc.. All these measures taken together will help ensure maximum hormone balance leading us closer towards our desired results!
If you're a woman wanting to learn more about balancing her hormones, check out some of my other blog posts:
Overall, there are many different approaches one might take when looking into losing weight holistically and sustainably - everyone must find what works best for them based on their individual needs/goals/lifestyles etc.. The important thing is not giving up too soon since lasting results take some time. Be patient with yourself and let's be in it for the long haul!
If you're a women looking for holistic support & accountability to lose weight, balance hormones, improve sleep, energy levels and stress, look no further! Inquire about in-person or virtual health coaching with a certified Integrative Nutrition Coach. Learn more about working with me here.