As a Nutritionist, I’m not a big fan of the mainstream meaning of the word “diet.” It all-too-often implies subjecting your body and mind to a period of short term deprivation in order to reach a goal. Sadly, that goal is sometimes unattainable or even unhealthy such as an unrealistic weight goal or amount of time to lose weight, and many people see it as simply something that must be endured in order to lose weight.
In this article you’ll learn tips and tricks to healthfully lose weight as quickly as possible while also nourishing your body, mind and soul. I encourage you to shift the conventional diet paradigm to one more focused on long-term health, better energy levels, self love and self acceptance. Weight loss is usually a nice cherry on top, so to speak. And if you go about it in the right way, you just might lose that one pound per day.
Why Doesn’t “Dieting” Work?
Before diving in, take a moment to reflect on your personal diet history. Do you have a long history of calorie restriction or yo-yo dieting? What is your relationship like with food and eating? Whether you want to lose one pound a day or one pound a week, it’s essential to approach weight loss with knowledge and a gentle, patient attitude. As this will truly lay the foundation for success.
The standard diet model of calorie restriction rarely works, especially if you are seeking long term weight loss. It might promote short-term success, as any diet that adequately restricts calories will have this effect (simple science).
However, drastically cutting calories, eliminating major food groups, or undergoing a radical detox or cleanse program almost always ensures that the weight will come right back.
Why? This method of weight loss does not work for several reasons. For example, drastic calorie-restriction or detox programs can actually do permanent damage to the metabolism, as they deprive the body of essential nutrients and can result in uncontrollable cravings and increased appetite. What’s more, you lose out on the opportunity to actually change your eating habits in order to achieve sustainable, long term weight loss.
What You Shouldn’t Do To Lose Weight
1. Eat Low-Fat
Plain and simple: eating fat will not make you fat. Gaining popularity in the 1950s and really taking off in the 1980s, Americans became obsessed with the idea a low-fat/no-fat diet model.
However, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, two out of three of all Americans are obese or overweight. Fortunately, the myth of the low-fat diet being the leading cause of obesity and heart disease has been largely debunked in recent years, but many still do cling to it as the diet model of choice when wanting to lose weight.
While processed and rancid fats such as trans-fats (hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils) have been linked to obesity and a host of other problems, good sources of fat can actually help us to lose weight. Sources such as coconut oil, olive oil, raw nuts and seeds, avocados, and flax oil are actually essential to include in any diet. If weight loss is the goal, moderating them to one serving per meal is recommended, which is approximately one tablespoon. You don’t have to go as far as the Ketogenic diet, but you can learn more about it here.
2. Only Think In Terms of Calories
Thermodynamics is the study of the relationship between heat, work, and the internal energy of a system. What this boils down to for weight loss, is that you have to burn more calories than you take in, plain and simple (this is basic science). However, what many people fail to take into account, is that not all calories are created equal.
Scientifically this holds true, as we cannot eat more calories than we burn and expect to lose weight. However, eating certain foods will increase our metabolic rate and our level of satiety (feeling of fullness), therefore promoting further weight loss. Learn how to burn 500 calories here.
Since calories do still matter somewhat, I always recommend investing in a high quality tracker that can help you stay mindful of steps and calories, like the Fitbit Versa Lite.
3. Depend On Will Power Alone
For those of you who have white-knuckled your way through diets, this should come as a relief. The ability to control appetite and resist cravings has little to do with will power alone, and much more to do with healthy hormonal balance and blood sugar regulation. Especially for women (but men too), examining underlying hormonal issues (female sex hormones, thyroid, stress hormones and adrenal health, for example) and being sure your blood sugar is stable can make a world of difference.
8 Ways to Lose One Pound Per Day
1. Eat Enough Protein
Eat adequate amounts of protein. This will depend on each individual, but a good range is 15-20 grams per meal, unless you do a lot of exercise, particularly weight training. Eating enough protein has been shown to boost the metabolism.
2. Avoid Sugar
People who eat a diet high in sugar and simple carbs (white breads, pastas, baked goods, etc) often find that the act of eliminating these foods causes rapid weight loss right away. Studies solidly link sugar to obesity, so this is an important place to start for both immediate and long term weight loss.
3. Stop Snacking
Have you ever noticed that when you go on vacation and eat three square meals a day without snacking, you actually lose weight? Constant snacking throughout the day creates a scenario where insulin levels are never allowed to lower, and this over time can lead to metabolic dysfunction. Not to mention, you’ll lower your calorie intake. Just be sure you are eating enough to feel truly satisfied and meet the body’s nutritional needs during meals.
4. Exercise Just Enough But Not Too Much
Exercise is clearly important for weight loss, but vary the type and intensity. Too much exercise, particularly intense and long-duration cardio, can actually increase cortisol levels and potentially contribute to weight gain.
5. Avoid Inflammatory Foods
Inflammatory foods and foods you are allergic or sensitive to (which in turn create inflammation) can wreak havoc on the best of weight loss plans. Avoid inflammatory foods such as soy, refined carbs and sugar (processed pastries and baked goods, candy, white bread and pasta), along with rancid vegetable oils such as canola, soy, safflower and corn.
6. Lower Your Stress
Chronic stress leads to either an excess or inadequate amount of the stress hormone cortisol, and is closely tied to insulin resistance. Cortisol is a fat storage hormone that frequently contributes to visceral (belly) fat and other health problems. Stress management and what works for you is personal, but some great places to start if you’re unsure are meditation, yoga, deep breathing, walking outdoors and making sure you surround yourself with people who bring out your best.
7. Consider Toxicity
If you think that you might be weight loss resistant (being unable to lose weight despite many efforts), there could be an underlying toxic load issue. We live in a pretty toxic world, and when the body reaches a “tipping point” of sorts, this can contribute to obesity. Do your best to limit toxic exposures to environmental toxins, food toxins and household toxins and find a healthcare provider who offers heavy metal testing and other functional labs to determine if toxicity is an issue.
Nowadays you can even purchase heavy metal hair analysis tests online, and have them interpreted by an integrative medical doctor or Naturopathic Doctor, who tend to specialize in these types of labs.
8. Check Your Omega 3:Omega 6 Ratio
Many Americans are deficient in Omega 3 fatty acids (the kind found in cold water fatty fish like wild salmon), and high in inflammatory Omega 6 fatty acids, such as those found in vegetable oils like canola oil. Omega 3s boost the body’s fat-burning capacity, so shoot for more wild fish in your diet if possible. Or, take a high quality fish oil, fermented cod liver oil or algae oil for plant-based eaters. I love this brand of fermented cod liver oil.
These might seem like unconventional tips to burn a pound a day, but building a healthy metabolism overall really is the key to watching those extra pounds effortlessly melt off. Addressing the whole body from the inside out instead of seeing excess weight as something separate from deeper issues is usually a backwards approach to weight loss.