What You are Missing
Gosh, wouldn’t it be great if weight loss was actually simple? Many of us believe this to be far from the truth, and even associate weight loss interventions with a lack of enjoyment in our lifestyles1! While there are those who start to eat healthy foods and see significant losses on the scale, there are many others of us who eat better, don’t eat out too much, and drink lots of water – but still – the number on the scale remains the same. Even more so, those who cannot maintain the changes they have made to their diet often fall back into the trap of weight re-gain! We fail to see long-term results with weight loss in the months and years to come- and this is very common because very few people know the answers to preventing these problems from ever happening!
In this article (written by a registered dietitian who is a board-certified specialist and weight loss expert) we will dive deep into the items that most other weight loss professionals (and people in general) miss in their research. We will talk about why these topics matter so much when it comes to success with weight loss the long-run, and how YOU can maintain this lifestyle in the many years of your life to come!!
Step 1: Building a Solid Foundation in Nutrition – First things First!
If you don’t have a healthy foundation with food – a solid and consistent way of eating both healthy foods for the majority of the time, and then those “fun foods” in between - you will always be at high risk for weight regain after your weight loss journey is complete! If you do not already have this healthy base in your eating, working with an Inc Dietitian is an INCredible way to help you solve this! At Inc, our dietitians are uniquely trained to help you learn exactly what YOUR body needs to see results both in the short and long term! Many see results with their weight loss simply by establishing this foundation with food and implementing a sustainable physical movement plan. For others, their metabolism may need a little extra “umph” and that is where temporary interventions, like the ones we’re about to talk about, come in!
The Metabolism – and Why Solving Your Inflammation Problem is SO Important for Effective Weight Loss!
What exactly is your metabolism? It can seem like such a complicated thing. To put it simply, you can think of your metabolism as the “engine” of every fat-burning cell in your body! Your engines are super important because they are what burn the gasoline (our food that is turned into fuel). What many people do not know (including many weight loss influencers) is that these fat-burning engines slow down when they go too long without enough gas! Yes, we want to create a calorie deficit to lose weight, but creating too big of a calorie deficit by not feeding ourselves enough “gas” will also slow down the metabolism2 (every single time!)
It is important to also know that the metabolism can also slow down when we have too much inflammation in our body. Inflammation happens when we eat too many processed foods, don’t get enough sleep, are stressed from life, don’t exercise enough, exercise too intensely, don’t drink enough water, and/or don’t consume enough nutrients. When we have to divert our energy to healing ourselves from the damage that the inflammation has done, that energy cannot feed our metabolism, so our body’s ability to lose weight is greatly reduced!
If we have a slow metabolism, we can’t burn fat fast enough to really see the difference before we ultimately grow impatient and “give up”. We have to have a well-running metabolism to see results, and this is why it is so important to replenish our bodies after we deplete them!
Step 2: Depletion (& Replenishment) – The Secret Key to Sustainable Weight Loss that No One is Doing
If you can believe it, it is usually not the depletion part that people have trouble with when it comes to weight loss! Truthfully, most of us already know that we need to be eating more protein and veggies, moving more and drinking more water to lose weight! However, these actions are very potent and effective at doing something to our bodies called depletion. Depletion is the same thing as emptying that gas tank and rolling over to the side of the highway at a stop. That is why, the majority of the time when someone is trying to lose weight and it is not working, it is likely due to the fact that they have depleted their bodies – but not replenished!
Replenishing the body and the metabolism is the one and only thing that every single diet fails to do because diets only do half of the equation – they deplete but don’t ever replenish! People who are good at dieting often will see 5 or 10 pounds in weight loss, but then (because they never replenish) their weight loss plateaus and the number on the scale stays still and refuses to drop.
We get so frustrated with ourselves because we know that we are doing the hard work to lose weight, so we think that the only solution to lose weight is to work harder – bad idea. Our body weight is already stuck in a plateau because it is depleted, and working out harder or cutting our calories more will only lead to more depletion! It is also important to note that while the engine metaphor is useful in understanding our metabolism, here is the thing – our bodies are not cars! We are much more complex than a car! So while cars behave as simply as rolling over to the side of the road when they are out of gas, our bodies do not just stop like this. Our bodies go through a process called “adaptation” when we are depleted, which is a survival mechanism that makes it feel less painful or uncomfortable for us to be depleted. This adaptation sensation can often mask the feeling of us being out of fuel, so we may not even feel like we are depleted in the first place!
Our bodies need the exact opposite for weight loss to work, and that typically never happens because whenever we have a cheat meal, we blame ourselves for “failing” and end up never really replenishing in a way that is strategic. Replenishment is a bit more complicated than just allowing yourself a cheat meal once per week. It involves restoring the metabolism according to how much you have depleted, and in the amount of time that it takes to be optimally restored. One cheat meal may not be enough, and it may not be enough of the right kinds of foods for optimal replenishment. This is where working with an Inc Dietitian comes in! Inc Dietitians are able to calculate (down to the gram) exactly what your body needs to properly replenish and the types of foods that are optimal for your replenishment! Isn’t it time that you outsmarted the weight loss?
Step 3: Maintenance – How Very Flavorful Foods Affect Our Brain
Congratulations! You now know that you need to first, develop a solid foundation with food; next, outsmart the weight loss mechanisms by replenishing strategically; now what?
It has often been said that the most difficult part of weight loss is not the weight loss itself, but in keeping it off! A very important topic that is emerging in the nutrition science these days is regarding something called the “gustatory cortex”. While many of us have heard about the connection between the gut and the brain, there also exists a connection between the tongue and the brain! This “highway” between the taste buds on the tongue and the pleasure center of the brain is called the “gustatory cortex”, also known as the gustatory pathway. This pathway is incredibly important because whenever we taste super flavorful foods, particularly those high in sugar and/or salt, it sends pleasure signals (in the form of dopamine) to our brain to give us the sensation of pleasure. Foods like these include cheese, bread, ice cream, chocolate, caramel, pastries, cheesecake, etc.
What happens on a micro level in our brain when we eat these foods is we are receiving loads and loads of dopamine, our main pleasure-feeling brain chemical, where sensations are experienced4. We feel extreme pleasure when we eat these foods because of the way they affect our brain! And unfortunately, the way dopamine adaptation works in the brain is the same way our metabolism adaptation works. What this means is that when we continuously expose ourselves to these hyper-palatable foods, our brain adapts by lowering the number of receptors in our brain that take in our dopamine5. This is fine for those moments when we are consuming French fries and apple pie, but every other time we may feel anxious, low energy, or maybe even needy for something sweet. Researchers are now suggesting that this is why we may experience food cravings! Because if we are “dependent” on these hyper-palatable foods to experience those levels of pleasure from foods, the other foods that are not loaded with sugar and salt will not give us the same satisfaction from eating them so we don’t eat them as often as we need to!
The good news is that we can actually “untrain” our bodies to depend on these types of food for satisfaction in eating. One of the best ways to “retrain” our brain to start to crave healthy and productive foods is to work with an Inc Dietitian! We very deeply understand how the brain works in these ways and we have many different effective strategies to teach you so that you can crave junk foods less and healthy foods more! You can schedule your first FREE consult with one of our dietitians HERE!
The Role of Exercise in Weight Loss
Last but not least is the role of exercise in weight loss. If you recall, at the beginning of this article we talked about how some people can lose weight simply by eating healthier, and for others, it is not that easy! By far and away, when someone starts eating healthier and doesn’t lose weight, what can often be the missing ingredient is exercise. Exercise is the “foot to the pedal” that revs up our metabolic engine!
A lot of people think that you need to be killing yourself in the gym to see results, but the truth is, exercise is JUST as psychological as nutrition! If you create a never-ending agreement with yourself to show up at the gym and not overwhelm yourself, I would be willing to guarantee that you’re not going to dread it as much. Also, one of the most important things you can do to prepare yourself for long-term success in exercise is work with a professional personal trainer, such as a CSCS or an RD, CPT. These professionals know how to help you work into activity in a way that will not overwhelm your heart and lung systems so that they can adapt in a good way to exercise! Did you know at Inc Nutrition we have an RD, CPT who can help you learn how to exercise!? And actually, this personal training is likely covered under your insurance!! Reach out to us HERE to find out how you can start working with her today!
For those who have an increased risk for diet-related disease, weight loss can be so much more than a better “bikini body”. It is a way to reduce inflammation5, heal the body, improve energy levels and elevate our overall quality of life! We need to first build a solid foundation in healthy eating, then deplete and replenish, and finally – maintain it by strategically being mindful of those overly stimulating ingredients such as sugar and salt! If you have any questions or need any help figuring this out, the dietitians at Inc would be more than happy to help you! And the even better news is that your health insurance likely covers it! To find out mor information you can email me at email@example.com. Thank you for taking the time to read this blog and I wish you nothing but the BEST in your weight loss goals!!!
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Esposito K., et al. Effect of Weight Loss and Lifestyle Changes on Vascular Inflammatory Markers in Obese Women.Journal of the American Medical Association.2003;289(14):1799-1804.