Nothing gets you to dust off the running shoes and take the first step towards transformation after holiday festivities. If you’re looking to drop a few pounds, try these tips.
1. Prepare your meals
The key to making change is preparing food in advance, so you’re less tempted to grab something from a vending machine or convenience store. Most healthy recipes allow you to swap the source of protein, whether it’s chicken, turkey, tofu, shrimp or lean organic steak. Once cooked, most proteins will remain fresh for three or four days, so cook them twice weekly in larger batches.
How to: Another easy step is to make larger portions all in one day so you have three interchangeable meals for days to come.
Warning: Egg dishes and smoothies would be an exception since they need to be fresh.
2. Keep a food journal
I recommend keeping a food journal as, according to a large 2008 study, they’ve been shown to double a person’s weight loss. Getting and staying balanced requires you to be committed, organized and motivated. A wellness tracker such as this one is a handy weight-loss tool.
3. Reduce your starchy carbs
In advance of your event, I also recommend reducing your intake of starchy carbs. This will reduce insulin, which aids weight loss and water retention.
How to: You may choose to have a low-glycemic carb with a meal once per day, or not at all (and just receive your carbs from non-starchy veggies and fruits). Since insulin also controls sodium uptake in the kidneys and the levels of potassium and magnesium in the body, an excess will cause water retention and swelling.
4. Try a CLA and resveratrol combo
A recent study published in Nutrition found conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) supports weight reduction. Sixty- three subjects with a body mass index (BMI) of 24 to 35 received 1.7 grams of CLA or a placebo of salad oil in 200 ml of sterilized milk twice daily for 12 weeks. The researchers evaluated the subjects for body composition including total body weight, BMI, total fat mass, fat percentage, subcutaneous (below the skin) fat mass and waist-to-hip ratio at the beginning of the study and again after the supplementation period. They found that all markers decreased in the CLA group.
How to: For a great fat burning combo, add 1-2 capsules of resveratrol in the morning on an empty stomach, along with two capsules (1500 mg) of CLA twice daily with a meal.
5. Kick it up with cayenne
Cayenne pepper is said to enhance metabolism, and therefore fat burning, by increasing thermogenesis: the production of heat in the body through calorie burning otherwise known as what makes you sweat when you eat spicy food. It also has appetite suppressing effects. One study showed that when added to the first course of a meal, participants consumed fewer calories later in the day.
How to: Try my Metabolic Master Brew for fat loss
- 1⁄2 to 1 organic lemon, juiced
- 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, sliced
- A pinch (or more) of cayenne pepper
- 8 cups reverse osmosis water
Combine the following ingredients in a large pitcher and enjoy it either hot or cold. It will increase your metabolism, lower insulin, support digestion and improve liver function.
6. Sweat it out
Infrared radiation heats the skin directly, similar to heat from the sun, but without warming the air. The radiant heat is safe, healthy and penetrates more than 1.5 inches into the body. Because the skin is the largest organ in the body, regularly sweating in an infrared sauna can help decrease toxic load and contribute to better health and vitality. A growing body of evidence suggests the accumulation of toxins in the body is responsible for fatigue, disease and weight gain. In a study performed by neurologist Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt, he found that the sweat of people using a conventional sauna was 95-97 percent water while the sweat of those using an infrared thermal system was 80-85 percent water, the non-water portion consisting of toxins including heavy metals. As an added benefit, one infrared sauna session can burn up to 300 calories.
How to: Hit the sauna twice a week for a month before your event for glowing skin, less body fat, reduced cellulite, decreased pain, and better hormonal balance.
7. Add in L-carnitine
L-carnitine is naturally made from amino acids lysine and methionine and is required by the body to release energy from fat and to transfer fatty acids across cell membranes to the mitochondria where it can be used as energy. It’s a great energy booster to take before cardio or strength training. It has also been shown to improve glucose disposal in type 2 diabetic patients. A separate review article published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Science concluded that L-carnitine and acetyl-L-carnitine, are effective in promoting healthy blood sugar and insulin levels. In one study, researchers fed mice a high fat diet in order to increase their weight. One group of mice were given carnitine while a separate group was given a placebo. The mice on carnitine gained less visceral and subcutaneous fat than their chubbier counterparts.
How to: I recommend consuming 500-1500 mg per day separated into 1-2 doses either with or without food.
Originally Published: December 28, 2017
Dr. Natasha Turner, ND, Contributor and Founder & Director of Clear Medicine Wellness Boutique
+ Read Bio
Dr. Natasha Turner, ND is a regular contributor to various publications and television programs as a natural health expert. Shows like The Dr. Oz Show, The Marilyn Denis Show, Canada AM, CP24, CTV News, Breakfast Television, Rogers TV, Shaw TV, and more have used her expertise to educate audiences. Print publications include SELF, ELLE, Glow, Canadian Business, Health, Today’s Parent, Lush The Magazine, Alive, National Post, Metro, Tonic, Vista, Fit Life, Cocoa, Viva, Healthy Living Now, Get Outside, and several websites, including a regular column for Chatelaine.com, Blisstree.com, and Huffingtonpost.ca.
Healthy eating doesn’t have to be hard. It’s just a matter of having the right information, doing a bit of planning, and being open to trying new foods. Here are some easy swaps you can make to get you started.
Greek Yogurt instead of Regular Yogurt
It contains twice the amount of protein. Don’t be tricked into the no-fat versions. Fat is part of what makes our food taste good, and also helps to keep us full. If we take it out, then often more sugar is added to make it taste better, and we end up eating more food because we are still hungry. Look for a brand with no more than 10 grams of sugar in 125 ml. I suggest buying plain yogurt, and then drizzle it with honey or maple syrup to please adult and kids’ sweeter palates.
If you need to be on a dairy-free diet for leaky gut or for anti-inflammatory reasons, try plain dairy-free versions like coconut yogurt or buffalo milk yogurt.
Minced Cauliflower instead of Rice
Rice is great if you trying to eat gluten-free, but not if you are trying to lose weight. Once digested, one cup of rice contains approximately 50 grams of sugar. Compare that to cauliflower that only has 5 grams. Cauliflower is also going to have more fibre, vitamins and minerals overall. If you’re looking for a way to save time, you can pulse a few heads of cauliflower in your food processor all at one time (especially if they are on sale) and then freeze it using freezer bags. Then you can pull out a bag whenever you need it during the week.
Coconut Oil instead of Cream
This was a great new discovery for people who love cream in their coffee. Many patients have reported drinking their coffee black just wasn’t the same. Blend your coffee with 1 teaspoon of coconut oil and a splash of pure vanilla, and then sprinkle it with cinnamon. So tasty, plus coconut oil has lots of health benefits, and there are no artificial flavours or additives.
Carbonated Water instead of Juice or Pop
This is for those of you who complain that water is boring, try a Soda Stream. It is super easy to use (just a few pumps of CO2 into the water), and a new CO2 cartridge only costs about $25 (one cartridge can last a year or more). If you like a bit of flavour, you can add some lemon or lime – either the real thing or an essential oil, or you can infuse a fruit of your choice.
Protein Smoothie instead of a carbohydrate-rich Breakfast or Afternoon Snack
It’s so easy for breakfast and afternoon snacks to be really carbohydrate rich – that means we digest them quickly, spike our blood sugar, and then we crash and want something else to eat. Over the years, I have used various types of protein powders, and there are lots of good ones and not so good ones out there. For the last several years, I have been drinking medical foods like UltraMeal360, UltraInflamX360, and Synerclear (chocolate is my favourite flavour). Medical Foods are protein powders that treat specific medical conditions (eg. leaky gut, inflammation, liver toxicity, or insulin resistance). They are hypoallergenic and also replace your multivitamin.
For patients who prefer to eat, rather than drink their breakfast, I have them switch to having their protein shake in the afternoon. If I am at home, I blend it with leafy greens, some berries and/ or a nut milk (almond milk or coconut milk are my favourites). If I’m at work, I just mix it with water in my shaker cup. Easy peasy – tastes great, fills me up and is super convenient.
So, there you have it, five easy swaps I have found to make healthy eating easier. I’m sure there are many more great ideas out there. I would love for you to share what you have found has worked for you.
Originally Published: December 18, 2017
Dr. Michelle Durkin, BSC(H), ND, Contributor and Bowen Practitioner at Quinte Naturopathic Centre
+ Read Bio
Dr. Michelle Durkin attended the University of Guelph and obtained a Bachelor of Science with honours in Biomedical Science. With this medical background, she went on to study at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto and graduated as a licensed doctor of naturopathic medicine in 2003. Dr. Durkin founded her clinic, the Quinte Naturopathic Centre. As a Naturopathic Doctor she is very committed to providing excellent individualized health care in a warm and professional environment. Michelle is also a professional Bowenwork® practitioner. In addition, Dr. Durkin holds professional memberships with the Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors (OAND), the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors (CAND), and the Association of Perinatal Naturopathic Doctors (APND).