As a personal trainer, past fitness competitor and holistic nutritionist, I know a few things about how to get the body to lose fat (in a healthy way) and keep it off.
In the past, like many people, I used to think that weight loss was all about calories in and calories out...Though nowadays that method of approaching weight loss is about as relevant as the Blackberry (sorry RIM!).
What I focus on teaching my clients has more to do with gut health, detoxification, improved immunity and stress management when it comes to losing weight and keeping it off.
This approach is what yields healthy, long-lasting and positive change.
Yes, exercising and eating a healthy and balanced diet is always a part of a healthy weight loss program but you already knew that!
Here are 3 Tips To Help Speed Up Fat Loss that you may have not tried or heard of yet.
1. Improve Your Gut Health
Improving your gut health may look different person to person. The more I've gotten to know about gut health the more I've learned how incredibly complex it is. Common symptoms that indicate that there may be work to do in your digestive system are:
When the gut isn't functioning properly foods are often malabsorbed which can lead to health issues such as leaky gut, food intolerances, skin irritations and may even mount an immune response (think fatigue, foggy brain, skin irritation, joint pain, painful gut symptoms etc).
When the gut isn't functioning well the liver is burdened with even more work as it has to 'pick up the slack' from the under-functioning gut. The liver has over 560 daily functions to perform and when it's bogged down those functions become more and more difficult to complete. Including clearing toxins and metabolizing fat cells.
When it comes to weight loss, a healthy gut and liver are key...more on liver health and weight loss below.
What You Can Do About It.
It's important that you work with a practitioner that specializes in gut health if you're looking to get to the root of the issue and have long-lasting change. The days of simply going gluten-free and taking a probiotic to address gut heath issues is long gone...the gut is incredibly complex and its needs range from addressing infections, dysbiosis, stress, structural contributors and poor methylation.
Don't let that scare you though...with the right analysis, diagnosis and treatment plan you can come out on top in no time.
2. Improve Your Stress Response
Did you know that our nervous susyems have evolved over millennia to operate about 95% of our day in our parasympathetic (rest and digest) state and only 5% in our sympathetic state (fight, flight or freeze)? Though nowadays we spend about the opposite; 95% of our day in fight or flight and 5% in rest and digest.
This means that back in the day, before roughly around the time of the industrial revolution, we would spend most of our days lounging with our tribe, picking berries and vegetables and strolling through our forrest and villages (rest and digest) and only once in a while we would be threatened with danger whether it be from an animal, other person or dangerous weather (fight or flight).
Our bodies aren't designed or equipped to deal with all that we deal with these days. Huge lists, pressure from work, pressure at home, social media, financial issues, traffic, a lack of a strong support network etc. can leave us feeling afraid, stressed and yes, in fight or flight.
What does stress have to do with weight gain? Everything.
When you're stressed your body goes through a series of chemical processes that prepares you to fight, or run. Glucose is secreted into the blood via your liver and your gut stops functioning in order to preserve valuable energy (it takes a lot of energy to break down food and move it through the digestive system). Your heart rate will increase, pupils dilate and all of this is happening without you even knowing it.
So what happens when you have all of this glucose in the blood, ready to 'fight' but no fight actually happens? You're probably sitting at your desk, laying in your bed or driving your car and not using up that glucose (sugar) in the blood which leads to ... you guessed it. Fat gain.
This process happens over and over and can lead to a host of health issues, not just weight gain. Insulin resistance, diabetes and IBS are just a few of the common health issues I see arise in those who are dealing with chronic stress.
What you can do about it.
There are literally endless ways that you can learn to improve your response to stress. Some of my personal favourite ways are:
3. Detox Your Liver
The liver has over 560 functions to perform everyday. It's a massive organ in our body and the only one that if it were to have part of it removed it grows back. Pretty magical, eh?
It decides where toxins, sugar, fat, etc. will go. It cleanses our blood, hormones and hormones byproducts and produces bile which is necessary to break down fats, fat soluble vitamins and remove fat soluble toxins from the body.
When the liver is sluggish due to overexposure of chemicals, chronic stress, anger and/or structural issues such as tight ducts and surrounding fascia, we begin to see problems arise.
In terms of fat gain and retention, when the liver isn't processing chemicals and toxins efficiently it will store those toxins in fat cells and keep them there until its capability of detoxing improves again - no matter the amount of clean eating and exercise you're engaging in, if your liver isn't working well those fat cells aren't budging.
What you can do about it.
Get that liver detox on! Some of my favourite ways to support liver detox are:
I have conversations regularly with women who are still looking solely at nutrition and exercise to address their stubborn and chronic weight gain when there's SO much more happening than that ... We need to become advocates for our own health and begin to learn and practise the latest strategies for weight loss.
Isn't it time to stop running on that hamster wheel and finally adopt new behaviours and patterns that actually yield change? It may not look like what you thought it would look like but that doesn't mean it won't work for you.
Consider how cleaning up your gut, improving your response to stress and supporting liver detoxification may help you to see some serious positive change in your body composition this year.
In good health + happiness,
Cassandra Hope RHN + CPT
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