I would like to drop 10 pounds in a healthy manner this New Year! Can you please give me some suggestions?
Thank you for your question … and what a great time to start with a fresh plan. When I think about weight change or improving body composition, I think of 4 main pillars. Considering these pillars helps me decide where to focus the work. Most often the solution requires a multifactorial. approach.
The first pillar is focused on calories in and calories out. It is suggested that a calorie deficit of about 500 calories each day produces weight loss of about a pound a week. A calorie deficit means that your calories burned are greater than the calories consumed.
The second pillar is to assess where the calories are coming from –protein, carbohydrate or fat. Each nutrient category fuels different aspects of health. It is important to have a healthy balance of nutrients. In many cases, people are getting enough carbohydrates in their nutrition but need to bolster their protein intake and improve nutrient quality.
The third pillar speaks to the nutrient quality and/or nutrient density. More and more, I believe this third pillar is paramount. The better quality the nutrition is then the more vitamins and minerals it delivers to the body. All the reactions that are occurring to, for example, create energy, move, and eliminate waste, require vitamins and minerals to activate. The richer the vitamin and mineral supply the more efficient your body works.
The fourth pillar is about your individual health. It is important to assess where health is at and look to improve underlying conditions. For instance, if a person is deficient in iron or has hormone imbalances then it can be challenging to adjust their body composition.
Here are 5 recommendations to help you address the 4 pillars:
- Reduce or eliminate beverages that contain calories (and don’t replace these with drinks with artificial sweeteners). Making a change here will reduce your overall daily calories and typically lead to a decrease in sugar consumption. The more moderate your sugar intake is, the better your blood sugar balance will be which, is good for health and reduces the likelihood of your body storing sugar as fat.
- To aid in balancing your blood sugar while supporting your metabolism, check your protein status. Aim to have protein throughout the day with each meal and snack. Turn to lean proteins like beans, lentils, fish, egg white, turkey and chicken. When you are eating animal-sourced protein, make them antibiotic and hormone-free.
- Assess your activity level and determine whether you can reasonably increase it. Consider working with a trainer who can develop a plan to help you build your metabolism and strengthen your fitness. Many times people focus on exercising for long periods of time at a low intensity to “burn fat.” It is more effective to focus on quality time, pushing the exercise intensity up and safely challenging the body to adapt, strengthen muscle and transform. Increase your activity level by 1-2 activity sessions per week.
- Make sure you have at least two serving of green (and colourful) vegetables each day - and take your vegetables beyond lettuce. Many times people feel they have met their veggie needs by eating a salad that is heavy on lettuce and weak on other vegetables. ‘Bulk up’ your salad by adding shaved cabbage, broccoli florets, green beans, sweet peppers and/or sprouts. Vegetables deliver vitamins and minerals and support a greater diversity of microbes to nourish gut health.
- Consider having some screening lab work to look for optimal wellness. It is common for people to experience health drift –in that their good health is drifting off a baseline of optimal. Often, people don’t notice the drift and/or chalk up the symptoms to family history or ‘that’s just me.’ Lab work can be looked at through a lens of optimizing well-being and not just ruling out sickness. When we can strengthen the base we encourage a stronger metabolism
I hope these suggestions help you tip the scale in favour of your goals.
“Health from the inside out.”
Dr. Kimberly McQueen BSc, ND is a Naturopathic Physician in Victoria, BC. In addition to her clinic work she has been a consultant to the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence, Camosun College, Rugby Canada and Rowing Canada. P:778.433.4935 and www.kimmcqueen.com . Kim McQueen is one of the Co-founders of Rumble, the nourishing Supershake.