By Dr. Carine Bonnist
- You’ve got to move it, move it! Have you been doing the same work out routine for the past 10 years? If so, it’s time to shake it up a bit! High intensity interval training or HIIT has been under the spotlight lately due to its small time requirement and big impact on health. HIIT workouts involve repeated bursts of high intensity effort followed by less intense periods of recovery and have been shown to improve abdominal fat and body weight while maintaining muscle mass. Additional benefits include improvement of cholesterol levels, blood pressure, cardiovascular health, and insulin sensitivity. So, if it takes less time and burns more body fat, why not give it a try?
- Eat MORE! The first thing I hear patients say about plans to loose weight involves how little they are going to eat and how many foods they are going to cut out of their diets. In my personal and professional experience, deprivation always backfires. That’s not to say there aren’t some types of foods (simple carbohydrates, fried foods, and sugary treats) that shouldn’t be on your “eat rarely or not at all” list, but I find it’s more effective to ADD in more of the good stuff such as nutrient dense vegetables and fruits, lean meats, wild fish, and good fats (avocado, nuts and seeds, coconut). By incorporating more healthy, whole foods, there is less room for the weight-contributing stuff. You will feel satiated and hopefully won’t have the urge to binge on empty calories.
- You have a sluggish thyroid. Most people I talk to have never heard of a thyroid and don’t realize that their thyroid gland produces hormones that play a crucial role in regulating metabolism. When a thyroid gland isn’t performing as well as it should, it’s called hypothyroidism, which slows down metabolism and can lead to weight gain. Low thyroid hormone can also contribute to constipation, depression, dry skin, thinning hair, brittle nails, and fatigue.
- Wacky hormones. In addition to low thyroid hormone, weight gain (or inability to loose weight) can stem from high insulin, high estrogen, low testosterone, low DHEA, and high cortisol. All of these hormonal imbalances have a tendency to contribute to belly fat in various ways. Depending on the hormone, imbalances can stem from things such as poor dietary choices, age, stress, and physical inactivity. Ask your naturopathic physician about testing for hormonal imbalances!
- Your digestive system is in distress! Digestive complaints such as bloating, gas, heartburn, diarrhea, and/or constipation, can cause fatigue, depression, hormonal imbalances, nutrient deficiencies, and, you guessed it, weight gain! When essential nutrients aren’t being absorbed, metabolism may be affected, leading to excess fat. Additionally, when your body isn’t eliminating wastes and toxins properly, you may feel bloated and puffy. The good news is, there are many ways to improve digestive health, which will point you in the right direction on your quest for weight loss.