Embarking on a weight loss journey, whether it be your first, or fifth time (let’s be real) – can be both overwhelming and even discouraging, especially if you feel as if you are not getting the results you deserve.
To make matters worse, there are a lot of not-so-good strategies floating around on the Internet, which can harm weight loss efforts. It’s difficult to know what you should trust or what really works, so as a Holistic Nutritionist I decided to personally investigate some of the top ‘weight loss tricks’ out there and provide my verdict on whether you should try it out or not.
Here are 10 Tried & Tested Popular Weight Loss Tricks:
Trick #1 – Measure Your Weight Daily
How much you value yourself should not be determined by a number on a scale. There is no wrong way to have a body. Your weight can fluctuate between between 2-5 pounds throughout the day, and healthy weight loss can never be achieved in one to two days – after all, healthy weight loss is a process, so why do we feel inclined to jump on the scale numerous times a day?
Being a scale hawk is an obsessive tendency and these negative thought patterns that come up when you see an increase of 0.2 pounds or 5 pounds bring on the feels. Be a supportive friend to yourself. This isn’t just an ‘opinion’, when it comes to healthy weight loss – studies actually show that when we put emphasis in the process of losing weight rather than being fixated with the number of the scale, we can actually have better luck in reaching our goals.
Verdict: #BadAdvice – retire the scale. Cliche quote, but; ‘it will not show you your true value’.
Trick #2 – Eat Lots of Mini Meals Throughout the Day
I might hear some backlash with this one. The theory of eating smaller and more frequent meals throughout the day is a popular recommendation for weight loss. Said to ‘supercharge’ the metabolism. Studies are important, and the research actually shows that eating five to six meals a day is actually no better than having a solid three, in fact – eating more frequently has actually been shown to increase hunger and the desire to eat.
Verdict: This might work for some, but i’m happy with less meal prep and less time thinking about when I need to have my next meal.
Trick #3 – Cooking from Scratch
Food choices are without doubt key for reaching and maintaining a healthy weight. No only does cooking from scratch give us control over which ingredients we use, but the time and energy it takes to prepare a meal actually transforms us from a consumer to a producer. You tend to eat more mindfully as you appreciate the effort that went into the entire cooking process. When you prepare meals from scratch, you get to decide how much you need to eat. On the other hand, fast food, take-away, restaurant dishes and even those ‘healthier’ ready-to-eat meals have a one size fits all approach.
Verdict: Bottom line is – if you really want to escape the dieting world and truly better your health, start buying and cooking more of your own food.
Trick #4 – Do A Juice Cleanse
I’m all for giving digestion a ‘reset’ through the means of juicing organic vegetables, herbs and low-glycemic fruits. But a juice cleanse is not a sustainable weight loss plan. Sorry to bear bad news, but any weight you drop on a juice cleanse will probably reappear as soon as you’re back to eating regular meals. Juicing is a wonderful method for streamlining your body with raw nutrients and enzymes to support natural detoxification and better health, but the benefits of juicing far exceed the temporary weight loss side-effect and they should not be idolized for it.
Verdict: Adding a green juice to your routine has many benefits, but sustainable weightloss comes with a lifestyle change, not a 1-week all liquid cleanse. You have to uncover how to lose weight WHILE eating to get long-term results.
Trick #5 – Snap A Picture
If you had to send a picture of your meals to a nutritionist every day, you would likely be dedicated to making the healthiest and most visually appealing plate, ever! I love this one – start a photo meal diary, it might sound silly – but you are going to think more carefully about you’re about to eat because it’s going to be on camera. This tip helps you generate more awareness as to what you are actually fuelling yourself with.
Verdict: If you’re embarrassed to have photo-proof of that extra large birthday cake slice, maybe decrease that portion size and be proud of that ‘sanity’ treat, or turn it down completely (you’re sweet enough). Create your healthy balance.
Trick #6 – Take Weight Loss Supplements
You will never be able to out-supplement an inadequate; diet, exercise routine or mindset. Unfortunately taking magic pills every single day is most likely equivalent to flushing your money down the drain. I am not bashing supplements, at all – there are many that support healthy weight loss and optimal health in general. But you can’t just pop a handful of chlorella tabs and call it a detox. These boosters are designed to supplement an already healthy diet and lifestyle, not replace the need for one. It takes work for real results, sorry – but trust me – it feels so good when you do it right!
Verdict: Avoid the weight loss supplement section in the health food store. You’re going to find the results in your kitchen. If hormonal imbalances, high stress levels or certain health conditions are preventing you from losing weight – it’s best to work closely with a qualified practitioner who can make the appropriate supplement recommendations.
Trick #7 – Eat Less Calories
This depends on your starting point – are you overeating by a large amount? Then yes, paying attention to your calories will be helpful at first. However, beyond a certain point there are diminishing benefits.
When fewer calories are going in than going out, over time the body may begin to believe that food is scarce. While this can result in short-term weight loss, this can also add stress to your system and influence your body to hold onto fat stores as a form of protection. If you aren’t providing yourself with enough food then the body begins working to save energy by reducing body temperature, which in return can slow down your metabolism!
This may also weaken digestion, slow your pulse and thyroid function. This is a survival response – your body doesn’t realize that you’re trying to lose weight, your body just knows that it is not getting in enough energy to optimally function and it begins to shut down to save energy.
Verdict: Merely counting calories without focusing on the quality of food does not necessarily improve our health, even if it helps us lose weight. When you eat the right quality and balance of foods, your body can do the rest on its own. You don’t have to count calories or go by the numbers to get results.
Trick #8 – Listen to Your Cravings
Don’t listen to your ‘cravings’ by binging on a bag of caramel corn. Realize that your cravings may be looking to tell you something different:
Fat cravings: are you getting in enough healthy fats in your diet like butter, coconut oil, ghee and avocado. Healthy fats are your friend – and they don’t make you fat!
Salt cravings: Your body wants chloride. Include unrefined salt or seaweed products in your diet. Salt cravings are also linked with adrenal fatigue. When you’re living in stress mode, you naturally lose more sodium, and naturally your body will crave salt to compensate for that loss.
Sugar cravings: Glucose is your primary source of energy and is needed to fuel cellular energy production. When you have adrenal fatigue, your intake is too high or your intake is not sufficient – hello cravings! Start by making healthy substitutions and replace the sweet processed treats with low-glycemic fruits, root veggies, natural sweeteners and nutritionist approved sweet recipes.
Chocolate cravings: Cravings for chocolate can be linked to a need for magnesium. Magnesium is lost rapidly under our stress response, and it’s very common to have cravings for magnesium-rich foods. Try switching to dark chocolate made with raw cacao and include other magnesium rich foods.
Verdict: Learn to identify your food cravings, they might be telling you something entirely different than what you have interpreted.
Trick #9 – Do a Sugar Detox
The right kinds of (natural) sugar can be very nourishing for your health. This isn’t a green light for a spoonful of Nutella. Our cell’s most important job is to create energy to help meet the demands put on your body every day! Your liver stores sugar in the form of glycogen, and unless you are following a ketogenic diet, using fats for fuel – we NEED a steady flow of ‘sugar’ i.e. glucose, to keep glycogen stores topped off. Without a healthy storage of glycogen, your liver can’t convert thyroid hormone T4 (inactive) to T3 (active form) – which FUELS your metabolism.
Verdict: A blanket statement such as “all sugar is bad for you” is just as ignorant as saying “all fat is bad for you.” Know your sweet substitutions and don’t be afraid of a yam!
Trick #10 – A Balanced Mindset
When you live and operate in a fear-based mindset of hate, obsession, manipulation, anxiety, stress and anger, you are constantly feeding your body negativity. This negativity will often manifest into negative behaviors that work against your body; influencing you to make poor food choices, decide on food deprivation and restriction and ignore what you know your body truly needs.
Plus, if you are constantly feeding yourself a stream of negative self-talk, your body changes, literally. When you have stressful thoughts, your breath changes, your stress hormones fire, and your body releases more cortisol. All this can push your body further away from your health goals.
Verdict: Imagine for a second that all of the thoughts you have about yourself are visible to the people and world around you. Would you change the way you think? Would you realize that you are actually very mean to yourself? If your thoughts about yourself are something you wouldn’t say to a friend, it’s probably not doing you any favours to think it. Be kind to yourself.