The term weight loss contains many components, and each one of us may consider some components more effective than others. There are also different factors that affect weight loss, like our emotions, our physical (including chronic conditions) condition, our habits, culture, the type of food we consume, and our level of physical activity.
As women, we mostly talk about losing weight, but what happens when we meet our weight target? Can we maintain our new weight? Are there certain things we need to consider to maintain our weight?
5 Things to Think about If You Are Serious About Weight Loss
When considering a weight loss approach we often think about a short-term solution where we lose some extra pounds for a specific event (i.e. a wedding, family event, vacation, etc.) or a long-term lifestyle change where we lose weight while transforming our habits to support our health and, as a result, maintain a new weight and lifestyle.
In this article I will focus on the long-term weight loss approach, looking at 5 main areas consider to lose weight and create a healthier lifestyle. Once we pay attention to these areas, we are very likely to create the harmonious conditions necessary to a healthier mind-body relationship for ourselves as women.
- Health and body
- Holistic Approaches to weight loss
A holistic view of a healthy lifestyle for women includes the support of our bodies and their physiological processes. That is, how can we optimize our physical health while on the path to weight loss?
Addressing specific areas and issues that might arise can, under certain circumstances, accelerate weight loss and help you maintain your new weight when reached.
For example, a quality night’s sleep can help you make better choices (food and otherwise) and keep you focused while helping your appetite reform. Adequate rest improves metabolic function by balancing insulin and glucose levels.
Supplements can promote better health and prime the body to lose excess weight.
What vitamins help with weight loss? Although there are claims that vitamins like B12, Vitamin D, Omega-3, Calcium and green tea can help with weight loss, there is little evidence to support these claims.
What about probiotics? Do probiotics help with weight loss? Studies have found that people with a normal weight have different gut bacteria than the bacteria found in overweight people. Researchers found that Lactobacillus gasseri “provides a mechanism for the probiotic-mediated suppression of lipid absorption and promotion of fecal fat excretion in humans (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25884980/). However, not all probiotic bacteria work the same way, and
Other factors like chronic conditions can affect your weight. What about individuals who suffer from chronic pain? Do they really eat their pain away? Results from a study show that the experience of acute physical pain can increase the consumption of sweet-tasting food (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5115833/). Is this because sweet-tasting foods have been found to have an analgesic effect?
Where chronic pain can cause weight gain, diabetes can cause a sudden weight loss due to insufficient insulin, which influences other physical processes that lead to fat and muscle burning for energy.
Intermittent Fasting (IF) has become quite popular. A review of 40 studies of Intermittent Fasting reveals that IF is effective for weight loss (https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-weight/diet-reviews/intermittent-fasting/#:~:text=A%20systematic%20review%20of%2040,11%20pounds%20over%2010%20weeks.). Those who follow Intermittent Fasting avoid food for a certain number of hours and have a daily window in which to consume food. One of the popular Intermittent Fasting methods is where individuals avoid food for 16 hours and eat during an eight-hour window.
One of the first things that come to mind when we think of weight loss is physical activity. Not only can we burn extra calories with extra physical activity, but activity also improves many physical processes as well as brain function. However, adding physical activity to one’s lifestyle doesn’t necessarily equal losing weight. Physical activity combined with reducing the number of calories you eat, on the other hand, will most likely result in weight loss.
Some factors to consider when choosing a specific type of physical activity might include budget, location, weather, accessibility, physical restrictions, skills and personal preferences.
Running is one of the most popular physical activities, and there is ample evidence that running can support weight loss (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4067491/).
Not only does a runner burn a lot of calories while running, they also continue burning calories long after they’ve completed the run. Running is free of charge, highly accessible, affordable (all you need is a decent pair of shoes) and can be realistically completed at almost any time of the day and any season of the year.
However, you still need to pay attention to your diet and food consumption. It is easy to actually gain weight with running as your body will need food for energy. In a 5K run, you will burn about 300 calories which you can gain back by eating one brownie. Running is good for weight loss for other reasons: it improves your overall health. It builds strong bones, strengthens muscles, improves heart health, can alleviate depression, reduces stress, improves sleep, and raises self-image.
Walking is another popular physical activity. By adding only 30 minutes a day of brisk walking you can burn an extra of 150 calories. Walking is good for weight loss when you consume less calories than you spend. Much like running, it is free of charge, easy to do and is accessible to even more people.
Walking also promotes better health by strengthening bones, boosting muscle power and endurance. Walking also lowers the risk of Diabetes type 2, Osteoporosis and some types of cancer.
Certain types of yoga help with weight loss. While not all types can be considered aerobic, some active, intense yoga, like Ashtanga, Power, or Vinyasa, help burn more calories, but its contribution to weight loss depends on frequency, consistency and intensity.
However, yoga not only helps with burning calories, it also supports individuals’ behavioural changes by allowing people to feel more connected to their body, which leads to enhanced self-awareness regarding satiety and feeling the discomfort of overeating (https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1559827613492097).
What exercise is good for weight loss? I think a better question to ask is what exercise you enjoy doing so you feel motivated to keep doing it. When you find an exercise you like, you are more likely to persist.
Another option is to combine different types of exercise. Not only will you lose weight, you will also use different groups of muscles, and improve your overall health. When you start exercising, it is often better to find a friend and exercise together – it will keep you accountable and motivated.
If your calorie intake is lower than your calories burned, you have a calorie deficit, meaning, you should lose weight. But is this always the case? How many times have you heard of a person (friend, family member, etc.) who maintains a low-calorie diet but who can’t lose weight? Not all calories are equal. Some aren’t good, and our goal is to eat less of them, while others are healthier and the goal is to increase their consumption.
How many times have you heard the saying, “it’s not about the food” when it comes to losing weight?
Can certain foods help promote weight loss? If so, what foods are good for weight loss? There are definitely types of food that can promote weight loss. They are typically nutrient-dense and can help with your feeling of fullness, affecting your hunger, metabolic systems, hormones and calorie burning.
Foods That Help You Lose Weight
- leafy greens,
- healthy oils and
- fats (like coconut oil, fats containing omega-3 i.e. salmon, and more),
- specific fruits (like grapefruit) and even
- chilli peppers
can all promote weight loss when consumed wisely.
There should definitely be careful consideration of the food you consume, both type and quantity, when you want to lose weight.
Under the “food umbrella” another aspect to look into is hydration. How does water help with weight loss?
Not all beverages are equal. While we want to limit sugary beverages, we want to increase our water intake to about 2 litres a day.
Water is used in every part of our body – in cells, tissues, and organs – and we depend on water to survive. Water carries nutrients and oxygen to the cells, helps dissolves minerals and nutrients, and makes them accessible to the body, lubricates joints, helps regulate temperature, helps to flush out waste from the kidneys and liver, and so on.
When it comes to weight loss, water plays an essential role. Besides the fact that water is calorie-free, it can help suppress appetite when consumed prior to meals.
Hydration improves our digestive system and muscle function. Drinking water can also increase calorie burning (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24684853/). When you replace sugary and high-calorie beverages with water, your calorie intake drops dramatically. A study showed that women who replaced high-calorie beverages with water lost more weight than their peers who consumed the same volume of diet beverages (https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/102/6/1305/4555169).
Physical activity is usually part of a weight loss plan. Hydration helps with fatigue and muscle cramps and, therefore, plays a key role in your successful fitness plan.
Emotions play a significant role when it comes to weight loss. Many women on their weight loss journey know that at times eating and weight gain are not about the food, but about their emotions. As women, when we are bored, feel down, drained, anxious, angry, guilty, or ashamed, we can go to the fridge or the pantry and fill the void caused by the elevated emotion with food.
Binge eating, emotional eating, and self-sabotage are familiar to almost every woman who has been on a diet. Emotions can also take us to the other side of the pattern, where we avoid eating. I sometimes ask, can stress cause weight loss or weight gain? Can anxiety cause weight loss or weight gain? The answer is yes, for both weight loss and weight gain.
The goal is to change our relationship with food and develop a deeper sense of self-love.
Very early in our lives, we connect food with emotions. Food can also represent class and social belonging (or even a movement) when we talk about veganism, keto, raw food, etc. Food, on many occasions, represents love and care – sweets when we celebrate, big dinners for celebrating gatherings and holidays, comfort food when we want to feel cozy, treats when we get hurt, and so on.
Women often eat so as not to hurt someone’s feelings. When we are guests at someone’s home or at a party, it can be difficult to find an excuse for why we can’t eat the food offered.
Emotions are tightly tied with food and our eating patterns. When we can separate emotions from eating habits and start listening to what our body really needs, we begin to dramatically change our relationship with food and to take control of our patterns.
#5 Holistic Approaches to Weight Loss
There are different approaches to losing weight. Since each of us is unique in our views, body shape, desires and beliefs, lifestyle and life situation, there can be no “one size fits all” to weight loss. Each woman will resonate with approaches that align with her beliefs.
Where some women will decide to follow a specific diet or fitness regimen, rely on her willpower or medications, others might prefer to look into holistic approaches to weight loss, like naturopathy, Hypnosis, and acupuncture.
And so the following questions arise: does hypnosis work for weight loss? and can acupuncture help with weight loss?
- Acupuncture helps with blood circulation and increases the rate of metabolism. It can also help by stimulating specific points on the body to reduce craving, suppress appetite and improve digestive function.
- Acupuncture can also help reduce stress so you can think more clearly and make better life choices.
With the help of acupuncture, you can balance your hormones, energy, and the function of organs like the thyroid and kidneys.
- Acupuncture can also help with pain relief.
Acupuncture, like many other practices, isn’t magic. It’s a process. Your fat won’t melt away after only a couple of visits to your acupuncturist. However, there are numerous potential benefits.
Hypnosis for Weight Loss
Hypnosis is a natural state we float in and out of throughout the day. Being in a state of hypnosis makes you more susceptible to change as Hypnosis allows you to tap into your inner mind, where you can activate your own powerful resources – this is what makes Hypnosis so effective. Hypnosis addresses core issues at their root, allowing you to make desirable changes and take charge.
Hypnosis for weight loss is powerful and many Hypnosis weight loss programs offer not only the benefits of losing weight but also improved body image and help to change the relationship you have with food, creating a loving space for you to treat yourself with compassion and kindness.
Moreover, Hypnosis for weight loss can help with stress management, and in creating a mindful state for you to operate from, it can increase your self-awareness so you can understand your triggers and learn how to respond to them. Finding this state will help manage emotional and binge eating, and shift your mind into a loving space where you can look after your body and enjoy food in a healthier way.
A 2014 study on Hypnosis for weight loss (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24837060/) showed that 60 obese women lost weight and improved their eating habits and body image.
In a small study from 2017 (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/imj.3_13463), all the obese women participants lost weight and avoided surgery due to the benefits of the treatment.
These studies, however, are not conclusive.
There are endless ways to lose weight. It is important to keep in mind that every person is unique. Every person has a lifestyle that is designed just for them. When approaching weight loss, it is essential to understand your personal beliefs, triggers and goals. Maintaining your new weight is equally important as losing the weight, and in order to maintain your new weight, you will need to create new habits, possibly change beliefs and design a lifestyle to support them.
Your weight loss journey starts in your mind, when you feel that you want to change the way things are, when your current patterns and habits aren’t serving you anymore.
Then consider which approach you’d like to take to lose weight. Many women integrate different approaches to suit their ideas of what needs to happen in order for them to lose weight.
It is good to keep a couple things in mind:
- Weight loss is not merely about how much weight you lose, but how you feel about yourself.
- One way or another, it is likely that you can lose weight – though it is important to consider how you will maintain your new weight so it is doable and fits your lifestyle.
Self-acceptance and self-compassion are necessary elements on your journey, both for weight loss and for maintaining your new weight.
Master these 2 emotions, and everything else will be easier to achieve.
Miri supports weight loss clients online and in her office in Vancouver, BC. Her approach to weight loss is holistic and takes many aspects of health into consideration.
Miri’s clients are not only successful in losing weight, they also enjoy improved overall well-being and new and healthy habits for life. These new habits help people successfully maintain their new weight.
For more information contact Miri Malkin @ Miri Malkin Hypnosis For Top Performance or click below to find out more about the weight loss programs Miri offers.