Losing weight is hard. Really hard.
While we 100% believe your best chance of losing weight is through diet, not everybody wants to put in a lot of effort to do so. We compiled a few things that can help out. Our favourite is number 3, it’s usually the lynch pin if you’ve hit a wall with your weight loss.
There is a small but growing body of research that suggests that a slower, more thoughtful way of eating can help weight problems. It may help you not want the processed food and unhealthy choices.
Typically the mindfulness techniques are more used for stress, high blood pressure, and different gastrointestinal difficulties.
Eating with a mindful approach includes being present with your food which is noticing the colours, smells, flavours, and textures of the food. Chewing slowly, getting rid of distractions (phone, tv), and even learning to cope with guilt and anxiety about food.
It’s suppose to work on the mind-gut connection, which is incredibly important.
Digestion involves a complex series of hormonal signals between the gut and your nervous system. It takes approximately about 20 minutes to feel full once you’ve started eating. If you’re like most people to eat quickly, the fullness signal may show up after you crushed your food.
If you’re eating stressed, either physically or emotionally, it may slow down digestion which can results in gas, bloating, and an uncomfortable feeling in the abdomen. If you’re not digesting well you’re missing out on the full nutritional value of the food.
A beginners mindful eating approach:
- Pick at least 1 meal a day or if that’s too stressful, choose 1 day in the week to practice it (maybe the weekend when you’re less busy).
- Set a timer to eat your meal; 20-30 minutes. Now move your phone out of reach
- Use your non-dominant hand. It will slow you down but has been shown to help control
- Try chop sticks (might be hard with a burger but I believe in you)
- If it’s sunny, eat outside and enjoy the sun on your face
- Take small bites and chew well. Technically it should be pretty liquid before if goes to your stomach
- Before grabbing food, think to yourself if you’re actually hungry. Are you dehydrate, eating because you’re bored, or under stress? You can always do something else and see if you’re still hungry, like a walk
Being more mindful not only in your approach to food but in life can make it more enjoyable
Drink water in the morning
Water, It’s important.
We all know it’s great for us but it can help boost metabolism.
You’re not going to lose 10 pounds over night but there’s a vast benefits of having water, weight loss included.
There was a study (while small but still relevant) should that drinking 500 ml of water increased metabolic rate by 30%. The increase occurred within 10 min and reached a maximum after 30-40 minutes.
Another study of overweight women examined the effects of increasing water intake to over 1L a day.
Over a 12-month period, it resulted in an extra 2.2kg or just under 5lb of weight loss.
“ Water consumption might spark the body to produce more heat, boosting metabolism and burning more calories. Or, drinking more water might simply make people less likely to drink a lot of high-calorie sugar-filled beverages “ – Barry Popkin, Director of the Interdisciplinary Obesity Program at the University of North Carolina states
Drink water early and often. While there are a couple other studies that don’t show this effect, it’s still been produced and the benefits of water are vast. Feel free to add a lemon but don’t think that’ll detox you… there are a couple benefits but detox isn’t one of them. Personally I find it helps get the system “moving” if you know what I mean.
Why do we need sleep? Recovery and hormones.
Well there’s lots of other reasons but those are the big take-aways for weight loss.
The quality of your sleep has a huge impact on your weight loss journey.
Sleep deprivation is directly related to an inability to lose weight.
A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal tested different subjects that were put on the same exercise and diet program. They had a group that was sleep deprived (Less than 6 hours a night) and a group that got 8+ hours of sleep. They found that the group that was sleep deprived consistently lost less weight and body fat than the group who sleep 8+ hours!
There’s even research that 1 night of poor sleep quality can make you as insulin resistant as a type 2 diabetic.
Poor sleep quality messes with your hormones.
Specifically, leptin and ghrenlin. These are two important players when it comes to hunger.
Leptin is more of your satiety hormone, it tells you when you’re full. Ghrenlin is the hunger hormone. Studies show that you have a reduced about of the leptin and an increased amount of ghrelin when you’re sleep deprived.
So basically speaking, you have less control to know when you’re hungry and more of a desire to eat (plus longer hours to eat if you’re not sleeping). That’s an uphill battle I wouldn’t want to fight.
It’s not necessarily the amount of hours of sleep but the sleep quality. Make sleep a priority, it’s when you rest and recover.
Final Take away
The idea that you need to count calories in order to lose weight, should be put to rest. While calories are still important they aren’t as important as your hormones.
Your hormones determine what your body does with the calories you consume.
What are a couple things you can do?
- Optimize insulin function. This is done by reducing and controlling the amount of sugar you consume. Replace sugar with healthy fats wherever possible.
- Leverage the power of leptin. Leptin is a satiety hormone that lets your body know it’s consumed enough. This is improved by eating mineral-rich food, such as vegetables.
Some plate tips:
- 1/2 of your plate should come from non-starchy veggies like Brussel sprouts, kale, spinach, broccoli, and box choy for a few examples.
- Of the 1/2 plate remaining, make 1/3 of that your healthy fats such as avocados, olives, nuts/seeds, or almond butter
- The last portion should make up your quality protein, organic chicken, turkey, ground beef, or fish
If you structure your plate like this, you’re bound to win!
The body doesn’t want to lose weight when we eat less, it wants to hold on to it.
Instead, it burns muscle tissue, which worsens the underlying cause of obesity. Only as a last resort, if the body has no other options, it’ll burn a bit of fat as well.
Why does the body hang on to body fat and burn muscle?
To answer this, let’s look at it another way.
What does our metabolism want more of when it thinks we are starving? Stored energy.
What is a great source of stored energy? Body fat.
So when our metabolism thinks you’re are starving, does it want to get rid of or hold on to body fat? It wants to hold on.
Next, what does our metabolism want less of when we are starving? It wants less tissue (which burns a lot of calories).
What type of tissue burns a lot of calories? Muscle tissue. So when our metabolism thinks we are starving, it gets rid of calorie-hungry muscle tissue.
We’ve seen reports of any where between 25-70% of the weight lost while eating less comes from burning muscle—not body fat!
Starving ourselves leads to more body fat, not less, over the long term
As soon as we stop starving ourselves, we have all the calories we used to have but need less of them, thanks to all that missing muscle and our slowed-down metabolism. Now our metabolism sees eating a normal amount as overeating and creates new body fat.
In the Journal of the American Medical Association, researcher G.L. Thorpe tells us that eating less does not make us lose weight, “…by selective reduction of adipose deposits [body fat], but by wasting of all body tissues…therefore, any success obtained must be maintained by chronic under-nourishment.” It is not practical or healthy to keep ourselves “chronically under-nourished,” so we don’t. Instead, we yo-yo diet. And that is why eating less is not an effective long-term fat loss approach.
If you’re tired of weight fluctuations, diets that don’t work, or counting calories… We can help!
Friedman JM, Halaas JL. Leptin and the regulation of body weight in mammals. Nature. 1998 Oct 22;395(6704):763-70. Review. PubMed PMID: 9796811.
Michael Boschmann, Jochen Steiniger, Uta Hille, Jens Tank, Frauke Adams, Arya M. Sharma, Susanne Klaus, Friedrich C. Luft, Jens Jordan; Water-Induced Thermogenesis, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Volume 88, Issue 12, 1 December 2003, Pages 6015–6019,
Stookey, J. D., Constant, F. , Popkin, B. M. and Gardner, C. D. (2008), Drinking Water Is Associated With Weight Loss in Overweight Dieting Women Independent of Diet and Activity. Obesity, 16: 2481-2488. doi:10.1038/oby.2008.409
Mesarwi, O., Polak, J., Jun, J., & Polotsky, V. Y. (2013). Sleep disorders and the development of insulin resistance and obesity. Endocrinology and metabolism clinics of North America, 42(3), 617-34.
Taheri, S., Lin, L., Austin, D., Young, T., & Mignot, E. (2004). Short sleep duration is associated with reduced leptin, elevated ghrelin, and increased body mass index. PLoS medicine, 1(3), e62.