Weight Loss

Ditch the Self Doubt

Self-doubt and negative thinking can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. At times, we can be incredibly hard on ourselves, despite any evidence that our standards are realistic or even healthy long-term. With practice, you can learn to dispute negative self-talk in order to achieve more positive outcomes.

Avoid Negative Self-Talk

Positive self-talk is key. Learn to speak to yourself as you would a friend. Don’t call yourself fat or any other ugly, cruel words. Negative self-talk is self-defeating. If you don’t love yourself, you’ll never be able to take care of yourself. Think about it – we care for the people we love and ignore those that we don’t.

Identify Potential Barriers

In order to make meaningful changes that are both healthful and sustainable, we have to be ready to make the desired change. For example, individuals seeking weight loss would want to identify any potential barriers to successful weight management as well as potential solutions to overcome these barriers.

Identify Triggers

Emotional Triggers
  • Example: Use food to cope with emotions.
  • Goal: Learn to deal with emotions without food.
  • Plan: Rather than turning to food to cope with life, consider an alternative behavior such as walking outdoors, listening to music, stretching, cleaning up the house, or reading your favorite book.
External Triggers
  • Example: Loss of Family Member
  • Habit: Use food to deal with stressful life events.
  • Goal: Deal with stressful life events without food.
  • Plan: Rather than turning to food to cope with life, consider an alternative behavior such as walking outdoors, listening to music, stretching, cleaning up the house, or reading your favorite book.
Environmental Triggers

Work Environment

  • Habit: Eat junk food brought to work by co-workers.
  • Goal: Eat less junk at work.
  • Plan: Pack fresh fruit or DIY trail mix to snack on instead and/or challenge coworkers to bring in healthier snacks Monday through Thursday and limit junk food to Friday only.

Conditioned Behaviors or Habit

  • Example: Eating due to an external association (e.g., watching TV in favorite chair).
  • Goal: Stop snacking every night while sitting in my favorite chair watching TV out of habit.
  • Plan: Break the routine and reprogram your mind to associate food with the dinner table, only.
Physical Triggers
  • Example: Illness/Injury
  • Habit: When I’m sick, I tend to skip meals; which, may ultimately serve to undermine my health and prolong my illness.
  • Goal: Don’t let an illness sabotage my micronutrient status.
  • Plan: At a minimum, I will make smoothies using fresh fruits and vegetables during times of illness to ensure optimal micronutrient intake.

Example: PMS/PMDD

  • Habit: Crave chocolate before my cycle.
  • Goal: Identify alternative behaviors and/or therapies for dealing with hormone-related cravings.
  • Plan: Consider increasing stress-reducing activities the week before menstruation (e.g., exercise, stretching, meditation, yoga, relaxing bath) and consider supplementation with 300 mg elemental magnesium and L-tryptophan (an amino acid).
Emotional Eating

Eating in the absence of hunger – or disinhibited eating – a phenomenon defined as the lack of self-restraint over food consumption prompted by emotional, physical, or external factors, can sabotage health and weight management efforts long-term (source). Youth with emotional eating are thought to have a predisposition toward a high level of emotional sensitivity and tendency to experience emotions intensely, for a long duration (source).

  • Goal: Eat when I’m hungry, not when I’m bored.
  • Plan: Rather than eating out of boredom, consider an alternative behavior such as walking outdoors, listening to music, stretching, cleaning up the house, or reading your favorite book.
Self Monitoring

Utilize self-monitoring tools
Tracking your goals, milestones, and achievements is critical to long-term success!

Don’t Quit

You won’t lose 20 pounds overnight, but you’ll get there if you don’t quit. Losing 1 pound per week would still result in a weight loss of 50 pounds per year!

Weight Loss vs Fat Loss

It is important to understand that weight loss is not synonymous with fat loss. In general, changes in body weight may represent a change in lean muscle mass, body fat, and/or hydration. For this reason, using a scale to assess changes in body composition can be very frustrating and misleading; which, ultimately undermines long-term weight loss success. Remember, the scale only measures body weight – it does not evaluate changes in body composition (e.g. body fat, muscle mass, or hydration status).

If you want to use a scale to monitor changes in weight, that’s fine; however, I would encourage you to utilize other measures of health as well. For example, how your clothing fits, your energy level, improvements in strength and fitness, confidence, and so forth. I gained 15 pounds via strength training – big deal.

General Tips

Eat Real, Whole Foods

Eat minimally processed foods, while avoiding ultra-processed foods and beverages. You can learn more about eating clean, here.

Value Quality Over Quantity

Just because you can buy a $0.49 hamburger doesn’t mean you should.

Eat More Meals, Less Snacks

Snacking excessively throughout the day (e.g., between every meal) likely promotes weight gain and/or metabolic syndrome (here and here). Try to fast between meals and read up on the benefits of Intermittent Fasting.

Eat More Meals.. At Home

Eating out inevitably leads to a higher intake of sugar, fat, and salt.

Avoid Ultra-Processed Sweeteners

Researchers believe sugar substitutes may be linked to weight gain and metabolic dysfunction.

Eat More Raw Plants

Raw fruits and vegetables are naturally low in calories, high in fiber, and a powerful source of bioactive compounds.

Eat Less Meat

Eat less meat and dairy, especially red meat. Plant-based diets are associated with lower body weight and less risk of obesity, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.

Limit Exposure to Endocrine Disruptors

Researchers believe endocrine disruptors (e.g., BPA, mercury, fluoride, pesticides, parabens, phthalates, and triclosan) may be at least partially responsible for the rise in obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Walk Your Way Slim

Move your body. At a minimum, aim to walk for at least 30-45 minutes each day. Get Fit!

Take a Stand for Your Health

Sitting for prolonged periods of time has been associated with an increased risk of cancer, anxiety, and obesity (independent of walking or training time).

Don’t Cave to Cravings

We don’t have to respond to every food craving we experience. Some food cravings may actually be a sign of an underlying issue. For example, craving salty food – especially at night – may be a sign of dehydration (source).

Stay Hydrated

Hydration with pure water is essential to optimal health and wellness, including weight management. In fact, dehydration has been linked to obesity and heart disease. Beverages high in sugar and alcohol offer very little nutritionally and promote weight gain. For example, craving salty food – especially at night – may be a sign of dehydration (source).

  • Drinking 500 mL pure water before meals may promote weight loss.
  • Filter tap water with reverse osmosis and carbon filtration to remove potentially harmful water contaminants (e.g., endocrine disruptors and fluoride).
Get the Skinny on Your Meds

Check to see if any of your over-the-counter or prescription medications are known to promote weight gain. Examples of medications that may be associated with weight gain are reviewed below. Keep in mind, we all respond to medications differently and not all medications found within the different drug classes below causes weight gain. In fact, some are associated with weight loss. For example, the diabetes drug metformin and the drug topiramate (a drug used for seizures and migraines) may actually promote weight loss in some individuals.

Consult with your physician if you are concerned about the side effects of your current OTC and/or prescription medications. Most of the time, your healthcare provider can provide you with a list of alternative medications and/or treatments.

Drugs that may promote weight gain include:

  • Drugs for type 2 diabetes (e.g., insulin, thiazolidinediones, and sulfonylureas)
  • Antipsychotics (e.g., haloperidol, clozapine, and lithium)
  • Antidepressants (e.g., amitriptyline, paroxetine, and sertraline)
  • Antihistamines (e.g., diphenhydramine HCl)
  • Drugs for epilepsy (e.g., valproate and carbamazepine)
  • Steroids (e.g., prednisone)
  • Contraceptives (e.g., birth control pills)
  • Blood pressure-reducing medications (e.g., beta-blockers)
Get More Sleep

There is evidence to suggest sleep deprivation increases energy intake and weight gain.

Optimize Micronutrient Status

Micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) are key to long-term health and wellness, including metabolism and weight management. For instance, chromium deficiency has been linked to type 2 diabetes, while inadequate intake of iodine is associated with increased risk of hypothyroidism.

Get More Sun

Sunshine is our primary source of vitamin D and vitamin D deficiency has been repeatedly associated with obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Breath Clean

Indoor air pollution contributes to more than 4.3 million deaths per year and has been linked to lung and heart disease (source). Recent research suggests HEPA indoor air purification systems reduce indoor air pollution and improve cardiopulmonary health (source).

Surround Yourself With People Who Get It

Join a community of like-minded people for ideas, inspiration, and support.

FAQs

What is a healthy weight loss goal?

The evidence suggests significant improvements in health can be achieved by simply losing 5 – 10% of your total body weight. While 10% may not seem like a lot for some people, the real challenge is maintaining weight loss long-term (or “keeping it off.”).

How do I calculate my weight lost percentage?

When evaluating weight loss success, it is important to consider the percentage of total weight lost. Let’s take a look at the example below:

An individual who weighs 300 pounds would be expected to lose more weight – more rapidly – than someone who is 180 pounds. You can calculate weight loss percentage by dividing your current weight, by your initial weight (or starting weight).

A 300 pound individual loses 50 pounds over 12 months:

  • 250/300 = .83% or a total weight loss of 17% (100% – 83% = 17%).

A 180 pound individual loses 50 pounds over 12 months:

  • 130/180 = .72% or a total weight loss of 28% (100% – 72% = 28%).

As you can see from this example, the individual who started out weighing 180 pounds lost more weight (or a greater percentage) than the 300 pound individual, despite an equal amount of weight lost.

My point in sharing this example is not to encourage weight loss competition, but rather, to demonstrate the value in establishing personal and realistic weight loss goals. By the way, I picked these numbers for convenience purposes only. Losing 28% of initial body weight within 1 year is never healthy.

How much is 10% for me?

To calculate how much weight is equivalent to 10%, take your current weight and multiply it by .10% or (0.10); example below:

Current weight: 200 pounds
Calculation: 200 x .10 = 20 pounds.

Like I said, I realize most people can lose 10% of their body weight fairly rapidly, the real challenge is keeping it off.

But, that doesn’t seem like enough..

I understand, but consider this, surgical weight loss patients who lose 10-15% and keep it off for 3 to 5 years are considered a huge success! Remember, the goal is not to lose 10% rapidly via some stupid fad diet. The goal is to lose 5-10% via sustainable lifestyle changes and keep it off. Whatever you do, don’t set yourself up for failure by setting unrealistic goals for yourself. Create SMART goals.

How can I assess my body composition?

Most devices and websites utilize simple predictive equations (e.g., FAO/WHO/UNU, Owen et al, or Huang et al) to estimate daily energy expenditure; which, may – or may not – be accurate. If you are interested in obtaining a reliable estimate, you should consult with an experienced health care provider or fitness professional who offers metabolic testing (e.g. indirect calorimetry) and/or body composition testing (e.g. multi-site skin caliper measurements or dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry or DXA).

Should I consider liposuction?

Liposuction only removes subcutaneous fat and therefore should not be undertaken as a procedure for reducing visceral fat.

Subcutaneous Fat:
Subcutaneous fat is the fat that we store just under our skin. The fat we may be able to feel on our arms and legs is subcutaneous fat.

Visceral Fat:
Visceral fat is the fat stored underneath our organs. Research suggests that excessive accumulation of visceral fat increases risk of metabolic disease (e.g., type 2 diabetes).

Help! I gained 5 pounds overnight after I started strength training!

If it feels as though you gained 5 pounds over night after implementing a strength training program, you’re not alone. In general, this slight increase in weight is related to the acute inflammatory response experienced within the muscles and increased storage of glycogen – not true weight gain. Besides, increasing lean muscle mass will result in a physique that appears more fit and slim.

Learn More

Rebel Lifestyle

To learn more about my lifestyle, visit the page titled Rebel Lifestyle.

Rebel Grub

To view photos of my grub, check out the page titled Rebel Grub.

Meal Planning

To view meal planning information, head over to the page Meal Planning.

Shopping Lists

To view shopping lists, visit the page titled Shopping Lists.

Posters and Charts

To view my posters and charts, hit up the page titled Posters.

Pinterest and Facebook

Don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest and/or Facebook.

Posters and Charts

Except where otherwise noted, content on this site is licensed under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 license. This means you are free to use my work for personal use (e.g., save the file to your computer or share via social media) as long as you do not modify the image or use the image for commercial purposes ($).

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