Thinking About Losing Weight?

You don’t want to obsess about your weight. But you do want your clothes to fit nicely.  You want to feel good and you want to live your life freely and fully.  So where do you start? 

Diet first.

Start with one meal each day with no flour and no sugar. Work up to two clean meals per day and stay with that for a while. Loosen up on the third meal of the day but keep it reasonable. You can find satisfying alternatives to the bread, pizza, pasta, crackers and processed foods.

To never have a slice of pizza or a hunk of chocolate cake again for the rest of your life is foolishness. But you do need to break the cycle of carb craving, and it will take time and effort. Support from the people around you is essential. Having a salad with protein while everyone else is having spaghetti carbonara is brutal.

Read labels and try to avoid foods with more than 5gm of sugar per serving or ones with wheat in the list of ingredients.

Cow’s milk dairy was shown to be pro-inflammatory for 50% of Americans, so that is something else to monitor.

Next, physical activity.

It may sound odd, but the most important thing is probably to not sit for a prolonged period of time. One study showed that after 20 minutes of sitting, the metabolism starts to slow down. Another study showed that by simply standing up for just over a minute every half hour, the metabolism is maintained at a steady rate. A third study showed that the negative effects of sitting most of the day on a person’s weight was not offset by an hour of vigorous exercise in the evening.

Wow. 

Most of us figure if we sit all day at a desk job and then hit it hard at the gym after work we are making progress. We would be maintaining our cardiovascular fitness, but this would be a net negative for weight management.

Another important aspect of exercise from a weight loss perspective is high intensity interval training. Research is clear that short bursts of all-out exercise are more beneficial for weight and metabolism than a slow grind. Optimal may be something like “tabatas” where you go all out running, biking, swimming, etc. for 20 seconds, then rest 10 seconds, then repeat for as many intervals as you can do.

Research suggests that a high intensity interval training workout for even 10 minutes can raise the metabolic rate for up to 36 hours after the exercise.

A note of caution, don’t go all out to the point that you ride your bike off a cliff or blow out your knee. That would be counterproductive.

Resistance training is also key because muscle burns more calories than fat all day long.

These are the places to start for weight loss and maintenance. This is the foundation and may be enough for most of you. 

If this is not effective, you may need testing (most often through IgG levels) to identify hidden food sensitivities that contribute to weight loss struggles. These tests can be ordered through various labs around the country including Alletess, Genova, Great Plains Labs and Doctor’s Data.

There are many other contributors to weight that go beyond these strategies. Thyroid dysfunction, leptin resistance, ghrelin effects, interactions within our microbiome and others will be covered in future blogs.

Andrew Lenhardt MD

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