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Holiday Weight Dragging you Down?

Good Morning Practice Members in Calgary, AB!

January marks the start of another new year with resolutions to lose weight,

get in shape and feel better. Going hand-in-hand is a nutrition plan.

I’m sure you’ve all heard that you “can’t out-train a bad diet”

and weight loss is 80% nutrition and 20% exercise.

The tough part with most of the weight loss and fitness programs

out there is that there is very little guidance on what to eat, how much,

when and most importantly, what are the long-term effects on your health.

When asked what they think they need to do to lose weight,

most patients respond that they’ll need to consume less calories than they burn,

cut out the junk food and to eat more fruits and veggies.

Sure, that seems simple enough.

But if weight loss and fitness were easy and people were able to

stick to plans we wouldn’t have a multi-billion dollar industry that grows each year.

What often happens is people go to some nutrition extreme that

ends up wreaking havoc on their system.

They gain the weight back and find it’s even harder

to lose the next time they try to lose it.

Here are three major diet mistakes keeping you from your goals:

1) Not eating enough

It may seem counter-intuitive but one of the most common mistakes

I see is people restricting their calories too much.

They will skip a meal, eat only enough calories that would barely

sustain a school-aged child while embarking on an intense workout program.

Your body is biologically programmed to decrease your metabolism

in times of intense and prolonged calorie restriction.

You may see fat loss in the beginning but you end up hurting

your metabolism in the long run.

Since your body has a baseline caloric requirement for function,

severe calorie restriction actually triggers a primal response

to increase your calories,which promotes hunger.

You will get to a point where the hunger signal is so strong that you binge,

usually on unhealthy foods, and end up getting off track of your fitness goals.

2) Eating inflammatory foods

You may be wondering what inflammation has to do with health and weight loss.

We normally think of it as a response to injury like when you have sprained

your ankle or cut your finger. This short inflammatory response

of our immune system is necessary to prevent bodily harm.

However, it’s when our immune response gets out of balance and

becomes chronic that we develop health issues and gain weight.

Certain foods will promote body inflammation and when chronic,

will lead to insulin resistance, leptin resistance and elevated cortisol levels;

you will negatively affect your body’s satiety centre to stop eating,

produce even more inflammation and promote fat storage.

The most common inflammatory foods are

gluten, dairy, corn, soy, eggs, nightshades

(i.e. peppers, mushrooms, eggplant, tomatoes, and potatoes) and nuts.

Determine whether you are reactive to one or more of the above foods

with either a blood test for IgG antibodies or an elimination diet.

The blood test is not always 100% accurate, so I prefer the elimination diet.

The elimination diet requires you to get rid of the common inflammatory

foods from your diet for four weeks then slowly introduce them one-by-one,

noticing any reactions upon reintroduction.

For example, you may notice joint swelling, bloating, brain fog, diarrhea,

itchiness, mood swings, etc. when introducing one of the eliminated

foods back into your diet.

3) Eating too much fructose

Too much sugar in your diet will surely hinder your weight loss efforts

and negatively affect your health.

What most don’t know is that not all forms of sugar are processed by your body the same way.

Fructose, which we know most commonly to be found in fruit,

is even more prevalent in today’s diet in the forms of high

fructose corn syrup/glucose-fructose (in Canada),

crystalline fructose and agave nectar.

Unlike other sugars, fructose can only be metabolized by your liver,

creating by-products of uric acid and free radicals that increase

inflammation and damage cells.

It puts you at risk for metabolic syndrome (prediabetes),

characterized by insulin resistance, fatty liver disease,

high blood pressure and high triglycerides. Mind you,

if you are currently trying to lose weight you may already be experiencing

these symptoms of metabolic syndrome.

Of your daily recommended 8-10 servings of fruits and vegetables,

we recommend that a majority come from vegetables,

especially if your body is in a state of chronic inflammation.

I hope these tips help you with your New Years Resolutions!

Have a wonderful Sunday!

Dr. Tamara