So you’ve gone Paleo. You’re buying grass-fed and pastured everything. You’ve ditched low-fat dieting once and for all. You’ve embraced butter and coconut oil. You’ve quit sugar entirely. You make your own kombucha. And you’re making bone broths like an Amish grandmother. But…
The weight is not coming off.
Or if it is, it’s painfully slow and it makes you feel like giving up.
While most people lose weight easily on some version of a low carb/real food/Paleo-esque approach, the fact remains, not everyone does. This post is for those of you who fall into that frustrating category.
A quick example.
A few years ago I taught a weight loss program here in western Massachusetts. I’ll never forget “Tina.” She was a young woman and a seemingly ideal candidate to do well on the program. But after 12 weeks she’d only lost a few pounds. We were both disappointed. However, over those 12 weeks we identified some significant hormonal imbalances. Tina confided in me that her menstrual cycle was never regular and that she suffered with terrible menstrual cramps for many years.
She stuck with it and committed to cooking and preparing real food over the long term and had faith in the process.
A year later she’d lost 45 pounds and her cycles returned to normal.
And that will kick off my first smart weight loss tip….
I know that’s probably not what you want to hear. You want to lose weight FAST and better yet, NOW.
Certainly lots of diets promise quick results. You can count calories, eat a super bland low-fat diet, exercise obsessively or do some fad diet with a bunch of heavily processed shakes and packaged meals.
And they can work over the short-term. But they’re really hard to maintain over the long-term and you can set yourself up for some serious nutritional deficiencies and food cravings. Most people crash and burn on these approaches and eventually put whatever weight they’ve lost back on.
When I meet with clients who want to lose weight I tell them straight up that I’m not really interested in helping them lose weight. I’m interested in getting their body healthy. Weight loss is just a byproduct of that! As a result, some people lose it quickly, others not so much.
There are multiple factors unique to each person that dictate how fast or slow they’ll lose weight – age, gender and lifestyle, gut health, hormone balance, metabolism, stress levels and even things like cooking skills matter too.
Bottom line, be patient! Real food works on a deep level to heal the body. It often takes a few weeks or even a few months to start seeing results. If you’ve committed to some version of a real food diet, the weight will come off over time. It may not be as fast as you want, but you’ll get there, just like Tina did.
Of course, sometimes identifying an underlying imbalance and addressing it early on in the process can help facilitate things.
And that leads me to tip #2, which in my opinion, is the most common underlying imbalance that stalls weight loss.
“All diseases begin in the gut,” said Hippocrates some 2000 years ago.
The majority of clients who come to see me for weight loss also have some gut issues as well. It could be chronic heartburn, bloating, excess gas or constipation. They never realize that the two are closely linked!
For example, if your stomach isn’t breaking down your food properly, you can’t extract all the necessary nutrients. So many people I see who need to lose weight are also taking acid-blockers like Prilosec, Nexium and Zantac. Long-term use of acid blockers, which artificially lower your stomach acid, are known to cause mineral deficiencies (and thus bone loss) and a deficiency in vitamin B12.
Think about it. If you lower the acid in your stomach, you’re lowering your body’s natural digestive fire. You need stomach acid to digest your food! Nature puts it there for a reason. And sluggish digestion can really hinder weight loss.
But you don’t have to take acid blockers to have poor digestive fire. Years of poor diet and lifestyle can do it too. If you have chronic bloating, heartburn, bad breath, a loss of taste for meat, if you feel like skipping breakfast or if you’re stomach is upset by taking vitamins, those are signs that your stomach isn’t producing sufficient acid to digest your food. This can cause a whole host of other connected digestive problems.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Weaknesses in the gallbladder and pancreas, leaky gut in the small intestine and bacterial imbalances in the large intestines can all contribute to poor digestion and an inability to lose weight.
How do you correct these issues? The next three tips will help.
There’s a common expression, “one man’s meat is another man’s poison.” We call it “bio-individuality” in nutrition circles. What nourishes one person may actually make another person sick. A good example is dairy. Some people do great with it. Others can’t tolerate it at all.
The thing about food sensitivities is that most people are not aware of them. They’re not the same as food allergies. Food allergies are a reaction to a protein in a food and they’re often immediate and obvious, like say, a peanut or shellfish allergy.
But food sensitivities are a reaction to a non-protein in a food. A good example would be lactose in dairy. Or it could to a food additive like MSG or a food dye (another good reason to commit to #1!). Or they could be caused by gut imbalances (another good reason to commit to #2!).
What complicates identifying a food sensitivity is that they’re often NOT immediate and obvious. But under the surface they can continually agitate and inflame the gut wall and set the stage for “leaky gut” and chronic inflammatory immune reactions. But the symptoms are often not always gut-related. Migraines, joint pain and brain fog are other common symptoms, which complicates identifying a food sensitivity.
The most common food sensitivities are gluten, dairy, corn, soy and eggs though you can be sensitive to any food.
The best way to find out is to eliminate a suspected food from your diet for at least two weeks. Many people are surprised how quickly the weight comes off when they remove gluten or dairy, for example. Those two are by far the most common. If you’re not sure where to start, start with gluten. A doctor I met many years ago said, “if you do nothing for your patients other than have them eliminate gluten, 50% will come back and thank you.”
Chronic stress depletes nutrients from our body. It sets up digestive imbalances. It overworks your adrenal glands and sets up hormonal imbalances. And it creates overpowering cravings for sugar and junk food. All of these things can contribute to weight gain.
Of course, a nourishing, traditional food diet can be so helpful with this. Gut-healing bone broths, healthy fats, fermented foods and good quality proteins (the building blocks of our neurotransmitters), are essential.
But food isn’t everything here. Many people report that their gut symptoms fade once they finish with grad school. Or finalize their divorce. Or finish caring for an elderly parent.
But we don’t have to wait for a stressful life experience to end. More than likely, another one will come along. Learning to deal with stressful situations proactively instead of reactively is probably the most valuable skill I’ve learned in my own life.
I’m no expert at it but meditation has been incredibly valuable for me. For others it’s yoga or tai chi or qigong or biofeedback. Artistic endeavors like music, painting or dance work in similar ways. The widespread acceptance and practice of mind-body therapies today is both encouraging and vitally important in our chronically stressed out society.
I can’t tell you exactly what will work for you but I’m a big believer in intuition and synchronicity. Pay attention to signs that may lead you to a specific person or teaching in your community. Maybe you’ve always wondered about that yoga class in town but have been scared to walk in and join. Or maybe it’s those painting classes that you keep saying you don’t have the time for.
Whatever it is, find a daily mind-body practice that works for you and commit to it. It could be the key that unlocks the door to losing weight with ease.
Let’s face it. Sometimes we need help with these things. As obvious as tips #1-#4 may seem, they’re not that easy to do on our own. Eating real food takes some planning, some cooking and perhaps some education. Fixing your gut can take time. Identifying a food sensitivity takes a little trial and error. And learning to de-stress? Well, that can take A LOT of practice and patience.
Having someone guide you can be so very helpful.
And that’s why I’m super excited to tell you about a weight loss program that actually helps you get at the roots of these issues.
It’s literally called Get at the Roots, and it’s not like any other weight loss program out there.
I know, because I used to teach it myself! For many years I used this program in my practice. And I loved teaching it. You can see some “before and after” photos right here.
Now I don’t teach the program anymore. It was a ton of work to set up in-person classes and after a few years I burnt out on the marketing. As a result, I wanted to make it available online where I could reach more people. But I wasn’t able to do it at that time. Eventually I moved on to creating my own online products.
However, the good news is that a friend and fellow Nutritional Therapist, Carla Hernandez, of Wise Roots Nutrition, has just made the program available online!
And I am thrilled and happy to finally be able to recommend it to anyone with a computer and internet access! If you’re reading this, that’s you. 😆
I look at Get at the Roots as kind of like the anti-weight loss weight loss program. There’s no fake packaged diet food. There’s no counting calories or doing anything that will starve the body.
It’s all about getting the body healthy.
The program is taught through 12 step-by-step video and audio modules that help you identify and correct underlying imbalances that can make weight loss so difficult. Each module includes lots of supporting handouts, supplement recommendations and real food recipes.
Module 1 sets you up for success from the start and is rooted in a traditional foods and a Paleo-esque approach.
Modules 2, 3 and 4 are all about correcting digestive imbalances. You’ll learn why and how things like heartburn, bloating, yeast overgrowth, IBS and constipation manifest and how to correct them.
You’ll learn how to identify a food sensitivity.
Additional modules will help you’ll learn how to address the underlying imbalances that hinder your weight loss goals such as….
Because Get at the Roots is not a one-size-fits-all program, Carla will help you personalize it. This happens not just in the material itself, but with Carla herself. She’s offering 1:1 support for anyone who signs up.
And that is HUGE.
So many online programs don’t give you the opportunity to ask questions and get further guidance specific to your needs.
But Carla does.
I couldn’t recommend a better weight loss program than Get at the Roots. Carla is a great teacher and will really help you learn to identify and correct your underlying causes of weight gain. Once you do, the weight will start to come off. Maybe slowly. But maybe not! But it will come off and when it does, it will STAY off.
Additional benefits may manifest as well. Clearer skin. Less joint pain. Better digestion!
All these things come as a result of losing weight in a healthy, sustainable way. So why wait any longer?
Craig Fear is the creator of Fearless Eating and the author of three books, The 30-Day Heartburn Solution, Fearless Broths and Soups and The Thai Soup Secret. After years helping clients with digestive issues, Craig decided to pursue writing full-time. He intends to write many more books on broths and soups from around the world! Click here to learn more about Craig.