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Gaining Weight During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Gaining Weight During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has affected all of us differently. Many Toronto residents have found themselves spending more time indoors, and stress levels across Canada have been on the rise. The result? Consumers have been exercising less, eating more junk food to cope with the stress, and gaining weight as a result.

Unintentional weight gain can lead to all kinds of physical, mental, and emotional problems, but we have the solutions Canadians need to get back on track. Whether they’re looking for naturopathic advice on healthy eating and exercise habits or information about cellulite reduction and body contouring, consumers can read on to find out how to lose weight and keep it off.

 

What’s the Solution?

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to weight loss. Some people can lose weight through dieting and exercise alone, while others find that even months of dieting won’t get rid of their stubborn belly fat. Don’t get discouraged. We’re here to help.

 

The Problem with Fad Diets

There’s a right way and a wrong way to lose weight, and fad diets almost always fall into the latter category. Instead of encouraging healthy lifestyle changes, they often insist that consumers can simply cut out undesirable foods, or even entire food groups, then start shedding pounds like crazy.

While some fad diets can help some people lose weight in the short-term, they rarely produce long-term results. Plus, they can cause serious health problems, such as:

  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
  • Dehydration
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Headaches
  • Weakness and fatigue

Fad diets claim to provide a universal solution to the problem of how to lose weight, but they rarely deliver on their promises. They’re just not worth the risk.

 

A Better Solution

Instead of following dangerous and ineffective fad diets, more Torontonians than ever are choosing to lose weight the healthy way. They’re visiting naturopaths.

 

What Are Naturopaths and How Can They Help with Weight Loss?

Naturopaths are medical professionals who combine different treatment modalities to help patients maintain optimal wellness. In the context of weight loss, these treatment modalities can include botanical medicine, acupuncture, homeopathy, lifestyle counseling, nutritional counseling, and others.

They take a holistic approach to weight loss by helping patients address whole-body issues and make lifestyle changes that will produce optimal long-term effects, not just in terms of weight loss, but also in terms of overall health and wellness.

 

Factors that Affect Weight

Helping patients who have been gaining weight during the coronavirus pandemic requires more than just recommending healthy eating habits. Every body is different, so naturopaths start by evaluating the underlying causes of their patients’ weight problems. These can include:

  • Poor genetics
  • Mobility restrictions
  • Chronic diseases
  • Slow metabolism
  • Food sensitivities
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Stress
  • Poor sleep
  • And other medical or lifestyle factors

Determining the underlying problem behind weight gain is the first step toward coming up with a comprehensive personalized treatment plan, so expect to spend two hours with our naturopathic weight loss counselor before receiving any recommendations. We may also request lab testing for analysis to rule out problems like hormone imbalances, thyroid issues, and other underlying medical conditions.

 

The Basics of Eating Healthy

Learning how to choose healthy foods is harder than many people think. Most of the supposed diet foods sold in supermarkets aren’t as good for consumers as their packaging makes them sound, and healthy eating requires more than just counting calories.

 

Go For Whole Foods

Following a whole-food diet is the best way to lose weight without depriving the body of the nutrients it needs. Whole foods are fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, and meats that don’t contain added sugars, starches, flavorings, or manufactured ingredients. Think of them as the opposite of processed foods.

 

What to Eat

Instead of focusing on calories, check the ingredients lists on food packaging to see what it contains. Foods like fresh fruits and vegetables and dried nuts, seeds, and beans usually undergo minimal processing and may not even have ingredients lists. They’re usually safe.

When it comes to meat and dairy, try to look for minimally processed options. That means choosing meat, poultry, and seafood that hasn’t been treated with antibiotics and doesn’t come pre-marinated. Milk is only minimally processed via pasteurization, as are regular cheeses and yogurts. It’s perfectly fine to include them in moderation in a healthy diet.

 

What to Avoid

There are a few telltale signs that a food product doesn’t fit the bill when it comes to health and nutrition. Heavily processed foods typically include extra ingredients designed to improve shelf-life, change their taste, or alter their appearance. Products that fall into this category include:

  • Jarred pasta sauces
  • Snack foods like potato chips and cookies
  • Deli meats
  • Frozen dinners
  • Candy and other manufactured sweets
  • Baked goods
  • Soda
  • Almost anything found in a convenience store

When evaluating options at the store, check the ingredients list. Look for refined carbohydrates, processed grains, and added sugars.

Tracking down added sugars can be a challenge. There are over 30 words that manufacturers use instead of sugar on their ingredients lists, but as a general rule, any product that has no added sugars is a safe bet.

The best way to follow a whole-food diet is to cook at home using unprocessed ingredients. It takes more time, but consumers will know exactly what they’re eating and won’t have to worry as much about deceptive marketing.

 

Starting a New Exercise Routine

Want an excuse to get outside for some fresh air after being cooped up for months? There are plenty of forms of healthy exercise that consumers can do on their own either outdoors or in their own homes.

Given that experts across the globe have come to a relative consensus on the fact that COVID-19 spreads primarily indoors, there’s no harm in donning a mask and heading out for a run, a bike ride, or even a swim provided there’s a safe place to take one. Just make sure to balance cardiovascular workouts with strength training, and always make sure to stretch.

 

Cardiovascular Workouts

Cardiovascular exercise is any form of physical activity that gets the heart pumping and increases blood flow throughout the body. Those who are just getting started with a new weight loss routine should begin with easy workouts that include walking, light jogging, bike riding, or swimming. There’s plenty of time to work up to running marathons, so take it slow at first.

 

Strength Training

Strength training involves targeting specific muscle groups to improve strength and endurance. It’s not just for bodybuilders, so don’t fall prey to that misconception. Strength training can also help consumers interested in excising the extra pounds they’ve put on during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Everyone should be performing basic strength training exercises like squats, push-ups, planks, and weight lifting. Those who want to take their workouts to the next level without risking a trip to the gym can even make homemade dumbbells using gallon milk jugs.

 

Dealing with Stubborn Fat

Sometimes, eating healthy and getting plenty of exercise just isn’t enough. Thankfully, modern medical science has provided plenty of safe, non-invasive methods for removing stubborn fat.

Weight loss acupuncture is a good option for those who prefer homeopathic therapies. Combining it with more modern approaches like body contouring, cellulite reduction, and laser treatments can provide optimal results when it comes to excising those extra pounds.

 

The Bottom Line

There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all weight loss program. The best way to lose weight is to visit a weight loss clinic that specializes in integrative care and personalized treatment plans.

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5 Foods to Toss if You Want to Keep the Weight OFF

5 Foods to Toss if You Want to Keep the Weight OFF

Everyone knows to eat more vegetables, lean meats, and healthy fats when trying to lose weight. But which foods should you avoid? After you’ve lost weight, can you reintroduce those bad foods? Having an occasional treat is fine, but any more than that and you could start putting weight back on. Avoid the following five foods if you want to keep the weight you’ve lost off for good.

  1. Frozen TV Dinners

Foods that don’t require any processing are perfectly healthy to freeze and eat, like fruits and vegetables. Other foods, especially those that have been processed, can’t be frozen without preservatives. Frozen TV dinners are guilty of using salt and other additives to keep the ingredients fresh while frozen. The extra salt in these meals causes you to bloat from water weight.

Instead, opt for homemade meals or takeout from restaurants that focus on serving whole foods.

  1. White Pasta Noodles

To produce white noodles, cereal, and bread, the grains must be heavily processed. This process removes most of the nutrients from the food, namely fibre. We need fibre to slow down the digestion process so that we feel fuller longer. When white pasta digests, it causes the body to release insulin which then stores the calories from the pasta as fat.

To continue losing or maintaining your weight, opt for whole grain pasta, cereal, and bread.

  1. Sugary Drinks

Excess sugar from any source, even fruit, is bad for the body. Sugar addiction has become an epidemic in Canada. Some of the main culprits of this epidemic are sugary sodas and juices. In fact, Health Canada has officially removed fruit juice from its food guide. This is due to the intense and substantiated link between sugary drinks and obesity.

Instead, drink water sweetened with whole fruits.

  1. French Fries

The body depends on unsaturated fats to support cell structures, maintain cognitive function, and promote heart health. The fat you ingest from French fries is not the healthy kind. This kind of fat, trans fat, has zero health benefits. It’s known to increase LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream and increase your risk of type 2 diabetes. Trans fat can lead to obesity and weight gain, so avoid it.

You can maintain your weight by eating healthy fats like omega-3s and 6s from salmon, nuts, and safflower oil.

  1. Some Alcohol

No one’s saying you have to cut out alcohol altogether. However, it’s important to understand how that margarita could contribute to your weight gain. When you enjoy a drink or two, you aren’t aware of how many grams of sugar you’re consuming. It’s too easy to exceed the limit and lose motivation to stay healthy. Even worse, when there’s alcohol in your body the liver puts all its energy into removing it. In this intense toxin-removal phase, it doesn’t burn fat.

Imbibe on special occasions with a low sugar drink but avoid drinking more than one.

If you’re excited about your weight loss, don’t throw it all away for some fries and sangria. Keep up your motivation and stay on a healthy path. Avoid the five foods listed above because they can halt the momentum you’ve worked so hard for. Keep those extra pounds off by eating non-processed, whole foods.

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Reading Food Labels 101

Reading Food Labels 101

Reading Food Labels 101: Becoming An Informed Consumer

Grocery shopping can get confusing if you’re trying to shop healthy.  These days you see marketing for gluten-free, dairy-free, organic, all natural and the list goes on. Most people are often mislead by marketing and end up purchasing products they think are good for them but actually aren’t.

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Organic Vs. Conventional Food

Organic Vs. Conventional Food

Organic Vs. Conventional Food: Does it Really Make a Difference

This is one of the most common questions I receive from patients: is buying organic really worth it? The truth is, this can be really confusing for consumers.  Some products should be organic while others don’t have to be.

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Supplement Of The Month

Supplement Of The Month

Supplement Of The Month: Vitamin D

The days have gotten shorter, cold and grey and you may have noticed a drop in your energy or a change in your mood.  The main cause for these changes is the result of changes in sunlight exposure.  Shorter days means less time in the sun and cooler temperatures make it less than ideal to spend time outdoors.   This results in a reduced exposure to Vitamin D, a fat soluble vitamin which can significantly affect your overall health and wellbeing.

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