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
- 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
- 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
- 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 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 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Every function and process in your body requires water. In fact, water makes up 50 percent of your body weight. However, the amount of water you retain after your body’s natural functions heavily depend on your diet.
For many, excess water weight feels like bloating. But, here’s the thing: your body isn’t bloating because of the water. It’s bloating because of the foods you eat.
Yes, losing water weight will make you look thinner. But that doesn’t mean you should drink less. Dehydration is a big problem for the body. When you restrict your water consumption, you will notice a handful of symptoms. You may experience dry skin and eyes. Your thyroid slows down which decreases your metabolism. You could experience headaches, joint pain, mood swings, lack of focus, and bad breath. It’s also possible to notice a decline in muscle mass when you’re dehydrated.
So instead of limiting your H20 intake, focus on changing your diet to lose that pesky water weight.
Certain food groups are notorious for making your body store extra water. If your diet contains a lot of sodium, your cells get notified to absorb the water and swell up. Furthermore, your body will then store sodium when its insulin levels in the blood are higher than normal. What causes insulin levels to rise? Sugar. A diet heavy in salt and sugar will result in excess water weight.
Another culprit for water-based bloating could be your carbohydrate intake. Every gram of carb that your body uses for energy causes an extra 3 grams of water to be stored. Ever notice how bloated and uncomfortable you feel after a carb-dense meal like pasta and garlic bread?
During the weight loss journey, many people notice a significant initial weight loss. This is because we’re most motivated to change our health and fitness at the beginning of the journey. In those first few weeks, you will lose some of the water weight because your diet will ultimately limit your sugar and salt intake. It’s when you start slacking on your healthy eating that the water weight comes back.
So how should you adjust your diet? Focus more on proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates. Antioxidants, fibre, and other nutrients need to make a daily appearance on your plate. Say goodbye to refined sugars found in pastries, cookies, and chocolate bars. The same goes for salty treats; no more potato chips or movie theatre popcorn. Creating a new diet plan is a lot of work, so we took care of that for you. Check out our Ideal Protein Program to get your eating on a healthy path that will last.
Healthy Mind, Healthy Body: The Importance of a Healthy Mindset
Your mindset has immense power over your ability to lose weight. You may have noticed friends, family members, or even people on social media go through drastic lifestyle changes to lose weight. Did you think to yourself, why is it so easy for them and not me? Why can’t I seem to stick to my journey to get fit? Ask any one of those people with successful weight loss, and they’ll tell you that a healthy mindset is one of the superpowers that got them there. Luckily, your mindset isn’t a fixed personality trait. You can develop yours to make losing weight easier.
What Exactly Is a Mindset?
Your mindset is the lens you look through to see the world. It’s the way you interpret goals, dreams, and your own abilities. Your mindset determines how hard you push yourself to lose weight and whether or not you order pizza over a salad. Your mindset needs to be strong, positive, and open if you want to put in the work to get healthy.
Fixed Mindset Vs. Growth Mindset
There are two main types of mindsets: fixed and growth. With a fixed mindset, you believe that some people are just born with the ability to lose weight, but you aren’t. People with a fixed mindset often avoid challenges, resent feedback, and believe “it is what it is.” You can see, this mindset won’t help you lose weight.
The growth mindset is a perspective of positivity, hope, and hard work. These people understand that perseverance and hustle do pay off. Goals are worth having because they motivate you to become better. These individuals tend to embrace the challenge of getting healthy. The growth mindset is optimal for achieving the body you want and losing weight.
How to Build a Growth Mindset for Weight Loss
If you want to achieve your health goals, it’s important you also adopt a growth mindset. Changing your mindset may require a complete re-wiring of how you think and react. However, once the pounds start shedding off, you’ll see how worthwhile it is.
Here are some tips to build your growth mindset:
- Change your language. Switch “I have to go to the gym” to “I get to go to the gym”; this will help you see working out as an opportunity.
- Track your progress. Record your measurements or weight once a week. Keep track of how much stronger you get each week or month. Once you start seeing the progress, you’ll feel motivated to keep going.
The growth mindset will help you see yourself as a powerful and capable human. You can become the healthiest version of yourself and lose weight. You will achieve your health goals because hard work and perseverance pay off.
For more support during your weight loss journey, consider joining our 12-Week Weight Loss Program. With the guidance of weight loss professionals and a growth mindset, you can get healthy and become your best self.
You’ve probably heard of the saying “ Men are from Mars and women are from Venus” but did you ever realize that this is true right down to a cellular level? Yes, reproductively we are different and we have different physical structures but I am talking about a CELLULAR level – even our skin is different!
Women, have you ever wondered why men don’t get cellulite yet women are prone to it? Here is the deal: Fat cells are contained within layers of tissue called collagen. In men, collagen is arranged in a crisscross formation while for women, fat cells are stored in a cube like structure, separated by bands of collagen. When a man gains weight and his fat cells get bigger, the collagen stretches evenly due to its crisscross formation; when a woman gains weight, the collagen bands become thinner and lose elasticity causing the fat cells to push up into the skin, creating irregularities and dimpling.
Don’t get me wrong; you do not have to be overweight to have cellulite. Other causes of cellulite include free radical damage, reduced or inadequate blood circulate and poor lymphatic drainage.
So how can you prevent or reduce the appearance or progression of cellulite? Check out these 5 tips and say goodbye to stubborn cellulite
- Reduce refined sugar, processed food, convenient food and fried food consumption. These foods produce free radical damage, which reduce the integrity of collagen. Incorporate more detox-friendly foods such as vegetables and fruits and organic meat and produce.
- Increase water intake to 2L/day. Water is necessary for optimal cell functioning. Water helps to flush toxins out of the cells that are essential for cellulite prevention and reduction.
- Exercise! One more good reason to find time to hit the gym. Physical activity helps with blood circulation and improves lymphatic drainage. Vibration therapy and rebounding are both quick, easy and effective for enhancing blood and lymphatic circulation.
- Dry skin brushing is a great before-the-shower cellulite reduction strategy that also helps with general detoxification. First thing is first; invest in a brush with natural fiber bristles. Start at your feet and brush upwards, toward the heart. For complete dissolving of cellulite, do this 10 minutes a day for several months.
- Not feeling the dry skin brushing? Consider VelaShape. II VelaShape II is the only FDA approved, non-surgical alternative to liposuction. Comprised of 4 individual mechanisms: Infrared Light (IR), Radiofrequency (RF), Negative Pressure and Mechanical Massage, VelaShape II works remodel the connective tissue and increase firmness in the epidermis, thus contouring the body and reducing cellulite. Blood circulation is enhanced and collagen production is stimulated to restore the skins natural elasticity. Studies have demonstrated an average reduction of more than 2cm with a 60% overall improvement in skin appearance. Furthermore, lymphatic drainage is improved, moving excess fluid outside of the tissue, allowing for long lasting results. Skin appears smoother, tighter and more toned
The bottom line is that there is no stopping cellulite. You CAN reduce its progression by adopting a healthy diet and participating in regular physical activity. For some these changes are not enough and other more manual therapies like the vibration therapy or VelaShape II treatments are necessary. Regardless, small changes make BIG differences. If you suffer from cellulite, consider your options!
Want to learn more? Book your FREE 15-minute consultation with me and learn how I can help you! Call 416-221-1583 and book your appointment
3 Tips to Staying Holiday Healthy
The holidays are here and it’s time for celebrating, including family gatherings, office parties and fun with friends. But be careful – the average person can gain 10lbs between now and January 1st. After all, this is the time of year where most people indulge in festive dinners, alcohol, and holiday treats.
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.
Weight loss can be a daunting journey but we all have to start somewhere. Sometimes it takes a few baby steps before making the full commitment to starting your own or a professional weight loss program.
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.