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.