Today I'm continuing my weight loss series. If you missed the first two posts, you can find them here and here.
1) You’re looking for a quick fix and want to "trick" your body into losing weight
99% of diets are set up to play a little trick on your body and manipulate it into losing weight.
This is usually done by cutting out a macronutrient group (think protein, carbs, fat) or limiting calories. Dieting always sets you up for failure because you can only trick your body in the short-term, and the weight almost always comes back, but often with a few extra pounds. Stop thinking anything good ever happens overnight, because this is a weight loss killer and it sets the stage for tricking your body into achieving counterproductive short-term results.
And a little newsflash: You need to be HEALTHY to lose weight (NOT the other way around).
That’s RIGHT! Weight loss the CORRECT way is achieved by working towards health as a first priority. If you focus on a multifaceted approach to GET healthy, weight loss can be achieved naturally. Weight loss that is sustainable. Long lasting. Healthy. Sanity saving. Successful.
I recently created a masterclass about this specifically so you can target weight imbalances the right way (and the sustainable way).
2) Over-exercising while cutting calories
Too much exercise, especially when your diet is poor or your calories are too low, is a sure way to send your body running for safety by slowing your metabolism.
When you have a chronic energy deficit (fewer calories coming in than going out), over time your body starts thinking that food is scarce. This results in your body holding on to fat as a way to protect itself. To make an analogy, think of your body like a house. If you’re not making enough money to pay your house bills, what do you do? Well, you may turn down the heat in your house, turn off lights when you are not in the room, and perhaps even fire your cleaning lady to compensate. Your body operates in a similar way. When you do not have enough calories coming in, your body saves energy by reducing your body temperature (slowing your metabolism), turning down your digestive juices (making your digestion weaker), reducing your pulse, and slowing your thyroid function (resulting in less energy). These are all built-in survival responses by your body, to help you go longer on less food.
This is the EXACT opposite of what you want to do when you are trying to get healthy to lose weight! If you need to hear more about this, don't miss this interview on Why Your Metabolism Was Fast, But Now It's Slow.
3) A low protein diet
A diet low in protein will s-l-o-w weight loss. WHY? The liver and detoxification processes are PROTEIN DEPENDENT. Not to mention, a healthy liver is a prerequisite to proper blood sugar management and conversion of thyroid hormones.
Reconsider a low protein or vegan diet if you're looking for long-term health and weight loss.
4) You cut out all things categorized as “sugar”
While cutting sugars like high fructose corn syrup, fake sweeteners, and agave is great, some people take this way too far and cut out truly nourishing sugar too—fruits, fresh fruit juices, maple syrup, molasses, and even honey (!). Cutting out sugar completely can send your metabolism into a tailspin, hindering your body’s natural ability to store glycogen, which is necessary to convert inactive thyroid hormone (t4) to the active form (t3), that keeps your metabolism’s motor running.
Cutting out too many potassium-rich fruits and starchy vegetables can also tank your potassium levels, which really screws with your thyroid function even more. This is not exactly a good thing for weight loss! This reason alone is why you should always question a "health guru" who's instructing you not to eat fruit...
Not to mention effect carb-cutting can have on your digestive system (hello constipation)!
5) Depriving your body
In my nutrition practice, excessive weight signifies a severe nutritional deficit. How do you resolve a deficit? Hint: it’s not by limiting or depriving your body of nutrients (limiting calories= restricting nutrients). If you think of your body like a bank account deep in debt, doesn't it make sense to make as many nutritional deposits in to your bank account every day instead? Now we’re on to something!
Besides, if you are trying to eat a diet that is generally dissatisfying; you do not feel satiated or nourished, and you’re not working toward healthy weight loss. A good diet should reduce cravings over time, NOT deepen them. You can lose weight while listening and responding to your body’s needs!
6) Ignoring Fatty Acid Imbalance
There is a lot of misinformation out there about fat. “Fat makes you fat” is the most accepted notion, but where did this actually come from? Natural fats (butter, coconut oil, cream, egg yolks, lard, etc.) have been used for thousands of years with no “fattening” effect. The low-fat craze of the early 90′s had a huge brainwashing effect on the perception of healthy foods. When you choose fat-free, you naturally choose higher sugar/higher carb and low protein foods, because protein in its natural state comes with a healthy dose of fat! You also eat more of these foods because low-fat= low satiety, meaning you must eat MORE to get full than those who eat fat liberally.
Cutting out fat from your diet and/or getting the wrong kinds of fats in your diet also robs you of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E K, and omega fatty acids because these nutrients are found only in fatty foods. Therefore, fat-free diets deplete you of more nutrients, and that is weight loss’s worst enemy.
Learn more about fatty acid deficiency here.
7) Drinking too much water
Obey your thirst, not some blanket requirement! According to Matt Stone in Eat For Heat, "No other creature is so removed from its own instinctual programming to the point of accidentally overdrinking. The mechanisms of the body generally prevent such a thing. Intellectual interference between our bodies’ needs and what we think are our bodies’ needs forms a barrier that can be quite problematic, especially when it comes to flooding out the electrical supply of our entire inner metropolis.”
So drink when you are thirsty, and don't when you're not.
8) Ignoring Mineral Balance
Did you know that minerals have a big influence on how you feel as well as influencing weight via your thyroid health? Mineral balance, especially calcium and potassium support thyroid health which is closely tied to your waistline. Dieting, taking supplements you don't need and under-eating can disturb mineral balance in unfavorable ways, especially if weight loss is your goal.
Find out where your body's mineral balance is at here.
9) Ignoring your Gut
Did you know that certain conditions in your gut encourage weight gain and will make anything you try to do with your nutrition a losing battle?
A few gut conditions that can make you weight loss resistant are:
- Estrogen dominance — When I'm talking about estrogen dominance, I'm talking about symptoms like: weight gain (especially around the hips and thighs), edema, infertility, varicose veins, mood swings and depression around cycle time, breast tenderness, variations or skipped cycles, vaginal dryness or itchiness, excessive or scanty blood flow during periods, cyclic insomnia, night sweats and fatigue.You see, once estrogen has done its job, usually it is detoxified by the liver and sent out in the trash via bile to get out through your digestive system. BUT, if too many of the wrong gut bacteria are present, they actually RE-ACTIVATE the estrogen bringing it back into circulation. This is via gut bacteria that produce beta-glucuronidase enzymes that can re-activate (or deconjugate) estrogens that were already detoxified (conjugated) and on their way out of the body.Decreasing levels of beta-glucuronidase enzyme producing bacteria in your gut is key to stopping the cycle of estrogen recirculation.
- Low Akkermansia Muciniphila — (A. muciniphila) is a mucin-degrading bacterium naturally found in the human gut that is associated with obesity, diabetes, inflammation, and metabolic disorders. . And the good news? A. muciniphila can be increased through dietary interventions such as polyphenols, specific probiotics containing specific Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains, sodium butyrate as well as prebiotic foods like inulin. 
- High Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes Ratio — Research over the last few decades has identified certain human gut microbiota or "fatbugs" that can increase the caloric energy harvest from the foods you eat. Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes bacteria are two classifications of gut flora that are used to characterize the composition of the microbes in your gut. Research has found a high ratio of Firmicutes "fatbugs" to Bacteroidetes "thinbugs" (F/B ratio) in obese subjects when compared to the F/B ratio of lean subjects. They also saw that as obese subjects lost weight, the F/B ratio decreased.
If you feel like your body is weight loss resistant and you have digestive issues, a GI map test is a great way to understand what's actually going on, so you can do something about it!
10) Not Paying Attention to Blood Sugar
Did you know your blood sugar and specifically insulin resistance has a huge impact on your waistline?
Blood sugar dysregulation wrecks havoc on your hormones and encourages weight gain no matter what you eat!
It's one of the first things you must address to align your body to weight loss.
How To Align to Weight Loss
The best way to get results is to play on the same team as your body, not work against it!
Discover your body's internal fires that are stalling your progress and address them sequentially to see sustainable progress.
My masterclass — How to Align to Weight Loss to Reboot your Metabolism is designed to get your body and metabolism back on track so you can conquer your weight loss goals while avoiding restrictive dieting. Read more about it here so you can get healthy to lose weight naturally!
Be patient with your body
Weight gain doesn't happen overnight, and getting healthy to lose weight takes time. Respect your body by listening to your cravings and fueling it right.
So remember — don't diet for weight loss, get nutritionally wealthy!
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.com/jenbray
I love your approach, and this article. Sharing it with my clients immediately!
Thanks Thea, you are too kind <3
I stopped reading at "reconsider a vegan diet". Do your research before making such statements. It's not only possible to get enough protein with a vegan diet, it's natural protein without animal fat and cholesterol! !!
There is nothing wrong with animal fat and cholesterol, both are necessary to a human diet. Legumes and pulses do not provide ALL the necessary amino acids, and you WILL become protein and B12 deficient (which can take 4-6 years to manifest) unless you also eat a ton of grains--both of which are very hard on the digestive system and can cause all kinds of problems if consumed in excess.
Soy foods should never be relied on as a primary means of protein since soy is an endocrine disruptor.
Any diet that excludes a food group that we have traditionally eaten for thousands and thousands of years is going to fail in the end.
I've always wondered how do all the vegan animals that we eat to get our B12 get there B12 and not to mention many of our ancestors that used to live near the equator ate a plant based diet plus they've done study's showing disease is more common as we travel further away from the equator and there are many complete proteins found in plants not that you even need to eat them cause it's very easy to make a "complete" protein just by mixing a couple plants. You should tell Germany's strongest man Patrik Baboumian that he will fail in the end but he would probably still love you though cause he's like the coolest man ever and will still keep crushing world records as a vegan.
Bizzybanks, grazing animals have very different needs from ours; e.g., they can derive protein from hay; we cannot. For the cow, it takes four stomachs to do the job. Almost all other animals make their own vitamin C. By the way, do you know that even a deer will eat the occasional rodent if given the chance?
Vegans do tend to run into trouble re vitamin B-12.
Not only are humans' nutritional needs not comparable with other animals, every human needs to find the foods they thrive on and avoid the ones that gives them digestive issues.
The staples of a vegan diet: whole grains, pulses, nuts and soy, are highly inflammatory to a lot of people. All those foods except pulses make me bleed from my butt within two days of consuming them.
I'm lucky to get such a clear indication, but a lot of people keep on eating foods that are inflammatory to them just because they've been told it's such a healthy food, not connecting their digestive issues with their food (amazing to consider).
This woman has no idea about health if she insists on promoting animal products in the face of countless studies proving the harmful effects of their consumption. If she can not provide studies proving her ridiculous claims, we can only conclude that she is being compensated by the dairy industry for her efforts in spreading fallacies. Plant based nutrition is shown to reverse disease, and help us to thrive. Wake up Catherine, and stop damaging peoples health with your lies.
Whoa pal, ease up buddy that protein deficiency is really getting on your brain. It is the militant, agressive assholes like you that make most sensible people stay away from vegans. There are tons of studies proving without a shred of doubt that veganism is often selfdestructive.. But guess what i ran out of fucks to share them with you. Go take your rage and fight terrorist, asshole.
Hi Shelly. Could you please point me to one of the "countless studies proving the harmful effects" of animal products consumption? Please exclude processed meats as we all know these are unhealthy. Thanks.
I hope you keep reading. She did have good advice. That one line was kind of half of it.
I agree. This was a great read with a lot of fantastic points, especially point #1! It really does come down to your health. More specifically, it comes to down to developing habits that promote a healthy lifestyle. After all, losing extra weight is a side effect of being healthy. And that's usually what determines how successful a weight loss plan actually is. In fact, check out the following article that does a wonderful job of explaining the key factors in an effective, long-term weight loss strategy: fatfreeme.net/big5
I love your articles. I am sick of extremism so prevalent on other nutritional sites.
I disagree with virtually every point in this article. Read Dr Michael Moseley for the best uptodate,healthy dieting advice. I eat low carb, and fast two days a week. Keeping my weight under control has become effortless and I am fitter tha i have been in twenty years.
with attribution of course.
Great article. I agree that most diets do not really work since most do not address the nutritional deficit that people have.
Thanks Teri! Sounds like we see eye to eye on dieting 🙂
E . ZXIMMERMAN
PEOPLE , NEED to , KNOW, THAT , DIETING, IS NOT WAY OF LIFE ! RATHER , THAN, IS JUST, A FORM , OF
Great article. Stopping by from VGN. Shared on G+. Hope you will stop by my blog and say hi as well.
HI Butter, I am an acupuncturist and am enjoying sharing your articles on my FB page. Thanks for writing <3
Thanks Diana for reading and sharing 🙂
Not gonna lie, I'm not normally fond of articles like this but I was curious.. And I love it!! New fan here 🙂
Thanks Alicia! That makes me smile 🙂
Great article. Thank you for the knowledge. Obviously it isn't for everyone however I'm sure each person learned at least 1 key factor in this article they can utilize.
This American Girl
Great advice as usual!! Will be sharing this with a weight loss blogger friend of mine.
Thanks Camille ♥
Love this article! People are always lecturing me about my water intake. I am just not a big drinker (lol that doesn't sound right!). I drink when I am thirsty, when eating and when working out. And it is usually all water except for a glass of iced tea with dinner.
I listen to my body. When I drink a lot when I am not thirsty I feel too full and nauseous. The body knows what it needs if you just take a moment to listen.
With exception of hot summer days I almost never drink plain water. I drink a lot of tea and coffee, juice, kefir and milk. Soups also provide water. I am big proponent of using distilled water in making drinks and soups. Most minerals and vitamins we need provide food.. When you drink any bottled spring water you have no clue how it was handled and how much and what minerals it contain. We need water as a carrier and solvent not as micronutrient provider… most if not all micronutrients we derive from food..
Distilled water acts as a solvent in the body. It dissolves not only food substances so they can be easily assimilated and taken into every cell but also dissolves inorganic mineral substances lodged in tissues of the body so that such substances can be eliminated in the process of purifying the body. As Catherine said in her other article...We are not what we eat or drink…
We are what we are capable to digest and absorb. Plants turn inorganic minerals from ground water into ORGANIC minerals that are much easier to digest and absorb. than minerals in spring water.When you drink a lot of hard mineral water the same solids that are found in your humidifier, and in grandmother’s teakettle can be found in your body. Do you recall the water spots on your windows from your water sprinkler? Ever try to remove them? It takes lots of vinegar and lots of rubbing to dissolve the deposits. Deposits occur where blood flows the slowest, such as in the joints as arthritis and gout, along the arteries as hardening,. The kidneys and liver roll up the mineral deposits into little stones until they get too large for the ducts....
can you give me more info on distilled water please. I live in a hard water area, loads of deposits around the taps and in the kettle and hate the thought that those deposits are in my body!
HAES taught me that a focus on weight loss in and of itself is a mistake. So I just always focus on healthy choices, never on weight. These tips are better than most "diet" tips, and I do believe in traditional foods, but why does it have to be couched in terms of weight loss?
I'm vegan, and get plenty of protein. Beans have more protein than meat, and it's healthier for your heart.heart. I've lost 61lbs this past year. No sagging skin, no starving myself. I eat real healthy foods that comes from the ground. I'm healthy, and happy. As for the B-12 argument that always seems to pop up, google how animals get their B-12. Otherwise, this was a pretty good article.
Umm.....ruminants produce B12 from grass and forage because they have the digestive systems to do that. We do not. (FYI: It takes about 4-6 years for B12 deficiency to become symptomatic in relatively healthy humans)
Beans do not provide all the required amino acids, and your body WILL become protein deficient unless you eat a ton of grains, and both can be very hard on the human digestive system. I dabbled in veganism and vegetarianism for a few years, and all I got for it was severe digestive distress that caused severe IBS symptoms.
Any diet that excludes any food group that we have traditionally eaten for thousands and thousands of years is going to fail in the end.
There's no one size fits all when it comes to food. Every BODY is different and reacts differently to certain foods. I consumed meat for over 30 years of my life and all I got for that was severe digestive distress. My issues ended when I stopped eating meat. My body responds to a plant based diet. Yours may not. I would never push my way of eating onto anyone.
As for B12, you're right, it does primarily come from animals. However, contrary to what some think, a cow (for example) does not actually make the B12- the bacteria in its gut does. When a cow chomps on grass, he/she eats the vitamin B12 enriched SOIL which allows the bacteria in the cow's gut to make use of the B12 thereby imparting the animal with B12.
Now, you and I both know that unless you're eating organic/grass fed animal products 100% of the time, you're not getting that B12 since a majority are fed unnatural diets of corn and soy. And if you are eating 100% organic- great, but our soil is so depleted now days, it is no way the same as "traditionally" consumed by our ancestors.
Vegans, vegetarians and meat eaters alike should ALL supplement.
I made it to #3... While I agree protein is very important, I don't agree with your comment about "Trendy Vegan Diets." Every single person is different- some do better with animal protein, and some better with plant-based protein. Protein is a macronutrient, and just because a person is vegan, doesn't mean they're not getting enough protein (yes, vegans DO need to be more aware). I, personally, was a meat eater all of my life until three years ago. I had horrible stomach issues since I was a child and visited doctor after doctor. The second I cut out meat and dairy from my diet I felt like a new person. I cannot believe I spent 33 years of my life in pain when all I needed was this simple change! I just wanted to write to say, please do not generalize. Every single body is different. And by the way, I am a natural figure competitor and have sucessfully been building muscle as a vegan! (And feel amazing)
You have lost Prevent Disease a viewer. This is the third article I've read read by you that has misconstrued a vegetarian and vegan lifestyle, as a "diet". Veganism is how I lost 145lbs, reversed my need for medication, and saved myself a future of diabetes and a young death. I'm disappointed you call yourself a nutritional therapist, since you clearly don't have respect for how individuals have their own nutritional needs. There is no one fits all. A high animal protein diet can't work for someone with multiple animal protein allergies. Just like someone with hypothyroidism shouldn't be consuming soy products. Just like a person with a soy allergy can successfully practise veganism. Please do your research into the many professional athletes, body builders, and religions that have been taking part in veganism for longer than you have been alive.
Hi Mark Forge, don't get stuck on your need for scientific studies. There's a real problem with the way science is studied; many of the studies are irrelevant and too small-scale. But the bottom line is that if there is not money to be made, you won't read about any studies being done.
Animal protein is not nearly as allergenic as grains, nuts, pulses and soy. If I relied on those, I'd die in short order, or at the least get very sick, and quickly.
There are NO peoples on this earth who have practiced strict veganism over the eons. Show me all the many vegan professional athletes and body builders who are long-term vegans.
"So reconsider a low protein or vegan diet if you’re looking for long-term health."
I am an ICU nurse, and telling people that they are drinking too much water is really not an informed tip. It's important to research reputable resources on health issues. When you're thirsty, you are already dehydrated! People should not wait until they are thirsty to drink fluids, as this puts them at risk for not properly hydrating their bodies. The body relies on proper hydration for numerous processes. It is pretty rare for people to drink too much water.
Agree on every single point, except the water one. Highly doubt you can overdrink water. Would like to see some scientific evidence of that.
Hey Mark, just to respond to your post:
As a marathon runner, I know that people can actually drink too much water. I don't know of anyone personally that has ever done that, but I think someone died from it a few years ago. it was discussed in our training meetings. It had to do with drinking so much water that it diluted the electrolytes from the system. Maybe Google that topic and see if you can find information you're looking for.
I've been reading for years that as you get older, your "thirst meter" doesn't work properly; I've also read that in the past, no one ever had to be told to drink more water that our thirst meters always worked properly, that it's all just hype. Seriously, who knows what to believe anymore; and with the way our food and water is tampered with from every aspect imaginable, who knows. I live in the South with lots of high humidity and heat. I drink lots of water in training, but I always add electrolytes. 🙂
I get what you're saying. I also heard somewhere that people can actually die from drinking too much water, same with milk for example. It's just for a normal person it would be extremely difficult.
On what to believe. Well that's subjective, but personally see a lot of BS in the health community, a lot of pseudoscience and just worthless information, which is designed to confuse rather than help. The best way to know if something is good/bad is when the person can actually back the claims up by at least some scientific studies. Even though, the majority of studies are too abstract and don't conclude anything, they only indicate a correlation, not causation and that's what you always have to keep in mind.
Hi Mark Forge, don't get stuck on your need for scientific studies. There's a real problem with the way science is studied; many of the studies are irrelevant and too small-scale. But the bottom line is that if there is not money to be made, you won't read about any studies being done..
While rare, yes it IS possible to overconsume water. Look up the case of a small local radio station's competition offering a prize to the person who drank the most water. One person, desperate to win overrode any shred of common sense and actually became over-hydradted and DIED. The DJ Hosts and station got into huge trouble over this.
I agree with your perspective, and I'm sorry some people feel they have to attack you because they disagree. Shessh, a lot of haters out there. I think how much exercise or what type of food people need depend a lot on their body types, where they live, food combining, etc.
I ate strictly vegetarian for several years; nearly every meal was produce; I just couldn't get enough Omega-3 in my diet, which caused many issues; but it wasn't until one of my very healthy vegetarian kids kept getting strept throat, tonsillitis, etc that I became concerned. I read in the Prescription for Nutritional Healing it was a sign of a protein deficiency. I immediately stopped with the vegetarianism and added meat, fish and chicken to our diets, but in proper proportions of course. Our eating habits still focused on vegetables with protein sources added. All of our issues went away.
That is what worked for our family.
PS the font size and color under 'reply' is difficult to see/use 🙂
I'm trying to incorporate all of these things, but it's hard to be patient! I have had a lot of hormone and adrenal issues, so I'll just have to wait until I'm fully healthy before I get thin again I suppose. But health is definitely more important!
Just wrote a post called "3 Foods You Think Are Healthy, But Aren't" and linked to this article. http://simplynatureplusnurture.com/2016/03/30/healthy-food-swaps/
Thanks for your awesome info!
Hi, Catherine. I've recently started to follow your blog. I love the advice you give, and also the fact that you debunked so many myths about dieting. Indeed, I've felt it on myself that one can eat a lot and still lose weight or stay lean.
I've recently stopped my vegan/vegetarian diet and bought a bar of butter and a jar of coconut oil(I come to like these things more and more).
Great article. Thank you!
So do you agree with Ray Peat on full-fat dairy leading to weight gain? How much fat is needed in relation to carbs and protein? If you are not following a ketogenic diet won't the fat increase body fat?
Good for you for curing yourself with food! If there are digestive issues, one or more foods is the first place to look. How do you know it was the meat AND dairy that caused your troubles? Dairy is highly allergenic, meat is not.
in the end what matters for me is to loose weight no matter how u do it ...I LOST 48kg in 1 year and i did everything i wanted without following any rules .the key to weight loss is to do whatever u think u can do on order to get in shape ❤️ Peace
I have noticed a trend on this site and while I like reading the articles this trend frustrates me. There's a lot of "You're doing too much of this..." but don't tell me, or give me an idea, of what the right amount is.
Example: 7) DRINKING TOO MUCH WATER - "Obey your thirst." Ok well I've trained my body to drink a gallon to a gallon and a half of water a day. Is that too much? You lead us to a link for Matt Stone to buy a book. I was hoping in this paragraph you would tell us how much is too much.
I can't give you specific water recommendations because there aren't any.
Drinking when one is thirsty and not when they are not is all I can offer.
It may take some exploration to find out what thirst feels like to you after your past training.
Hydration is also achieved through eating, as most foods contain a % of water content.
Thank you for the reply, Catherine. To me drinking as much water as I do (which was recommended by a workout program I completed last year) feels good. I don't drink when I'm thirsty anymore I drink out of habit. But I don't think it's doing anything bad inside my body or hindering my fitness goals. That should mean I'm not drinking too much, right?