First and foremost, what many people neglect to take into consideration is that there is a difference between weight loss versus fat loss.
When you're obsessed with weighing yourself on the scale, you're solely focused on weight loss. An individual's weight can fluctuate during the day especially when you factor in fluid retention, sodium intake, and muscle weight. The scale is not an accurate method of tracking fat loss. Personally, for myself and my clients, my preference is tracking body composition.
In contrast, fat loss is about losing body fat, preserving lean tissue (muscle), and achieving a body that looks lean, healthy and fit.
Fat loss is NOT about counting calories, starvation diets, stepping on the scale every day, willpower, or excessive exercise. Balance is the key to long-term, permanent fat loss.
Follows are 10 rules for permanent fat loss.
Rule 1: Manage your stressors and deal with unresolved emotions. Stress comes in many forms - physical, psychological, emotional, environmental, electromagnetic and spiritual stress.
Anxiety and stress of any kind can make you fat because stress hormones signal your body to store fat and break down metabolically active muscle tissue.
Rule 2: Restful sleep. If your goal is to look good, feel better and lose fat, you must ensure that you're sleeping well.
Poor sleep can make and keep you fat because it interferes with or suppresses fat-burning hormones. Do not underestimate the importance of restful sleep and daily relaxation for fat loss.
Rule 3: Eliminate intolerant foods. Stop eating foods you're allergic, intolerant to or sensitive to - they are usually foods you crave or eat every single day, which is why it's so important to include a variety of foods in your diet.
Intolerant foods create inflammation, are toxic to your system, and cause stress hormones to be released, which will sabotage your fat loss efforts.
Rule 4: Address digestive dysfunction. Keep your gut healthy and love your liver. To lose body fat, you must assimilate nutrients required to build muscle.
HCL deficiency, Candida, parasites, H. pylori, and leaky gut are just a few conditions that can inhibit fat loss. A healthy liver must also be able to detoxify fat storage hormone metabolites.
Rule 5: Balance your hormones. An imbalance of hormones such as increased estrogen and elevated insulin, and decreased hormones (such as growth hormone, thyroid, DHEA, progesterone, testosterone) may contribute to weight gain.
Assess and address adrenal dysfunction, which can lead to an imbalance of brain chemistry, increased belly fat, vital nutrient deficiencies, inflammation and more. These factors are often overlooked when it comes to fat loss.
Make balancing blood sugar and stabilizing insulin a priority. A body that is sensitive to insulin will lose body fat more rapidly than an individual who is insulin resistant.
Why? Insulin, in excess, is a fat storage hormone. If your pancreas constantly secrete insulin to bring the blood sugar down, you'll become insulin resistant and may eventually become diabetic.
Rule 6: Eat real food. Driving up to a window for your meals, downing soda, consuming snack bars full of chemicals, soy and hydrogenated fats, or eating cereal from a box is not real food. The cardboard box is probably more nutritious.
CHEW your food, manage portions and be mindful and present when eating to avoid overindulging.
Rule 7: Move your body! There's an effective way to exercise and an inefficient way to exercise for fat loss. Are you performing long, boring cardio sessions that burn muscle and disrupt your hormones?
Or, maybe you're someone that is doing the same old exercise program expecting a different result.
Resistance training and true interval exercise programs are the solution if you want to change your body, feel better, look phenomenal, lower body fat and keep your hormones balanced.
And, remember to include yin-style movement such as yin or restorative yoga, meditation, Tai chi or Qi gong as part of your exercise regime to balance the yang.
Personally, I love yin yoga where the asana is held for 2-5 minutes with a focus on lengthening and releasing fascia and connective tissue.
Rule 8: Identify nutritional and metabolic deficiencies and correct with the appropriate diet and nutritional support. Every single one of us has different nutritional needs. Therefore, supplemental protocols will vary from person to person.
Rule 9: Eliminate toxins and reduce toxic load. The average woman puts 150 chemicals on her body daily!
We're exposed to toxins from various sources including food additives and preservatives, cleaning products, lotions and colognes, our thoughts, digestive distress, non-organic foods, prescription drugs, our environment, poor quality supplements, excessive alcohol consumption, pesticides, chemicals, xenoestrogens, toxic people, and so much more.
Toxins are stored in fat cells and compromise your lymph and liver. The fatter you are, the higher your toxic load. All toxins brought into your body have to be processed by your liver.
Are you unaware of the negative consequences of estrogen overload?
Toxic overload from a congested liver, xenoestrogens (endogenous and exogenous) and obesogens (foreign chemical substances to your body that disrupt hormones and your metabolism) that primarily target the liver, brain and adipose tissue make it difficult, if not impossible to lose body fat.
Rule 10: Eat fat to lose fat! Society is fat-phobic and has been brainwashed that consuming a low-fat or non-fat diet is conducive for optimal health and fat loss.
Many still hold a belief and assume synthetic fats such as margarine (full of plastics and chemicals) or vegetable oils are healthier options. Nothing could be further from the truth.
All fats are not created equal. Healthy fats are essential for hormone production, a healthy immune system, optimal brain function, your skin and hair, and, of course, fat loss.
Do you want lasting results? If so, STOP focusing on losing weight and instead focus on getting healthy first. When you focus on health FIRST, fat loss happens.
• Ahwatukee Foothills resident Paula Owens is a nutritionist, fitness expert and weight loss coach with more than 20 years of experience. Reach her at www.PaulaOwens.com.