I strive to give you useful education, science, and tools so you can access the metabolic, hormonal, environmental, emotional, and lifestyle factors that might be keeping you from feeling your most optimal. A comprehensive approach not only helps you reach your goals but will help you maintain great health for your lifetime.
I’ve found these top 10 strategies work for nearly everyone:
Focus on whole, real, unprocessed foods. They will always be the foundation of a high-quality, nutrient-dense diet. Most of your plate should ideally be plant-based foods including non-starchy vegetables, low-sugar fruits like berries and avocado, legumes, nuts, and seeds. The rest should be wild-caught seafood, grass-fed beef, or other high-quality animal protein. If you’re vegan or vegetarian, focus on plant-based proteins including legumes and quinoa.
Reduce or eliminate sugar and other food sensitivities. Researchers note that we consume up to 152 pounds of sugar each year, and that doesn’t include the starchy foods that convert to sugar in our bodies. Even so-called healthy foods like almond milk can contain hidden sugars, so scrutinize labels very carefully. Food sensitivities including dairy and gluten, which trigger the immune system to go into overdrive and inflammation, can also keep you overweight. A diet with plenty of real, whole foods (not gluten-free or sugar-free junk foods) reduces inflammation, excess weight, and insulin resistance.
Manage inflammation. Overall, we eat too many inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids (in foods like vegetable oils and grain-fed beef) and too few anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. Chronic, low-grade inflammation contributes to obesity and other metabolic diseases. To shift that omega ratio more favorably, dial down the inflammatory fats and increase your intake of anti-inflammatory foods including wild-caught fish, freshly ground flaxseed, and walnuts.
Eat plenty of gut-supporting foods. Animal and human studies show when your gut microbiome—which consists of trillions of bacteria—becomes imbalanced, all sorts of problems including obesity and mental health issues. Many of us aren’t eating enough high-fiber foods, and they eat few, if any, fermented and cultured foods like kimchi and unpasteurized sauerkraut. A high-quality probiotic supplement containing billions of microorganisms can really help here.
Keep good sleep hygiene. In our technology-heavy, work-into-late-hours society, sleep sometimes gets the short end of the stick. Weight loss and mental clarity become easier when we prioritize sleep. Turn off electronics a few hours before bedtime, find a sleep ritual that helps you unwind, and aim for 8 – 9 hours of quality, uninterrupted sleep every night.
Manage stress levels. Research shows chronic stress can contribute to obesity for several reasons: You’re more likely to assuage that stress with comfort foods, for one. And you keep levels of your stress hormone cortisol ramped up when they should taper, which stores belly fat. You can’t eliminate stress, but you can learn to manage it with strategies including deep breathing, meditation, walking, and yoga.
Set yourself up for success. I’ve learned people who think ahead—things like prepping ingredients, planning what they take to work for lunch, and stocking up on grocery essentials—are more likely to succeed at losing weight and keeping it off. Taking the guesswork out of the equation makes things so much easier and you’re far less likely to succumb to temptation. Take a look at our Quest menus.
Determine the type of diet that works for you. Everyone is different, and you’re more likely to adhere to a diet plan that you enjoy and can maintain long-term. Some people feel better eating a mostly plant-based diet, whereas others thrive on a high-fat ketogenic diet that includes plenty of non-starchy vegetables. Finding out what works for you might take some trial and error, but you’re more likely to succeed once you’ve found it.
Community. Find a support group that keeps you motivated, helps you with accountability, and makes you feel valid and unjudged. You’re a Questie,so you got this one.
What is your Why? This should actually be at the top of the list. Why do you want to be your best and most healthy self? Write it down and read it every day.
~Christina Wilson, MS, CNS, LN