Life can become frustrating when we’ve tried everything yet can’t lose weight.
Over the years, I’ve had many patients complain about this problem. They’ve exhausted every option, yet when we dig a bit deeper, we often find a hidden cause for their weight loss resistance.
One big obstacle becomes nutritional imbalances. Studies show these deficiencies are more widespread than we might imagine.
Over 30 percent of American diets fall short of nutrients like magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin A. Over 80 percent of Americans are low in vitamin D. Nine out of 10 people are deficient in omega 3 fatty acids that, among other things, help cool inflammation and control blood sugar levels.
Altogether, food today is less nutritious, which takes a massive toll on our waistline. We eat too much high fructose corn syrup, refined flours, refined vegetable oils, trans fats, and overall fake junk processed foods.
These Frankenfoods are a dramatic change from what we ate even a century ago. Our processed, inflammatory modern diet—which is relatively inexpensive and convenient because of government-subsidized crops like corn, soy, and wheat—crowds out more nutrient-dense foods.
We evolved eating foods dramatically higher in vitamins, minerals, and essential fats like wild game, which contains higher levels of omega 3 fats and more nutrients than factory-farmed animals.
Our hunter-gatherer ancestors also ate fresh fish and meat that grazed from pristine sources, whereas our factory farm-raised meats come loaded with hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, preservatives like nitrates, and higher levels of inflammatory omega 6 fats.
Today, the average American consumes an average of 152 pounds of sugar and 146 pounds of flour that converts to sugar every year. Research also show that we eat about 500 calories more a day than we did in 1970, mostly from high fructose corn syrup and other carbohydrates. These pharmacological doses cause serious harm to our metabolism and overall health.
At the same time, healthy fat in our diets decreased during the past decades because of poor advice from so-called health experts and our government, based on flawed science and conflict-of-interest studies funded by big food companies.
When deficiencies become the underlying cause of weight loss resistance, using nutrients therapeutically can often help reset my patients’ metabolism to balance body chemistry.
While incorporating supplements is ideal to fix these deficiencies, we can also optimize nutrient levels to lose weight and gain health with these five strategies.
- Optimize gut health. Focus on eating whole, unprocessed foods such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds, fiber, protein, and essential fatty acids. These foundation foods also minimize chronic illness.
- Prioritize eating plant-based fats. Get healthy dietary fat from extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, and seeds. Avoid refined vegetable oils like canola and soybean oils as well as trans fats. I provide a powerful 21-day plan to easily incorporate healthy fats in my new book Eat Fat, Get Thin.
- Manage stress levels. Chronic stress can deplete B vitamins and other nutrients like crazy. Whether that includes mediation or deep breathing, find something that creates calm and peace of mind.
- Get adequate sleep. Proper sleep becomes essential for optimal nourishment. Sleep patterns affect how our body detoxifies as well as repairs and heals itself. Poor sleep can increase inflammation that contributes to chronic illness. Check out my 8 simple hacks for a better night’s sleep.
- Exercise daily. Among its benefits, exercise helps us sleep better, digest food better, balance blood sugar, relieve stress, rid our body of toxins, and balance hormones. Just get moving, period. Find activities enjoy and do them daily. Even 30 minutes of walking daily does phenomenal things for our health.
These five strategies help most of my patients optimize nutrient status so they finally can lose weight and feel better. Also consider testing for nutritional deficiencies and working with a functional practitioner.
If weight loss has become a challenge, what one strategy would you add that tilts the needle in your favor? Share your story below or on my Facebook page.
Author: Dr. Mark Hyman
Editor: Emily Bartran