Do not become a Biggest Loser

There has been some noise in the news around the Biggest Loser’s contestants gaining their weight back. The name of the show and they way they approach this has got to change! We are finally getting somewhere with this dieting phenomenon.

“In fact, most of that season’s 16 contestants have regained much if not all the weight they lost so arduously. Some are even heavier now.” The best part of the article for me was this man’s input. Dr. David Ludwig, the director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s Hospital, who was not involved in the research, said the findings showed the need for new approaches to weight control.

Besides the WAY that they lost the weight, making it another stressful event and not addressing the emotional components. The article states the weight gain came back because their metabolisms were normal when they began and then slowed down when they lost the weight. The researches came to the conclusion that EVERY calories in/calories out doctor needs to know, “It was as if their bodies were intensifying their effort to pull the contestants back to their original weight.”

Why did their metabolism slow down? The researches found that one of the main causes was low leptin levels. What is leptin? Leptin is a master hormone in the body that controls hunger and feelings of satiety. Leptin is secreted by adipose tissue, so the more overweight a person is, typically, the higher his leptin levels. However, when they lost the weight with their approach the leptin levels tanked and the body gained the weight back but the leptin levels never restored.

This leptin resistance sends a message to the body as starvation, so multiple mechanisms are activated to increase fat stores, rather than burn excess fat stores. Leptin resistance also challenges the functions of the thyroid.

The main instigators of leptin resistance are:

  • High stress levels
  • Lack of sleep
  • High insulin levels
  • Exercising too much, especially if your hormones are already damaged
  • Eating sugar or refined carbs when we are stressed and need a pick me up.

How do we help our leptin to function optimally?

  • Break-the-fast: Consuming a large amount of protein and healthy fats first thing in the morning, as soon after waking as possible. This promotes satiety and gives the body the building blocks to make hormones.
  • Fresh air: Go outside and be in nature, lay down in the grass and give your body some Vitamin D from the sun.
  • Mindful snacking: Before you grab a snack, assess if you are truly hungry. Often, we need water, a breath or rest. If hungry, EAT! Otherwise try to space meals at least 4 hours apart and do a body check in every 4 hours to connect with what you need to feel nourished.
  • Don’t workout really hard: Exercise is another stress. Keep a gentle walk in your healthy routine, but wait for your body to recover a bit before you add intensive exercise.
  • Remove toxins:  Try to reduce the amount of chemicals you have around you. Get rid of the car freshener, household sprays, and body lotions that have chemicals.
  • Quality sleep: Be in bed by 10 pm with no technology and let your body recover. Add in Omega 3’s to your day if you are having trouble sleeping.

Most of my clients who have trouble losing weight are trying to approach their diet from a practical point of view. Using scientific and logical tools are wonderful, but definitely can not be used by themselves. You have to use common sense, intuition, mindfulness, mediation, compassion and a touch of humility.

When my clients are not losing weight, it is usually a sign of disconnection and NOT eating enough to receive enough nourishment. If you are struggling with extra pounds and have been adding in mindful and conscious weight loss techniques, you can also experiment with a tool I use with my clients. To help them ease into this connection in discovering their BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) Once you find this out and add activity, you can try balancing the foods that support you to align to your needs.

Remember, this is ONLY a tool, just as Weight Watchers uses points, or the Paleo diet and other diets use rules, pick a tool that FEELS and resonates with you and GO FOR IT. Play. Practice and have fun. Do not make this be another task and burden.  Click here to find your BMR 

Check out our Conscious Consultation and work with me to review how to find your balance. The Conscious Nutrition Guide & Recipe book are included too.

We are all winners,
Heather Fleming, C.C.N.