The Top Ten Tips for
Permanent Weight Loss
Is losing weight your 2022 New Year’s Resolution? If so, you’re not alone. Over half of all New Year’s Resolutions are focused on getting healthy, losing weight, and increasing exercise.
If you did successfully hitch a ride on the ‘get healthy’ wagon and haven’t fallen off yet…KUDOS to you! You’re in the minority. In fact, nearly 80% of everyone else have already fallen off the wagon.
Change is hard
Drastic changes are even harder
Old habits die hard
Unrealistic expectations don’t always match real time outcomes
There are probably a bunch of other reasons, but these four probably top my list.
Spoiler alert: Even though I’m a doctor, I’m also human (yes, I admit it!) which means like many others, I have tried hundreds of diets, weight loss pills, starvation, exercising to exhaustion, and all of the other torture treatments we endure in our endless quest to lose weight.
Guess what helped me lose weight? All of the above.
Guess what helped me keep the weight off? None of the above!
Although I don’t have pictures, you’ll have to trust me when I tell you I have weighed as little as 122 pounds and as much as 205 pounds (late night feasts of Dominoes ham and pineapple pizzas got me through medical school). I am 5 feet and 6 inches tall.
So…After my nearly 53 years of trial and error, and the backing of scientific research to corroborate what I'm telling you, I have finally come up with ten practical, sustainable tips that will guarantee weight loss in anyone (all other things being equal). By consistently following my own advice, I lost thirty pounds over 6 pounds and have kept it off for almost two years.
Here they are... the TOP TEN things that absolutely apply to everyone when it comes to losing and weight and keeping it off:
(...and this is just one of my many patients that prove my tips work!)
Set Realistic Goals
It took you years to develop your eating and exercise habits. Don’t expect your habits to change overnight. In fact, research has shown that it takes at least two months of persistence for habits to change (or in my case six months). Even though the first five to seven pounds came off fairly quickly, it took my 6 months to lose my thirty pounds. A healthy rate of weight loss is one to two pounds a week.
Don't Make Drastic Changes
If you try going from couch potato to CrossFit overnight, your body will probably revolt, especially if you’re my age. In fact, when I tried burning more calories with exercise than I was eating, I didn’t lose one single ounce! Yes, exercise is a good thing. But just like everything else, it's all about moderation.
Don't Weight Yourself Everyday
Unless you are a rare bird, you are probably like the rest of us and insist on immediate gratification. Seriously...we need some quick wins to entice us to keep going. But, here’s the deal…we all lose weight in different amounts and different rates for a hundred different reasons.
If your like me and focus on the number, when the scale doesn’t deliver, we may be tempted to give up and drown our sorrows in ice cream (or in my case, Lay’s potato chips). Losing weight and keeping it off is a life long journey, so look beyond the numbers and focus on how you look and feel. For me, weighing once a week worked great.
BUT...If you are doing all the right things and the scale isn’t budging, talk to your doctor and look for other underlying causes for the stall. If your doctor does nothing but tell you to eat less and exercise more, find another doctor.
Don't Deprive Yourself
Remember the red button? You know...the one you’re not supposed to press no matter what happens? All you can think about is pressing the red button. If you tell yourself you can never have a chocolate chip cookie again for the rest of your life, guess what you will think about eating day and night?
Allowing yourself to indulge once in a while prevents you from feeling resentful and deprived. Just make sure you only eat one cookie, not four. I love the Xymogen supplement Appe-curb which I take when I feel really hungry or I'm in a situation where I am too tempted to rely on sheer will power.
Keep a Food Journal
You may think keeping a food journal is a waste of time, but I'm here to tell you people that keep a food journal lose twice as much weight compared to those who don't.
Not only does writing down what you eat help you keep track of what and how much is going into your mouth, it forces you to think about what you are getting ready to eat before you dive in. You might be less tempted to eat the cookie if you know you have to write it down.
Another reason I love to keep a journal is because I am an emotional eater (ring a bell with anyone?). So, if I am getting ready to eat something, I also journal why I am eating it. Am I really hungry or just upset with my spouse?
Make Sleep a Top Priority
You can be the perfect picture of health, eat all the right things, and exercise every day, but guess what? If you don’t sleep, your weight won’t budge. Yes, I know we all have one thousand things to do and not enough hours in the day to do them…and all of these things makes our heads spin which makes us unable to sleep.
The fact is your metabolism (and everything else) is directly tied to your body’s circadian rhythm (the normal sleep wake cycle that follows the earth’s 24 hour rotation). Normally, your body is supposed to wake up when the sun comes up (usually around 6 to 8 am depending on where you live) and go to sleep when the sun goes down (ideally no later than 11 pm). Not only that, but your body also depends on getting at least seven hours of uninterrupted sleep.
If you have too many things on your plate, clean some of them off. If you have trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor and ask for assistance determining the cause. Don’t resort to prescription sleeping pills because they will absolutely NOT help you and, in some cases, will actually cause weight gain. If needed, natural supplements may work better without the side effects of prescription drugs. I recommend Xymogen Melatonin and Xymogen RelaxMax for my patients.
Poop Every Day
This is probably a bit too personal, but your bowel habits are very important when it comes to weight loss (and overall health as well). Your poop contains all kinds of things, including food particles, bacteria, yeast, and the by-products of things your body doesn’t want inside of it. Your intestines are loaded with blood vessels so the longer your poop sits in your colon, the more the toxins in your poop are recycled throughout your body over and over again. Not only is this gross to think about, it can make you sick and keep you fat.
Gut health is another major piece of the puzzle people overlook, so make sure you are taking a good probiotic every day (I like Xymogen Probiomax Daily DF). If you aren’t pooping every day, consider adding magnesium (like Xymogen Optimag 125). You can take as much magnesium as necessary to achieve the goal: at least one formed bowel movement every day.
Another one of my patients. The proof is in the pudding!
Don't Rely on Dieting for Permanent Weight Loss
Weight Watchers, Paleo, Keto, Pritikin, Juice Plus, Shakeology, and….
The dieting industry is a billion dollar industry for a reason. Unless you are willing to follow whatever diet you choose for the rest of your life, it’s very unlikely you will maintain any weight loss you might enjoy.
The truth is up to 95% of people who diet gain all of their weight back (and sometimes even more).
Before you decide to start a “diet”, ask yourself these questions:
1. Am I willing to eat (and drink) this way forever?
2. Is this diet practical for my lifestyle and health goals?
3. Is this diet going to potentially harm me or make some of my other medical issues worse?
4. What long term plan does this diet offer me to prevent me from gaining weight back?
I’ve cared for countless patients who’ve tried every diet out there (and so have I). In the absence of underlying health reasons, hormone imbalances, etc. NO diet plan will help you keep your weight off if your lifestyle and behaviors don't permanently change to match.
Find & Eliminate Causes of Inflammation
Inflammation plays a major role in weight gain and difficulty losing weight. How?
For one, chronic inflammation wreaks havoc on your hormones. It can raise cortisol and estrogen and makes our main weight control hormone, Leptin, less effective. Inflammation can also cause problems with insulin control which increases the risk of developing metabolic syndrome and diabetes, both of which are usually associated with weight gain.
The irony is that just like inflammation can cause weight gain, excess body fat can fuel inflammation...so it becomes a vicious cycle.
Work with a competent health care provider that can help you identify and treat underlying causes of inflammation. The short list of some of the main causes of inflammation include insomnia, food sensitivities, candida yeast overgrowth, leaky gut, and hormone imbalances.
Balance Your Hormones
If you have PCOS or endometriosis, if you are perimenopausal or menopausal, you already know the rest of this story, right? Good luck losing weight!
If your hormones are a mess, losing weight and keeping it off will be very difficult!
Every single hormone in your body is affected by and affects every other hormone. If you have imbalances in your estrogen and progesterone, everything else will be out of whack, including your stress hormones (cortisol and DHEA), insulin, growth hormone, leptin, testosterone, and the list goes on.
Balancing hormones can tricky and dangerous if done incorrectly. It requires the involvement of a health care practitioner with extensive knowledge and expertise in how to balance hormones safely and effectively. Believe me, if you work with the wrong doctor, you'll gain weight and feel worse.