My friend Liz struggled hard to lose her baby weight after the birth of her last child. She was so busy taking care of her husband and three children that there was never any time to take care of herself. So, she would grab a power bar or a bag of crisps while she rushed Danny to soccer practice, or Olivia to dance lessons, didn’t exercise much, her hormones shifted, and before she realized it, she had packed on 30 pounds!
She felt lost, unattractive, and totally out of control.
Desperate for answers, she did a late-night “snack and surf” on Google and Pinterest, and fell prey to countless diet fads; all promising quick wins. The strategy of cutting out certain foods left her feeling deprived and miserable. Counting carbs and calories, and obsessing over her portion sizes drove her husband and kids crazy. She found an exercise group she liked, but couldn’t get motivated to stick with it. She did a 30-day eating challenge and lost a few pounds, but still felt bloated and tired. And, the minute she stopped each program, she fell back into her old habits, and just got stuck. Then, with each new diet, the spiral continued.
Treating the symptom(s ) and not your entire system is where most diets and weight-loss programs fail to deliver long-term results. And, experimenting in the hopes of finding something that will work is totally exhausting. What’s worse, oftentimes it doesn’t even work, and we find ourselves stuck in a cycle of yo-yo dieting.
But the good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way.
There actually is a way to lose weight, have more energy, look and feel amazing so you can start this new decade in the best shape of your life. And not only can you really lose 10 pounds (or more) in 8 weeks, but you can actually reset your habits so that you can keep the weight off and gain control over your health!
After studying nutritional science, consulting with some of the best doctors and dietitians in the country, and trying countless diets over the last 25 years, I have distilled the best weight-loss wins into 4 easy principles to help you lose weight, keep it off, and achieve better health long-term. Basically, I did all of the trial and error for you, tried all of the different approaches, studied the science, and in consultation with doctors and dietitians, cherry-picked the best-proven strategies, and then condensed it into a simple system that anyone can implement while actually living the rest of your life.
I used this system on myself and lost 20 pounds in two months, and 35 pounds in 4 months. Liz lost 22 pounds, beat the bloat, and she is on the way to reaching her pre-baby weight. Go, Liz!
So, what is the secret sauce?
Amazing Food. Having a collection of carefully crafted and mind-blowingly delicious recipes is one of the most important tools you need to lose weight. Food is one of the great pleasures of life, and eating needs to feel good. Eating healthy food that tastes incredible helps you reset your taste buds, build healthy habits, and keeps you excited and focused on what you are eating as opposed to what you are not eating.
Improving Your Gut Health. THIS is the golden ticket to long-term weight loss and better health. Improving your digestion is a game-changer. (Read more about this below.)
Here are the 4 key strategies that can help you start losing weight today!
To lose weight, you must have a healthy digestive system to absorb the nutrients from food, and to eliminate waste (regular bowel movements). A proper digestive tune-up typically takes about 4 to 6 weeks.
So, how can you improve your gut health?
CONSUME PROBIOTIC-PROMOTING FOODS
Your body contains both beneficial and hostile microorganisms that constantly battle for dominance. When you’re healthy, the friendly bacteria outnumber the bad. However, stress, pollutants, pesticides, preservatives, and drugs like antibiotics destroy the good bacteria, and then nasty bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites take over your gut, compromising your digestion and sapping your energy.
Eating a variety of probiotic promoting foods keeps the bacterial balance in your favor. Fermented foods such as yogurt and kefir, sauerkraut, and probiotic capsules (lactobacillus and bifido) are all good supplements. And including prebiotic foods such as leafy greens, asparagus, artichokes, garlic, and onions helps the probiotics proliferate in your gut.
COMBINE FOODS FOR BETTER DIGESTION
Food combining is an approach to eating that works on the idea that your body can only digest one concentrated food (starch or protein) at a time.
The digestion of starches (grains, potatoes, and winter squashes) require alkaline conditions, whereas the enzymes that digest proteins (meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, and seeds) work best in an acidic environment. Simplified, if you eat starches and proteins together, such as meat and potatoes, fish and chips, spaghetti and meatballs, or a cheese sandwich (popular combos many of us enjoy all the time), nothing gets digested properly.
Have you ever felt tired, bloated, had acid reflux or flatulence after you eat? Well, proper food combining normally gets rid of these common symptoms that many of us think of as a normal part of life. These annoying ailments are actually signs that your digestion is out of whack.
Good food combinations include:
- FRUIT (berries, banana, apple, pear, orange) + PROTEIN FATS (nuts, seeds, olives, avocado) and/or LEAFY GREENS (spinach, kale, chard)
- PROTEIN (meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy, nuts, seeds) + NON-STARCHY VEGETABLES (leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, carrots)
- STARCHY VEGETABLES (potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, fresh peas, and winter squashes) + NON-STARCHY VEGETABLES
- STARCHY VEGETABLES + GRAINS (rice, oats, barley, quinoa, millet)
- PROTEIN FATS + NON STARCHY VEGETABLES
DIAL-UP YOUR DIGESTION WITH SUPPLEMENTS
I’m not suggesting you break your budget by popping a ton of pills. But, supplementing your system with digestive enzymes can fast-track your digestive tune-up and your weight loss. Your body makes digestive enzymes to help it break down food into usable nutrients. But, topping up your supply ensures you properly absorb the proteins, healthy fats, carbohydrates, and other nutrients from the food you eat.
ACTION YOU CAN TAKE TODAY: Take one or two digestive enzyme capsules before or with the first bite of every meal. Using digestive enzymes has been a game-changer for Liz, and these supplements may help you improve your digestion, too.
Along with priming your gut, it’s important to feed and hydrate your body with balanced nutrition for a sustained release of energy, and to rev up your metabolism to burn excess fat and build muscle.
Your body needs a variety of nutrients in order to thrive. Quality protein, high-fiber, complex carbohydrates, plant-based fats, and a rainbow (green, yellow, orange, red, blue, brown, and white) of non-starchy vegetables deliver quality calories for better energy.
Protein is used in every cell of your body and plays a key role in regulating metabolism, blood sugar, hormone production, energy levels, and workout recovery to support weight loss. Good quality protein includes meat, poultry, fish, eggs, hemp seeds, and quinoa. Your age, weight, activity levels, and overall health determine your daily protein quota.
Healthy Fats in appropriate quantities are good for you! Certain omega fatty acids (aka “essential fats”) help your body absorb nutrients, provide energy to your cells, combat excessive inflammation, and help you lose weight. Good healthy fats include chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts, and wild salmon, cod, and sardines.
Choose quality Carbohydrates (high fiber, low sugar) in appropriate amounts, and balance your intake with other foods. Nutrient-dense, low-glycemic carbs that are full of fiber can regulate blood sugar for a sustained release of energy. Good sources of fiber include leafy greens, berries, avocado, cauliflower, cabbage, celery, nuts and seeds, and brown rice, oats, quinoa, and millet.
And Hydration is key in order for your body to get energy from food and flush out waste. Stay hydrated with a combination of beverages (water, herbal tea, juices) and high-water content foods such as leafy greens, cucumber, celery, radishes, and berries.
ACTION YOU CAN TAKE TODAY: Drink 8 glasses of filtered water each day, and download your Free Weight Loss Cookbook.
The timing of when and how much you eat is another effective weight loss strategy.
THE 3 HOUR STRATEGY
Taking in less food at regular intervals (ideally, every 3 hours), gives your body a chance to assimilate nutrients and generate energy more efficiently. There are also psychological and emotional benefits to the 3-hour strategy! Generally, when you tell yourself you will eat every 3 hours, it reduces the anxiety caused by the thought of not being able to eat, and it feels doable to eat less at each pit-stop.
Intermittent fasting (IF) gives your body a break from digestion in order to efficiently absorb and eliminate the foods while aiding weight loss. There are several different kinds of intermittent fasting. A gentle kind of IF is the practice of eating within a 10 or 8-hour window such as 8 AM or 10 AM to 6 PM. If the term “fasting” freaks you out, remember that you are “fasting” every day when you sleep, and with breakfast (break-fast), you begin your eating cycle. With IF, you’re consciously making fasting work even better for you!
ACTION YOU CAN TAKE TODAY: Eat dinner as early as possible and stop eating at least 3 hours before you go to sleep each night. This will help you digest your dinner meal better.
Turning off stress, and getting quality rest and sleep gives you more energy to move and exercise, which helps rev up your metabolism, which is one of the keys to sustainable weight loss.
TURN OFF STRESS, AND SLEEP
When and what you eat during the day affects your quality of rest and sleep. Consuming fewer carbohydrates (sugars/acids) and more alkaline-forming foods (to neutralize the sugars/acids) with other key nutrients, particularly at dinnertime, is another game-changer with regards to better health and weight management.
THE CALCIUM AND MAGNESIUM RELATIONSHIP.
These two minerals work together for better energy flow. Calcium keeps energy in the cells to help your muscles contract, and magnesium is a natural relaxant that goes into your cells to push energy out and turn down your body’s “fight or flight” response.
Your calcium intake should match your magnesium levels. So, make sure that you assess both minerals with your practitioner. If you have too much calcium and not enough magnesium, your body can stay in a state of stress for too long and can mess with your digestion and metabolism; which can retard your weight loss.
Quality calcium is in wild salmon, cod, and sardines, canned salmon with bones, sesame seeds and tahini, cooked leafy greens, and cruciferous vegetables. Quality magnesium is found in almonds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds; cooked spinach and chard; cooked quinoa or millet; and cacao nibs and dark chocolate.
Make an appointment with your practitioner to have some tests done to evaluate your calcium and magnesium levels. If you’re not getting in enough magnesium with food, consider (in consultation with your doctor) taking a supplement before bed or after workouts.
MOVE FOR MOMENTUM
And the last piece to win the weight loss war is movement and exercise. Your metabolism can’t move if you don’t move. Movement aids better digestion, body composition, mood, and sleep, and gives you more energy. Walking, hiking, running, cycling, dancing, or stretching outdoors is ideal. If you’re not exercising, start with some gentle movement like walking or stretching, and slowly ramp up to build your strength and stamina.
ACTION YOU CAN TAKE TODAY: Seize every opportunity to move.
- Do some gentle stretches when you wake up and before you go to bed.
- Take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator.
- Walk or cycle to your destination instead of driving.
- Park a bit further from your destination so you have to walk more.
- Set a timer every hour, and get up and walk around the block for 5 minutes.
- Walk your dog one extra time each day.
- Work at a standing desk instead of a sitting desk.
Looking to build some good new habits? Good or bad, habits require repetition. Once they become habitual, they become automatic! They no longer require extra thought—we simply do them. Embrace these 10 habits to really change your life! Get your free printable here.
SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS.
Are you feeling overwhelmed, and unsure about how to use this information?
Here’s what to do next:
1. Make an appointment with your doctor and get blood panels and tests to evaluate your current state of health, and set a benchmark for progress.
2. Set clear and actionable weight-loss goals.
3. Start the Skinny60™. This proven weight-loss system gives you all the tools and recipes you need to get real results: Lose Weight, Improve Your Digestion, and Achieve Better Health.
My team of dietitians and I will support you every step of the way, and keep you on track so that you can lose the weight you’ve been dreaming of shedding, and never find it again! Start Losing Weight Now.
If you’re worried about keeping up with the new change in habits during the Skinny60 Program (when left to your own devices), grab this beautiful free habits printable to hang up on your fridge or bathroom mirror that will remind you of your ultimate goal – to feel good and live a healthful life!