In this series of eight articles on weight loss, my goal has been to provide valuable new perspectives for your particular weight loss needs.
I began with an explanation of surgical weight loss methods (more to scare you away from that choice) and then I covered these topics: the mindset and psychology for successful weight loss; the foods, herbs and nutrient supplements for weight loss; the hCG weight loss protocol; your hormones that contribute to weight gain that need to be balanced; and, most recently, the blood or saliva tests and self-assessments to help you uncover causes of abnormal weight gain. In this final this article I’ll offer some of my personal experiences guiding patients with weight loss and give 22 weight loss tips as a summary of my recommendations. (Links to the other articles in the series can be found below).
Why patients succeed or fail
I can secretly predict the patient who will successfully lose weight and keep it off—and the one who will struggle and eventually fail. As harsh as that may sound, when I get to know a potential weight loss client—their personality and medical history—I sort of know what to expect. Let me explain the red flags I detect in those who will succeed and who will surely struggle.
I find that men lose weight more easily than women. My impression for why stems from a few observations.
First, a man has much more natural testosterone than a woman. Testosterone is the hormone of lean muscle and athleticism. Second, a man reacts less emotionally than a woman to being overweight; it is not at his core of self-esteem and self-value. Therefore, he will consistently generate less stress hormone (cortisol), the hormone that promotes belly fat storage. Third, a man can body build for muscle bulk and strength to compensate for his fat bulges, but a woman is forced to build lean, toned muscles carefully without bulking up. This is why I recommend and take more care with assisting a woman’s weight loss efforts.
Furthermore, a history of educational, career or some other personal achievement indicates a person can commit to the lifestyle changes needed to lose weight. Whereas persistent financial worries (whether rich or poor), problematic relationships (including feeling stuck in an unhappy marriage), or difficulty with personal goal-setting/personal achievement are red flags for impending challenges, I often find that people with these issues either feel consumed with their unsatisfactory appearance or they hide their hopelessness despite their apparent interest in weight loss.
Of course any of these red flag character traits can be overcome with great coaching. When fear is eliminated and a self-love is instilled, I have seen miracles of change that translates into sustained weight loss.
Dr. Cutler’s 22 weight loss tips
I’d like to leave you with this summary of most important weight loss intervention tips to consider:
- Be accountable. When you are accountable for your health-related choices so far in life without guilt or shame, you can address weight loss with confidence and clarity.
- Practice the law of attraction through your words and thoughts. What you think about and speak about… and feel about, you bring about. Therefore, be careful of what you say, and focus on what you desire (don’t talk about what frustrates you or the bad news, etc.) and you will bring more of what is wanted into your life.
- Learn how to effectively handle your stress. If you are a worrier you should learn stress-reduction techniques or get professional help. Don’t let this behavior push you into a cortisol-roller coaster pattern that promotes belly fat. Remember, stress triggers cortisol which increases blood sugar which causes insulin secretion, and sugar not used gets stored as fat… mostly visceral abdominal fat.
- Get the sleep you need. Not only does this make sense for health, but your hormones (including cortisol levels) will thank you. Melatonin works in opposition to cortisol secretion. You can even supplement with melatonin at bedtime if you need (begin at 1mg, later maximum 5mg).
- Learn how to enjoy whole foods, mostly raw. This is scientifically-based, but does not take a scientist to learn. The more nutrient-rich the food (that is food high in micronutrients like fiber, healthy oil, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals while being low in calories) the more of it you can enjoy and still promote your own optimal biochemical processes. This includes protein foods like tuna, chicken, beans and plain yogurt to feel full longer. It takes learning (online Google searches, YouTube, etc.) and then practice!
- Clean out your refrigerator and pantry. Everything that has sugar or high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) or similar refined sugars in the first three ingredients on the label is clearly NOT a nutrient-rich food. Everything with trans-fats and artificial sweeteners and that comes in a package/can/box/container off the shelf is not going to promote weight loss. Soda, sugary drink and, sports drinks can be replaced with fresh lime-aid (fresh juice from 1 lime plus stevia in 16 oz. water, with ice), fresh juice, herbal teas or water.
- Display healthy foods and be prepared for hunger. Because you’ll always need to eat, find nutrient-rich whole food replacements for all the ones you cleaned out. Keep these in clear view: fruits, nuts and certain vegetables. In the refrigerator: carrot sticks, snap peas, pepper slices, mini tomatoes, broccoli, cucumbers, kefir, feta or blue cheese chunks, lean meat slices, lime-aid, fresh smoothies, etc. Have salad buffet ingredients ready to throw together with a low-sugar natural dressing. Stay prepared with regular meals to avoid crash eating.
- Eat a breakfast low in carbohydrates and sugars. Consider eggs with veggies; fruit and nut smoothies; and oatmeal. For beverages, fresh juicing, tea or coffee works best. Avoid sweet cereals, pancakes, toast and jam, bagels, yogurt with sugar or other sweet carb breakfasts so you don’t run into sweet/bread cravings later in the day.
- Hydrate before your meals. One to two cups of tea or water lowers your appetite when you start your meal, giving you more appetite control and your brain time to determine fullness. Tea after your meal is filling with almost no calorie nutrients.
- Practice conscious eating. Force yourself to chew each bite and enjoy the flavor. This allows your brain the 20 minutes or more needed to register that you are full.
- Travel with healthy snacks. This includes to and from work, shopping or leisure. Keep almonds or any other vegan protein bar so you don’t stop for fast food. Dark chocolate is great, but be aware of refined sugar in the ingredients list.
- Don’t eat after 6 p.m. This one simple step really works to drop excess weight.
- Enlist your family/housemates. Why? Making changes in the kitchen stick much better when you make a clean break together with others you live with.
- When in doubt, spit it back out. Here’s a trick I learned that works to help one enjoy unhealthy food without ingesting it: bite into and slowly chew that tasty dessert for up to 15 seconds; savor the taste but spit it out with saliva. It works!
- Walk or do some movement daily. Pick the distant parking spot and walk in to work, the store, etc. Have “walking meetings” rather than sitting in the office all day. Take stairs when you can. Stand instead of sitting at home or work whenever possible. Diversify your workout: do cardio and strength-training to vary muscle groups.
- Weigh yourself, but not daily. Avoid the worry of fluid retention that varies your weight daily. This is not fat gain. Only a real weight trend is important to know.
- Cleanse your toxic environment. Which medications, xenobiotics (in personal care products) or other exposures are contributing to your abnormal cellular communication or hormone function? Do you deserve to do a liver-bile system cleanse?
- Intestinal health. After a liquid cleanse, optimize intestinal health with probiotics (supplements or drink plain kefir daily) and digestive enzymes, along with nutrient-rich, low sugar nutrition.
- Blood tests. As described in my previous article, have blood test done for blood glucose, cholesterol and leptin. Next have hormones measured and balanced if needed, including salivary cortisol and melatonin, and look into your stress-cortisol-abdominal fat connection.
- Use supplements. There are several to choose from (More weight loss interventions that work ), so be smart and aim for slow continuous weight loss 1-2 lbs per week.
- Consider FDA-approved drugs or surgery. Weight loss medications, beta glucan or even bariatric surgery are always an option.
- Indulge occasionally. Finally, remember that you deserve to feel good and love life. Indulge wisely from time to time with a happy heart.
To your successful permanent weight loss and feeling good,
Michael Cutler, M.D.
Easy Health Options
Previous articles in this series:
“The ABCs of weight loss surgery”
“Weight loss interventions that work”
“Foods and medicines for weight loss”
“More weight loss interventions that work”
“Does the hCG weight loss method work?”
“Unnatural chemicals and medications make you fat”
“Hormone imbalance has a profound effect on your weight
“Self-assessment and lab tests that reveal underlying causes of weight gain”