“Liberty is to the collective body, what health is to the individual body. Without health no pleasure can be tasted by man; without liberty no happiness can be enjoyed by society.” – Thomas Jefferson
Maintaining the ideal weight is always a challenge for most of us. The period of time from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day increases the challenge. This newsletter will answer the question, “What can I do to help keep the pounds off at this time of year, and still enjoy the holidays?”
Most people are going to eat foods (or more food) during the holidays they might not eat at other times of the year. The body gives signals when it is full. So, the question becomes, “What can I do to not miss or override those signals? What is it that causes me to have cravings I can’t control?”
A complex system exists between the stomach, intestines and brain to let us know when we are hungry, when we are full, the release of pleasurable feelings, and the regulation of metabolism. Rather than talk about the pathway I am going to suggest 8 things that will help you control those signals. When you control those signals it is called “will power.” In other words, will power is not simply force of will; it is doing the things that allow us to control the messages between the gut and the brain.
So, without further delay, here is my “Lucky 8” list of things you can do to prevent out of control weight gain during the holiday season.
- Control your stress levels. Stress can lead to cravings and overeating. Not only can you participate in stress lowering activities like yoga, tai-
chi, meditation, exercise, and chi gong; you can also take adrenal nutritional support. The adrenal glands produce hormones that calm stress responses.
- Know your food allergies and sensitivities. When you eat foods your body does not like, then you are much likelier to gain weight. I can quickly test you for these. More extensive blood testing is available from naturopaths.
- Know your fats! Good fats like omega 3 oils found in meat that is raised in free roaming fashion, fish, nuts and seeds, and oils like olive oil and coconut oil maintain balance in the body. Hydrogenated oils and oxidized fats that have been cooked at a high temperature will increase weight gain. So, avoid the deep fried foods, especially.
- Avoid soda pop! Diet pops have artificial sweeteners that damage the nervous system. Regular soda has enough sugar to trick the brain into craving more sugar. Soda pop also draws calcium from the bones, and the caffeine can also cause blood sugar imbalances.
Enough of the things you shouldn’t do. The list ends with 4 proactive things you can do.
- Exercise burns fat and increases lean muscle mass which burns fat. It also decreases the body’s need for insulin. It encourages glucose transport which will help balance blood sugar and cravings.
- Eat more fiber. Great sources of nutritious fiber are apples, coconuts, flax and chia seeds, rice bran, and green vegetables. They provide a fuller feeling and reduce the appetite. Protein shakes may be a good way to end or begin a meal to curb hunger signals.
- Recent studies have shown that higher Vitamin D3 levels correlate to the ability to lose weight. The past few years recommended doses of D3 have increased from 2000 IU/day to up to 10,000 IU/day by many reputable researchers and nutritionists. I always recommend getting tested for your D3 level before beginning supplementation.
- Finally, get adjusted. The chiropractic adjustment is an art form that gives new information to the brain. The brain then has the chance to view the world around it in a different way. With a clear functioning nervous system we are much more likely to make good eating decisions.
Chiropractic is a lifestyle that will help you to get through the holidays in the same, or better, shape than you started them.
Let’s remember that the holidays should be joyous time. Enjoy yourself, but set into motion practices that will insure that the joy will be long lasting, not just a momentary food induced euphoria.
As Louis Pasteur said, “Fortune favors the prepared mind.”