The word “diet” really just means intake. There are good diets and bad diets: just food intake in different ways. Everyone has a diet because everyone consumes food. This word really does not needs to have negative actions attached to it, like calorie restriction or unhealthy weight loss. Think of “diet” as the act of eating, not necessarily as the act of eating healthy.

In this blog, I will make a few assumptions of you, I will assume that you know:

  1. Added sugar is the cause of metabolic syndromes that results in obesity due to the high amounts of sugar rapidly being released into the blood stream

  2. Natural sugars in fruits do not cause the same health issues as added sugars in processed foods

  3. Consuming fat does not make you gain weight

  4. Plant based diets are more healthy than animal products

  5. Fresh foods are more healthy than canned, processed, refined foods

  6. Eating more fruits and vegetables increase your fiber and provides your body with many needed vitamins and nutrients

  7.  Hydration is necessary for more than just quenching thirst

Let’s get right to it! Here are 5 scientifically grounded ways to get your diet back on track!

5 Diet Hacks for Weight loss

  1. Crowding (Consuming sugar crowds out nutrient dense foods)- The term “crowding” comes from the idea that you will eat so many sugary foods that there will be no room left for the good foods; the sugar is actually crowding out the room you could use for good nutrition. Your stomach can only process around 500 calories at a time, we need to use that space wisely. Foods that are high in sugar are usually high in calories also. If you are accustomed to eating foods with added sugar, you may fill up on them and have less desire to eat nutrient dense foods. Think about that cup of fancy coffee with cream and sugar you had for breakfast; that was likely 300-500 calories. Those calories could have been spent on a breakfast item with protein that would keep you fuller for longer.

  2. Reverse Crowding (add, don’t take away)- If the idea of switching your breakfast coffee out for an actually healthy breakfast is a little to intense for you, lets look at crowding in a different way; reverse crowding! Instead of thinking of all the things that you cannot have or should not have, think of all the things that you can have and should have. Add those things to your meals and try to eat them first. If you are still going to have that cup of coffee, try adding a bowl of whole grain oats or a low glycemic fruit before the coffee. Add an extra vegetable to your lunch and dinner, eat them first and you may find yourself crowding out the other less nutrient foods. You may be so full with good nutrition that your appetite for sugary foods will decrease.

  3. Hydration– The science of drinking enough fluids is much more complex and scientific than we may think. Many things affect our hydration including activity level, kidney function, diet, climate, geographic location and fitness level. It is worth your time to take a few minutes right now and check out my hydration blog (or book mark it for later) to help you understand the important role fluids play in our health. The proper amount of hydration has direct effects on the function of our hearts by keeping blood thin enough to pump nutrition our organs and muscles. The body does strictly regulate fluid and does trigger a hunger like response to remind us to drink more liquid. Unfortunately we often misunderstand that for hunger and instead we over eat. Try drinking a glass of water before a meal and allowing your body time to turn of the hunger sensation before eating. This will decrease your risk of over eating.

  4. Glycemic Index and Pairing Foods

    • Quick explanation of the Glycemix Index: The index measures how much sugar goes into the blood stream at what rate for each food consumed. Food enters into the stomach, gets absorbed and then is moved into the blood stream. The blood moves it to places that it needs to go, but the blood stream can only take so much sugar at a time without needing added insulin to help usher it out to other sites (muscles). The longer sugar is in the blood the more damage it does. The index is a tool to help us regulate how much sugar is going to be dumped into the blood stream for each thing we eat.

    • Sugar Spikes: A large amount of sugar in a short period of time entering the blood stream is called a spike. Spikes on their own do damage to the lining of the arteries, but they also elicit a response from the endocrine system. With every spike, the body releases the hormone insulin, which stores the sugar into fat if you are not exercising. The body always over responds with the insulin to be sure, but that causes a drop in blood sugar just as rapid as the spike. The drop also elicits a response from the endocrine system. This time it releases a hormone called leptin that causes you to feel hungry again. Blood sugar spikes cause sugar to be converted to fat storage and causes you to feel hungry even though you just consumed a bunch of calories.

    • Prevent Blood Sugar Spikes with Food Pairings: Fats and proteins are absorbed slower and so they slow the rate of absorption of sugar when paired together. For example an apple with peanut butter will be absorbed slower and so sugar will hit the blood stream in smaller amounts over longer times. Rice cakes are all absorbed into sugar, a fat or protein with it will slow it down and prevent spikes in blood sugar levels. Fiber is absorbed slower so eating fruits with the skins on help to decrease spikes in blood sugar. Eating slower can also help regulate blood sugar and decrease the chance of leptin being produced.

  5. Inflammation’s Role in Weight Management -Inflammation is extra swelling, or extra fluid. It can be around the joints, in the tissues and in the gastro-intestinal tract. If you have ever lost “water weight” you were most likely losing inflammation. the body becomes inflamed by reactions to free radicals, histamine  and trauma. Things like stress, lack of sleep, sugar and toxins like nicotine and alcohol cause the body to inflame and hold extra water weight. Here are a few things to do to reduce body inflammation:

    • Limit your exposure to toxins by switching to fresh or frozen instead of canned foods. Limit alcohol and tobacco use. Eat organic when able.

    • Get adequate rest. This is wen the body heals and restores. It is crucial to clearing out inflammation and decreasing diseases.

    • Stretch to allow joint inflammation to be flushed out and joints to decompress.

    • Take a minute to just be to reduce negative effects of. Breathe in and out through your nose a few times when you find that you are feeling stressed. Quiet your mind and try to reset.

In conclusion: drink water more often, add good nutrient dense fruits, veggies and whole grains and eat them before other foods, pay attention to your food pairings to make sure you always have a protein and a fat with your carbohydrates and stop eating when you are approaching fullness.