Weight management isn’t just about fitting into your favourite pair of jeans, it’s about feeling confident and at home in your body. If you’re on a healthy weight journey for whatever reason - whether it’s for better heart health, joint health, lowering chances of disease or just wanting to feel more zest for life - our naturopath has holistic tips and top picks to help with reaching and maintaining your healthy weight.
We all know it can be a challenge, so go easy on yourself. Embrace all your past learnings and honour your amazing body!
Holistic weight management
When you make consistent small changes, they stack up over time and create big results. If you take a holistic approach to your weight management plan, it’s easy to maintain and helps avoid yo-yo dieting.
Choosing what suits your personality and fits easily into your life is key. It’s important to create and sustain habits that work for you in the long term. If you go for crash dieting or the ‘quick fix’ - you might find yourself taking two steps forward, then three steps back.
There’s no magic pill (sorry)
Supplements can support a healthy weight journey, but they’re not a replacement for healthy diet and lifestyle. Consider: what might be your main challenge? Could it be cravings, low energy, motivation to exercise, stress, or even hormonal imbalances as seen in PCOS or menopause?
By identifying the block, you can implement a strategy to remove it. The suggestions below aim to help support you through common weight management blocks. But the suggestions are just that: suggestions. No pressure to adopt all of these (unless they all resonate!) because ultimately, it’s about finding what’s right and sustainable for you. That’s half the battle won.
Sweet cravings & blood sugar
We’ve likely all found ourselves at one stage on the wild ride of a sugar high – the ups, the downs, and the cravings for more. Overindulging in sugar can throw a real spanner in your weight management journey, so if this sounds familiar, addressing dietary intake of sugar would be a great place to start.
Blood sugar and cortisol, the body’s primary stress hormone, are very closely connected. When we experience stress of any kind – emotional, physical, mental – the levels of cortisol in our bodies rise in response. This triggers the release of glucose (or sugar) into the bloodstream so that we have quick energy on hand to escape our perceived threat.
It’s easy to imagine how prolonged bouts of stress can lead to blood sugar levels being thrown out of whack. When your blood sugar is unsteady, it's likely you’ll notice that you have less energy, lower moods and sweet cravings. Not the helping hand you want if you’re trying to reach a healthy weight.
To further support your blood sugar levels, there are supplements like myo-inositol and berberine. Myo-inositol in particular shows a lot of promise in supporting healthy blood sugar management, especially in cases of PCOS. Having a plan to keep your blood sugar stable could make a massive difference in helping you attain your ideal weight.
Top pick: For women’s sweet cravings
- Support for blood sugar balance – especially for women
- Hero ingredient is myo-inositol – ideal if you get sweet cravings
- Added bonus of support for mental clarity and uplift
Stress and weight
If you’ve had periods of stress, it can lead to extra fat being stored, particularly around the tummy area. Cortisol is very useful - it helps you ‘get through’ periods where you need to cope with unexpected curve balls life might throw your way. Keen to learn more? Check out this guide: Understanding stress hormones: The key players in stress management.
Long term, stress imbalances can lead to cortisol related fat deposits. The good news is healthy stress management can help. For some easy stress management tips, here’s 6 ways to stay balanced and look after yourself.
A quick, easy take away that you could implement any time is to take deeper, conscious breaths. This allows your body to notice it’s safe, which eliminates the need for excess cortisol. Rhodiola is an adaptogen herb that can support healthy cortisol balance - more on this amazing herb later.
The satisfaction factor: appetite
Finding you’re feeling hungry when you’ve eaten recently? You could be needing more protein. Protein is a ‘high satiety’ food, which means you feel fuller for longer, and need less to feel full (think nutrient dense). It also offers less calories or energy units, so it doesn’t tend to contribute towards unwanted fat storage, while supporting your blood sugar to stay balanced.
Protein, protein, protein
Getting enough protein can be tricky - it tends to take more planning and often more money spent too. Meat, eggs, fish, dairy and soy are the highest in protein, and these also take time to prepare correctly which can create yet another barrier–no judgement if you don’t have the energy to go through that at each meal.
That’s where protein powder comes in. It’s a super convenient, concentrated hit of the protein you need and can be quite cost effective per serving. You can make protein smoothies for breakfast or a snack, add it to baking to make protein muffins, or add to the milk for your cereal. Even better, protein is a great way to keep your blood sugars more stable.
Top pick: For feeling full
- Packed with protein – great for satiety
- Low in carbs for less sugar intake
- Great flavour – vanilla is one of the best protein powder flavours – it’s versatile and easy to add to foods and drinks
What about keto?
A keto (or ketogenic) diet is low in carbs, high in fat, and moderate in protein. Over time, your body runs out of carbs to use as fuel and starts using fat instead. Burning fat provides more than double the energy of protein or carbs, so this can provide a massive energy boost, while also keeping blood sugar levels steady. Sound appealing? Learn more about leading a ketogenic lifestyle here.
Exercise: an energy investment
Do you sometimes get into a cycle where you don’t have the energy to exercise, so you don’t exercise, which can affect your energy to exercise… and so on? Being stuck in a rut when it comes to moving your body is a very common barrier to finding your healthy weight.
But when it comes to movement, every little bit helps. Make sure you’re not setting the bar so high that you put yourself off. Maybe you just walk around the block if running for 30 minutes feels like too much. Maybe you even walk on the spot in your home if you don’t feel like leaving the house.
There are no rules, and your body will love the opportunity to get its muscles pumping and blood flowing. What’s important is consistency. Once you’re in the habit, you’ll notice that it’s much easier to ‘get in the zone’ and exercise. Your body may even start craving those mood-boosting endorphins!
A supplement that can support finding that initial get up and go – as well as support healthy recovery from exercise – is adaptogenic herb Rhodiola rosea. It supports physical energy and endurance. It also supports mood and motivation too – so it’s ideal if you feel you need a helping hand. Whether it’s motivation and/or energy support you’re after.
Top pick: For energy & motivation to exercise
- High quality Rhodiola extract to support physical energy and endurance
- Supports stress hormone balance – great if you tend to carry extra weight around the middle
- Supports happy mood and motivation – great if you struggle with motivation to exercise
Menopause and weight
If you’ve reached that stage, you know that changes with hormones affect fat deposits – and it can change your metabolic rate too. It may mean you need to pay more attention to things like blood sugar balance and regular exercise, especially the weight bearing variety. Weight bearing exercise builds muscle which sustains a healthy metabolic rate (even at rest!), as well as creating conditions where bones can build strength.
Supporting healthy bone density is an important thing to consider post-menopause, so don’t be shy about lifting some weights. Taking herbal support for menopause can also be a great addition. Menopause herbs like Black cohosh can support balance for hormones that regulate appetite too. Not to mention, it supports mood, calmness, temperature regulation and sleep. See my top pick below which covers all these bases, it’s an impressive formula.
Top pick: For menopause weight management
- 5 ingredients cover lots of bases – temperature regulation, mood, stress and sleep support
- Black cohosh supports balance of hormones related to appetite
- Added chromium for blood sugar balance
Remember: life is a marathon, not a sprint. By finding habits that you can stick to long-term, you will have the best chance of reaching your goal and sustaining it. Especially if you can identify your past challenges and use them as learnings. There is nothing more beautiful than the glow of healthy confidence and self-love. With time and the right support, you will get there.