It’s the New Year and you’re ready to get started on your resolution to lose weight and look your best this year. Unfortunately, most people fall short on their new goals before the end of the month and research shows only 5% lose weight and hold it off for the full year. Why is it so difficult to lose weight and keep it off?
One of the most common reasons that people fall short of their goals is they start too big. If you want to lose 30 pounds, that is a great long-term goal, but not realistic in the short-term. Rather than focusing on the small steps that are achievable, you set yourself up for failure by focusing only on the finish line.
This New Year, start by changing a few small habits and let the positive momentum build in your favor.
If weight loss if your goal, here is your first resolution… adopt a low-carb breakfast. You don’t realize it, but you’re likely sabotaging your fat-burning ability right from the start of the day. That’s right, your breakfast might be a big reason why you struggle to lose weight! The typical Western breakfast of cereal, muesli or oatmeal might be alright for someone who is fit and lean (although I would still question if that is the “best” approach), but if you’re stuck and can’t lose weight than look no further than your breakfast plate to get things back on the right track.
Why does your first meal of the day impact your waistline so much?
If you’re overweight, out of shape, or in poor health your ability to process carbohydrates (e.g. blood sugars) effectively is compromised. This means that for every high carb meal you eat, must pump out greater and greater amounts of the blood sugar hormone insulin to process that meal. This inhibits your capacity to burn fat and is harmful to your overall health. The more overweight you are, the worse your insulin sensitivity, the more detrimental a high-carb meal (i.e. breakfast).
New research shows that chronically high blood sugar levels and poor insulin sensitivity contribute to increased risk of weight gain diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, depression, dementia and alzheimer’s.1,2,3 Shifting your diet to improve blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity will not only go a long way to helping you lose weight, but also help keep you fit and healthy into your golden years.4
Ditch your high-carb breakfast in favor of high-protein and high-fat alternatives. For example, poached eggs with avocado and cherry tomatoes or plain yogurt with berries and walnuts are great breakfast options, even if you’re busy and on the go. If you prefer breakfast smoothies, be sure to add 30-40g of protein along with a source of dietary fat (e.g. avocado or coconut oil) while keeping fruit to a minimum (i.e. ½ cup). Remember, use water as the base for your smoothie, rather than juice, to keep the carb count to a minimum.
This New Year, start by making small changes that you can sustain over the long run. Building “habits” will enable you to achieve your weight loss and “better body” resolution this year. Simply shift your breakfast from a high-carb to low-carb meal and you’ll be amazed how satiated and energetic your feel to start your day!
Enjoy your transformation this year!
Dr. Marc Bubbs ND, CISSN, CSCS
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1) Timonen. M et al. Insulin resistance and depressive symptoms in young adult males: Findings from Finnish military conscripts. Psychosom Med 69(8):723-28.
2) Selvin. Meta-analysis: glycosylated hemoglobin and cardiovascular disease in diabetes mellitus. Ann Intern Med. 2004;141:421-31.
3) Mavros Y et al. Changes in Insulin Resistance and HbA1c Are Related to Exercise-Mediated Changes in Body Composition in Older Adults With Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes Care. March 8th, 2013.
4) Paoliet al. Effect of ketogenic Mediterranean diet with phytoextracts and low carbohydrates/high-protein meals on weight, cardiovascular risk factors, body composition and diet compliance in Italian council employees. Nutr J 2011 Oct 12;10:112.