Weight-Loss Strategies: Is It Better to Eat Less or Exercise More?

Eat less, exercise more. You’ve probably heard that’s the secret to weight loss. So, it makes sense that if you want to lose weight quickly, or if you’ve hit a weight-loss plateau, you need to really ramp up the exercise, right?

Unfortunately, many people experience frustration with this approach. Why aren’t they successful? Research suggests that weight loss can be more complex than a simple “calories in/calories out” formula. In fact, our hormones play a larger role in regulating our metabolism than many people realize. As a result, maintaining a diet that encourages hormonal balance is often more effective than hours of exercise.

Why Exercise Can’t Make Up for a Bad Diet

Consider a woman training for a 10-K race. She runs from half an hour to an hour every day. With all of that exercise, she figures she should be losing weight and should be able to treat herself every so often. However, she’s plagued by some remaining pounds that she just can’t shake.

What’s happening? Let’s take a look at the math. As a 140-pound woman, she burns about 300 calories in a 30-minute run. And that’s fantastic! In addition to the calorie loss, she experiences cardio health, mood elevation, and countless other benefits (including a sense of accomplishment!) from her runs.

However, those 300 calories are a lot easier to consume than they are to burn. Simply put, she can consume 300 calories by eating a small bagel or sipping on a sweet coffee drink.

In fact, studies have shown that exercising often leads to an increase in food consumption. Some of this effect may be due to our hormones’ impacts on appetite, and some of it simply might be because we tend to tell ourselves (often subconsciously) that we deserve more food after a workout.

The Science Of Exercise And Appetite

Interestingly, one study found that a modest amount of exercise (about 30 minutes a day) is more effective for losing body fat than longer periods of working out. One reason for this might be that our everyday movement (the things we do normally that are not related to formal exercise) may decrease if we’re tired from a long workout. As well, the hormones that stimulate our appetite may increase when our bodies are overstressed.

What does this mean for your weight-loss efforts? All told, scientists have concluded that diet is more effective than exercise for weight loss. However, the best approach combines the two. That’s because it’s important not to dismiss exercise’s role. Working out can improve your metabolism, particularly if you add strength training to your routine. And, of course, – exercise offers countless other benefits, from better skin to improved digestion to deeper sleep. It’s an important part of a healthy, balanced life.

The Most Effective Formula For Weight Loss

So, what is the ideal weight loss formula? The best approach is one that reflects your unique health profile. Your age, gender, overall health and lifestyle all impact your metabolism. That’s why it’s important to work with your healthcare practitioner to develop a strategy that works for you and to make sure there isn’t something else going on that’s sabotaging your ability to reach your weight loss goals.

Breaking a Plateau – Tips for Success

A few simple changes can help you make the most of the “diet” part of the equation so that you experience the weight-loss benefits of both diet and exercise.

1. Experiment with intermittent fasting to find a fasting schedule that works for you.

Intermittent fasting involves integrating scheduled periods of abstaining from food. There are many different approaches you could try. To name a few popular examples, some people eat regular meals five days a week and fast for the other two. And many people follow an “8-16” schedule, in which they eat for eight hours a day (for example, 10:00 to 6:00), then fast for 16 hours.

Studies have found that the effectiveness of these periods of fasting goes beyond the missed calories because of the effect on your hormones – for example, periods of not eating can help keep insulin levels in check. When your food is digested in your gut, carbs are converted to sugar and used for energy. But excess sugar is stored as fat, with the help of insulin. If your insulin levels drop, fat cells can release this stored sugar. In addition, fasting can elevate your levels of human growth hormone (HGH) which can lead to muscle growth and fat loss.

2. Keep a food diary.

One strategy that has been proven effective for weight loss is to carefully monitor what you’re eating in a food diary. Making this a habit can help prevent the tendency many of us have to overcompensate for an exercise session or grab a quick snack without realizing the extra intake and its effect.

3. Focus on natural, nutrient-dense whole foods.

When you want to get the most nutrient value from the foods you eat, “clean” eating is the best approach. Often when people hit plateaus in their weight-loss efforts, hormone imbalances are to blame. And that means that no amount of extra exercise will help break the plateau. Nutrient-dense foods are full of vitamins and minerals that can help restore hormonal balance. So try cutting out processed foods, refined sugar, and alcohol in favour of whole foods.

Understanding how your unique body is working involves testing, not just guessing, and this holds true for weight loss. Maybe it’s a hormonal imbalance or food sensitivities that are impacting your body’s ability to metabolize food properly and stay slim.

As always, a personalized approach will be the most effective. If you’ve hit a weight-loss plateau, or if you’re wondering how to achieve the right balance between diet and exercise, give our office a call!

resources
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Fall Allergy Relief the Natural Way

Are you excited for fall? Many people love the vibrant colours of this beautiful season. It’s a time to get out our cozy sweaters, enjoy the crisp fall air, and for some people, sneeze a lot. Yes, unfortunately, many people experience watery eyes, sinus pain and other allergy symptoms when fall arrives. This annoying phenomenon can occur even if you made it through spring without sneezing.

That’s because even though the symptoms of fall and spring allergies are the same, the triggers are different. So it’s definitely possible to enjoy one season allergy-free but suffer through another. And because there are more culprits to blame for fall allergies, many people experience the adverse effects.

The good news is that fall allergies can be avoided. In fact, new research in immunotherapy and nutrition has made it easier than ever to get through autumn sneeze-free.

THE SYMPTOMS OF FALL ALLERGIES

We tend to hear more about spring allergies, but fall allergies can be just as unpleasant. Symptoms often include:
● Sneezing
● Runny nose
● Itchy or watery eyes
● Headaches
● Sinus pain or pressure
● Increased asthma symptoms

These symptoms can appear when you’re exposed to an airborne allergy trigger. Common sense would suggest that the best solution may be to avoid the trigger, but, of course this isn’t always possible.

Because allergies are often due to weaknesses in the adrenal, immune, or the digestive system, sometimes a more lasting – and practical – approach is to treat allergies from the inside out, by getting to the root cause within your body.

FALL ALLERGY TRIGGERS4 NATURAL WAYS TO CONTROL FALL ALLERGIES

Instead of moving to the southern hemisphere every fall, you can gain control of fall allergies by working with your body’s immune system and adapting your environment.

1. HEPA FILTER

No matter how careful you are with keeping outside pollution from getting into your home, allergens can still get into your home. After all, you have to open the door many times a day, so they can easily enter uninvited. Using an air purifier with a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter can significantly reduce airborne allergens like dust, dust mites, pollen, mould spores, and pet dander. HEPA filters trap these allergens and lock them away. If you’re particularly sensitive to allergens, it could also be helpful to use a vacuum cleaner that also has a HEPA filter so that you can allergen-proof your home even more.

2. NASAL IRRIGATION

Flushing the nose and sinus with saline solution twice a day goes a long way in ensuring that congestion-causing allergens like pollen, spores, dust and dander are expelled before they can settle in and cause the symptoms that make it hard to enjoy the change of seasons.

Since your eyes, nose, and throat are connected, nasal irrigation or using a Neti Pot is a great way to naturally remove allergens. If you choose to make your own saline solution it’s important to make sure the water you use is distilled or purified so no microorganisms are present.

3. ELIMINATION DIET

If your allergies are unbearable and the above solutions fail to provide relief, it might be time to try an elimination diet, temporarily removing common inflammatory foods to provide your gut the opportunity to heal. Optimal gut health can give your body the strength to better deal with allergens.

As well, sensitivity to airborne allergens and sensitivity to certain foods may be related. At the very least, when the body is already on high alert coping with one form of sensitivity, it can be more reactive overall, making it harder to fight off multiple allergens. The result is often a worsening of any already-present allergy symptoms.

Elimination diets can be challenging and are best implemented under the care of your integrative health team. Speak to your practitioner about whether an elimination diet could help you better manage your allergy symptoms this season.

4. NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS

Often allergies are the result of weakness or exhaustion in the adrenal, immune, or digestive system. There are a number of nutritional supplements that are known to support and strengthen each of these systems. That means you’ll be better prepared to deal with allergens when they appear.

● Bioflavonoids and Vitamin C
While onions make our eyes tear up, they also contain the bioflavonoid quercetin – a natural antihistamine – that can treat allergy-related itchy, watery eyes! Quercetin also has antiviral properties and can help reduce other symptoms including asthma, hay fever, and even cold sores. Onions aren’t the only source of quercetin; apples, berries, cruciferous vegetables like cabbage & cauliflower, and black tea are all good sources.

Bioflavonoids work best when taken with Vitamin C. That’s because they work together to amplify their effects, keeping the immune system strong and prevent the formation of histamine (rather than interfering with the histamine the body produces like over-the-counter antihistamines do).

● Probiotics (such as lactobacillus acidophilus)
When you take care of the good bacteria in your gut, your digestive system and your immunity can benefit. And a strong digestive system can combat allergies by keeping inflammation at bay. Probiotics occur naturally in fermented foods like yoghurt, kimchi and sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, pickles, and miso soup.

● Local honey
The allergens you’re exposed to in the fall will reflect the pollens that are circulating in the air where you live. Honey produced in your area can contain these same pollens (thanks to local bees). Some studies have found that consuming this honey can reduce allergy reactions, possibly because you build up immunity to the allergy-triggering pollen.

● Fish oil
Omega-3 fatty acids offer an effective defense against inflammation. Because inflammation plays a big role in allergy symptoms, fish oil, which is rich in omega-3, can help reduce those annoying autumn allergy symptoms.

● Vitamin D
Some research suggests that having low levels of Vitamin D in your body can make you more susceptible to allergies. So it may not be a coincidence that as the number of people deficient in Vitamin D has gone up, so has the number of people developing allergies.

● Zinc
You may know that zinc lozenges are great for the scratchy throat that can accompany a cold, but did you know that getting enough zinc can help reduce your allergy symptoms, too? Zinc plays an important role in how histamine is kept in check. A deficiency means that more histamine can be released throughout the body, increasing your sensitivity to allergens.

IMMUNOTHERAPY FOR ALLERGIES

This cutting-edge allergy-reduction strategy centres around exposing patients to small amounts of an allergen from their environment and gradually building up their immunity. At first glance, immunotherapy may seem counter-intuitive. Why would you willingly expose yourself to the cause of your symptoms? However, when done carefully, your body can become less sensitive to allergens and build up its natural immunity.

Many people experience lasting relief from symptoms over the course of treatment (which can often last a few months – this is a gradual, but effective, approach). Of course, immunotherapy should only be done under close supervision from an experienced healthcare provider.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Natural treatments for seasonal allergies often take longer to take effect than typical medications. So it’s wise to begin natural treatments one or two months before the season starts to help prepare your body ahead of when allergens are at their most severe.

Not sure you can wait that long for relief? Try pairing nasal irrigation or HEPA filter air purifiers with your nutritional supplement of choice for speedier results.

Just remember: good health begins in the gut and we recommend starting with ensuring your gut is balanced. If you’d like to get tested to see what imbalances you may have, what foods and allergens you may be sensitive to and get a clear picture of what’s going on so you can reduce the risk of bad allergies, give us a call we can help!

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