Are you eating healthy but not losing weight?
How this one ingredient can make it impossible to lose weight.
What if there was something hiding out in almost every food you ate that is making it extremely difficult to lose weight?
Three days before New Years Eve, I was diagnosed with Candida albicans by my naturopathic and medical doctor (we did a poop test, so yes, the diagnosis is official). I sat in her office, and just kind of stared at her. Candida? Yeast? Hm… sounds like a bunch of hoopla. She explained that Candida albicans is a yeast that lives in everyone’s gut, but it can easily get out of balance and there can be an overgrowth of it in the gut or other places in the body. Oh yea, and it feeds on sugar.
I typically don’t indulge in sweets. Sure I’d have some dark chocolate covered berries from Trader Joe’s or have a gluten free cupcake on my birthday… And then there’s the champaign during Thanksgiving and other celebrations. I don’t sit around eating double stuffed oreos or drinking colas so I never considered sugar intake as an issue. Until I cut it out of my diet. Holy moly… Let’s just say I didn’t last very long. I dived into that pineapple as fast as I could. I danced around my kitchen, eating bananas and apples dipped in raw almond butter. I had sweet potatoes, green juices (which have a lot of fruit sugar), gluten free pasta, and my favorite… gluten and dairy free pizza. That was a wake up call. Sometimes we think we are eating healthy, but really we are still indulging in the very foods that can deteriorate our health. “But I only eat processed foods and sweets in moderation,” I told myself. The thing was, I was eating sugar all over the place, with every meal, with every snack. Sneaky son of a gun. Even if it is in the form of fruit. This oftentimes kept my diet from having variety, and I wasn’t getting enough protein, fats and vegetables. I was completely unaware of it.
So how does sugar keep you from losing weight? Sugar and carbohydrates raise and lower your blood sugar rapidly. Once your blood sugar drops, guess what you crave. Sugar! Your body will be confused and you will think you’re hungry, when really you are experiencing a sugar craving. So you eat when you’re body is not truly hungry. On another note, we use sugar to self medicate. Sugar gives us a hit of energy and pleasure. Ideal for when we are stressed out. Except there’s a crash, which keeps us reaching for more. This vicious cycle is addictive and can be extremely difficult to stop. When we cut out the food we use to self medicate (and trust me, most people are medicating with food in one way or another, conscious or unconscious), we get cranky, moody, have anxiety, and feel super crappy. This is not just a simple decision of putting the fork down and choosing to eat green veggies. Eating less sugar and unhealthy foods, or completely cutting them out of your diet can feel like going off of a drug. Furthermore, when sugar is not burned as fuel in the body, it turns into fat and is stored in the cells of your body. This is why you’re not losing weight.
“No matter who you are, no matter what you did, no matter where you’ve come from, you can always change, become a better version of yourself.” Modanna
Let me share with you my top tips for getting started:
1. Add healthy protein and fats to your diet. Offset carbohydrate and sugar intake with organic coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil. I cook with coconut oil and the coconut flavor is typically very mild or non-recognizable. I also add a tablespoon or more of coconut oil to my morning smoothies. Avocados, organic/free range chicken or turkey, nuts and seeds, almond butter, extra virgin olive oil, eggs are other healthy forms of protein and fats.
2. Avoid sugar in beverages. If you like almond milk, or other nut and seed milks, get the unsweetened variety. Make your own lemonade (freshly squeezed lemon in sparkling water with a little stevia).
3. Check labels. The sugar content in some foods will shock you. I remember trying to buy pre-made green tea by a reputable brand and seeing 8 grams of sugar in each serving. Sauces, salad dressings, any processed food can be high in sugar content.
4. Switch to stevia. I steer clear of sweeteners I once considered healthy, like raw honey and agave. Small amounts of these things are okay, but I typically skip them altogether. When buying stevia, make sure the ingredient label only lists organic stevia.
One out of three Americans have Candida overgrowth in their bodies, there will be more on Candida in my next post.