What do you think of when you think about losing weight? Do you imagine small servings of bland food? Trudging through the day deprived of your favourite treats? Perhaps you think of the latest diet trend you’ve seen advertised?
Would you be surprised to learn you can lose weight eating better quality, more delicious food than you probably ate today?
Quality Over Quantity
Instead of focusing on restricting calories, practitioners of functional medicine like Dr. Dominique Fradin Read focus on quality. High-quality foods include whole grains, nuts and seeds, fresh fruits and vegetables, and minimally processed meat, fish, eggs, and dairy.
High-quality foods have more anti-inflammatory vitamins, more minerals, and can contribute to a healthy gut biome (microorganisms in the intestines that help to properly digest and absorb nutrients.) By comparison, low-quality foods like refined carbohydrates, highly processed foods, and sugar are dense in calories but poor in nutrition, and more likely to cause inflammation and an imbalanced microbiome.
The common advice to reduce calories assumes that you are eating mostly low-quality calories. Studies suggest this assumption is correct, for most people. However, when one study asked participants to avoid low-quality foods and to focus on eating only high-quality, whole foods, those who were most successful at losing weight said this focus had “changed their relationship with food.” By shifting the focus to food quality, rather than restricting quantity, they shifted other behaviours, such as cooking at home more and eating with family instead of in the car or in front of the tv.
Small Changes Over Time
A healthy strategy for losing weight balances good nutrition, physical activity, and a plan for behavioral change to keep you moving in the direction of your goals. Most people over-estimate what they can do in a week, and under-estimate what they can do in a year. If you lose one pound every week, it might take five weeks before you could be sure of the change taking place. However, by the end of one year you would lose over 50 pounds!
Behavioural changes can be difficult to establish, as they evolved in the context of your current social, cultural, and physical environment. A specialist in weight loss may help you to evaluate which parts of your environments, routines, and habits need to change to support your progress toward better health.
What would it take to change your relationship with food? Are there certain meals or certain situations which prompt you to chose low-quality foods? Imagine the highest-quality meal you could have in its place. By replacing poor-quality food with high-quality, real food, you’ll lose weight while enjoying an abundance of delicious food every day.