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Don't resolve to lose weight this year.

by Dr. Kate Rheaume-Bleue, N.D.

Losing weight continues to be the single most popular New Year’s resolution. If you discuss weight loss strategies enough, eventually someone will pipe up and say, often rather smugly, “Losing weight is just a matter of eating less and exercising more”. For the people who struggle to lose weight the most this is simply not true. For most of us eating less and exercising more sends a powerful, primal message to the body: I’m looking for food and can’t find it. The body quickly goes into famine mode, slowing your metabolism. When you eventually go “off” the diet all the weight comes back and more. Sound familiar?

Ironically the more you repeat this cycle the more your efforts to lose weight end up conditioning the body to retain and even gain weight. But there is a way to break this cycle. This year, instead of trying to lose weight, resolve to balance blood sugar and you will find weight loss follows.

Cravings are the great downfall of most slimming efforts and these are driven by blood sugar swings. It’s usually pretty easy to have a balanced breakfast and even enjoy the healthy lunch you packed. But by 3 pm you may struggle with the urge for an afternoon pick-me-up, like coffee and a muffin. If you can resist that then by dinnertime you could be ravenous or find the need to nosh between supper and bedtime is irresistible. All of this is driven by blood glucose fluctuations.

Overcoming cravings is not a matter of willpower, but you can actually eliminate them and lessen your hunger in general by filling up on blood sugar balancing soluble fibre, along with equally satiating protein and fat. This means avoiding the obvious baddies like white flour, sugar and highly processed fare. Instead you can enjoy larger portions of vegetables, legumes and fruit along with meat, poultry, fish, eggs and full fat yogurt and cheese. A well-balanced meal should keep you feeling full for four to five hours

Blood sugar control is an entirely new health goal for most people, so it is removed from the years of emotionally charged weigh-ins and portion control. No need for blood tests, either. You’ll know you are on the right track when cravings for sweet and starchy foods are gone – which is when the weight loss starts, by the way. Happy New Year, indeed!