One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to lose weight, but only about 10% of people on a diet succeed in attaining their goals (from The Weight Battlefield by Lisa Tsakos).

Skipping meals to lose weight is a big dieting error. When you do this, your body is signalled to store fat (not burn it), and your metabolism slows down. Four to five small meals during the day is the best option for increasing your metabolism to attain weight loss.

Another big error is succumbing to low-fat food labels. Most low-fat foods are higher in calories because sweeteners are used to make them more appetizing. These foods are also typically have toxins such as artificial flavour and colors, MSG, hydrolyzed protein and nitrates, just to name a few. These toxins are detrimental to everyone and can hinder weight loss.

The best thing you can do for your health and weight is to avoid these pre-packaged foods and start making your meals from scratch using natural, good quality foods. If you have consumed many processed foods in your past consider doing a cleanse as part of your weight loss program.

Fats are often misunderstood. Healthy fats, specifically the Omega-3 essential fatty acids, are healthy and necessary for many bodily functions. In relation to weight loss, these fats can displace and help discard unhealthy fats in your body and improve circulation of essential nutrients. Any weight loss program should include these healthy fats daily, which can be obtained from good-quality, black-capsulated flax seed oil or fish oil capsules.

If you increase your digestive capacities, your body will process food more efficiently which aids weight loss. You can do this by;

-Chewing your food to a smooth consistency (around 20 chews). This will manually break down the food, making it easier on your stomach. This process also adds digestive enzymes to the food mass.

-Refraining from drinking during meals as it compromises digestion by diluting digestive enzymes. A good practice is to drink a large glass of warm water or tea 40 minutes before your meal to hydrate and curb your appetite.

-Don’t eat after dinner. Giving your digestive system this break until morning is healthy in many ways, including for weight loss. Your body can then focus on cleaning up waste and burning up excess fats.

-Including raw foods in every meal or snack as a source of enzymes to aid digestion

-Practicing proper food combining. Eating the wrong combinations of foods will cause your body to spend too much time digesting, instead of doing such tasks as cleaning up and excreting excess fat. For example, do not combine protein and carbohydrates such as bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, squash, etc. together. The best combination for a meal is protein and vegetables. Eat fruit alone and only eat one type of protein at a time. Also, try to wait three hours after a meal before eating sweets, including fruit.

Increasing your water intake during a weight loss program is imperative to help eliminate excess weight. The main reason is that water aids digestion and elimination. The latter is especially important when fat is being broken down and needs to be removed from the body. A high fibre diet, i.e. whole grains, beans, and fresh produce, is also important to aid this elimination process. Also, the extra fluids and fibre will help eliminate toxins, which are typically stored in our body along with the fat that is broken down during weight loss.

There are also some very important and often overlooked psychological issues surrounding the urge to overeat. Shame, fear, anger and tension often contribute to this urge. Recognizing these feelings, taking responsibility for them and learning coping techniques are a step in the right direction.

If losing weight continues to be a problem, it’s worth getting your thyroid levels checked and adopting a hypo-allergenic diet. Allergies can alter one’s fat burning capabilities and cause unwanted bloating.

Amoree Briggs lives in the Yukon countryside with her family and has just completed her diploma in holistic nutrition.