Have you been making an effort to eat a healthy diet and work out regularly, but still feel like you aren't getting the results you want? Are your abs still not materialising after all those sit ups and salads, and is your ass failing to co-operate despite being able to squat jump like a boss in the gym?
We have been there, and know how frustrating it can be, especially in the run up to summer!
It might feel like there is no hope, but we can assure you there is. Though it was what we all were once taught as gospel, sustainable healthy weight loss isn't just as simple as energy-in energy-out. A number of other important internal systems are involved in the process - including our thyroid, healthy metabolic function, proper blood sugar regulation, adrenal health, digestion and female hormones. We also need to make sure that the fuel we take in is the right type.
If you haven't been getting the results you want, here are our 5 top tips to kickstart metabolism and safely encourage your weight loss over the coming weeks.
Some people lose weight when stressed, but often this is only a short term thing. Longer term stress can actually cause our bodies to turn stored sugar into stored fat, especially if you are often sedentary (i.e sitting at a desk all day like us). Don't just think of stress as mental - it can also be physical - lack of sleep, long distance travel, nutrient deficiencies, poor diet, over exercising and long working hours also contribute to raised stress levels in the body. The solution is to work on stressing less - better sleep hygiene, yoga, Headspace, epsom salt baths and rest at weekends are all powerful ways to encourage weight loss. Adaptogenic herbs also great such as ashwagandha & cordyceps are ideal, both found in Equi products.
Imbalances in our hormones can make it difficult to loss weight, especially if you are prone to stubborn weight around your hips, bum and thighs. Often abnormally elevated levels of oestrogen can be a factor, and the best way to manage this is to support digestion and detox, as these are the oestrogens quickest route of the body. Eat plenty of fibre rich foods such as fresh veg, as well as modest levels of wholegrains (oats, quinoa, brown rice, brown pasta, spelt). Don't overdo inorganic dairy, drink water, herbal teas and try herbs such as schisandra and cordyceps. We also recommend probiotics as some types of unhelpful bacteria can cause hormones to be re-absorbed back in to the circulation, contributing to imbalance.
Don't just do cardio
Cardio is all well and good, but the body can get used to it pretty quickly, and you often don't build your metabolism up efficiently enough to make a real dent to your weight. Building muscle and strength can be far more efficient way to tone up, speed up metabolism and burn fat for hours after you workout - bonus! Try a mix of yoga/pilates/barre, HIIT, weights and some cardio (research backs Tabata for fat loss, so try this rather than just going for a run).
We all know that sugar is the number one thing to give up if we want to lose weight, but we still have to eat some good carbs to keep us healthy and drive metabolism. The body produces insulin in response to intake of carbs and sugar, which helps turn this fuel into energy. However if this doesn't happen properly, the sugar can be converted into fat instead, which especially likes to sit around our middle. Chromium is a vital nutrient that we get from foods in our diet (green beans, asparagus, wheat germ, Marmite, oats, orange juice, romaine lettuce, raw onions, broccoli are good sources) that helps keep the body turning sugar into energy, rather than fat. Eating these foods is great, but a top up can help direct sugar into energy rather than fat.
If you don't suffer with diabetes, hypoglycaemic episodes (low blood sugar) and aren't super stressed out, you can try gently supplementing 100mcg per meal. Run this past your GP first, and don't take if pregnant, taking medication or suffering with a diagnosed medical condition.
Our bodies rely on nutrients to do everything. We can't make energy, drive metabolism, make our immune system work, balance our hormones or prevent injuries without them. Iodine, B vitamins, magnesium, vitamin C, omega 3, vitamin D, folic acid, B12 and selenium are but a few we need. Restrictive diets put us at risk of nutrient deficiencies, which can be totally counter-productive! The solution? Get variety - don't cut out carbs totally (woohoo!) proteins, fats and make sure you get diversity and enjoy eating different foods each week.
Disclaimer: No one diet or supplement regime works for everyone and you should always seek help from a GP and registered health expert before making changes to your diet, or before introducing any supplements.