Excessive body fat is not only undesirable, but it’s also unhealthy – particularly around the midsection. A great many of my clients have found success in losing weight or tightening up simply by eating right and exercising. But when people contact me expressing frustration because despite the amount of time they spend exercising or dieting, their body doesn’t change. In some cases, weight or body fat actually increases!
One culprit that could be at play when it comes to stubborn fat loss is inflammation. When we hear the word ‘inflammation,’ most of us think of an achy joint. In reality, inflammation extends far, far beyond everyday aches and pains. Nearly any time you feel pain or discomfort, inflammation is involved. Acid reflux, chronic indigestion, sinus infections, sore throats and allergies are all signs that your body is experiencing some level of inflammation. In fact, obesity itself is a cause of chronic low-grade inflammation. The bottom line is inflammation inhibits weight loss. I’m not a doctor, but my guess is if you’re chronically injured, sick, fatigued or run down, inflammation is certainly at play. Your goal should be to not just reduce the symptoms of inflammation, but eliminate the cause. One way to do that is with food.
Say NO to these foods
Some foods that are well known to cause inflammatory responses in the body include:
- Refined Sugar and Corn Syrup: juices, sodas, sports drinks, candy, pastries, sugary cereals, unhealthy “healthy-sounding” foods, like cereal/energy bars
- Wheat (and possibly gluten): bread, pasta, pastries, most cereals
- Artificial Sweeteners, including sucralose (Splenda), aspartame (Sweet-n-Low), ace-k, saccharin: diet sodas and just about anything labeled as “sugar free”
- Food Additives, especially MSG: in many savory foods like snack chips, gravies, lunch meats, soups
- Trans Fats, labeled as partially hydrogenated oils: many commercial packaged goods
- Processed Meats, particularly luncheon meats
- Alcohol: wine, beer, liquor…any of it can spike an inflammatory response
Here are a bunch of foods that you can and should eat. So load up on them!
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids, either by supplement or from fish like salmon or seeds like fresh ground flax
- Fresh Vegetables, especially leafy greens
- Fresh Fruits, especially lower GI fruits like berries, green apples, cherries and plums
- Nuts & Seeds, raw
- Honey or Stevia (instead of other artificial sweeteners)
- Lean grass fed meats and poultry
- Sparkling water with a splash of fresh lemon juice + stevia (homemade lemonade! note: any fresh juice will suffice)
- Herbal remedies like camomile tea, peppermint tea, turmeric and ginger
- Good sources of probiotics, like kefir, plain yogurt (loaded up with cinnamon), or a supplement
In fact, my program, The 40 Day Shape Up is all about anti- inflammatory foods, so that probably explains why eating from any of the meal plans and doing the bodyweight workouts has led to a healthier, leaner body.
Another recommendation I have is a book called Meals That Heal Inflammation by Julie Daniluk. It’s loaded with great information and could be a helping hand to know which foods do what.
Want more tips like this? Traci D Mitchell is a healthy living and fitness expert. Follow Traci on Facebook. She’d love to see you there! Interested in working with Traci? She works privately with clients specializes in nutrition coaching and weight loss as well as functional fitness and personal training. All sessions are done via Skype or telephone if outside of Chicago. For more information, contact Traci here.
Looking for a simple way to get into great shape and eat right? Try Traci’s 40-Day Shape Up!