Sustainable Weight Loss from the Perspective of a Holistic Nutritionist

Sustainable Weight Loss from the Perspective of a Holistic Nutritionist
© Sherry Rothwell, RHN

We all know that diet’s don’t work…..but what does?

I was asked to answer the following questions about weight loss for my cousin`s school paper! May the answers be of benefit to many!

1) Are you certified in anything related to nutrition?
I am certified as a Registered Holistic Nutritionist by the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition.

2) How can we lose weight in a healthy manner?
We can lose weight healthfully when we eat a diet that provides for all of our unique nutritional needs. When our nutritional reserves are optimal, we don’t have cravings for junk food or sugary foods- and as a result of this we have a natural desire for healthy foods, therefore eliminating the need for “willpower”.

For healthy weight loss, we need to eat the right amount of calories (for our unique body) of REAL unprocessed food (as opposed to “empty calories”) including wholesome saturated fats and essential fatty acids. Contrary to popular belief, fat doesn’t make us fat, but rather healthy fats are converted to energy, nourish our brain, cellular membranes and the myelin sheaths that cover our nerves etc. In fact, it is the deficiency of the right kind of fats that is linked to many health problems. While our culture is obsessed with low fat foods, this approach just isn’t helping people lose weight in a sustainable way, nor does it help us keep it off. Any person who has tried dieting will admit that in the long term, dieting doesn`t work and in fact wreaks so much havoc on our metabolism, that it causes us to gain even more weight when we quit the diet. Without adequate good quality fat in our diet, we turn to more carbohydrate foods (especially the refined ones), which are actually more readily converted to stored fat.

3) Is it still possible to eat and do the things we want and not be overweight?
Yes, absolutely. Rather than being focused on counting calories, we can instead focus on upgrading the QUALITY of our food choices, rather than obsessing about the QUANTITY of nutrients, fat grams and calories that we eat.

Eat what you have a desire for, but make these foods at home with REAL food ingredients instead of white sugar, white flour or processed oils (refined, bleached and deoderized ones). By doing this, we increase the nutrient value of the food and thus create within ourselves a greater feeling of satiation and satisfaction so that we do not feel compelled to eat as much. Nutrient dense foods keep our blood sugar stable so that we stay full for much longer.

When we have certain cravings for unhealthy foods, instead of trying to use willpower to overcome them, we can fill that longing by decoding our cravings.

For example, a person who craves sugar can be deficient in protein, or they could have low blood sugar from skipping meals. This kind of craving doesn’t ask for us to restrict or eliminate foods from our diet, but rather to add more healthy sources of protein and to eat smaller meals more often.

Or let’s say if we crave potato chips, our body could be asking us for more healthy fats or the mineral profile that is contained in unrefined REAL sea salt (table salt is devoid of the array of synergistic minerals that are found naturally salt before processing-these naturally occurring minerals are refined out during industrial processing methods). While to the tongue, chips may satisfy a craving for salt or fat in the short term, the body still isn’t satiated because both the oil and the salt used to make the chips are devoid of their naturally occuring nutrients. This kind of craving could be naturally circumvented by adding seaweeds, unrefined sea salt such as Celtic Sea Salt and more good fat to the diet such as nuts, seeds, butter or coconut oil.

There is no need to deprive ourselves. Once we meet our nutritional deficiencies, the cravings subside and after that it is easy to have a few chips or none at all WITHOUT the need for willpower!

4) What are the best ways for our body to stay healthy and fit?
Eat REAL whole food in its natural form and spend time outdoors walking, playing sports or gardening. Not only is movement essential for our health, but so is the fresh air and the natural Vit.D that is generated by our skin in the sunlight.

5) In your opinion, who is more to blame for child obesity, children or adults?
Well I definitely would say that parents are responsible, yet they cannot really be blamed in a time in history where we have all been bombarded and influenced by slick advertising and sneaky marketing tactics posing as health campaigns. The food industry has worked hard to convince us that processed food products are good for us, with their whole host of added synthetic nutrients.

We must consider that essentially we have all become part of an experiment. 100 years ago, we ate REAL food. Nowadays, many children’s diets contain a large proportion of prepared foods that come out of a package, instead of being prepared fresh in our kitchens and on our stoves. As a mom who feeds her children primarily foods cooked “from scratch”, I notice that when I have certain children over for play dates, they are very nervous about trying our REAL food. For example, one day I pulled out a strip of nori paper (the seaweed used to make sushi) and offered it to the children as an afternoon snack. My son’s friend looked really nervous at the sight of it and I had this immediate instinct to grab the package that it came in and show him “where it came from”. Instantly his shoulders relaxed and he was willing to try it. It seems that we have a new generation of children who associate food more with plastic wrapping, than they associate it with the farm or garden!

6) Is child obesity increasing or decreasing for our country?
According to the Childhood Obesity Foundation “Obesity rates in children have almost tripled in the last 25 years. Approximately 26% of Canadian children ages 2-17 years old are currently overweight or obese.”

7) Which types of food help promote weight loss?

REAL whole foods that provide all the intended nutrients in their synchronistic ratios (as they are found in their natural form before processing).

Good fats such as unrefined coconut oil and essential fatty acid supplements such as cod liver oil (together the coconut oil and Vit.A found in cod liver oil help the thyroid function properly- which is essential for weight loss).

In addition coconut oil is an MCT oil (medium chain fatty acid) which means it is a fat burning oil! When it is metabolized, it actually uses up more calories than it contributes!

Cold water fatty fish -source of good protein and good fat (essential fatty acids).

Green Leafy Vegetables (a surprisingly good source of protein and rich in minerals and chlorophyll)

Essentially, fulfilling our needs for the right kind of fats and adequate protein consumption, both help to stabilize our blood sugar so we don’t end up craving the sugary, oily or salty junk foods that typically cause people to put on the pounds.

Finally, the following foods are considered to be thermogenic (fat burning):

1) Protein rich foods: A protein rich meal boost the metabolism by 30% while a high carbohydrate meal boosts it by a mere 4%.
2) Salmon & Tuna: Researchers in Australia showed that eating salmon and tuna, people lost 22% more weight than the focus group who ate the same number of calories, but no salmon or tuna.
3) Celery: burns more calories than it provides.
4) Hot Peppers
5) Drinks: Ice Water, Green Tea, Coffee
6) Spices: Cayenne Pepper, Cinnamon, Celery Seed, Fennel Seed, Garlic, Ginger, Mustards, Chili Sauce & Parsley.
7) Apple Cider Vinegar
From “The Fresh Start Thermogenic Diet” by Cathi Graham

There are other “cleansing“ foods that are considered to be “fat flushing“, a concept developed by Ann Louise Gittleman in her program “The Fat Flush Plan“. These include citrus and cruciferous vegetables among many other natural foods.

By far the best book available on sustainable and healthy weight loss that meets our nutritional needs and debunks the “calories in, calories out” approach with a through explanation of the metabolic physiology that underlies obesity is The Gabriel Method, by Jon Gabriel

While I recognize that some of what I shared is in direct contradiction to what we are commonly told to do to lose weight, we must consider that in REALITY what we are told to do (namely counting calories and restricting fat by eating low fat versions of everything) just doesn`t work in real life. People do this all this time and still remain overweight because the problem does not lie with quantities of food as much as it reflects poor quality choices or true metabolic imbalances with deep underlying nutritional deficiencies. Many obese people eat few calories, and many very thin people eat a lot of calories yet cannot keep their weight on. That is a fact. We need to start thinking outside the box and open ourselves to a new perspective. The definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over, yet expecting different results- and this is how most people approach weight loss!!

We know that diets help us lose weight fast, but that this weight loss won’t last AND that we are putting ourselves at risk for gaining more weight later- yet we keep trying these fad diets like the housefly that keeps trying to fly through the window!!

At some point we need to acknowledge that fad diets don’t work and start  to look beyond the surface and toward what our body is really trying to tell us when we hold onto our weight.

The root cause of weight problems is a combination of emotional, psychological and biochemical factors and is reflective of deep nutrient and metabolic deficiencies. In our fast paced and fast food world, we have a population of overfed, yet undernourished adults and children.

However, getting started on the path toward sustainable weight loss is simple. We must upgrade the QUALITY of the food we eat and go back to the old ways of eating food as it has been provided for us in its natural form- preferably in season and grown locally. This is a key first step to solving the problem of both adult and childhood obesity.

For more information about how you can get started on your path to sustainable weight loss, please contact Sherry by e-mail at to book your “Jumpstart to Sustainable Weight Loss Session“ $40 (Value $97) where you will get an “aha“ about what is currently keeping you stuck, discover what to do next and learn more about how you can continue to work with Sherry privately or in a group coaching program (services are available by phone or in person).


Importance of quality saturated fats:

Importance upgrading the QUALITY of kitchen staples:

Importance of unrefined sea salt:


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