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Reflections Video Series: What Impacts A Weight Loss Journey Most?

Jan 9 2023
6 min read

From the effects of meal times to getting enough rest and being mindful, our experts share tips on how to positively impact your weight loss journey.

We continue with our new video series called Reflections, where we turn the question we ask guests coming to Canyon Ranch—What leads you here?—on our experts. In this series, you'll hear their personal wellness journeys and insights to help you navigate some of today's most pressing wellness concerns.

In the fifth of our Reflections Video Series, we sat down with three Canyon Ranch experts: Dr. Stephen Brewer, Medical Director, Adam Smith, Spiritual Wellness Provider at Tucson, and Dustin Nabhan, VP of Health & Performance, to discuss what impacts a weight loss journey the most.

For Dr. Brewer, it's about understanding insulin sensitivity based on the foods we eat. For Adam, it is becoming more connected to what our body needs and wants so we know when we've had enough or need more. For Dustin, it's understanding our default node network, and our daily habits—and that lack of sleep is a high factor in weight health.

Watch the video above to hear their candid responses about how being more in touch with the body, when we're eating food, along with the type and amount of rest, can impact everyone's weight loss journey.

Or, read the transcript below.

Dr. Stephen Brewer, Medical Director:
Society has told us we had to have this big meal at the day, end of the day. It's good for family. Good for friends. We wanna meet our friends after work. And so there's a lot of societal pressures to increase that meal at the end of the day. However, it's not good if you're trying to lose weight. We've known since the seventies, that there is a difference in individuals that eat the most calories at the early part of the day, compared to those people eating the same number of calories at the end of the day. If both groups are trying to lose weight, the group that eats most of their calories at the beginning of the day end up losing weight more often. Why? People have said, well, you don't exercise as much at night. That really isn't the case.

It's all got to do with insulin sensitivity. This is huge. Insulin sensitivity actually changes during the day. The peak insulin sensitivity is around noontime. So what does that mean? It means if I give you a particular bowl of rice, at noon, for example, and you eat that, and you digest it—it gets into your bloodstream. Now your body has to make insulin to put it into the cell. I'm gonna make these numbers up, but at noontime, for example, your body may need to make five units of insulin to get it into this cell. You eat the same size bowl of rice at dinnertime, 10 units of insulin. And at bedtime, if you had to eat right before you go to bed, 15 units. The answer is so what? High levels of insulin cause you to store more fat. It's pro-inflammatory. It can damage your blood vessel walls and increase oxidative stress. It's certainly not what we want to do when we wanna lose weight. So meal timing is really important. We're trying to get people to shift that big meal at the end of the day towards noontime.

Adam Smith, Spiritual Wellness Provider:
Weight loss is only healthy when we're trying to bring love to our bodies. Weight loss could be a result of self-compassion. But if we're going after weight loss for weight loss' sake, it can end up being unhealthy. What I've been surprised by when it comes to weight loss is the body-spirit connection. And even the research that goes to support body-spirit connection, we're seeing more mindfulness, and the more likely you could lose weight if you're on a program.

We're also seeing mindfulness supporting against emotional and binge eating. Why would that be? I think when we're more in touch with our bodies—when we're more in touch with our food, it changes the way we consume. Mindfulness supports us on different levels, like our emotions with grief opportunities and forgiveness. When we realize we're carrying something, all of those emotions go into how we consume food. But also mindfulness supports us by bringing more attention to the food, by tasting the food on a deeper level.

If we really taste and savor the bites of food that we have, we probably don't want quite as much as we think we need. When we're more in touch with the body, as we're eating food, we're listening to the signals of the body when it says I've had enough. Or I need a little more. So mindfulness is that relationship between us, and our bodies, and our food

Dustin Nabhan, VP of Health & Performance:
Americans have horrible sleep on average, and sleep affects our hormones, which makes us gain weight. So the neuroscience of weight loss, is the most important thing. There's something called a default node network. It's part of your brain that tells you to repetitively do the same things. Your default node network might say, pick up your phone when you're bored, for example. If you can change that network and make people do the right thing, habitually, that becomes their new normal. Then they can maintain something like a weight loss program.