I swayed back and forth as to whether or not I should put together this post. It’s not like weight loss isn’t a common blog topic, health magazine feature or regular headline in pretty much every women’s magazine you pick up…I suppose it’s the same reason I stirred clear for so long.
That and the fact that having suffered from an eating disorder for years the mere “mention” of weight loss from my lips makes those who know my past take a deep breath, you can almost see the worry across their face. For those that don’t know me but know about my history the general reaction is one of criticism, waving the imaginary finger and suggesting I should know better. The thing is…I do and that’s what I want to share!
Weight loss is not an easily avoidable subject, nor should it be! Having just almost finished reading Fat Chance by Robert Lustig (my thoughts on which I’ll share soon!) the underlying topic throughout is one of weight loss, albeit it being in support of long term health as opposed to any sort of vanity.
The fact is that obesity is an issue, as is visceral fat and metabolic syndrome and even those with a healthy BMI are actually obese based on their carriage of visceral fat. Eating a terrible diet, full of processed food, sugar and fat is not a good idea regardless of your physical weight, shape, age, race….their is no variable that makes it acceptable.
What really frustrated me during my many years of treatment was the encouragement from so called healthcare professionals and sometimes forcing of me to eat deep fried processed food devoid of any nutrients merely to put on weight. What really worked for me in the end was eating a whole food, food which my body could naturally respond to, feel satisfied, be given an energy boost and one which my mind felt much more at ease with as a result.
If you eat real food the rest will take care of itself!
When it comes to weight loss I feel it should be tackled in much the same manner. Rather than focusing on the physical weight loss, no more than I focused on the physical weight gain, I poured my attention in to improving my health. It sounds simple but when you start eating food which improves every aspect of your physical and mental health those benefits are all the encouragement you need! It’s how to go about it the right way without falling in to the calorie counting, yoyo-dieting ways that many people, not just women, succumb too. You feel hungry, drained, deprived and faced with your first slice of chocolate cake or whatever you deem your food “vice” you give in, and give in to the extreme.
I think I’ve digressed quite enough for one post! The only point of the post was for me to share some practical healthy, truly healthy not just marketing spiel healthy, sustainable weight loss and maintenance tips that will work for the majority of people. Having read Fat Chance I now see beyond the ability of people to change their environment, hormones and mindset and truly recognise that sometimes medical intervention is necessary – again something I will touch upon at a later date!
Top 5 Tips for Sustainable Healthy Weight Loss
Eat Breakfast – it’s one we hear over and over but it’s key to reducing your hunger hormone, ghrelin. If you skip breakfast it will continue to rise and will result in you eating more later in the day. A healthy breakfast needs to include some form of protein; it doesn’t mean eating a steak or having to devour a big plate of eggs, try quinoa, seeds, nuts and nut butters… they’ll not only keep hunger at bay for longer but it costs double the energy to metabolise protein over carbohydrates; you’ll burn more just by eating it!
Eat Fibre – food which contains plenty of fibre will slow down the metabolism of it in the body namely the blood glucose response thus limiting the the insulin released. The more insulin the more energy is directed in to your fat cells. Choose real unprocessed whole grains like millet, brown rice, unprocessed oats, quinoa, buckwheat, rye, barley…all in the their natural form! Though a label might outwardly suggest is is “wholegrain” their is no legislation of the use of the term as such, nothing with any real conviction or promise. It’s also important to eat your fruit as opposed to drinking it to ensure you don’t hit your liver with an overload of fructose no different to consuming the deadly and more commonly avoided soda!
Exercise – but not for the calorie burning reasons you might think! Building muscle increases your resting metabolic rate which accounts for about 60% of your calorific output. Aside from that exercise although raises your cortisol at the time it lowers them for the day preceding. High cortisol levels have been associated drive the accumulation of visceral fat so keeping them low is key component to long term sustained true in and out weight loss and improved health.
“You can’t out exercise a bad diet!”
Weight loss without exercise means muscle rather than fat loss so one without the other is never to be recommended; without exercise you’ll ultimately lower your metabolic rate and in order to sustain weight loss you’ll have to keep restricting your calories sometimes to the detriment of you achieving optimum nutritional intake.
Take a breath before reaching for seconds – give you body a chance to respond to the food which you’ve just ingested. Although you might not feel immediately full it takes a while for the satiety signal to work its magic. Peptide YY is responsible and between it and the stomach cells there is 22 feet of intestine! Food rich in fibre will move through the intestine faster giving you that signal faster and preventing you from overeating.
Reduce sugar – the key to it all! If you’re going to eat sugar make sure it’s naturally occurring; in a wholefood which contains fibre which will minimise it’s effect on the body; the glucose response and insulin produced as a result… Cut out the fruit juice and soda, reduce the sugar in your own recipes by up to 1/2, switching to an unrefined sugar which still retains some nutrients even if minimal, be strict on refined carbohydrates and pretty much avoid all processed convenience food! Fructose is particularly detrimental to your health as in effect its both a carbohydrate and a fat due to the way it is metabolised. It overwhelms both the liver and your energy cells, causes liver insulin resistance, driving increased insulin levels leading to Type 2 diabetes as well as increased energy storage in your fat cells. Fructose also fails to reduce that hunger hormone mentioned above, ghrelin, which means you’re more likely to overeat despite having consumed plenty of toxic empty calories!
Above all else remember that “a calorie is not a calorie!” It’s a measurement of energy not of how your body will use it!
This spoon only works if you eat real food with it!
The key to it all is to eat real food! Low sugar, high fibre and high in micronutrients.
Lots of food for thought…and I’d love to hear yours!