Are you constantly struggling with weight gain and lost count of the number of diets you've tried, or maybe you're confused by the number of different diets out there that tell you to eat a certain way - Paleo, Keto, 16:8, 5:2 - all claiming to offer weight loss and health.
So what is the best way to lose weight and keep that weight off?
I propose a four pronged approach that means you will forget the word diet, you will eat well and you won't feel hungry, but you will feel well!
Eating healthily is very different to dieting. When you restrict calories below a certain level your body inevitably thinks there is a famine out there and it needs to conserve energy. It will slow down your metabolism to conserve fat stores. Its likely that unless you are eating enough complex carbohydrates your blood sugar levels will be fluctuating which in turn will release adrenaline which encourages your body to store fat. The key is to find a way of eating that tells your body all is well, re-assure it you are not under stress and reduces levels of fat storage.
Aim to stick to a three month eating plan that you adhere to 80% of the time. Don't think about good and bad foods, instead try to think about foods as junk (unhealthy) and healthy foods and the reason that you want to eat healthy foods 80% of the time is because you want to be as well as you can!
Eat little and often to keep your blood sugar and energy levels stable. Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner and a snack mid morning and afternoon with no longer than 3 hours between food. Try not to eat carbohydrates after 6.00pm or all the fuel you don't use between eating and going to bed will be stored as fat.
This will stop those roller coaster highs and lows that send you searching for something really sweet to eat. Because your blood sugar is constantly being maintained your body will not be asking for a quick fix. Oh, and don't skip breakfast, if you miss it completely your body thinks your in famine mode and will store every ounce of food it can as fat.
As your blood sugar steadies so will your mood swings, your cortisol levels will reduce and you should start to feel happier and calmer inside.
Eliminate all sugar and refined carbohydrates from your diet and swap to whole grain alternatives to avoid a fast blood sugar rise that will only leave you depleted of energy and craving something sweet after a short time. If you think of this as striking a match which flares and then dies down - thats what happens in your blood when you eat straight sugar and refined carbohydrates.
Add protein to each meal to slow down the rate the stomach processes food and the passage of carbohydrates with it. Protein helps to control insulin which promotes fat storage and also encourages the production of glucagon which encourages the body to burn fat for energy.
Eat plenty of essential fats (EFA), your body can't manufacture them so they have to come from your diet. EFA's are important in a number of ways:
• they slow down the rate the stomach empties so making carbohydrates even more slow releasing
• they boost your metabolism
• they help your cells stay flexible to allow insulin in, making sure you get the energy you need
• they reduce inflammation in the body
Don't eat on the run, it makes your body think its under pressure and stressed. This in turn reduces the effectiveness of your digestion - if you're running from a sabre tooth tiger, and your life is at stake, you don't want to waste any energy on digestion. Make time for sitting down to eat and savour the taste and texture of your food.
Watch what you drink, caffeine increases cortisol release and subsequent fat storage and sugary drinks will keep you trapped in the revolving door of blood sugar highs and lows. Alcohol has a high sugar content and should be significantly reduced as well.
Over time the way you think about food will change, as will the foods you first reach for when you feel hungry. It will become a way of life that you follow because it makes you feel good.
To find out more about this approach to getting off the treadmill of dieting and feeling more in control of your life and health then contact me at Courtyard Therapy Centre or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org