Are you in Control of your Weight?
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Rates of obesity are at epidemic proportions, with every indicator showing this set to increase.
This has a huge cost, both in financial terms and in pain and suffering. There is a wealth of research linking excess weight to increased risks from any number of degenerative diseases.
Alongside this is a reduced life expectancy of up to 9 years – not insignificant!
With 25% of the adult population already classed as obese and 10% of children, something clearly needs to be done.
Calories in, calories out. Ensuring less goes in than is used daily was first proposed as a means of weight loss many years ago, and millions and millions of people have followed this advice, and put themselves on starvation diets in order to lose weight. Often with spectacular results in the short term, only to see all the weight, and sometimes more, pile back on afterwards.
So whilst the logic of this approach may seem impeccable, there are obviously other factors which need to be addressed for successful long term weight loss.
Of course, many people do eat far more food than they require, but there are often hidden reasons for this, and without correcting these nothing changes.
Weight is a symptom of something being wrong within the body – various balances are out. Finding out what these are and correcting them can make all the difference between successful weight loss and ending up back where you started.
Other factors which need to be looked at include: eating the wrong kind of foods, which encourage weight gain, nutritional deficiencies which impair efficiency of body systems and keep you feeling hungry, hormonal imbalances, toxic loading in the body and too acidic body tissues.
Various emotional and psychological issues are a factor, and for many, a lack of exercise.
Movement is important for burning calories.
Of course, many of us have developed bad habits that have become second nature with regards to food.
Allergies and intolerances can also be problematic as can poor digestive function.
Lets take a look at each of these in more detail.
High carbohydrate diets, which are typical to our western way of eating, are not kind to the majority of us.
All carbohydrates break down to glucose, one of the body’s energy sources. Any we do not use immediately are stored away in fat cells for future use.
Way back in history this would have helped us through periods of uncertain food supply, but nowadays food is plentiful, and the body never really has to revisit its stores in order to survive.
Fat has been demonised as being responsible for weight issues, but fat intake has been on a steady downward curve for years, offset by a steadily rising carbohydrate intake, and graphs for weight gain mirror those for carbohydrate intake.
Eating foods which are not high in carbs is a good place to start to sort out weight issues. Instead, think of using more protein foods – both animal and plant – and more fat-based foods, which give satiety. Don’t over-do animal fats, which tend to be saturated, but you do need some for health. Instead eat more the foods which have so-called ‘good’ fats – mono and polyunsaturates.
Beware damaged fats though – heated oils, margarines and trans fats. All of these will do you more harm than good.
Something called type B malnutrition is extremely common in industrialised societies.
This is defined as having more than enough calories in the diet, but not enough nutrients. The consequence of this is that you will continuously feel hungry. The body is not getting what it needs to either function well, or satisfy its need for certain nutrients – so it will continuously let you know this, in the hope you will eat the right kinds of foods to give it what is required.
Unfortunately, this rarely happens, and can leave us craving certain kinds of foods. For example, your body may lack the essential fatty acids, so you will find yourself wanting fatty foods – but instead of eating those high in the essential fats, you may choose crisps and chips, and foods of that nature, so the vicious cycle continues.
We do have a problem in the 21st century in that our chosen diet may not provide all the nutrients we require to maintain good health. This is where a considered supplement programme can make all the difference, both to your health and your weight loss success.
Hormonal imbalances can sometimes be a big part of the picture, and left unaddressed, will continue and get worse.
Many things can contribute to these imbalances including diet, stress, emotional problems and many of today’s environmental pollutants.
The end result is the same – a lack of well being and weight gain. Untangling this picture can be quite complex but it is worth sticking with it as it can dramatically improve your quality of life, and contribute substantially to improving weight issues.
Every day we are exposed to a wide range chemicals and pollutants. Our body detoxification systems can quickly become overwhelmed if we make lifestyle choices that do not include avoiding these as best we can. As many of these toxins can be harmful to vital organs, the body will often choose to store these toxins in fatty tissue, awaiting the day it can do a clean up. It will be reluctant to let go of this toxic fat, unless the body is supported in a cleansing process to ensure that it is cleared quickly and efficiently through the body, otherwise it will see no reason to release these toxins back into the body. Many of these toxins are hormone disruptors, and can be stored in your body for many years.
Many of us have a fraught and complicated relationship with food. It can be used to punish ourselves, to comfort ourselves, to give us pleasure and so on. If you don’t understand what is going on here for you personally, you may end up finding that these emotional issues sabotage all your best weight loss efforts.
Our conscious, rational mind can be giving out a set of messages that say ‘I want to lose weight’, but if our subconscious mind is running another message – ‘I don’t deserve to look stunning’, for example – then it is always the subconscious mind that will win – it is like an iceberg – the rational mind is the bit you see, but by far the bigger part is what lurks underneath, unseen. You need to start to shine a light into these murky depths and find out what messages, or subconscious belief systems you are running, and work to change them.
We were not born to be idle – as a species everything works better if we take moderate exercise. It is important you find an activity you enjoy – dance, swim, ride - and then make a point of doing it. It does not have to be the gym, if you find this too boring, but start to get creative about how to do this.
Think about what you do each day. Park at the far end of the office car park, so you have further to walk, take the stairs instead of the lift, get off the bus one stop early, don’t use the car for short journeys.
Think about all the ways you could easily put more movement into your day. It can really help to buy a pedometer and use it. Ideally you are aiming to take AT LEAST 10,000 steps per day.
Bad Habits. Sometimes we don’t even recognise them, and we tend not to realise we are doing it half the time. Be conscious of the things you habitually do, every day, that do not positively enhance our weight loss goals, and make changes in favour of better habits. Over time this can make a big difference.
These are just a few suggestions to get you started but I’m sure you can think of many more.
Many people don’t realise they have an intolerance to a food which is part of their daily diet.
Often this can be indicated by foods that are central to their diet, and that they can’t imagine, under any circumstances, giving up. It seems a huge step.
This is because the food causes an inflammatory response in the body, and endorphins can be released to counter the harmful effects of this.
They become addicted to this effect and are quite emotional when asked to give up these foods.
If you feel the thought of giving up any food is unthinkable, you might want to consider taking a food intolerance test.
A compromised gastro-intestinal tract can contribute to several health issues, such as nutritional deficiencies and toxicity.
Studies are also showing that having good levels of the right gut bacteria can be beneficial in a weight loss regime.
It is important you address this alongside your weight management, otherwise you may struggle to achieve your goals.
The Twelve Principles of Weight Loss
Now lets look at the Twelve Principles of Weight Loss.
1. Eat Little and Often – this will ensure your body is not getting stressed and going into starvation mode.
2. Include Protein with every meal and snack - Amino acids are the building blocks of the body. Not only do they ensure you maintain healthy muscle mass which boosts metabolism, but it also slows down the rate of digestion and absorption of sugars.
3. Eliminate sugar and refined carbohydrates - Balancing blood sugar is essential to maintaining a healthy weight – and eliminating foods which raise blood glucose levels too quickly is a part of this.
4. Always eat breakfast - The most important meal of the day – your energy levels and blood sugar will be more stable for the rest of the day.
5. Include essential fats daily - Good fats help burn bad fats. They will also help to reduce fat cravings as well as insulin response and will low down the rate of carbohydrate breakdown.
6. Keep hydrated - Caffeine is a stimulant, and stimulants can help you get fat. Water is by far your best drink, but herbal teas, green tea and lemon water are all good alternatives. Sodas and alcohol will put weight on.
7. Identify food allergies and sensitivities - This can trigger inflammation leading to water retention and also affect how your cells respond to insulin and it becomes harder to lose weight
8. Eat until satisfied and then stop - Only eat when hungry and then stop when you feel satisfied – not full!
9. Record what you eat - Dieters who keep a food diary double their weight loss compared to those who don’t. This is because it raises awareness of what and how you eat.
10. Eat slowly and consciously - Take time to chew and taste your food properly. Put your knife and fork down between mouthfuls and give your body time to send the signals that hunger has been satisfied – then stop.
11. Keep active - Boosts metabolism, helps clear lymph and therefore toxins and helps with blood sugar imbalances. It also helps give you a better body shape, as muscles tone and firm.
12. Take weight loss support supplements - Vital nutrients to both aid and maintain healthy weight loss may not always be found in our everyday diet. It is important to ensure your body has what it needs for daily maintenance, as well as for helping to bring specific health imbalances back into equilibrium.
Follow all of these and it will make your weight loss goals much more attainable – and help you to keep the weight off.
Many of these are good habits you need to make a part of the rest of your life.
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