The Diet Stops Here – A New Take on Weight Loss

We’ve all tried low calorie diets in an effort to lose weight, often finding that it takes much of the pleasure out of eating and that the pounds pile on again as soon as the diet stops.At a glance, calorie counting makes sense but when you delve deeper it raises a few questions. China is one of the slimmest nations in the world, and yet the average daily calorie intake there is higher than in the US, the fattest nation in the world. We’ve been told for years that a low fat diet is also a low calorie, and low cholesterol diet, and is therefore much healthier for us. Yet having spoken to lots of people who have lived well into their old age about what they’ve been eating, it tends to be high fat foods. We’ve survived for millions of years on a high fat diet, eating a variety of fats essential for healthy brain and immune function, but as a human race we haven’t had a weight problem until the early 50′s, when we started to be told about calorie counting and cholesterol. We were encouraged to eat less meat and fat, and these foods had to be replaced by something else: carbohydrates. Since then the temptation to eat cheap, carb laden foods like bread, pizza, pasta, cakes and pastries has just become too great. You’ve probably noticed the numerous fliers for pizza takeaways, and the revival of bakery programmes on TV which are all responding to our love of sweet and stodgy foods.

In order to reach your ideal weight, you first need a basic understanding of how carbs and proteins are used by your body.

Carbohydrates break down into sugar which we need to give us energy. That’s why our last harvest of the year is rich in berries (sugars) and root vegetables (starchy carbohydrate). When energy isn’t needed immediately, the body stores it as fat, so you would have been able to live off your fat stores throughout the winter when fresh foods were more scarce. Simple carbohydrates are foods which the body doesn’t need to process in order to get your energy – so sugar is a prime example, hence why Lucozade which is full of sugar is marketed as an energy drink. Brown and molasses sugar still contain some chromium and other nutrients which your body needs to convert sugar to energy, so if you’re going to use sugar – go for brown. Complex carbohydrates like those found in fruit & vegetable fibre require a little more effort from your body in order to break them down into sugars, and then either energy or fat depending on what’s needed at the time.

The type of food and amount of time it takes the body to process is calculated into a Glycaemic Load (GL), and apart from the occasional treat, you want to be going for low GL foods like oats, quinoa, apples, and rye bread. Low GL foods tend to be the ones that make you feel less bloated after eating them, so you’ll feel better for it too.

I had personal proof of this when I was 23. In my graduation photo taken when I was 22, I was somewhere between a size 12 and a size 14. Then I moved in with my friend’s mum so that I could save up to go travelling. She very generously charged me only £10 a week as rent, and although I saved up enough within a year, I paid the price. Our daily meals were pasta, pizza, chips, baked potatoes, and other carb rich foods, and I piled on the weight until I was almost a size 20! Once I was back home I joined the gym, totally overhauled my diet (but I’ve never in my life followed a ‘calorie controlled diet’), and got back down to a sensible weight. The carbs had most definitely been the culprit!

So when you eat a high GL food, the body quickly breaks it down into sugar and pushes it into your cells using insulin from your pancreas. Your cells then use it to create energy, which gives you a quick lift but also lowers your blood sugar again soon afterwards (because the sugar has moved from your blood into your cells). That leads to you feeling hungry, grumpy, shaky, craving sugars, caffeine, nicotine, or something else to pep you up again. Over a period of time it also exhausts your pancreas and your adrenal glands, which has a permanent negative impact on your health and your longevity. It also leads to insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes, which thankfully with quite a lot of effort is reversible – but really it’s best not to go there in the first place.

Next, we need to understand protein. Protein is used by the body for lots of different things, including building muscle and connective tissue, and collagen to stop us getting wrinkly! It also makes antibodies and hormones so it’s important to have a good variety of proteins, preferably from animal and vegetable sources in your diet. That way your body can take its pick from the amino acids which make up the proteins, and reassemble them according to its needs at the time.

You have more stomach acid first thing in the morning than at any other time of day, which is your body’s way of saying that you need to include protein in your breakfast (‘pro’ means ‘first’). If you exercise after a protein & low GL carb meal, you will start to burn off your fat stores because you haven’t eaten enough carb to keep you going. We tend to make the mistake of having just cereal or toast for breakfast (or worse than that, no breakfast at all) and then sitting in the car and at our desk for the rest of the day. Those sugars have not been needed so the pounds start to pile on. Don’t be fooled by the clever marketing -you need a combination of dense protein (milk on cereal doesn’t count) and some carbohydrate for your first meal of the day, so you could try:

Rye bread toast with any of these: Eggs, cheese, ham, mushroom, bacon, sardines, mackerel, haddock.

Quinoa porridge (quinoa is a high-protein grain) made with apple juice (which has a low GL)

A full English breakfast (high-quality ingredients though please), with 1 slice of brown/rye toast.

As well as helping you to manage your weight, it will help you to feel fuller for longer, so less likely to grab any crisps or chocolate before your next meal. You’ll also find it easier to concentrate as your brain is being fuelled properly, which is why it’s really important to feed your children the same way.

If you’re one of those people who either doesn’t have the time or the stomach for breakfast, you still need to find a way of getting something down you before you start your day.

Even a handful of nuts with some dried fruit would be better than nothing. Another alternative is to combine protein and fibre drinks so that you get a good balance of protein and carbohydrate, and you can mix in any fruit, crushed nuts or other ingredients if you like. We have one called SynperProtein which is made from soya protein and contains all of the essential amino acids our body needs. It comes in chocolate and vanilla flavours and has extra vitamins and minerals added besides the soya, however, it’s not suitable for everyone. There is now considerable research into the effects of unfermented soya on the body which although controversial, raises concerns about its use during preconception, pregnancy, and breastfeeding. It should be avoided by anyone suffering from hypothyroidism as well, as it will tend to make matters worse. On the plus side, SynerProtein is especially useful if you are:

  • Vegetarian or vegan – it provides a complete protein with added nutrients in a vegetable base, with no animal ingredients.
  • Approaching or going through menopause – it contains high levels of phyto oestrogens, the precursor to oestrogen which is useful in keeping your hormones balanced.
  • Convalescing after illness or a stay in hospital.
  • Not already on a very healthy diet – junk foods and intensively produced meat/animal products tend to contain very poor quality protein, and so protein deficiency is becoming more and more common.

Then you can combine SynerProtein with TNT, which is our fibre drink. Each serving gives the equivalent fibre of 1kilo of fruit & veg, and it does wonders for your energy levels as well as your digestion. Fibre is mainly carbohydrate, so by combining the two you are getting both slow and fast releasing energy, feeling fuller for longer and giving yourself a perfect start to the day. We’ve heard a number of anecdotes from people with Type 1 diabetes who say that they need less insulin when they combine SynerProtein with TNT than when they use either one on its own. Since you need insulin to push sugar into your cells in order to make energy, this makes sense – their blood sugar levels are being levelled out by using both slow and fast releasing foods.

So blood sugar balancing is the order of the day if you want to stay slim, and here are a few golden rules for reaching your ideal weight:

1. Start with a Detox

It’s safe to say that our modern lifestyle has meant we’re all riddled with toxins. There are now 80,000 chemicals in the world, many of which end up in our cosmetics, household cleaning products, foods, tap water and medications. The safest place your body can keep toxins is in your fat stores, so it’s not going to want to give up any mucky fat until the toxic load has gone down a bit. Detoxing is great if you’re reasonably well and not pregnant or breastfeeding.

2. Eat 6 small meals a day, or 3 larger meals with 2 healthy snacks.

Not being able to stomach breakfast in the morning is a sign of blood sugar imbalance which can lead to insulin resistance and Type 2 Diabetes if it’s not caught early. It’s the fastest growing disease in the world at the moment, so please don’t join in!

Your breakfast and lunch can include a little bit of ‘stodge’ like bread or pasta, but try and lower the amounts on days when you know you won’t get much exercise afterwards to burn it off. Dinner should always be stodge-free, and pudding-free – sorry!

Snacks should be low GL fruits like apples, pears, and berries with a few nuts.

This will take some planning and you’ll probably need to gather some recipes for inspiration, but it will all turn out to be worthwhile.

3. Ditch the white – go for brown.

That applies to everything which comes in both colours, including sugar, flour, pasta, and rice. If it’s white, it’s been heavily refined and virtually all of the nutrients have gone. The brown version is much better for you and slower to digest.

4. Exercise

Exercise is the only way you’re going to burn off your fat, so it needs to be done every day to the point where you’re too out of breath to speak. Choose something you enjoy and can fit easily into your day. Here are a few ideas courtesy of the NHS:

http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/fitness/Pages/free-fitness.aspx

5. Always combine a little bit of protein with low GL carbohydrate

Fish with rice, meat with salad, cheese with oatcakes, nuts with dried apple or berries – you get the idea.

6. Cut your stimulants right back

Caffeine, sugar, nicotine and alcohol are all stimulants and to cut a long story short, they make you fat. Keep your caffeine drinks limited to 2 a day, after eating, and alcohol once or twice during the week. Replace your drinks with plenty of mineral water and herb teas.

7. Curb your cravings

A craving for fatty foods indicates a need for more Essential Fatty Acids, and a craving for chocolate is often down to being short of Magnesium.

8. Supplement for success

Even tiny deficiencies in the fat burning vitamins and minerals can hamper your efforts to shrink, so start by taking a good multivitamin/mineral

9. Eat in silence

Tricky if you’ve got kids, but I went on a retreat recently where all meals were eaten in silence. I felt full after only a few mouthfuls and soon realised why all the monks were so slim despite being well fed! It’s amazing how distraction makes us lose touch with our enjoyment of food and the feeling of satisfaction we get from eating. You can always have a natter once you’ve finished eating.

10. Look at other possibilities

If all of this doesn’t work for you, it’s time to look at why. An under functioning thyroid will make it very difficult to lose weight, as will insulin resistance problems like Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), psychological/emotional issues, and food intolerances. Don’t be too disheartened if you’re struggling – just get in touch and we’ll do our best to help.

Do Diet Pills Work? Or Is It Time to Ditch Your Diet Pills?

There are plenty of articles on the Internet proclaiming the benefits of lose weight diet pills to help you get slim fast, but are diet pills really all that effective? Is there a better way to lose weight? This articles looks at the pros and cons of taking diet pills against other options, such as eating the best food to lose weight and stay slim.

Lose weight diet pills, or diet supplements as they are often called, are said to work either by suppressing your appetite, using active ingredients such as caffeine, or by increasing your metabolism, which is the speed at which you burn fat and turn it into energy. Some also claim to restrict the absorptions of fat.

Some of the advantages that are proclaimed for diet pills include:

  • no mental preparation needed
  • no need to exercise
  • its cheaper than other forms of dieting (surgery, exercise machines)
  • its easy to take pills
  • there is no need to plan

These advantages may sound attractive, after all everyone wants an easy life and a simple solution to their problems. But is it really that simple? There are many recorded side effects to taking lose weight diet pills to get slim fast. Just some of these include anxiety, irritability, high blood pressure, chest pain, heart attack, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, dizziness, blurred vision, fever, headache and frequent urination.

On top of this ‘New research finds no evidence that popular slimming supplements facilitate weight loss’ published: Monday, July 12, 2010 in e! Science News: Health and Medicine.

So it is time to ditch your diet pills and if so what can you do instead?

It is widely recognised by health specialists that the best way to lose weight and get healthy is to take small steps towards developing long-term, sustainable habits that will support weight loss and a healthy lifestyle.

Food provides your body with energy. Weight is gained when you have more energy than you need, because the excess energy is stored as fat. This means if you eat more food than your body needs for daily activities and to maintain itself, you will gain weight.

To lose weight there are two things you can do:

  1. take in less energy by eating less
  2. use more energy by exercising more

For most peoples a combination of both eating a bit less and exercising a bit more will work wonders. Even very small changes make a big difference over time. One biscuit a week too many, becomes several pounds of extra weight over a year.

Eating a healthy, natural diet will help you to improve your metabolism and control your appetite. I believe, from my personal experience, that foods with additives make me hungry, rather than filling me up. They therefore make it harder for me to maintain my ideal weight. And in fact I am not alone on this. There is evidence that some foods do stimulate appetite. This includes foods that are empty of goodness and high in calories, such as white refined sugar. Artificial sweeteners are not the answer. There are claims that they may also stimulate your appetite.

A proven way to lose weight, stay slim and be healthy is to eat the best food to lose weight and make this the habit of a lifetime.

I know it might sound simpler to take lose weight diet pills but I hope I have convinced you that it is not a sustainable solutions. Even if you get slim fast, which is unlikely, I doubt that you will stay slim for very long.

It has been proven over and over again that it is best to eat a mixed diet of fresh, wholesome food that is naturally low-fat and full of the vitamins, minerals and other substances that your body needs to be healthy. So please do not even ask the question: Do diet pills work? But instead start to take small steps to change your diet so that you begin to eat the best food to lose weight.

Losing Weight Naturally – Why and How You Need to Ditch the Diets

It is a well known fact that most people end up gaining back any weight they lose during a “diet” and often more besides. Research has shown that only approximately 20 per cent of overweight people successfully manage to sustain their weight loss over a period of time. So it makes good sense to try losing weight naturally rather than going for the latest “quick fix” diet trend if you want to keep off the weight in the long-term.

A good approach to losing weight naturally is to think of weight loss as a by-product of making important health choices rather than it being your primary goal, as you are then on your way to addressing the underlying causes of weight gain and not just the symptoms.

There are three things that you need to do to modify your lifestyle to make it more healthy and enable you to lose weight naturally – you need to eat healthy food, reduce stress and do more exercise.

How to eat healthily.

Choose whole fresh foods as much as possible, rather than processed food products. Keep this thought in mind: “If your great grandmother would not recognise it – it is perhaps better not to eat it!” The greater the amount of whole and unmodified food you eat, the more healthy and satisfying your diet will be.

You also need to cut down your portion sizes. Most of us eat far more than we really need, so try substituting quality for quantity. You will find that by choosing whole foods, you will need to eat less to feel satisfied. Vegetables should make up the largest part of your diet. Vegetables are low in carbohydrates and also full of antioxidants which can have a powerful effect on the free radicals in our bodies. Try and include as many different colours and varieties of fruit and vegetables in your diet as possible.

Make sure you stay hydrated by drinking enough water. This will help with digestion, absorption, circulation and waste excretion, so it is very important for optimum weight loss. It will also stop you from getting fatigued, so you will have more energy to stick with your exercise routine.

Why you need to cut the stress.

Stress and weight gain are very closely related. Stress can cause your adrenal glands to release cortisol and adrenaline into your bloodstream, which in turn can cause the body to store fat. Also if you are feeling stressed you are more likely to comfort eat.

To help reduce stress levels, you could try walking, meditation, yoga, tai chi, music, relaxing in the bath or breathing exercises.

Increase Your fitness levels.

In order to burn off calories you need to do more exercise. You also need to exercise to keep your heart and other organs healthy as well as toning up your muscles and generally keeping your body in good working order. For many overweight people, starting an exercise program can be pretty daunting, but by starting off slowly, you can gradually build it up. Start off by walking, 15 minutes a day could improve your healthy significantly. Gradually increase the time and the pace you walk at or use a pedometer and slowly build up so that eventually you are walking up to 10,000 steps a day. Swimming is also a good beginner exercise as your weight is supported by the water so it takes the strain off your joints. Try and incorporate some sort of physical activity into your daily life, either on your own or with a friend and try to find something that you enjoy doing so that it does not become a chore.

By losing weight naturally and introducing long-term and lasting changes to your lifestyle instead of just unsustainable ones, you may lose weight more slowly, but the more gradual the weight loss the more likely that the weight will stay off for good.