Mandy sounded pretty desperate on the phone
‘Look, I’ll be straight with you. I need to lose a stone before christmas.’ she said. ‘Do you think you can help?’
‘Well, I’ve helped many people with weight issues. What are your particular issues around food?’ I asked.
‘Trouble is, I start out ok but just seem to lose momentum. I need to find an easier way to take it off and keep it off this time. I’m sick of yo-yoing.
Mandy was right. Many people start out with great intentions but end up feeling demotivated and deprived. It feels like such a struggle to keep denying yourself. Feeling constantly hungy is not great.
The reality is, if you’re feeling hungry, you’re not doing it right. Understanding food and how your body uses it will free you from the diet trap for good. Modern scientific discoveries can now make weight loss painless.
Knowledge is power, and with a fuller understanding of the workings of the human brain and body, it is now much easier to make informed choices that will allow you to reclaim control of your eating, lifestyle and health.
For example, an easy way to lose weight is to simply reduce the size of the plate from which you eat. Reducing from a 12 inch to a 10 inch plate for instance will result in 20% less calories being consumed.
In an experiment with cinema audiences, some were given large and some small tubs of popcorn. It was found that those with the large tubs ate considerably more. It appears that when more food is available, we are hard wired to stock up.
It is also important to look for the hidden calories in food and be calorie aware.
Which do you think has the most calories between:
Astonishingly all of these contain a total of 300 cals.
1. Know your calories
I is easy to actually eat more food and still lose weight by simply reducing your calorie intake. For instance there is a huge difference between a cappuccino at 100 cal and a black coffee at 10 cal.
Making a series of small changes can have huge results. Many people greatly underestimate their calorie intake. Some people think they have a slow metabolism and use this as an excuse for an inability to lose weight.
2. Record your intake
But keeping a written food diary or visual food diary by camera phone can show that we forget as much as 60% of what we eat. Keeping a record allows for mindful eating.
3. Pile on the protein
Scientists now know why some food keeps us a full for longer. You can fool your brain by eating more protein as protein staves off hunger pangs. So a qualitative and not a quantitative diet is most important.
Protein keeps us fuller longer as the hormone PYY travels into the bloodstream and sends signals to the brain to say it is full. So eat more protein to switch off the urge to eat.
Ghrelin is the hunger hormone and PYY is the full hormone. More protein also stabilises blood sugar.
4. Sup more soup
Soup is also useful in weight loss as it fools the stomach into feeling fuller longer.
5. Feel the chill
Drink cold water as the body has to use energy to warm it up to body temperature to absorb it.
6. Avoid buffet grazing
It seems the wider the choice of food, the more we eat as we are hardwired to seek out and scavenge as part of our evolution. Therefore, avoid buffets as you are likely to eat 30% more than with a plated meal.
7. Say yes to dairy
Milk, cheese and butter are often the first things to disappear from the diet when trying to lose weight but the calcium in dairy produce binds to fat in the stomach leading to a excretion. Low-fat dairy products therefore help us fight the flab. Include skimmed milk, cottage cheese and low-fat cheeses to help you burn fat while you are asleep.
8. Feel the burn
Exercise changes your metabolic rate. There is an after burn effect. Carbohydrates are used during exercise and, when the stored carbohydrates have been used and burned off, the body switches to consumption of fat for energy. This fat burning effect can last a full 24 hours after exercise. A walk out doors will lower stress hormones and reduce the temptation to comfort eat.
The medical research Council have shown that even small changes in routine can make a difference. Those with a sedentary lifestyle can simply move around more or fidget, stand rather than sit whilst on the telephone or computer and incorporate walking and stair climbing into their daily routine. Moving around more raises the heart rate and can burn an additional 250 cal a day.
10. Sleep it off
Sleep deprivation leeds to increased eating (in the order of about 300 calories a day). A recent study linked shortened sleep duration with enhanced food consumption. Previous studies ahve also shown that sleep deprivation may:
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