I call this post "Your Perfect Weight" because I feel every idea/ research/ test/ diet/ product/ trial has already been discussed about the most popular topic- weight loss. To tell you the truth... I'm tired of talking about it! But I'm posting on weight loss because a dear friend of mine will benefit from it. Now I bet I'll have a few minds ticking, if you have to think about it, it's not you! I predict I'll revisit this topic at some stage in the future because it's so big and I have so much to say about it.
I have no major personal story to tell as far as my own weight loss journey except for a few diets in high school and perhaps a few food addictions, issues with advertising and maybe guilt associated with eating- nothing ground breaking but I researched and recognised the signs BEFORE any serious problems occurred. In all honesty any habits I may have had with food in the past was never really about the food, it was always about me.
Your perfect weight has nothing to do with what you weigh and it has nothing to do with what number the tag on your jeans says. Your perfect weight is the place where your body looks good, you are healthy and happy and you don't need to look at your scales because to me they're useless.
How do you know when your body looks good?
When you're fitting your slim clothes (not super skinny clothes from crash dieting in the past!) and you have no issues with trying on new ones
When you stop looking at other peoples bodies enviously
When you stop obsessing about calories/ kilojoules
When you stop exercising to lose weight, instead exercise for enjoyment
When you begin to accept your height, hair, face, life AND body
When you begin to eat intuitively, evaluating only how fresh, nutritional and natural a food is
When you feel more energy and motivation
When you begin to not personally associate with other peoples weight issues
I'm sure there are many more reasons... be constructive and think of some more!
Your perfect weight is unique like you are. Do not expect to achieve a completely different body shape and proportion, instead expect to have a beautiful figure unique to you. Isn't that amazing?! That YOU can have a gorgeous body that no one else on the planet owns? Have you ever thought it was possible? Yes it is but as with all good things in life, you'll need to put in the effort and do your homework. I'm NOT suggesting exhausting yourself to the point of adrenal exhaustion at the gym, hating every moment of your work out. Instead I'm suggesting viewing yourself and your body as a work of art rather and begin to work WITH yourself on all levels instead of against. Realise that everyday your body builds new cells, replacing the old with the new, so you are continuously becoming a newer version of yourself. Newer may or may not be better, make sure you give yourself everything within your power to create a better version everyday.
Weight loss Myths
If you exercise enough, you'll lose weight.
Possibly, when you're younger or are healthy enough but if you eat junk food then use exercise as a method to stay in shape?? You're more likely to exhaust your adrenal glands, become fatigued and eventually not budge an inch. It may work initially but like everything, somethings got to give!
Calorie input must be smaller than what you expend.
Yes, theoretically... but why is there so many people on low- joule products, portion controlled meals and they STILL can't lose weight? I always thought they were eating in secret but now I realise it's a metabolism problem (sluggish system) or waste accumulation (sluggish system).
You MUST eat breakfast everyday to kick start your metabolism.
This works for some but not for others, does EVERYONE on this planet need to eat breakfast to be healthy? I think not. Rather, it's up to the individual. Some people will naturally eat lighter in the first half of the day and some will eat more in the second half. If you eat more all the time? Then you have more work to do with your body!
Low carbohydrate, high protein, low fat.
Are all just dietary theories suited for different body types. Think more about incorporating different approaches to different meals as needed and when the situation calls for it. That way you're not on a strict diet. If you already have health issues such as blood sugar problems then of course you'll need to avoid most carbohydrates. The top three food groups carbohydrates, proteins and fats are missing something. Can you think of what it is?
My Approach to Weight Loss
Exercise is something to be enjoyed.
Think about why you exercise... is it because you want to lose weight? Or is it because you want to be healthy or achieve something such as run faster, visit a beautiful place or because it makes you FEEL good? Your intention means a lot. I've mentioned before that I don't do gyms, the music, the lights all the people. The last thing I want to do after my day (or to start it off) is to immerse myself in that environment then have problems falling asleep because my mind can't stop the music! But that's just me, I prefer to be more zen during exercise. I like to get outdoors because it clears my head and makes me feel more at peace with myself. When it comes to exercise I'm talking about natural movement. How much do you do in a day or week? If you spend most of your week days at a desk then your weekends need to be more active to create a balance. Do you enjoy the type of exercise you are doing? If not then find something that you do like, simple! Keep asking yourself questions as to why you do things and whether you're getting any benefits from them.
Nutrition, where do you place your value?
How do you judge if your meal is healthy? Is it because the packet says so? Or someone told you? Or because it's low fat/ high protein/ no sugar? Time to start expanding your perspective on what you think healthy food is. Main stream information evaluates food in a biochemical way. If it contains fats or proteins and vitamins or minerals and so forth. This is a good start but it's not the be all and end all of how good a food/ meal is for you. A protein bar may have all the added vitamins and minerals in it to sustain life but it is loaded with artificial sugars and flavours? This type of food is dead. The type of food I'm talking about that is the real deal, healthy and figure friendly is of the natural sort.
Is fresh, has it's own life force
Is available fresh and seasonal
Is available organic and has a sustainable source
Hasn't gone through massive amounts of processing whether in a factory or by a person- overly cooked or changed from it's original form that it is unrecognisable is not ideal
Isn't focusing too much on the carbohydrate/ protein value but rather how much nutrient rich vegetable content is in the meal
Normally from a packet
Too many additive, chemicals, preservatives, colour, flavour... the list goes on
Is addictive, you can't stop when you start eating it!
Over cooked and/ or made from decent ingredients but then turned into something completely different such as pastry or sugary cereals
Doesn't contain enough fruit or vegetables
Traditional cultures focus more on the vegetable content of a meal, meat or grain being the accompaniment to the meal. We tend to focus more on the meat/ grain/ dairy and have a couple vegetables scattered through it but in small proportions. Well no wonder your belly aches! Think about it, if traditional cultures use the vegetables and a small amount of whole grain as the main meal and their rate of cancer is minimal compared to Western society then they're doing something right. Animal protein is harder to digest, grain tends to be acidifying to the system while the vegetables and fruits are alkalising and easy to digest.
Baby steps all the way...
Changing your diet overnight will not likely result in a permanent change. It's not impossible! I've observed in clinic, most people find it very hard to become super healthy (no sugar, no dairy, no wheat etc) overnight. Why? It sets them up for failure when they can be set up for life!
Mistakes are our biggest learning curve. Without them there is limited growth, so really I guess they're not mistakes are they? We make them because we are human and because they show us how to approach, or not to approach our next move. Don't be discouraged when something doesn't work, it only means you have to try another approach, we are limitless little things when it comes to learning! When it comes to dietary or lifestyle change my motto is to take baby steps until you reach your goal. Imagine how much easier it is changing one little thing at a time? It takes a bit longer but the changes seem to stick, to be a permanent part of who you become.
Focus on what to eat, rather than what to avoid...
In the beginning its better to focus on what you need to include than what you need to exclude from your diet. This is common sense principles based on the theory that what you focus on expands... Begin finding ways to include all the good stuff (fresh, living food) and the food that isn't ideal will begin to be replaced. When your body finds its natural rhythm, appetite, energy and intuition, it'll become a lot easier to implement changes but also TRUST your body. Your body is working tirelessly to maintain homeostasis, the state of equilibrium, despite the changing environment. Sounds simple enough but this involves regulating the circulatory, lymphatic, nervous, endocrine, respiratory, urinary and digestive system PLUS temperature control, pH, blood sugar and pressure. So my point is, your body is intelligent, much more than you've ever given it credit for. Learn to trust your body, provide for it what it needs and it will love you back.
What to drink...
Water , green, white or herbal tea, kombucha , freshly squeezed fruit or vegetable juices, smoothies and small amounts of alcohol. Conventional fruit juices are not ideal but if you need to wean off (or take an aweful green powdered supplement I'm forced to prescribe sometimes!) then use them as a flavouring for water rather than the main drink. Soft drinks and cordials are high sugar, flavour and colour- not living examples of fluid for the body.
It's not what you weight but what you measure...
Unless you weigh a lot I don't recomend using scales unless it's for a difficult recipe. Having said that, don't let a pair of jeans make you feel bad abut being you. STOP yourself from critisizing, put them back into the cupboard and put on something that makes you feel good again. It's natural to have some fluctuation with your body weight, it's unatural to expect yourself to be at a standstill for ever and ever. Like a river, the water levels rise and fall betwen seasons. Excessive fluctuation is not ideal but tthat is why we take baby steps to begin with, so you don't yo-yo all over the place causing unecessary strain on the body.
Why do you get hungry after salad?
Fresh, raw vegetables and fruits contain living enzymes, these are catalysts for digestion in the body. They help your body so effectively that you feel hungry within half an hour of eating a salad. The salad was bulky though, it contained enough kilojoules/ calories to sustain me for three hours but I'm hungry again! Now you're feeling empty and hungry again... because you're not used to eating natural, quick exiting meals. Since you were a child, you've been eating heavier foods and associate a heavier feeling in the belly as a sign you are satisfied. Of course you're not going to be satisfied with just a salad! This is where you need to be smarter, use food in the right combinations and proportions so you can adjust properly. To the point where your body will not like massive servings of steak, it'll prefer a grilled salmon steak perhaps or just a well made and dressed salad and soup.
How to combine your meals...
Animal proteins slow down digestion the most. Grains slow it down less and fats slow it down less than that. Raw fruit and vegetables are quick to digest while the more you cook them (the more you remove the enzymes) the less nutrition it contains and the slower the exit rate.
If you eat animal products then the most obvious and simple idea is to combine your protein with a salad. A slow exit food with a quick exit food, which provides the enzymes for better digestion eg steak and salad or eggs and tomatoes and baby spinach (no toast!).
If you prefer grain (choose wisely and keep it whole like brown rice, buckwheat or quinoa) you're safe to mix it with the smallest amount of protein (that it is just an accompaniment, not a main and only if you prefer) with either fresh or lightly cooked vegetables.
*Prawn stir fry with lightly stir fried Asian greens and brown rice.
*Whole grain sandwich or wrap with tuna and salad filling.
*Buckwheat soba noodles with loads of veggies and a soup of your choice.
*Muesli with nuts and seeds.
*Wholegrain toast with avocado and tomato.
Salad and steamed vegetables are your tummy filler, eat these until you're satisfied and if you're still hungry after that, eat more! People that know me, know I am vegetarian (plant food only) this is where my body is at and how it likes to function. This is my unique health answer, it's time to find out yours...
I'm not a huge fan of dairy but for people that are then use only small amounts and make sure you have some vegetable content to the meal... the best example is a Greek salad with feta cheese, and olives. At some stage I'll talk all about the detrimental effects of dairy on our health.
Why are we always hungry?
You're always hungry because you are undernourished or you're addicted to food- most likely both. You're hungry because you've been eating too much of the grain/ muscle/ root vegetable diet and not enough of the green vegetable and fruit portions. Most of us were not raised on organic, pure food, or even conceived on it. Think about how many of the nutrients you were missing from the moment you were born! Was your mother's breast milk ideal? Was she on medication? Was she health conscious?
My point is your hungry because your body needs more nutrition but not from the sources you think. Meat, excessive grain and dairy are not going to give you as much, nutrition wise as you think. You've had plenty of it (too much likely) up until now and it hasn't gotten you really far. Vegetables (land and sea), herbs, nuts, seeds, superfoods, pure water and some natural based supplements is what I'm talking about. This is what will really make a difference to your health and weight.
Everyone has had a food addiction. In a culture where we spend a lot of time in front of the TV, with so many subliminal messages, images and jingles. Are you that surprised kids are HOOKED on McDonald's? With the silly toys and the junk they call food. Realise that food, especially sugars, fats and processed grain is addictive. Food that has been denatured with additives that stimulate your taste buds and system (caffeine, sugars, flavours) are all addictive. Kids grow up and become adults and are still hooked.
The conscious mind can control 123 bits of information per second, the unconscious can processes 2million... everything you've ever been exposed to has been stored away in your subconscious. Your current behaviour stems more from your subconscious than your conscious mind, so what have you been exposed to in the past continuously that dictates the choices you make? Repetitive ADVERTISING which you don't have to be consciously aware of for it's message to come across.
Complex carbohydrates like potato, white pasta, rice and white bread give you a sleepy feeling after they're consumed, the release of blood sugar then insulin but it also increases serotonin, which gives you that sleepy feeling after you eat it. I've seen someone polish off a HUGE bowl of pasta, easily 3 serving sizes and still want more. Is that normal? No, it's a unique response to a trigger food. Think about what yours are?
Natural food is generally not as addictive. When you've had enough salad, you've had enough.
An interesting article on food production in America...
The food group that was missing at the top of this article was the greens. Not technically a food group by a dietitians standard but certainly one to pay attention too. More on green foods another time! Green for Life by Victoria Boutenko is a fantastic resource for those not consuming their daily greens....