How many times have you tried to diet and managed successfully for a few days or even weeks - and then found that your eating has spun out of control and you have piled all the weight on again? Does your weight fluctuate like a yo-yo? Have you tried every diet in the book and spent a fortune, only to find yourself back at square one (or worse) every time?
This is a problem shared by many people. Society tells us that we are not attractive or lovable unless our bodies are ‘perfect’. Poor self-esteem causes us to desperately struggle to achieve that ‘model figure’.
The major ingredient missing from most diets is an understanding of how our bodies ‘think’ and the role that food and eating (or overeating!) play in our emotional functioning. Without this knowledge, you can diet, starve, fast, exercise all you like - and even lose weight drastically, but you will be almost guaranteed to put it all on again - and then some!
But before we take a look at how our bodies ‘think’, let’s first explore the mechanics of weight loss.
How does weight loss or gain take place?
Food is taken into our bodies, converted into growth, heat and energy and then excreted. This process is called metabolism. Some people have faster metabolic rates than others do. Individuals can also increase their own metabolism by increasing activity levels (e.g. exercising). We put on weight when the intake of food exceeds our energy and growth needs and the body then “stores” the excess as fat, “in case” it is needed later. Weight loss takes place when the energy requirements of the body exceed the intake of food. Those same “reserves” are then used to make up the difference and weight loss takes place. If there is a perfect balance (on average) between the body’s needs and its intake, body weight will remain stable.
Most weight loss programs work by reducing the intake of food and/or increasing activity levels in order to ‘burn up’ fat.
What happens when we drastically reduce our food intake in order to lose weight? How do our bodies interpret a crash diet?
Our bodies think, “Famine!!!”
Crash diets make you fat!
When we diet or drastically reduce our intake of food, our bodies “think” that we are starving because there is a famine or lack of food available. The body then goes into crisis mode and slows down metabolism in order to conserve or make the most of the little food it is getting. The longer the ‘famine’ lasts, the slower your metabolism will become. Sooner or later (because we are depriving our bodies of essential nutrients) we will be forced to ‘binge’ or break our diet. When this happens, the body ‘hangs on’ to every bit of fat, carbohydrate or ’storable’ food taken in, because:
a) metabolism is still slow and
b) the body will want to lay in ‘provisions’ for any future famine by storing food ‘just in case’.
The more we crash diet, the more our bodies become convinced that our food supplies are unreliable and the more they will therefore tend to store fat.
If this happens often enough, we will begin to put on weight even while eating a normal, healthy diet.
So what is the answer?
The answer, believe it or not, is to eat more! This will ‘trick’ our body into increasing metabolic rate to deal with the excess supply of food. The secret is in WHAT you eat and HOW OFTEN you eat, not in reducing the amount you eat! Obviously if you begin eating large amounts of rich foods and chocolates you are not going to do anything except put on weight (sorry!:-) However, frequent meals consisting of fruit, raw vegetables, rye or whole wheat biscuits, low fat cheese, yogurt, grains, etc., accompanied by a daily increase in energy levels (exercise) will help you to increase your metabolism and lose weight without subsequent ‘bingeing’ or tendency to put on weight after the diet.
When we exercise, our bodies need more energy.
Food and any reserves (i.e. fat deposits) are then metabolized more quickly in order to produce that energy. When we exercise more regularly, our bodies get the message that metabolism needs to stay higher because energy levels require it. We will then tend to ‘burn’ our food intake faster, whether we are exercising or not. People who rarely exercise usually have slow metabolic rates, because their bodies ‘know’ that they do not need much energy to get through the day.
Exercise also builds lean muscle, which adds to metabolic rate and helps us to lose weight faster.
Beware of the messages you are sending your body!
Don’t starve yourself - you will only put the weight on again and again and again!
Comfort eating is another common problem.
This can sometimes be due to boredom and inactivity, but is often linked to depression and low self-esteem. Consumption of rich food is thought to temporarily increase serotonin levels and lift mood in a manner very similar to anti-depressants. While eating these foods, we feel ‘full’ and satisfied, but soon after we begin to experience feelings of guilt and despondency.
The Native Remedies Weight Loss Diet is a healthy eating plan, which helps the mind, body and the emotions to work together to achieve permanent weight loss.
It is specifically designed to increase metabolism and to prevent the ‘bingeing’ effect so often experienced with many other diets. You will not loose ridiculous amounts of weight in “just three weeks/eight days”, etc. But - if you follow the plan and keep eating (!!), you will steadily lose weight without stressing yourself and your body. And the weight will stay off!
It is important that you enjoy your food and that your senses are stimulated and aroused when you eat. It is also important that you have enough to eat (see ‘Famine’ above!) so that your body does not start to ‘hoard’ the food that you consume. You need a variety of different foods for your health and to prevent boredom, causing you to binge or crave fattening foods. The Native Remedies Weight Loss Program provides foods of different textures, colors, flavors and aromas to stimulate all your senses!
In order to achieve maximum effectiveness, the Native Remedies Weight Loss Program should be coupled with regular exercise - at least three one-hour sessions a week, preferably more. You can decide on what kind of exercise you prefer and anything goes - just so long as you increase your heart rate and work up a bit of a sweat! So walk, dance, run, garden, join an aerobics or kick boxing class - whatever works for you! But keep it regular and that excess weight will begin to melt off your body! You will find that the regular exercise will lift your mood and increase self-esteem too - making it more likely that you will stick to your Healthy Eating Program!
The Native Remedies Weight Loss Plan is a flexible diet that lists the basic ingredients available to you for each meal. The more variety you can achieve in the preparation of the food, the better. Remember that boredom is a big factor in the failure of many weight loss programs!
When you wake up:
Start your day each day with a cup of boiled water with a slice of fresh lemon in it. Lemon helps with the production of bile - which breaks down fat in the food supply. Put the lemon in the cup and pour the boiling water over it. Leave to cool and draw for about three minutes and sip slowly.
This is an important meal! Wake up your metabolism and use the following foods to prepare your breakfast.
One cup of high fiber plain cereal or oats (no sugar or flavoring like chocolate! No muesli!)
Use fruit juice or skim milk with the cereal.
Whole apple cut into slices or wedges or a grapefruit.
Cup of herbal tea or juice. (fennel tea is very good for weight loss and will also help to settle the stomach)
Note: One slice of whole-wheat or rye bread/toast with low fat cottage cheese (or a hard boiled egg) can be substituted for the cereal three times a week. Don’t leave out the apple or the herbal tea!
Cup of herbal tea
2 small whole wheat or rye crackers (you can use a 0% fat spread like vegemite on them)
1 apple cut into wedges or slices
You should preferably have your main meal at midday, not at night. This gives your body a chance to digest it and to use up the calories instead of storing them. If this is impossible, make sure that you eat at least three hours before going to bed.
Use the following foods in a variety of ways to prepare your food. For example you may grill, steam or bake (not fry) the fish/meat/chicken whole or you may cut it into small pieces and stir-fry it in a low-fat oil with the vegetables or the pasta.
· One medium portion of fish/chicken or lean meat (red meat not more than twice a week)
· One small portion of starch (brown rice, pasta, potatoes - boiled, steamed or baked)
(avoid lamb or mutton and remove the skin from chicken before cooking)
One big portion of raw salad containing
· a green leaf vegetable (lettuce/cabbage/spinach),
· an orange vegetable or fruit (orange/carrot/tangerine),
· a green vegetable or fruit (cucumber, green pepper/celery/parsley)
· a red vegetable or fruit (red pepper, tomato) and
· a white vegetable or fruit (apple, pear, cucumber). Add sprouts like lentil, alfalfa, barley or a few sunflower seeds if you like.
You can substitute the salad three times a week with cooked vegetables from the above groups so long as they are steamed, baked or lightly boiled - or cooked in lemon juice or plain yogurt. Try and include all the colors - green, red, orange, yellow and white!
If you are a vegetarian, you can increase the salad and add almonds, low fat cottage cheese and sunflower seeds or use soybeans, tofu, egg or other protein source.
Same as for the mid-morning snack. These snacks are important - don’t skip them!
Second meal (lunch or supper):
1 red apple
1 green apple
1 other fruit, e.g. strawberry, melon, peach, pear, etc)
1-cup plain low fat yogurt
1 glass fruit juice/herbal tea.
Either combine the above into a fruit salad and use the yogurt as a dressing or cut the fruit up into attractive wedges/slices and arrange on your plate. You can then eat the yogurt separately.
Cup of Chamomile tea (good for the stomach and also soothing and relaxing) or a cup of warm low fat milk;
One banana or one sweet plain biscuit
(this snack will also help you to sleep)
* Remember to take your Ecoslim Slimming Drops three times a day. This will help to control appetite and also provide energy for exercise.
* Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day - non-negotiable! Begin each meal with a glass of water.
* No sugar allowed! Use artificial sweeteners if you absolutely must - but rather try to become accustomed to going without sugar. This eating plan provides lots of natural sugars.
* Good herbal teas to drink are mint tea, Chinese green tea, fennel tea or chamomile (sleepy tea) - all good for digestion!
* You can cook or flavor with lemon juice, herbs, garlic or ginger to your heart’s content. You can also use Oriental spices like tumeric, chilli, masala, etc - but no MSG! Moderate amounts of salt are OK, but don’t overdo it!
* Try to have your main meal at midday, so that you have a chance to digest it.
* If you are tempted to deviate from the eating plan, get up and DO something! Go for a walk, visit a friend, write an email, put on some music and dance - do anything! But, most importantly, get away from the food that is tempting you!
* No calorie-counting, food weighing or worrying please! ‘Big’ means large, ‘medium’ means a little smaller than your norm and ’small’ means just a little. Don’t fuss - it stresses you out and makes you head for the chocolate!
* It is a good idea to keep a daily record of your meals - it helps to commit yourself and to be able to identify where things go wrong.
* Try your best not to ‘cheat’ or ‘lapse’, but if you do - don’t despair! Don’t give up in misery and guilt. Accept that you are human, give yourself a ‘pep talk’ and start afresh!
* In addition to the meals in the Eating Plan, the following foods are ‘free’ and can be eaten as much as you like: apple, raw carrot, celery sticks, raw mushrooms, cucumber.
Above all, keep listening to your body!
Good luck and be well!
Michele Carelse is a Registered Clinical Psychologist and Licensed Counselor with more than 15 years experience running her own private practice.
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