Updated: Jan 22
1. EAT WELL TO LOSE WEIGHT
2. EAT THREE QUALITY MEALS PER DAY (veg, high—fibre carbs, protein, good quality fat)
3. EXPEND MORE ENERGY EVERY HOUR (10k step rule)
4. EXPERIENCE ACTUAL HUNGER BEFORE EATING YOUR NEXT MEAL OR DO NOT EAT
5. IF YOU HAVE TO ASK YOURSELF “Am I hungry?” THEN YOU ARE NOT!
6. LEAVE THE TABLE WHEN YOU FEEL 80% FULL
7. DO NOT FILL THE GAPS BETWEEN MEALS UNLESS YOU NEED ENERGY TO EXERCISE
8. EAT A WIDE VARIETY OF COLOUR IN FOODS (colour = antioxidants)
You are at an age where you have experimented with many eating plans and have had varying results, over a number of years. There is little I can tell you that you don’t already know. You know that the cabbage soup diet makes you sad – effective as it may be. You know that meal-replacement plans are unpleasant at best & unsustainable in the real world. You know that the ‘seven-pounds-in-seven-day’ diets are crazy effective, until you start to eat again. High protein variations are strangely satisfying, for a period of time, ‘til you cannot look another rib steak in the eye.
Why do they all seem to work……. and yet not?
What am I missing?
The fact is, that calorie restriction (involved in all of the above, to varying degrees) results in immediate weight-loss. Starvation mode is initiated in the body, when not enough glucose and fats are floating around the blood-stream to meet your energy demands and stores need to be eaten into! Energy is stored as glycogen in muscle and in the liver, as well as in fat stores. Its important to know, that glycogen is stored with 25% water (give or take) and so initial weight-loss can often be, largely, stored glycogen plus water loss.
The body is much slower to sacrifice its fat stores – for obvious reasons, i.e. survival.
Fat loss lives at more moderate weight-loss rates, where adequate calories are consumed to fuel daily activity levels but are adequately low enough to pull, gently and consistently, from fat stores…..with glycogen levels being used as the middle-man. Essentially, excess glucose that cannot be stored as glycogen (when these stores are full – such as on Christmas day!) has to be converted to fat. So how can we do the opposite to this process? How do we take fat from storage and convert it back into the glucose from where it very likely came?
By running on empty a few times per days, is how!
The analogy I’ve used forever is that of the fuel tank in your car. Think of the fuel tank being up to the brim on Christmas day. It may spill over it is so full (into fat storage). From today, think of your fuel tank as your muscles, liver and fat deposits (belly perhaps, bum and thighs, upper arms). Of course you want fuel in your tank, in order to meet your daily energy requirements. You want the energy to complete ten thousand steps. You want the energy to shop, cook, bother. You want the energy to exercise and do a day’s work.
HOWEVER, you want to see the reserve tank warning sign on your fuel gage before every main meal of the day. This is where fat loss lives. This makes the difference between flash diets with fast (unsustainable) results and sustainable, consistent fat-loss only (no muscle, no water weight).
Eat plenty of fruit, vegetables, lean protein sources, high-fibre carbohydrates with adequate quality fat used in cooking. You want to eat as few as possible high-fat, high-sugar, high-salt foods that are all-too-readily stored. You want to get into that reserve tank three or four times every day.
This is such an old-fashioned, yet effective tool. It genuinely surprises people when they experience it. They seem to remember the feeling from their childhood. I certainly do. As a child I was not allowed to eat, as much as an apple, between meals. I was told to “go out and play” (a imprisonable offence by today’s standards!). What this meant was that I was always very hungry for my next meal. As I say to clients today – that is when broccoli/spinach/cabbage look tempting. When you are not particularly hungry they do not!
But that message was two-fold; go and expend more energy and come back even hungrier than you are now. That was the key. No one I knew was overweight when I was a child – it was just not a ‘thing’. It was not until the nineties, on going to the US, that I met obesity. I met families who were obese, while working in a breakfast restaurant. We knew nothing of it, being European, at the time. Food processing and high availability of glucose-fructose-enhanced processed foods meant Americans had access to easily stored, addictively sweet, treats for a whole generation before we ever did. That is why it has only been recently that obesity has begun to plateau in Europe while it plateaued in the US some time back.
So what is the message here?
EAT WELL TO LOSE WEIGHT
EAT THREE QUALITY MEALS PER DAY (based on vegetables, fibre, protein, good quality fat)
EXPEND MORE ENERGY EVERY HOUR (10k step rule)
EXPERIENCE ACTUAL HUNGER BEFORE EATING YOUR NEXT MEAL OR DO NOT EAT
IF YOU HAVE TO ASK YOURSELF “Am I hungry?” THEN YOU ARE NOT YET HUNGRY
LEAVE THE TABLE WHEN YOU FEEL 80% FULL
DO NOT FILL THE GAPS BETWEEN MEALS UNLESS YOU NEED ENERGY TO EXERCISE
EAT A WIDE VARIETY OF COLOUR IN FOODS (colour = antioxidants)
You do not need to diet hard to lose weight. Enjoy good food. Enjoy meal-time again by being fully hungry enough to enjoy wholesome, simply flavoured foods that do not rely on fat, salt and sugar to taste good.
Have a look at my e-book to get a starting point and an overview of how to eat well, for life, for fat-loss, for pleasure. I use the scientifically significant Mediterranean diet as a basis from which I pull together a sample three-day plan which works as a prescriptive starting point for your pleasurable journey towards weight loss and the attainment ‘high-health’.