Tag Archives: obesity

Weight Gain, Obesity and the ‘No Diet’ Solution

The big news is that dieting doesn’t cure obesity … in fact in a study published by National Institute of Health Researchers showed that dieting actually lowers your metabolism which means long-term dieting of any kind will cause metabolic compensation, where your perhaps already low metabolism becomes gradually more and more efficient (i.e. lower still), requiring fewer and fewer calories to maintain your weight.

This means that you’d have to be calorie-deprived for the rest of your life just to maintain your weight, and you might still regain any weight you’ve lost … or even more. So for anyone who wants (or needs) to shed weight this is bad news … really bad news.

It also helps to explain why people (mostly women) throw good money after bad on a plethora of diet programs pills and shakes that don’t work in a fruitless effort to achieve an idea of beauty that doesn’t really exist anyway. It’s completely impossible. No wonder we get depressed.

You know that calorie counting old equation – weight loss or gain = calories in minus calories out, right? Did you know that it’s a complete fallacy? Aargghh … so what’s the answer?

Well, there are actually 4 steps to weight loss … and none of them actually involve dieting.

Secret #1 – Low Carb
The first step to is to correct the type of calories we consume … the reason people gain fat is due to unregulated fat-tissue due to insulin secreted in response to the carbohydrates – anything made from sugar, rice or any flours, including wheat, as well as starchy vegetables like potatoes – we consume.

Yes – you heard it – cheap delicious bready wheat-y rice-y soul nurturing carbs … they’re out for good – simple ones anyhow. Unless you want to stay fat. Your choice, you decide. Seriously.

Secret #2 – Portion Size
The second step is serving size. Remember those meal sizes were smaller when you were a kid? And when you go out to dinner at a Dennys, Applebees or Pizza Hut (let alone the plethora of awesome home-cooked restaurants in Melbourne serving huge pates to willing customers) how massive are they now? Eating out should not be about the experience, trying something new, and exploring new tastes … not just bang for buck

But it’s not just portion control you need to monitor. According to the Australian Dietary Guidelines serving size is better describe how much you SHOULD eat of a food, rather than portion size which describes the amount you ACTUALLY eat.

To get the volume you eat down, you simply eat less, right? Well, sort of. The problem is our stomachs have been stretched by ever increasing meal sizes so it’s only logical that the empty space in our stretched stomachs gives off a false sense of hunger that doesn’t really exist. Yep, you’re not REALLY hungry at all.

Eating smaller more regular meals is one of the tricks to help retrain your body … 4 meals of 300 to 500 calories over the day (every 3 to 4 hours) can help stabilise your blood sugar and shrink your stomach size.

So what is a serving size? Well that’s kind of the problem. The serve size tables aren’t very specific. Sure they list the number of serves a day of fruit, vegetables, protein and complex carbohydrates but they don’t really say how much a serve is. And to make it worse there’s no actual guideline for food growers or manufacturers for labelling serving sizes on their products – it’s completely up to them. WTF?

So what do you actually need? Well whilst it’s a bit different for everyone (based on body type and cultural differences) but it turns out it is pretty simple – a palm-sized piece of lean protein and 2 to 3 handfuls of vegetables at a meal. You can also have a piece of fruit up to twice a day and a small amount of complex carbohydrates (palm sized) like quinoa or sweet potato. And don’t forget your healthy fats … raw nuts, avocados and olive oil are essential to turning off your hunger hormone ghrelin. Simple, right?

Check out Dr Lisa Young’s other tricks to help you eat less.

Secret #3 – Intermittent Fasting
The third step is frequency of eating and the benefits of intermittent fasting. There’s a been a lot written about the benefits of intermittent fasting and programs like Michael Mosely’s “Eat, Fast and Live Longer” have certainly helped make the concept of fasting centre stage.

The truth is that fasting is in line with our ancestral DNA, and so the act of fasting has a whole host of benefits for our body including weight loss, lower blood pressure, reduced cholesterol, feeling full, fat loss, ketosis, metabolism booster, cardiovascular health and better insulin sensitivity – it’s a pretty amazing list. Which is why intermittent fasting is considered a big part of the cure for diabetes, obesity, heart disease and a plethora of other illnesses.

But which type of fast is right?

Well it turns out doesn’t really matter which one you do. Personally I do the 18/6 hour fast pretty much daily and I feel better for it. Dr Mosely prefers to 5:2 fast, whilst other people prefer a full fast or anytime fast. Really it depends on what fits in with your lifestyle and how you feel on it. For me it’s easy to finish eating around 7pm and not eat again until 1pm the next day.

The biggest benefit of any fast is that it gives your stomach time to shrink, thereby reducing your capacity for those large meals I mentioned about previously. What this means is you eat less – portion control sorted! And when you consider that every kg (2.2lbs) of fat equates to 7,000 calories you can start to understand why it takes a while to lose any weight you put on.

It took you ages for that weight to gradually come on, right? So the slow burn, the slow loss is always best and losing it slowly will help you keep it off … otherwise you might find that weight again! There is one exception to this rule and it’s something I’ll be talking about next week rapid weight loss .

Secret # 4 – Nutrient Density
The fourth step to losing weight and getting the body of your dreams is nutrition density.

All food is not created equal. The body needs a vast array of micro nutrients in the form of vitamins minerals and trace elements to function optimally. The best sources of all these things are found in a combination of (generally raw) natural foods with one ingredient – apples, oranges, berries, carrots, broccoli, greens, almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, etc.

Cooking and manufacturing processes which turn these ingredients into ‘products’ are less healthy because the raw food is changed. Oils become oxidised through cooking; vitamins are destroyed by manufacturing processes; complex carbohydrates become simple like sugar when ground; and essential fibre is destroyed. And so the destruction goes on.

That’s why the best foods are raw and natural, lightly steamed or cooked to enhance texture and taste. Salads featuring a variety of leafy greens are your best option, but we’re not rabbits, and variety is the spice of life, so it’s important to eat a variety of colours and textures.

Although farming practices have improved, many crops are still gown from genetically modified stock in depleted soils with added fertilisers and herbicides which are unnatural. When you’re not eating organic, you’re also eating these additives placing an extra burden on your organs to remove them.

When it comes to eggs and meat those which are organic or bio-dynamic are best. Organic and bio-dynamic produce is grown in rich fertile soils without harmful additives or hormones. And whilst you can’t eat 100% organic all the time, eating local produce (rather than imports) and replacing what you can when you can makes a huge difference to your body and your health.

I’m still not sure how in our technologically advanced world that embraces globalisation, food manufacturers – who pack their products with unhealthy ingredients like wheat, highly ground flours, refined sugars, iodised salt, palm and oxidised oils – manage to get their products on our shelves cheaper than the local farmer with his home grown produce? It’s like we’d rather have a ‘Heston-ised’ thing that looks like something else rather than the genuine article

So aim for products that have just one ingredient, and combine or cook them at home to make super delicious, fresh and vibrant meals. Your body will thank you for it.

Next blog I’ll be talking about rapid weight loss.

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Diversity, Limiting Perceptions and How to Reverse Ageing

Last night’s win in the Eurovision song contest to Israel’s Netta Barzilai may have come as a surprise, but it shouldn’t have. Whilst “Toy” was not my favourite song, I could appreciate the technical skill and talent required to perform its complexity. But its catchy little tune was not why it won.

Why the Eurovision Win is So Important
Netta’s win was about the power of Collective Humanity creating change in the world … a collective ground swell that eventually overtakes any opposition … where the rights of the individual outweigh those of the masses.

Looking back to 1891 it took a handful of dedicated women collecting 30,000 petition signatures on the streets of Melbourne for the Parliament of Victoria to change women’s’ rights. Each of those ‘powerless’ little ink marks combined (19 Bills later) got women the right to vote in 1908. Since then we’ve seen the rights of women’s liberation continue to evolve to new highs.

The 2018 win was, as Netta herself said, a win for diversity … a celebration of individuality and inclusion. And I hope that’s something we can all get on board with. ‘I’m OK You’re OK’ has very much become the catch cry of the decade, helped by the rise and speed of social media, despite its narcissistic overtones and selfie culture – and women seem to be leading the charge.

Individualism and Beauty
Could we finally be seeing the rise of the individual over well-funded corporations and conglomerates that dictate how we live through their persuasive advertising? Could the white-washing and careful playing of the public by government be coming to an end? Are we finally doing something about the injustices we see?

And when it comes to beauty is it really in the eye of the beholder? Or is there a standard ‘norm’ that women must conform to? If you ask @dove they’ll tell you it’s time we understand, when it comes to advertising, we’re being lied to.

If so, does body weight really factor into how we’re perceived? Does it affect our chances in success, and even love? Usually I’d say that’s a BIG YES, but recent talent competitions, including the 2018 Eurovision results, may indicate the tide is finally turning.

Limiting Perceptions of Weight
Back in the 80s if you were overweight or obese (like I was) then you were destined to a life of mediocrity, at best. You never won anything, sliding almost silently into the shadows bar the jeers and insults spoken (or yelled) your way. You certainly got passed over for job opportunities and promotions (sadly this still happens).

For me it was a constant battle to be accepted as ‘normal’ – I had to perform over and above what was expected of my peers or thought possible of someone my size. It was almost like I had to prove my worth again and again – that was the penance I had to ‘pay’ to apologise or compensate for the weight I carried, as if the weight wasn’t burden enough.

So consider past music competition talents Susan Boyle and Casey Donovan, and the current Eurovision songstress Netta Barzilai – it seems more overweight people are starting to take the world by storm, winning big in the process (pardon the pun!) These are talented women whose passion shines through their ‘abnormal’ façade to reach the hearts of millions and snag the popular (and judges) votes.

So why when confronted by people who look a little different to us do we often judge and discount them, even label them ridiculous? Why do we constantly try to stifle the artistic expression of those who are a little different or left of centre?

Diversity and Self-Expression
Our bodies are vehicles for that self-expression, but it’s not just clothes that maketh the man – makeup, piercings, tattoos or even our body weight – the choice is now ours to make, as we see fit.

When it comes to makeup artistry, openly gay icon Manny MUA (aka Manuel Gutierrez) is one of the industry’s top influencers with over 4 million subscribers on his YouTube and Instagram channels. With attraction power like that there’s no surprise that he was made the first male brand ambassador for Maybelline.

But Belgian artist Wim Delvoye’s has taken tattoos to a whole new level with “Human Canvas”, previously displayed at MONA, which takes the cake. Not only has Wim tattooed most of Tim Steiner’s body as a work of art, Tim has also sold his body’s artwork to be delivered to the German owner upon his demise.

But these extremes of self-expression are not new. In the 80s music industry Madonna started the trend of reinventing herself with each new single – a visual reincarnation, a metamorphosis. Lady Gaga continues that trend with outlandish makeup and outfits that often transcended sensibility like her 2014 inflatable octopus dress … but it sure got the media’s attention. Mission accomplished.

Reinventing Your Body
So what about our body size and shape … do we consciously, or unconsciously, chose the size of our own bodies as we do these other adornments? Do we create our physical presence entirely, or do we just make do with what we have?

Ask alternative medicine advocate Dr Deepak Chopra and he’ll confirm that we can design our bodies (and longevity) by choice, but usually it’s due to a lack there of. Whilst Body architect Lucy McRae believes it is possible to ‘design’ your body and even merge it with technology. And author Annette Noontil tells you in her book that the body is a barometer of the soul.

But for those of us who are not wanting to reinvent ourselves but rather turn back the clock and prevent ageing as we cling helplessly onto the impossible idea of maintaining the body we had in our 20s, what can we really do? Do we have to miserably bust our asses at the gym and eat like supermodels, or is there another answer?

It’s true, the ageing process isn’t pretty, and in fact it can be darn right nasty. Whilst a man becomes a distinguished ‘silver fox’ women become haggard, old, tired and crinkled. As if the ageing process isn’t bad enough the euphemisms used are even more offensive. So if we can actually redesign our bodies to reduce ageing, then how do we do it?

According to Dr Chopra it all starts in the mind. We’ve known for years that positive thinking not only changes your mental state, it can actually change your vision. And placebos work even if you know it’s a placebo – so it’s true, you can actually change things by thought alone.

In fact Debbie Hampton of The Best Brain Possible explains that your thoughts can even alter your cells and your genes – it’s the fascinating field of epigenetics. And it helps to explain why two cancer patients given the same prognosis can have very different longevities.

So if our brains and our minds are THAT powerful, why don’t we all have the bodies of our dreams?

Check my next blog to find out.

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