I read a great article in the May 2010 issue of Good Health about the 7 diet blunders which could stop you from losing weight. I thought I would share the gist of it with you because it wouldn’t be fair if I kept it to myself. 😉
1. You’re not sleeping enough
According to a study at Laval University in Quebec, too much or too little sleep can make you pile on the kgs. The study found that those sleeping for less than 7 hours a night gained 1.82kg over a period of six year. Those sleeping longer gained 1.36kg over the same period.
Apparently lack of sleep alters the hormone balance that controls your appetite and increases your level of ghrelin which makes you crave carbs such as pasta and pastries.
The perfect amount of sleep? 8 hours. We should follow the advice our grandmothers gave us – 8 hours of work, 8 hours of activity and 8 hours of sleep is the ideal, healthy day.
2. You’re eating breakfast at the wrong time
The advice is you should eat within one hour of waking. Include protein rich foods such as yoghurt, eggs, nuts and seeds for a greater initial and sustained feeling of fullness through the day. German researchers advise that you can kick start your metabolism by having a glass of cold water on waking. Add some lemon juice for good measure.
3. You’re using weights at the gym
Pumping weights is great for improving muscle tone but just be mindful when you do it.
Tracy Anderson, the trainer who trains Madonna (scary) and Gweneth Paltrow says that when you perform single moves such as a bicep curl, you’re isolating that muscle while the rest of the body remains static. This means your body is in ‘sleep’ mode so it will not be burning fat.
It’s best to combine aerobic exercises with resistance weight training. Try moves that work many muscles at once such as push ups and lunges. Keep your entire body moving and you are on to a winner.
4. You had a traumatic time giving birth
Long labours or difficult births = cravings for comfort food. This is the minds natural mental response to trauma but this response could lead to addictive habits such as overeating.
GH suggests chatting to a therapist about your feelings surrounding your birth experience.
5. You’re drinking black tea
Argh! But I looove tea! But I love losing weight and feeling healthier more… GH says black tea is fully fermented, which removes some of its active termigenic antioxidant ingredients (science talk), thereby minimising it’s weight-loss enhancing properties. So what should we be having instead?
Pu-erh tea, originating from a village in southwest China, is high in epigallocatechin (there’s that science talk again) which is a potent antioxidant with thermogenic properties that help the body burn more fat. GH recommends drinking three to five cups of this little wonder a day.
6. You’re on a diet
People. I’ve seen the light! Join with me in the fight against diets because DIETS don’t work. Notice the word DIE in diet? It’s because diets cause a slow nasty death to your metabolism.
GH says yo-yo dieting confuses your metabolism sending your body into starvation mode and storing food in case it’s needed later. All this does is makes you heavier since every calorie and mouthful is stored on your stomach, bum or thighs (my god, have I been there and it is NOT pretty).
So get off the diet bandwagon to avoid thunder thighs and muffin tops!
7. You sit still
You know this people that fidget a lot? In most cases they tend to be slim despite eating whatever they like. Scientist from Getmany and the US have identifies a ‘fidget’ code and, if you have it in your genes, you are less likely to be overweight. So if you’re not naturally fidgety take up knitting or do away with the remote and keep moooving!
So after all that, how does weight loss REALLY work?
Dr Catherine Itsiopoulos from the Dieticians Association Australia explains: “Weight loss works by burning up more energy (with increase in exercise) and taking in less energy (with improving food quality and reducing quanitity). To lose weight and keep it off you need to make long-term lifetsyle changes that are realistic and achievable and can be maintained in the long-term”.
7 Important rules to follow:
1. Eat before you get hungry as not doing so can lead to overeating.
2. Eat slowly, chew food well and stop when you are full.
3. Eat lots of vegetables, salads and fresh fruit
4. Choose wholegrain breads and cereals (more filling and nutritious)
5. Choose low-fat dairy foods
6. Eat small portions of lean red meat, or a serving of skinless chicken, and have fish a couple of times a week
7. Drink plenty of water to stay well hydrated and avoid sugary drinks (that includes FAKE sugar!)