How to achieve Weight Loss and Health
First you need to be honest about whether you need to lose weight, healthy bodies come in many sizes. Make your judgement based on health, not a belief that there is something wrong with you if you don’t look like a model. It is perfectly OK to love your body with chubby thighs, large behind, no thigh gap, big or small breasts and the list goes on…… For those with a healthy weight loss goal here are some things to consider.
Portions for some are one of the problems; you only need to look at average plate size and serving size now compared to our grandparents and great grandparents. My grandmother’s dinner plate was about the same size as current bread and butter plates. I notice that a different size plate does affect how much I serve; I tend to automatically fill it up.
However no matter how much you are told that it is simply about calories in/calories out, this is partly true but it is way more complicated than that. The assumption that all people who are overweight are gluttons and/or sloths is simply not true. Not only is it not true but it is extremely offensive and this attitude is only contributing to the problem and to disordered eating. Many overweight people actually under eat, if you don’t eat enough, your body assumes you are in a famine and won’t let go of any fat!
For those who do overeat, look at why it happens. Is it just availability and habit? Start by really paying attention to how much you are eating, definitely get smaller plates. Slow down when you eat to allow the important hunger/satisfied messages time to get through. Listen to your body; learn the difference between satisfied and full. Eat only until you are satisfied.
Are you really hungry, and having huge sugar or carbohydrate cravings, maybe feeling tired and irritable until you eat? If this is the case you are experiencing low blood sugar levels. In most cases this will be corrected by learning to eat in a balanced way. Eating protein and fat with each meal along with loads of vegies/salad. Example chicken or fish with salad, avocado and olive oil. When you eat in this way, you stay fuller for longer and your blood sugar levels stay stable so you don’t get those big blood sugar drops and cravings. If you are eating this way and still craving sugar, you may need to see a nutritionist to help you with your gut bacteria as the wrong balance of gut bacteria can make you crave sugar!
Don’t forget to look at how much sugar you are eating. Pay attention to packaged foods, especially things like yoghurt, sauces and mayonnaise. Eat the full fat natural varieties and avoid the low fat, no fat, fat free options (they are often high in sugar). A teaspoon of sugar is approximately 4g so when you look on the package, if it says 20g sugar, that is 5 teaspoons. The World Health Organisation recommends that adults have an upper limit of 6 teaspoons of sugar
per day. If you are eating lots of sugar, it will mess with your blood sugar levels causing you to be tired and hungry all the time, it will also feed the wrong kind of gut bacteria.
Do you emotionally eat? This is very common; many of us have learned to use food to push down uncomfortable emotions, using food as a drug to numb. If this is the case you need to learn how to have uncomfortable
emotions, if we don’t experience them, they can’t be processed and they just all build up like they are going to burst. You need to work with a nutritionist who is mindful of this, you may also benefit from psychotherapy to learn how to manage your feelings in a healthy way. It is just another life skill that many of us don’t have, nothing to be ashamed of. If your parents didn’t have the skills they couldn’t pass them to you, if you don’t have the skills how will your children learn?
The calories in/calories out theory (otherwise known as the glutton/sloth theory) is very psychologically damaging. If you believe it and you are overweight, then you will feel shame and believe you have no self-control or will-power. If you start your journey from that place you are doomed to fail.
Nobody ever hated themselves to good health, I recommend you approach this journey as an opportunity to learn to nourish and nurture yourself and to connect with and support your body to support you. If you only punish, despise and deprive yourself, every time you “fail” (and with that attitude you will) it just confirms your belief that you are shameful and not worthy of love and this only feeds the emotional eating cycle. There are no pre-requisites for love or worthiness, you are worthy of being loved and nourished now and that is a great place to begin your health journey.