Have you been doing a lot of things right when it comes to weight loss? Maybe you have done the cleanse , went a bit more plant-based, drink nice and healthy smoothies and added protein to your meals. You also exercised adequately to your abilities and lifestyle. You have put in a lot of work but hit the brick wall and your weight does not want to budge.
Quite often this is when many people give up. You start wondering where is the issue? Maybe I shoud invest more money in some funny shakes, maybe frutis and vegetables are not so healthy after all.
Maybe I should try keto for few weeks?
I see this as the main turning point for my clients, either they stick to the lifestyle or give up. With the coaching they have a fair chance of actually moving through that point realising that losing weight is a long term game. There is nothing wrong with you this is a natural body reaction adjusting to lifestyle changes. I believe in slow and gradual weight loss. It maybe a longer way but more sustainable for sure.
Your big WHY plays an important role here, then you need to follow some steps and actions every day and have accountability to see sustained results.
Are you honest with yourself?
At this point you may realise that actually some of your old habits returned. I always encourage to write a journal with all food and drinks you have for a few days. I would like you to be honest with yourself. Sometimes you do not realize how much you eat and drink. Not only that. You do not also realise how your meals are rushed, how stressed you are sitting down to have a meal and you are not aware of your fullness and hunger scale. All of that I cover in my programs together with practice and breathing techniquest to get you to rest and digest mode. You may not be mindful with your meals, often snacking in front of TV in the dark not actually monitoring what and how much you eat.
What is the game?
I always say that losing weight is a mindset game but not only. The fact is that we love food and love eating it. We have been programmed that way and hormones play also a big part (especially satiety hormones leptin and ghrelin) along with genetics.
Food has a big social meaning for us too . We love sharing it and it creates massive comfort like anything else. We also have insatiable cravings and we love the second piece of the cake although we are stuffed. As per Harvard Medical School, the liking the way food tastes can prompt you to eat 44% more of it. We are also surrounded by food, it is everywhere, however being in lockdown is a massive opportunity actually to cut ourselves off from all of the heavy carbs, sugary food we see in cafes as long as we do not buy them with our weekly food shopping.
In any social setting strong mindset not to give in as well as support from people around are often the key to success. Sometimes people will actually indulge themselves in such settings but very quickly go back to their meal plans day after. If you can do that than this is great , but no everyone can. Weighing yourself after such event may also not be a good idea. Just go back quickly to your baseline and you should be fine.
So do the quick diets work?
The simple answer is NO. Generally, people taking part in various programs, crushed diets etc , quite often put on the weight back. Their metabolism have slow down, hormones are playing havoc and they are putting on more weight than ever before. This is the road to nowhere.
People love to have a quick results and I get that. I have been there althought I have never followed any diet but I did think that for losing weight I had to exercise as crazy. This lockdown put a lot of pressure on us all, but I still believe looking into big why and not giving yourself excuses to get off the track is the best way. It will be so much harder to go back.
I have a big Why and still nothing
Now I am not saying that having a big WHY is a solution to everything. You may have an underlying health conditon (you may not even know about it) which prohibits you from losing weight. Some thyroid conditions and generally autoimmune conditions come to mind but also poor digestion and poor sleep.
However, I wanted to focus on digestion and gut health.
Early research shows that there is a strong connection between your gut and your ability to lose weight. Generally, having a very diversified gut flora and good balance of bad and good bacteria can help you and goes a long way. The comparison have been made between obese and lean people and research has found that gut bacteria in lean people can help them stay slim by stimulating the production of hormones that keep you feeling full, such as leptin. (Harvard Medical School)
The foods you eat determine your unique gut bacterial profile. Generally, diet rich in fiber-filled plant foods appears to protect against obesity causing bacteria. The good news it it does not take long to adjust gut bacteria and even few days can be enough to change it , however building healthy habits to include more plant food is critical to long term weight loss.
There are many many complications of excess weight eg. headache, stroke, dementia, diabetes and all its complications, asthma, sleep apnea, kidney cancer, many circulatory problems such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, arthritis, lower back pain. Excess weight increses persons risks of more than 195 different medical conditions. So when people say in lockdown do not care about putting an extra weight on as a blank statement, I am really really angry as the chances these people end up in an overwhelmed NHS are very high sooner or later.
Lifestyle changes for sustainable weight loss
Mindset, love for yourself and right nutrition are key here. I highly recommend to work with a weight loss specialist coach to really work out the right nutrition for you and coach you on mindset and other lifestyle changes such as stress and sleep if you feel that you need that extra support.
Drastic changes are not recommended so if you have never tried plant-based diet, changing to it overnight may not be a good idea. Small and consistent steps are better.
- Cook dinner at least three times a week – include plant-based meals; that way you can control ingredients and portion sizes.
- Add at least two healthy foods to your weekly shopping – I suggest pick two recipes
- Have a journal and monitor for some time water and food intake – everything from snacks to late evening foods.
- Switch to water, healthy vegetable jucies and smoothies
- Try mindful eating especially in the second half of the day when our willpower is weak and we tend to sit in front of TV eating in the dark. Prepare lovely herbal tea for good sleep .
- Boost your fibre intake – add low sugar fruits such as berry to wholegrain cereal, add 1 tbsp of chia seeds to your smoothie, add half of cup to peas to pasta, add beans and swap white rice for quinoa.
- Watch your sugar intake in any form also fruit
- Keep to three filling meals and avoid snacking
- Eat earlier in the day
- Make sure you have accountability – recruit supportive friends who will not tempt you with food but actually accept your choices
The truth is there is no magic wand but constant change by small steps.
I run cleanse and detoxification programs. My cleanse is not a fast and it does not slow down your metabolism as you still eat on the cleanse. It is designed to give you a good baseline and you have one week to prepare , one week to cleanse and one week to reintroduce some food groups. We remove gluten, alcohol, sugar, processed food and caffeine. It starts on 01st June and I hope you can join this but in the mean time download my detox guide here.
Few Words on Body Confidence and Body Positivity
Probably we all have seen Adele’s new rare picture on her birthday showing herself considerably smaller than she used to be so the media went crazy with speculation and both camps of fat shaming and fat accepters raising their voices. I believe any change starts with loving yourself no matter how you look. If you do not than the whole journey will be much harder and you may not be happier at the end of it. I know there are many eating disorders and psychological and genetic problems with weight but many are not and there are very good healthy reasons why you should lose weight.
That is why it will always be a controversial subject as there is no one size that fits all. We are all individual and we approach this topic differently . However, it has been massively exploited by various companies offering miraculous diets, supplements and also give us the notion that thin and sporty body is always better than others.
You need to seek answer within yourself and if you struggle or would like some help, do not do it alone but ask for it. It is a journey of 1000 miles and it starts with a first step and the next one and next one.
Try this recipe – Jerk Spiced Aubergine with Mango and Cucumber Salsa
Jerk Spiced Aubergine with Mango & Cucumber Salsa
- 1 Aubergine cut in half, vertically
- 1 tbsp allspice powder
- 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 spring onions sliced
- 1 red chilli finely chopped
- 1 tbsp cane sugar
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp tamari sauce
Mango and Cucumber Salsa
- 1 mango, diced
- 1 cucumber, diced
- 1/2 red oninon, diced
- 1/2 bunch, coriander (cliantro)
- Few spring onions, thinely sliced
- 1/2 lime, juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tsp seasame seeds
- 1 tsp sesame oil (optional)
- Blend everything except for the aubergine in the Nutri blender to form a paste
- Cut the aubergine in half, lengthways and score the inside in a criss-cross pattern
- Pour the jerk spiced marinade over the aubergine and allow to sit for 20 minutes
- Preheat the oven to 200 ̊c/180 ̊c fan and bake the aubergine until lightly
brown on top and fully cooked through – approximately 40-45 minutes
- Serve with the salsa
Mango and Cucumber Salsa
- Cut all vegetables and mixed in the bowl
- Prepare dressing, season to taste and add to the bowl and mix