Do you feel as if you just have to look at food, and you gain weight; while others eat whatever they like and never pick up an ounce? Perhaps your friends seem to drop the pounds so easily, while you struggle to lose an ounce…?
Recent studies have shown it’s about more than just what you eat. It’s also when you eat, why you eat and how you eat. These studies, involved studying individual physiologies, and have proven that losing weight is simply more difficult for some people.
So, to start with, you need to look at your eating habits. Are you a binge eater? If so, what is your trigger? Or perhaps you eat very balanced meals, but you battle to shake excess fat? Let’s look at the possible reasons why:
1) Addressing Food Addiction
There are many factors to consider when it comes to eating habits, weight gain (or loss) and “food addiction”. You may be an emotional eater. For these folks, the endorphins released when they eat, give them an initial sense of well being. However, once the initial “feel good” sensation has worn off, the emotional eater feels guilty.
In some cases, these guilty feelings can actually trigger a “replay” of the whole performance. Can you say vicious cycle?
In most cases, comfort eating can be traced back to some sort of emotion, or emotional trauma in their lives. Some admit to eating when they’re lonely, sad, or very stressed. Somehow, they turned to food for comfort and the comfort food became addictive.
Unfortunately, it is also the beginning of an endless circle. If this is you, it could be an idea to see a good psychologist and identify the trigger, to help identify the cause.
Studies have also revealed that some people with obesity lack the sensation of feeling full. The average person will eat until the brain sends the stomach a message to say, “I’m full”. The person will then stop eating. However, many obese individuals do not have that “switch”.
Their brains don’t send the message to their stomachs, so they will eat far more than most, without that uncomfortably full feeling.
Others are hooked on sugar – quite literally. They overload on sugar; the pancreas reacts by producing excessive insulin, the insulin pushes the sugar levels too low, causing a “crash”; the crash leads to a sugar craving. The only way to break this cycle is to cut the sugar out completely. More on this a little later.
2) Change Your Eating Habits
You have to start somewhere, and if you are very obese, it can seem like an insurmountable obstacle. Start off with small steps. Replace unhealthy snacking habits with healthier ones. This is simpler than you might think.
Craving something sweet? Make yourself a deliciously healthy, low calorie fruit smoothie. Put some chopped pineapple, strawberries, blueberries and banana into your blender, with a bit of plain, fat free yogurt and a few ice cubes. Blend until smooth. Enjoy, sweet, tasty, healthy treat; guilt free! You can dice your favorite fruits and pop them into a Ziploc back in your deep freeze.
Now you have diced fruit ready anytime!
How about rice cakes, spread with fat free cottage cheese and topped with sliced dill pickles and chives? A perfect alternative to crisps and dip. Ditch the ice cream in favor of fat free vanilla yogurt. Try freezing it to make your own frozen yogurt.
Grill your foods instead of frying – herbs and spices will be your best friend here, to add flavor. Try to include more fruit, vegetables, fish and chicken (no skin) into your diet. Try making oven baked wedges to replace your fries: parboil the potatoes and place them on a baking tray, painted with a light coating of olive oil. Season to taste and bake until golden brown.
Try stir “frying” a variety of veggies, such as zucchini, carrots, peppers, onions, etc. Use minimal oil and rely on the steam to cook the veggies enough so they’re still slightly crunchy. Season liberally – or even add some diced chilly to spice things up. Enjoy with a grilled chicken breast!
Add tuna to your diet – it’s loaded with essential fatty acids (choose the one in brine). Add some light mayo and add it to a fresh green salad for a delicious, healthy meal, low in calories and loaded with protein and omegas.
Eating the right foods is essential to losing weight. Ensure to eat small, frequent meals so that you don’t feel hungry. The moment you allow yourself to be hungry, you will be tempted to binge on the wrong foods.
3) Slow Down Your Meal Time
Don’t wolf down your food, chew it thoroughly; pause for a moment to savor the flavor. Eating too fast can mean you don’t realize when you’ve had enough, until you’ve had too much. Never eat “on the run”; sit down to eat your meal, even if it’s just a few minutes. Try not to eat in your car, unless you have absolutely no choice.
If possible, pull over to the roadside and eat – it helps your body to “get the message” that it’s eaten.
4) Ditch the Sugar
Sugar is a big no-no if you are looking to drop pounds. Being highly refined, it has a very high Glycemic Index (GI). What does this mean? The higher the GI value, the faster your body metabolizes the food, and the sooner you will be looking for more.
Try replacing sugary drinks with the sugar free version – within reason, as artificial sweeteners have their own side effects… Some people found that by simply cutting sugary drinks from their diets, they dropped between one and two pounds a week! A few suggestions for healthier alternatives are soda water mixed 50/50 with fresh fruit juice for some flavor.
Don’t drink too many though, as fruit juice also has a fair number of calories. Occasionally drink cold water and ice, with slices of lemon, strawberries and pineapple for flavor.
Excess sugar is invariably stored in the body as fat. We can only burn a finite amount of sugar in a day, whatever isn’t burned, will be stored, usually on the belly and torso. Carrying excess weight in that area, increases the chances for heart disease and liver complications.
5) Sleep Is More Important Than You Think
Did you know that sleep deprivation – particularly long term – can cause weight gain? Sounds crazy, but insufficient sleep affects your chemical balance. Serum cortisol levels will become elevated; causing weight gain over the belly area. The fatigued body’s desperate need for energy will also cause you to feel hungrier.
The moral of the story is; never underestimate the importance of getting 7-8 hours of quality sleep at night.
6) Learn To De stress
High stress levels, particularly over a protracted time, can cause weight gain. There are two main links to stress and obesity: (1) elevated cortisol levels, (2) emotional – or stress – eaters. It’s vitally important to find an outlet for your stress; you might enjoy sketching, reading, going for brisk walks, punishing a punching bag, or even meditation.
Find what works for you, and channel the stress, to prevent you from reaching for the bag of crisps.
7) Try A Vegan Diet Every Now And Then
For some, adopting a vegetarian diet may be the way to shed excess pounds. Ensure that you eat a balanced diet; beware of too many carbs and too few proteins. The vegetarian option is a good way to get away from the oiliness of fried meats, as well as the fat content of the meat.
Find some tasty vegetarian meals that will fill your belly, while ensuring that you don’t overload on calories. Suggested vegetarian protein sources are raw nuts, soya, lentils and chickpeas.
8) Go Green
Green vegetables contain so many valuable nutrients and are very low in calories. You can use kale or spinach to “fill out” your meals, adding fiber, valuable vitamins and minerals and, being low GI, they will help to keep you full for longer.
You will be amazed at just how many exciting recipes there are for preparing your greens. Keep it simple though; many people who overeat, do so because it’s easy and convenient. It’s very important not to over complicate your meal preparation; getting too hungry while you cook will lead you to “picking” and “nibbling”.
9) Mind Your Company
Try not to spend time with people who are obese and not trying to do anything about it. This sounds harsh, but chances are you will end up eating as they do and regretting it. Studies have shown that spending time with people who are health conscious, who watch their diets and exercise regularly, will encourage you to do the same.
10) Stop Comparing Yourself To Others
No two people are exactly alike. This is also true of how we react to dietary changes and how quickly we shed the pounds. Don’t compare your progress with anybody else’s. Emulating someone else’s habits won’t guarantee the same results.
Comparing your body shape, or your weight loss progress to someone else’s will only serve to undermine your self-confidence. Find what works for you and work at being the best version of you that you can be.
What To Do Next?
Anybody who has walked this road, will tell you it wasn’t easy. There are challenges and temptations to test your willpower and patience.
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