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The Secret to Weight Management

Jaya Mohan

Fad diets or crash diets may produce short term results in losing weight but over a long period of time they are hard to follow and bring more harm than good. Instead follow a healthy, nutritious diet to loose weight and do not fall prey to these so called fad diets.

For many, the decision to alter eating habits is spurred on by a desire to lose weight. Weight loss follows healthy eating. By making good health your goal, you will have a better understanding of food and of the factors affecting weight.

The diet industry directly feeds off the pressure applied by the fashion and beauty industries, which tell us that we must look good in order to feel good. Fortunes are spent advertising ‘Weight Loss’ foods and diet drinks. While some people might get some results out of this, ultimately this kind of dieting doesn’t work.

Why Fad Diets Don’t Work?

Fad diets are usually too good to be true diets which in their initial phase do give some weight loss but this is only due to the loss of fluid in the body and not fat. After some time the body stops responding to such diets and it leads to disappointment. People who become a victim of such diets without a proper consultation with a Nutrition expert, experience health problems later in life. Diets driven by calories rather than nutrition cause severe health hazards, For example, a High protein diet, over a long period of time may result in bone deterioration and kidney problems; a Low-fat diet may interfere with hormonal health and brain function, affecting mood and self-perception.

Lose Five Pounds in Five Days?

A key to safe and effective weight management is to understand what is lost and what is not.When we diet,we consume less food(fewer calories), causing the body to call upon its reserves to release glycogen, which is then used for energy. This glycogen, stored in the liver and lean muscle tissue, is held in a water base.The weight loss we experience in the early stages of a diet is simply a loss of fluid. The effect is temporary as you do lose weight in terms of fluid loss but there is no actual fat loss. If this approach is maintained for an extended period, the body perceives the relatively lower intake of food as potential STARVATION, so it holds on to whatever food is consumed for fuel and glycogen replacement.This accounts for the dieting ‘plateau’familiar to many habitual dieters who discover that despite not eating very much, they do not lose weight.

Yo-Yo Dieting-The Thyroid Disrupter

Yo-yo dieters are the people who spend years trying one diet after the other. They are imprisoned in an eternal treadmill of losing weight, gaining weight, losing it again and inevitably gaining more. This causes enormous frustration to them bringing with it problems like depression, low self-esteem and even hormonal disruption.

The speed at which we burn our food to convert it into energy (our metabolic rate) is governed by the thyroid gland, located at the base of our throat. This gland is responsible for energy production, dictating how we feel on a day-to-day basis. Yo-yo dieting confuses the delicate balance of hormones to and from the thyroid, resulting in a slower metabolic rate. The result of this more sluggish metabolic rate is that the thyroid slows down and resets the storage levels of glycogen in the body-holding on to it rather than releasing it-making weight loss impossible. In fact as your thyroid function is disturbed and your metabolic rate falls, weight gain actually increases.Nutrients that are important for thyroid function include selenium,which is found in shellfish,sunflower seeds,sesame seeds,potassium found in fresh fruits and vegetables and iodine which is found in sea vegetables.

Stress

Two hormones released in time of stress are cortisol and DHEA. Stress alters the balance of hormones and can encourage fat storage even when food intake is restricted. The dieter cannot lose weight and dieting itself becomes a stress factor.

Blood Sugar Imbalance

We have found virtually everyone who finds it difficult to lose weight has a marked blood sugar imbalance. Resolving this hormonal imbalance is the first step to true fat loss. It also reduces inflammation, improves mood, concentration and energy levels and eliminates food cravings.

There is no substitute for fresh, colourful fruit and vegetables. The nutrients they contain support the thyroid gland and maintain a healthy metabolic rate, while their fibre content helps to remove excess fats from the body. It is best to eat fruit and vegetables raw since cooking them can destroy fibre and nutrients.

Surprisingly, we need fats to help maintain healthy weight levels. The essential fatty acids found in nuts, seeds, oily fish and olive oil are all vital for the movement of stored fats out of the adipose tissues, an important process in weight management. All cells in the body have a fatty layer that protects them from potential damage, as well as allowing the nutrients in and waste matter and toxins out. This fatty layer is made up from essential fatty acids,which cannot be manufactured in the body and must be derived from the diet.If the intake of essential fatty acids is inadequate,the cell walls become more rigid, preventing toxins, such as stored fats, from leaving. The fat becomes denser and more difficult to shift as time goes on. For vegetarians, good sources of essential fatty acids are seeds, such as linseeds, pumpkin, sunflower and sesame, and clod pressed oils made from them.

Regular exercise has many benefits for the body and helps to maintain a healthy balance of blood sugar levels.Eating at regular intervals(at least 5 meals a day),having small portions of food at a time, drinking at least 4-5litres of water per day, consuming more of complex carbohydrates such as whole wheat grains etc. all of these if incorporated in our daily routine go a long way in losing and subsequently maintaining weight.

A healthy eating chart below is an example of how you can arrange your daily diet to balance your blood sugar levels, increase your vitality and promote all round good health while addressing weight management:

Sample Menu
Early morning: Methi seeds-1tsp (soaked overnight)
Breakfast: Milk: 1 glass, Oats/porridge/whole wheat grain sandwich/poha/cornflakes, Egg white-1
Mid morning: fruit-1
Lunch: Salads-1bowl, Roti-2, Dal/paneer/chicken/fish-1katori, Vegetable-1 kt, Curd-1kt
Evening: Tea-1 cup, Marie/digestive biscuits-2/low cal roasted snack/bhuna chana-1 palm/fruit
Dinner: Soup-1bowl, Salads-1 bowl, Roti-1-2, Vegetable-1kt

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