If this were true, there would be no books on the subject, and I would not be writing this article. So, where do things go wrong?
A lot of theories but poor implementation? No, I think the real reason is habits and patterns of behaviours.
In my clinic, clients often ask, do I have to do the diet? Is there are pill or potion you can give me? I am 75. Surely you are not going to expect me to exercise at my age? Can I have that slice of cake? Do I have to give up rice?
All this is shorthand for -“do I need to change my pattern of behaviour”.
In the clinic over the years, I have just about heard it all, and we all seem to want exemptions for our circumstances so we can continue on our old way of doing things. Change is scary to some, and changing habits or, as I like to call them, “patterns” can be challenging.
Do we want weight loss or pretend? Alas, there are many out there that will soothsay and tell us what we want to hear. Yes, you can have weight loss by purchasing my special supplement or book, and of course, you can eat ice cream as well !! Many offer these “easy” weight loss programs.
The truth is that those weight loss concepts are not that hard to comprehend, but the implementation is the problem.
Why? We are all subject to the program of our patterns of behaviours and beliefs, and if some of them have led to weight gain over the years, then it may be hard to change them even if we know what they are.
Now to change a pattern, we need to recognise what that is. More on this later. We need to look at the implementation.
Step A – What is science?
Science states that we need Proteins, Fats, Carbohydrates, and water required for survival and health. Ingestion of these will give us amino acids, energy in the form of glucose, and vitamins and minerals used by the tissues of our body for maintenance, repair, and hormone production.
Proteins are converted to amino acids in the body and build and repair tissues and hormones. We obtain proteins from either animal or vegetable sources. Examples of vegetable sources could be nuts, tofu, tempeh, lentils, etc. The body has a pool of amino acids in reserve, so vegetable sources are pretty ok. If the body has an absorption problem, then animal sources may offer better options.
Fats: are used for absorbing fat-soluble vitamins as an energy source and protection of organs. Examples of good fats would be extra virgin Olive oil, butter, nut butter, coconut oil, Fish oil, etc.
Carbohydrates: are used for glucose ( blood sugar) and obtaining vitamins and minerals, and enzymes. We can get them from fruit and vegetable origin. Examples of good Carbs are dark berries, all deeply coloured fruits, and all pigmented or coloured vegetables, especially green vegetables. Carbohydrates such as rice, bread, pasta are lower in nutrients than vegetable origin, so they should be avoided or minimised in a Weight loss program.
Step B – how do I get the ratios right for me
How we split this combination of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates on the dinner plate determines the amount of weight loss we will get. However, what works for you may not work for me or others as we are all different with different goals, metabolisms, pattern makeup, genetics, and stress loads. There are no “one size suits all.”
We have the Keto diet, the Paleo diet, and the vegan diet, etc., which can give us pre-determined or pre-made ratios for us to follow. You can pick what suits your purpose or have nutritional counselling to determine which eating plan may be the best for you to follow.
I would recommend the Mediterranean style diet to commence as this style of diet is recommended by most nutritionists as being the most balanced for long-term health and good for maintaining weight. To lose weight, eliminating rice/pasta/bread/potatoes would be mandated for best results following this diet style.
Setting up a two-week food diary would be helpful to you or your nutritionist or advisor as analysis will reveal eating patterns that can be examined for your imbalances. The research then will lead to better food choices and menu planning if required.
Step 3 – Get researched.
Determine a plan of action, and it is good to get some perspective. I recommend purchasing some books on weight loss. Two, at least to provide some perspective. Some are detailing the science, and some on recipes or meal planning. The recipes and meal planning are the most important.
The two standout recommendations are the Moseley 800 diet and the CSIRO weight loss diet books. Both have science behind them and have great recipe books to accompany, giving many ideas on meals.
For example, in the Mosely books, two publications, Called The fast 800 and the fast 800 easy -an Australian edition. 800 is the name chosen as the best calorie cut-off intake for weight loss is 800 calories. Averaging 800 calories a day over any given week will encourage weight loss for the average person. You do not have to count calories, as the book menu planner has done that for you.
These books have a bit of explanation at the front of them, and then recipes and meal planners follow. The planners include either two or three-meal daily menu examples, which include menus for meat-eaters and vegetarians. ( Vegans will have to tweak the vegetarian one )
At this stage, we are looking to establish a pattern of eating that provides variety, good nutrition, and is easier to cook with foods. No unique ingredients or ones that may be foreign to those who live in Western cultures. Foods and flavourings are easily sourced, meals that are flavoursome and easy to cook. The Fast 800 Easy is one that I am currently reading and designed for those who have a busy life.
Other good sources are U tubes for information- but caution here, as there is so much information that can be contradictory and lead to confusion.
While you are researching, you may wish to look at Alcohol consumption. Unfortunately, Alcoholic beverages, even wine are high carb and are converted in the body to glucose – make your own decision.
Step 4 – Get started on the recipes and plan your meals.
It is essential to make a start with those who are credible, like Mosely or CSIRO. You know that they have done the research for you based on the science of today and are not offering “quick, easy”, “no effort” claims, or “fast” weight loss,
Mosely, for example, has based his eating plan recommendations on the Mediterranean style diet and weight loss research. I would recommend trying the recipes minus any bread/pasta/potatoes/rice. There is plenty of variety to eat, and this is the basis of good nutrition – variety!
Establishing a good pattern may take about 12 weeks to entrain.
Step 5 – Determine your exercise plan to increase your metabolism.
Although diet or what you eat is the central part of losing or maintaining weight, exercise and resistance exercise are essential. Resistance exercise tones muscles that, in turn, when toned, use more blood glucose at rest – thus slowing down the amount of glucose that is converted to fat. For this purpose, thirty minutes x three times a week is good, twice a week ok, and one better than nothing! Daily Cardiovascular comes into play here to “Rev up” the metabolism and burn up calories. The amount of the above is determined by you, and of course, the more you do, the better unless you have some medical condition that would preclude you from some activity.
Now, since we are trying to establish a “pattern” of exercise for life, it is good to choose something that will be achievable long term and that you like. Kickboxing daily for 30 minutes will “torch” fat from your body, whereas a daily 30-minute walk will be a lot slower contribution to a calorie deficit. For those who have knee problems or back problems, kickboxing fitness may be inappropriate, so the daily pattern of walking will be a better and more viable option. It is a myth that those with knee or back problems cannot lose weight because exercise is constrained. There are always alternatives like swimming, using a stationary bike, fit boxing with hands or circuit training.
Curiously, yoga, Tai Chi, and Chi kung can also help lose weight for those who cannot do cardio. Why? The body-mind arts are great for helping with reducing stress hormones that contribute to weight gain and food cravings. Naturally, cardio + resistance is the best way to lose weight, but it is also about customising to suit what you can do. Those who have emotional eating or food cravings may do well with yoga.
If you have special needs, then seeing an exercise physiologist may be worthwhile to set up a plan for your needs. It is not how much you can do but how much is achievable over the long term. Walking may be your best bet for long-term weight loss, and there is a science to show that it is a good option for most.
Start simple, and it may take 12 weeks to entrain and longer to see results unless you are kickboxing or doing some high-intensity cardio. This should not be a problem as studies have shown that those who walk as their program can lose weight, but maybe it takes six months to see some results. ( Depends on how long you walk and intensity et )
Step 6. Consolidate your research and patterns
By now, if you have completed Step 1-5, you are on your way to improved health and weight loss after 12 weeks. For some, it may take a bit longer, but results will come. Once you feel that you have positive eating and exercising pattern embedded into your psyche, it may be time to experiment to try a different way.
For example, try two meals a day instead of three. Every meal you eat raises insulin levels and, if high, converts glucose to fat, so two is better than three.
Try keto for a month or Paleo for a month and see how you feel?
Want to try vegetarian or Vegan, ok try for a month and see how it feels? How about High-intensity workouts or training twice a day, e.g., walking in the morning and resistance exercises at night? Do for a couple of weeks and see how you feel?
Ok, try for a month but remember to keep your basic patterns as a fallback and not let them slip. Not suitable to try a change of Meal pattern and exercise pattern at the same time. I would recommend one month on a new meal pattern and if ok then go to a new exercise pattern. Remember, we do not diet for today to go back to our old patterns in the future. Balance is the key.
If you have not seen one, now would be an excellent time to seek a nutritional coach or exercise physiologist. Another set of eyes viewing your food and exercise diary may give you valuable insights to improve your pattern.
If the home cooking gets too much, then experiment with home delivery. There are plenty of companies offering pre-cooked, portion control meals. Nothing wrong with doing a few meals a week this way if you are pressed for time.
It may be time to reflect on realistic goals and refine patterns of behaviour. Remember that many weight loss contestants who appeared in TV shows and achieved dramatic weight loss put it back on when the show was over.
Why was this so?
1 . Perhaps they were not educated on food and nutrition and how it relates to health? They did not make a meaningful connection between healthy living versus weight loss
- They were not adequately advised that weight loss for some may take years and careful planning. It is a journey, not a race!
3 . Many of their behaviours or health patterns were not established or entrained, so when let loose from being supervised, they quickly lapsed into their old habits and behaviours like having Pizza for breakfast !! . When coached, it is much easier to stick to a program. Still, when we are left to our desires, we often go back to our old patterns unless entrained.
If it all gets too hard on the above, then go back to basics, re-read the books you have and seek an appropriate counsellor – simple is best, and the journey starts with the first step.
Step 7 – Review every six months
If you have succeeded in achieving your goals, then just a quick review to maintain and reinforce your patterns is all that is required from time to time. If you have not reached this point, it would be good to revisit that food diary to see what pattern of behaviour is not being changed or improved. You can make a comparison using your books. A Nutritional coach may be the best person to contact for those extra sets of eyes to view the diary and help you to develop a pattern.
- If you are out and about, Subway Foods has plain fresh salads with dressings for about $5. These are good for lunch, and you can put in a can of Tuna or fish of your choice to make up a fantastic low-cost, low-calorie meal. Alternatively, you can pay a little more, and you can get their chicken and salad on the spot.
- Prepare meals, e.g., salad in the evening, and do the final prep in the morning for lunch. Store salads in a glass container and use dressing when ready to eat.
- Crockpots are a boon. Find time in the morning to prepare and load, or one can do some prep at night and fill up in the morning. Easy wash up at night and suitable for one-pot meals.
- Lots of Protein is essential either at breakfast or lunch to set up a good “blood sugar pattern” for the day. If you are hungry, then increase your protein intake. If you are eating two meals a day, then I recommend a high protein meal for lunch.
- For a young family, cook some rice or potatoes etc. on the side while you stick to veg and protein. No need to prepare “special meals”. Do you have lasagne with lots of cheese? There is no need to deprive yourself, have a small portion with veg or salad, and the rest of the family ( if not overweight) can eat their fill. If you have lots of vegs, this will satisfy you, and you should not notice much difference.
- Have lots of green tea in the morning or sip warm water throughout the day. This will assist in any food cravings. I can recommend – Shincha Australian Green tea from Perfect South –https://perfectsouth.com.au as an excellent premium low-cost tea. Sipping warm water with meals or weak ginger tea is another trick to help you feel full. Warm water can be consumed during the day, all day, for better digestion.
- Once you have achieved your pattern, then try portion control, i.e. smaller portions of meals. It will not work if you do not have established routines.
In Summary, one needs data to identify patterns and establish a base, and then a plan of action can occur. Read the books and start!
The Fast 800 https://thefast800.com
The books are available at low cost at Woolworths Big W or similar retailers
For a personalised program, don’t hesitate to contact me, Peter Farnsworth, on www.adelaidenaturopath.net.au Telehealth is available.
And don’t forget the free pulse diagnosis for a free health reading.