Updated: Nov 18
Most people go about losing weight in the wrong ways...
Many people believe that weight loss is a painful thing. To shift those stubborn pounds you must go hungry all the time. Many are afraid to even set a weight loss goal because they can’t stand the thought of going hungry and the frustrations that it brings.
For a lot of people it's just better to be overweight than to suffer hunger pangs.
Well who can blame them?
If the only way to lose weight or stay slim was to go hungry all the time very few people would be at their ideal weight and the vast majority of the planet would be extremely overweight! It isn’t necessary.
Our body is a marvellous device. It is truly amazing! Its natural rhythm and internal workings tell us when we are hungry. It has a self protection mechanism that lets you know when you need to stock up on fuel. A hunger signal is the body notifying you that you NEED to eat in order for you to sustain a healthy level of energy and have the reserves necessary for healing, repair and maintenance of your cells. Serious hungry pangs are a strong self-preservation signal from the body that it is in danger and needs food immediately to restore it’s balance. These signals should not be ignored!
"A hunger signal is the body notifying you that you NEED to eat in order for you to sustain a healthy level of energy and have the reserves necessary for healing, repair and maintenance of your cells."
There are exceptions to this rule however, when looking into insulin resistance and leptin resistance, which I will talk about some other time, both of which have a primary cause of consuming excessively high amounts of refined carbohydrates and high sugar foods.
When you starve yourself, your body has no idea that food is in plentiful supply and that it is one of the cheapest commodities of the 21st Century. Your body is acting the same way your ancient ancestor’s bodies worked. The general design of the human body hasn’t changed one bit since then. When your ancient ancestors were living in caves they relied on their ability to hunt for food to feed themselves. Sometimes they would go days or weeks without a kill and the body would send them warning signals that they were in serious danger. When they did eat the body immediately, being still in self-preservation mode, stored as much of the energy as it could in reserve as FAT! Your body works in exactly the same way today.
"The general design of the human body hasn't changed one bit since the way our ancient ancestor's bodies worked, who would sometimes go for days or weeks without food, causing their bodies to store body fat as a survival mechanism"
Starving yourself just doesn’t work. It goes against nature to think that you can starve yourself and lose weight. Of course you can get the exception when people just don’t take in anywhere near enough food to sustain themselves but we all have the effects of this kind of dieting!
So, we know that starvation diets don’t work and you don’t want to spend 2 hours a day in the gym. How do we lose weight then? Well the good news is you do not have to go hungry to lose weight. Nor do you need excessive amounts of exercise. The truth is, eating regular nutritional meals and allowing your body to fill itself to satisfaction is the key to reaching and maintaining a healthy, slim body. By not allowing yourself to go hungry you will in fact avoid overeating - which is the very thing that usually happens when you break a starvation diet.
"Eating regular nutritional meals and allowing your body to fill itself to satisfaction is the key to reaching and maintaining a healthy, slim body"
One method is to eat five or six, fairly small, healthy meals divided up throughout your day. Instead of eating three large meals at breakfast, lunch and dinner, divide the same quantity of food into 6 meals instead and eat an extra small meal between a small breakfast and lunch, one between lunch and dinner and if you are hungry later have another one. Try to avoid having the last meal close to bedtime, anytime up to 2 hours before bed is all right.
An exception to this regular method of eating would be Intermittent Fasting, which certainly has it's place with its various health benefits, and ability to reverse insulin resistance, limit insulin spikes, and improve leptin and insulin sensitivity.
Don’t wait when you feel hungry. Eat as soon as you can. If you wait for a long period of time before you eat your body will go into panic mode, thinking that you don’t have enough resources to feed it and you will overeat! Therefore, eating frequent yet smaller meals will help to keep your body satisfied and you will be less likely to over-indulge.
Do not miss a meal in the hope that it will help burn some extra calories. You may believe that by skipping a meal you will save some calories or fat intake, but, as you have seen, the opposite tends to happen. In addition, if you go for a long period without a meal you are much more likely to over-indulge when you get fed-up and can‘t take the starvation any more.
"If you go for a long period without a meal you are more likely to over-indulge when you get fed-up and can't take the starvation any more"
Did you also realise that by skipping meals you are actually slowing down your metabolism? Because your body thinks there is a food shortage it not only stores extra fat but it also slows down the amount of fat it burns. The body’s natural survival instinct is triggered, you put on extra weight and burn fewer calories and fat. As the body burns fat to convert into energy you will find that you become lethargic and tired. Starving yourself just doesn’t work!
In addition to eating smaller more frequent meals you should also teach yourself to eat slower. Place your knife and fork down between every bite and chew for a few seconds longer than normal. It can take us up to twenty 20 minutes to realize that the body is full and completely satisfied. When you eat at a fast pace “stuffing“ food into you before you have time to recognise the “full“ signal your body is sending your brain. When you eat at a slower pace you start to recognise these signals from your body and train yourself to identify them at an earlier stage.
"It can take up to 20 minutes for our body to realize that the body is full and completely satisfied. Eat slower and take time chewing your food until liquid"
Take an extra 15 minutes extra a day. To some of you this may sound like a lot. But all you have to do is split it up throughout the day. Leave for work with an extra 5 minutes to spare and walk to a bus stop further away from or park the car 5 minutes further away than you usually do. At lunch take a 5 minute stroll or take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk to the local shop instead of driving. It is easy to complete 15, 30 or even an hours exercise everyday if you split it up like this. And remember don’t starve yourself, it just doesn’t work!