DON’T SUCCUMB TO THE HYPE AND EMPTY PROMISES OF FAD DIETS

 

 

Spring has sprung, and all the winter clothes have been packed away!  The only problem is we no longer have the layers of winter woollies to hide the extra fat rolls we have accumulated during the colder months! In desperation, many of us look for the quick fixes to get in to shape as quickly as possible.  We become vulnerable to so-called “experts”, and can fall prey to fad diets and bogus weight-loss products.  I would like to warn you that if a diet or diet product sound too good to be true, it probably is.

 

There are no foods or pills that magically burn fat, and some can be dangerous to your health.  Steer clear of any diet plans or pills or products that make the following claims:

 

1.        RAPID WEIGHT LOSS:

This will result in the loss of water and your precious muscle mass.  Your metabolism will slow down and you will more than likely regain the weight (and more) quickly afterwards.  Healthy plans aim for a fat-loss of no more than 0.5kg per week.  A slow and steady fat-loss is more likely to last, and this achieved with sensible portion control (not starvation) and regular exercise.

2.        UNLIMITED QUANTITIES OR SEVERE RESTRICTIONS:

Avoid diets that allow unlimited quantities of any foods such as cabbage soup and grapefruit.  The plan will become very monotonous and it won’t take long for you to succumb to cravings which could result in binge-eating, sending you right back to where you started!

Ditch diets that eliminate or severely restrict entire food groups, such as carbohydrates as you will miss out on some critical nutrients.

The key is to follow a balanced diet.

3.        SPECIFIC FOOD COMBINATIONS:

There is no evidence to support claims that combining certain foods or eating foods at specific times of the day will help with weight-loss.

4.        RIGID MENUS:

Don’t make your life complicated with a meal plan that is unappealing and difficult to prepare.  Always ask yourself, “Can I eat like this for the rest of my life?”  If the answer is no, then ditch the diet plan!

5.        NO NEED TO EXERCISE:

A statement like this should raise some warning flags!  The diet could be too restrictive, leaving you with little energy to exercise as well as feeling very deprived!  Regular exercise is essential for good health and healthy weight management.  Find physical activities that you enjoy and aim for 30-60 minutes of activity on most days of the week.

 

 

 

So ditch the fad diets and consult with a registered dietician with expertise in weight management.  The dietician will be able to personalize an eating plan tailored to your lifestyle, health status and food preferences. That way you will be guided down the right lifelong path of healthier food choices and more physical activity, leading to a healthier and happier you!

Getting to Grips With Emotional Eating

 

GETTING TO GRIPS WITH EMOTIONAL EATING:

How many of us head for the kitchen in search of sugary, fatty delights or greasy treats as soon as feelings of anger or worry or stress come our way? At the time, we are certain that these comfort foods will help us cope, but, of course, emotional eating comes at a price- weight gain! 

The five most common causes of comfort eating are stress, anger, boredom, sadness and loneliness.  The inability to stop emotional eating leads to weight gain which in turn causes our self-esteem and self-confidence to plummet resulting in more comfort eating, and so we find ourselves trapped in a i cycle.  By following the next 8 steps, you will be able to break free from this never-ending cycle of emotional eating and self-loathing:

1.   Walk Away!

If you can feel the urge to comfort eat, then remove yourself from the situation or the person who is causing you to stress.

2.   Breathe!

Deep breathing promotes feelings of calmness and composure, and it also lowers and regulates the blood pressure.

3.     Exercise!

Choose your preferred mode of exercise.  Perhaps it is walking or jogging or dancing or gym!  Exercise will clear your head and enable you to release endorphins or “feel good hormones” which will make you feel good about yourself and enable you to deal with your stress.

4.      Blast music from your speakers!

Music is a fabulous mood enhancer and stress reliever.

5.      Help Others:

By volunteering at your local SPCA, orphanage or old age home, you will find that your own issues and problems will seem less important when you are exposed to the difficulties that other people or animals face daily.

6.      Learn a new hobby or skill!

By acquiring a new skill or hobby you will gain a renewed purpose life, and your focus will be diverted away from the things that are getting you down.  Perhaps you want to take up a musical instrument, or a craft like crocheting- go for it!

7.     Spend time with your loved ones!

Family and friends can be the best therapists.  Spend time with those that you cherish the most, and you will feel a whole lot better about yourself.

8.     Adopt a pet! 

For many, emotional eating comes out of boredom and a lack of things to do during the day.  Keeping a pet will give you more responsibility and will certainly keep you occupied.

Much love,

Sarah

The Good and the Bad when it comes to Carbohydrates:

 

Do carbohydrates belong in a healthy diet?

 

There is a lot of hype at the moment about what a healthy diet should consist of.  We have been told in the past to avoid unhealthy fats, and now we are being told to avoid sugar and carbohydrates at all cost.  One has to remember, that there is no such thing as one suitable diet for all as we all have different requirements based on our age, level of activity, medical conditions, and individual preferences.  The best approach to healthy eating for the average healthy, active person is to have a variety of foods in moderation.  Most foods can contribute to your health in a positive way, provided they are eaten in modest amounts. Variety is also key. Different foods offer different nutritional benefits and so a wide variety of wholesome foods should be included in your day-to-day eating. It is important to differentiate between the good wholegrain, high fibre carbohydrates; and the refined, processed, low-fibre carbohydrates.

THE GOOD CARBOHYDRATES:

Wholegrain and high fibre carbohydrates are a good source of energy for our muscles and brain.  Fibre is important for digestive health and may reduce the risk of colon cancer.  Fibre can stabilise the sugar levels and control blood cholesterol levels. Eating fibre can also make you feel fuller for longer, curb your appetite and thereby help with weight-control.  A few examples of healthy wholegrain carbohydrates include brown rice, sweet potatoes, potatoes with the skin, sweetcorn, quinoa, lentils, oats and butterbeans. Fruit, which mainly contains the natural sugar, fructose, is also rich in fibre and antioxidant nutrients, and should also be consumed in moderate amounts daily. 

THE BAD CARBOHYDRATES:

Here we refer to refined sugars, added sugars or refined white grains.  For example cane sugar, corn syrup, cooldrinks, white breads, white pasta, and confectionary. These foods are high in calories and supply the body with a rapid source of energy, which is great if you are competing in endurance sports, but not so great if you are watching your weight.  Many people are unaware as to how much refined sugar they are consuming and this is resulting in a high calorie intake which fuelling the obesity epidemic. Added sugars, also known as caloric sweeteners, are sugars and syrups that are added to foods at the table or during processing or preparation (such as high fructose corn syrup in sweetened beverages and baked products). These sugars supply calories but few or no nutrients.  People are very aware of low-fat diets and because of that have been eating more fat-free and low-fat products without taking note of the added sugars contained in these products. Unfortunately their calorie intake has exceeded their output , resulting in weight gain. Sugary carbohydrates can also cause insulin spikes which can lead to further cravings for sugary foods and more calories!

 

The average person should get no more than 6% to 10% of our total calories from added sugar -- that’s about nine teaspoons a day for most of us.

 

To conclude, there is no need to demonise all carbohydrates.  It is important that the average healthy person includes these wholegrain, high fibre foods in their daily diets.  The intake of refined, sugary foods should, however, be limited in order to prevent obesity.

So, enjoy a fistful of sweet potato with your dinner tonight, but please hold back on the sweetened cooldrink and have a glass of water instead!

 

Much love, Sarah

Overcoming Portion Distortion

 

No matter how healthily you eat, you can still put on weight if you’re eating too much! 

Food portion sizes today are far bigger than they were 30 years ago, which means we’re consuming a lot more calories than we realise. In fact, many of us no longer know what makes a normal portion – a problem known as portion distortion. 

It is time to regain some portion control with these five simple tips: 

1.  Eat with smaller plates and bowls. You’ll have a smaller portion and still feel satisfied. 

2.  Aim for two portions of veg on your plate. This helps to cover your plate with low-calorie filling food, leaving less room for other energy-dense foods. 

3.  When plating your meal, aim for about a fistful of starch (eg brown rice or sweet potato, or corn); and a palm-size of lean protein (eg chicken breast or lean steak). 

4.  Eat slowly. It takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain you’re full. When you eat fast, it’s easy to overeat.    

5. Turn off the television. Eating in front of the TV can mean you eat more without noticing or enjoying your food.

 

By implementing portion control you will manage your calorie-intake better, and this will lead to better weight control in the long-term. 

 

Much love,

 

Sarah

Getting back on track

So you over-indulged this Easter……….

 

Are you feeling as though you ate one too many chocolates over long weekend?  It is time to get back on track.

 

Become aware of what you are eating.  Keep a food diary over the next day or two and keep tabs on the following:

-         what you eat, and how it is prepared;

-         when you eat (time of day)

-         how much you eat. Take note of the portion sizes, and whether you are having second helpings.

-         why you eat. Are you eating because you are experiencing physical hunger or are you eating for emotional reasons like boredom or anxiety.

 

Once you have checked out what you are eating and drinking, look for ways to eat healthier. Perhaps you could make some small changes:

-     Eat more vegetables and fruit (fresh or frozen).

-     Substitute whole grains for refined grain products.

-     Eat smaller amounts of meat, fish and poultry.  Make sure that the   

      visible fat is removed, and that your portion is no larger than the palm  

      of your hand.

-    Eat fewer high fat foods, and choose the healthier fats in preference

     to saturated fats.

-    Eat fewer sugary foods.

-    Drink water when you are thirsty. Reduce your intake of cooldrinks.

-    Don’t have access to the junk food!  Give the rest of the Easter eggs 

     away!

-    Avoid eating when you are not hungry. Find ways to fill the time.

 

     Phone a friend. Go for a walk. Read a book.

 

Go for it- make the changes!  It won't be long until you're back on track and feeling great!

 

Much love,

Sarah

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