Getting into shape for Spring

September 30, 2011
The House of Healing
Well it’s that time of the year again.  The days are getting longer, the temperature is slowly climbing and the summer fashion is displayed in all the boutiques.  It is also the season for the weight loss promotions to start appearing wherever you look.  And why not – Australians spend more than 700 million dollars per year on weight loss.

I find this truly amazing because if you look at statistics we seem to be increasing in size every year too.  It was not that long ago that clothing manufacturers decided to change the basic sizing that all companies adhere to so that a size 12 became a size 10, a size 10 an 8 etc.  It was to literally keep the truth from consumers and allow them to continue shopping believing they were the same size as 20 years ago.  The theory being if you fit into a small size you are more likely to buy it.

So why is it that the majority of us are unable to maintain our weight?  Well firstly the giant hamburger and mammoth pizza that is on “special” distorts our perception of what is a normal size serving for us.  A lean protein portion should be the same size and thickness as our palm.  We also seem to be time poor when it comes to cooking nutritious meals filled with protein, vitamins and minerals.  Especially at breakfast; which as our Grandmothers told us, needs to be the most important meal of the day.

Regular exercise has also slowed down.  I find there are two main groups – the Gym junkie that goes every day first thing in the morning before breakfast.  Sadly all they do is lose muscle mass.  Then we have the no time, too cold, cannot be bothered type who considers a brisk walk something that is only important for some-one else to do.  Thankfully there are still quite a few who are happy to gently exercise regularly and seem to be the ones that reap the most benefits.

So what about those people that do all the right things i.e. protein breakfast and lunch, regularly protein snacks, a light evening meal, exercise and still are unable to lose the kilos.  Generally this is because they are not burning their fats stores effectively.  This can be caused by high free fatty acids, inflammation and/or oxidative stress.  In other words something else may be going on that is not allowing you to lose weight – your body’s way of protecting you.

Metabolic rates and energy levels are governed by mitochondrial production and can become compromised if not supported with the correct B vitamins, magnesium, calcium and carnitine.  Get these nutrients right and there will be an improvement.  Then we have thermogenesis which is the increase in fat burning which may also promote abdominal fat loss. However living in warm climates, heated offices, homes and cars suppress our thermogenic ability. 

When you eat a large meal, you often start to feel warm. This is called diet-induced thermogenesis. It means that we are going to need more energy to digest this food than the energy it contains.  Responsibility for this is brown fat tissue. As we grow older, this system tends to slow down.  There are plenty of products around that claim they can promote this action but beware of any product containing whey as these may actually block lymph nodes and create another set of problems.  Simply things like green tea, cocoa, calcium, sweet pepper, bitter orange all assist with thermogenesis.

Anti-appetite medication targets neurotransmitters which may decrease carbohydrate cravings but can upset our brains natural ability to respond as needed in other areas.  What we can use is will power and that has absolutely no cost involved. 

Over the years I have discovered that each person is an individual with differing needs.  Often it is a sluggish thyroid, sleep depravation, emotional baggage, a lack of self esteem or their subconscious providing self protection.  These issues slowly allow them to become tired and over weight.  It is also important to remember that the body has a memory and just because it is spring does not necessarily mean it wants to be lured from its safety zone. 

At the Clinic we do a Bioimpedance Analysis which will measure weight, fat, muscle mass and give an accurate body composition measurement.  This gives you ideal muscle and fat levels and allows for a personal programme to be designed for your own individual requirements.  You also need to plan your meals in advance and never go shopping when you are hungry.  Clean out your pantry – if the junk food is not there you won’t want it.  Instead of meeting friends for coffee and cake meet for a walk.  When eating out order an entrée size meal and use lemon juice and oil as a substituted for many sauces especially the creamy ones.

So the basics are:

Main meal of the day is Breakfast – poached eggs with spinach; eye bacon (grilled) and tomato; sliced grilled chicken and avocado on rice cakes; scrambled eggs with asparagus; Sardines on corn cakes.

Snacks – am and pm – ½ cup of nuts (avoid peanuts); cashew paste on rice cakes; ½ cup seeds.  Always add a piece of fresh or sun dried fruit.

Lunch – chicken breast; medium size can of Salmon; turkey patties; grilled fish or steak all served with a large salad.  Followed by a brisk walk around the block.

Dinner – Steamed or stir fried vegetable; home-made chicken soup; small serve of slow cooked beef or lamb.  Followed by a brisk walk around the block.

Quote In eating, a third of the stomach should be filled with food, a third with drink
and the rest left empty. Talmud
Deborah Rugari N.D.

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