The Skinny on Fat
For some, it can be about slowing down, chilling out and feeding themselves properly. The keyword really is "balance."
I had one client who had a hardcore trainer come to her house every day to put her through her paces. I could tell that in her particular case, this was not what her body needed to create balance. It was obvious to me that her kidneys and adrenals were depleted, which increased her cortisol levels, resulting in excess fat around her tummy area that she never seemed to be able to shed. She was always exhausted, which made it challenging for her metabolism to function efficiently, and this again resulted in weight gain.
My advice to her was to slow down, take a nap in the afternoon when her energy would dip, get healing treatments and find a gentler form of exercise like yoga or tai chi that would recharge her energy rather than depleting it. This, in turn, would nourish and strengthen her muscles and body tissues and strengthen her kidneys and adrenals, resulting in a more efficient metabolism, stabilized cortisol levels and weight loss.
I took another client of mine to an integrative medical doctor to have a checkup. She was having a weight issue and was quite surprised to get her test results and be told that she needed more fat in her diet—but as you will see, not just any fat.
Obesity has become a huge issue in the developed world and, in some cases, the cause is glaringly obvious: too much of the wrong foods and not enough exercise. However, I have known people who work out regularly in the gym and are always on a diet yet struggle with weight issues. If this sounds like you, I've got some guidelines to get your body back in balance.
Get Aine's advice for eating healthy fats to lose weight.
- Eat more fat. Yes, you heard me right! Every cell in our bodies needs fat to survive, and it's a vital nutrient for the health of our hormonal system, which governs metabolism. Consuming foods high in essential fatty acids found in oily fish, nuts, seeds, whole grains and vegetables keeps the hormonal system balanced and also helps to nourish skin and hair, reduce inflammation, protect the body from cardiovascular disease and promote a healthy nervous system.
- Cut out or cut down on simple carbohydrates that quickly convert to sugar and, when not used for energy, get stored as fat. Instead, opt for fiber-rich complex carbohydrates that keep the digestive system healthy and burn down more slowly so that the body can use the energy for a healthy metabolism.
- Indulge in lots of veggies—learn creative and interesting ways to prepare your vegetables so they're something you enjoy rather than endure.
- Sip on warm or room-temperature water with some fresh lemon or lime juice throughout the day. This can calm your appetite and also cleanses the liver so it can better metabolize fats and keep the body more alkaline.
- Chew your food—this is vital for weight loss. It takes 20 minutes for the brain to register that the body is full, and by that time, if you're gulping down your food, chances are that you'll have overeaten. Remember, digestion begins in the mouth, and by chewing your foods, they get properly digested and assimilated. In addition to eating less, you also gain much more nutritional benefits from your foods.
- Steer clear of stress if possible. When levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the blood are high, the appetite increases and any excess fat and glucose get deposited as fat around the middle of the body, close to the liver, where it can most quickly be converted back into energy if needed.
- Let your digestive system wake up. I like to sip on a lovely pot of lightly caffeinated tea first thing in the morning. A little caffeine gets my metabolism moving just enough and takes the edge off my appetite. I just love my tea ritual—it's my time to dream and focus on something positive I may want to achieve in my day.
- Don't eat after 7 p.m. if possible, or try to allow your body at least four hours to digest your last meal of the day. I've found that if I floss and brush my teeth after dinner, this helps me not to get into late-evening munching, as I'm lazy and really don't like having to brush my teeth twice if I can avoid it.
- In an ideal world, we would all get at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise three or four times a week, but with our busy lives, this is not always realistic. Try to have realistic goals when it comes to exercise and find a way to include physical activities that you know can become part of your life. My favorites are taking brisk nature walks or barefoot walks on the beach. It's important to choose a form of exercise that suits your body type and constitution and will not create more stress in your body.
- Have your hormones checked. If your hormonal system, particularly your thyroid, is out of balance, this will affect your metabolism and can result in weight gain.
- Check to see if you have any food intolerances or allergies. Many people suffer from candida, which is an overgrowth of yeast in the system. This can result in bloating, gas and other digestive disorders, which can result in weight gain.
- Don't wait until you're really hungry to eat, as you'll tend to overeat and eat too fast. Eating smaller meals more frequently will help keep your metabolism stable and your energy levels up.
- Don't go food shopping when you are hungry, as your hunger will make you more conscious of the quick snacks and sugar products and you may find that your shopping cart is being filled with things you normally wouldn't buy.
- Enjoy your food! Make it your friend and work on creative and interesting ways to prepare it so that even if you want to lose weight, you're still feeling nourished and nurtured, not deprived.