A sensible approach to safe slimming
Somewhere between the silly season and the beginning of summer, your bikini may appear to have shrunk a size or two and that could mean it’s time to try a new approach to your weight management strategy.
If you’ve tried to lose weight in the past and ended up losing nothing more than your patience, you’re not alone. Fad diets will come and go, but if you’re really serious about reaching your goal weight, then you’ll know that they are only temporary solutions, which offer limited success. The best way to reach a healthy, sustainable weight is to improve your diet and make some lifestyle changes.
A – Gain and Again
There are many factors, which influence weight gain, but lifestyle changes are by far the most influential. Rather than making radical changes to your diet and cutting down your food intake too suddenly, it’s best to make small changes that you’ll be able to stick to. Some small changes such as partially altering your meals to include healthier alternatives would be a good place to start. So, instead of chips, opt for salad and next time you’re tempted by a milkshake, why not try a fruit smoothie. Reducing the size of your meals will also help and snacking in between meals should be avoided. Resist the urge to skip meals altogether; if you don’t want to consume three large meals a day, have five or six smaller ones throughout the day.
There are a few important guidelines that you should take note of, to ensure you’re getting a balanced, healthy diet.
• Reduce your intake of sugar and refined carbohydrates such as sucrose, table sugar and honey and foods, which contain these substances such as cakes, biscuits, fizzy drinks and confectionery.
• Include more fruit and vegetables in your diet. They are important sources of fibre, vitamins and minerals.
• Eat moderate amounts of meat, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts, as these are excellent sources of protein.
• Eat less fat and oil, but don’t cut them out altogether. The body needs fats, particularly unsaturated fats like those found in cold-water fish, olive oil and avocados.
• Drink plenty of water. Between eight and ten glasses a day will help to eliminate waste.
• If your willpower is lagging, then natural herbs like Gymnema and Brindle berry may help curb your appetite. Commonly used in Indian cooking, Gymnema can help to decrease sugar cravings by reducing the body’s taste for sweet foods while Brindle berry can create a feeling of fullness.
• Fluctuating blood sugar levels can hamper weight loss. Increasing your intake of the mineral chromium can help in regulating blood sugar levels
Remember, to lose weight, your calorie intake must be less than the calories you burn during the day. If you’re taking in more energy than you’re using, you will not lose weight.
Rather than trying to do too much too soon, you should start an exercise programme with small amounts of exercise initially, for example 20 to 30 minutes of exercise per day, perhaps even broken up into two or three sessions. It can take weeks or months to build up fitness levels so don’t be discouraged if you don’t see immediate results.
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to exercise – some people enjoy working out in a group while others may prefer to go it alone.
Remember to take every opportunity to move and be active, and you’ll find that even the smallest actions like parking on the far side of the supermarket car park and taking the stairs instead of the lift or escalators will make a difference to your general well-being.
For weight-loss programmes, I usually break herbs into two groups. The first group is taken to correct a condition that contributes to weight gain. For example, herbs that reduce absorption of fats and creating a feeling of fullness; herbs that work on digestion, liver function, and to correct a sluggish thyroid gland. The second group of herbs is given to directly promote weight loss.
The answers to weight gain and weight loss though, are not always simple and easy. An holistic approach to treating obesity must include detoxification, stimulating thermogenesis (fat burning), and correcting any underlying condition affecting one’s weight such as insulin imbalance or hypothyroidism.