We want you to focus on how you feel, on what makes you feel good and to learn what doesn’t suit your body. We don’t recommend crash diets – going on and off diets will lead to the yo-yo syndrome where your body’s metabolism drops every time, making maintaining a healthy weight all the more impossible. The only way to reach and maintain a healthy weight is by reviewing your eating and lifestyle habits and changing the ones that are not serving you well. We think of it as choosing to adopt lifestyle habits that will make you feel great.
1. If you don’t use it, you wear it. This fact is based on simple maths. If you eat more kilojoules than your body can use, you’ll store those kilojoules as fat. Doing this repeatedly leads to weight gain. We are not suggesting you start counting kilojoules, but recommend that you look at where you can consume less. You can increase your kilojoule usage by doing daily exercise and being more active.
If you eat low kilojoules and still put on weight or cannot shift weight, seek the help of a health practitioner. You may have an underactive thyroid, insulin resistance or your body may be reacting to chronic stress. All of these can lead to weight gain.
2. Have a regular Cellular Health Analysis (CHA) check. CHA shows your muscle mass, body fat composition, biological age, cellular health and vitality, and toxicity and fluid retention in your body. Your CHA practitioner will be able to tell you what kind of exercise you specifically need to reduce your weight and improve your health. A CHA check will show if nutrients are being fully utilised by your body’s cells. If they are not, your practitioner will help you remedy this and will also be able to tell you if you need particular nutrients to reduce fluid retention, inflammation or toxicity.
If you have great health, a CHA check will help to keep you on track ensuring you age youthfully and continue to have an energetic life. A CHA check helps you to remain motivated as you make necessary changes to diet and lifestyle. There is no greater encouragement then seeing your biological age become younger, looking younger, seeing your body composition change for the better and feeling far more energetic.
3. Avoid unnecessary kilojoules. Avoid overdoing alcohol, fruit juice and eating high-kilojoule snacks. All of these add extra, unnecessary kilojoules into your daily intake. Read the nutrition information panel on foods you buy to determine the fat, sugars and kilojoules. It can be quite an eye opener. Remember the 95 per cent rule – it’s what you do 95 per cent of the time that really counts. You can indulge in treats five per cent of the time and still maintain a healthy weight but indulge any more than that, and you had best get on your bike, or into those joggers.
4. Assess your social eating habits. If you have a busy social life you may tend to overeat when drinking alcohol and eating with friends. Balance your meals over the day to compensate for social eating. If you are dining out or entertaining at home then consider your other meals that day to balance your intake. For example, if dining out in the evening, eat a light breakfast such as a small bowl of nut and seed muesli, only have fruit for snacks and have a big salad with a protein food for lunch. This way you can indulge a little at dinner time without overdoing your kilojoule intake for the day. Perhaps skip dessert or share one to keep things in moderation.
5. Recognise emotional eating. This is where a lot of people lose the plot. When the stress levels crank up, you can fall into the trap of comfort eating – usually on high kilojoule or highly processed foods.
Before reaching for that comfort food snack, ask yourself the following questions:
• Am I really hungry or is this a comfort eating urge?
• Why am I choosing it?
• Is there an emotional trigger?
• Am I eating due to boredom, habit, stress, loneliness?
• Is this related to an activity, such as watching television?
• What healthier food could I eat instead?
• Do I really need it?
• Am I truly prepared to add unnecessary kilojoules to my day and possibly store unnecessary fat?
Copy this and pop it on the refrigerator as a pre-snack check list. The only way to change comfort eating habits is to become aware of them and then replace them with another, more beneficial, action. If the urge to comfort eat is related to an activity such as watching television, do something else instead, such as read, do some stretch exercises, pursue your hobby, have a relaxing bath, listen to music or call a friend. Keep a record of your comfort eating urges so you can recognise the patterns you have developed. A good strategy when you have the comfort food urge is to eat something healthy, like a piece of fresh fruit, then, after 15 minutes, review whether you really need the comfort food. If you still do, then distract yourself by doing something active instead of giving in. Another good strategy is to only eat at the table. Never eat standing at the refrigerator or cupboard. Best of all, keep an honest food diary where you record everything you eat and drink and be accountable for it. You could include your comfort eating urges in your food diary so that you get to know what triggers those urges.
6. Only eat when you are hungry but don’t skip meals. Many people tend to eat even if they are not hungry, mostly due to habit. If you don’t tend to be hungry at meal times, review your snacking habits. Save your eating for actual meals. If you are often not hungry, you may need to increase your exercise or you may be choosing the wrong mix of foods. See our Eat Well Food Plan on page 4 for a guide to what to eat each day. If you skip meals on a regular basis, you run the risk of lowering your metabolic rate which means your body will burn fewer kilojoules and store the leftover as fat. At the very least, eat a good salad with a little protein at meal times to give your body the nutrients it needs and to keep your metabolism chugging along.
7. Enjoy your meals but don’t eat the leftovers afterwards. Make delicious meals that are pleasurable to prepare and eat and take the time to sit down at the dining table to enjoy them. Never eat on the run or pick at food mindlessly. Pop any leftovers into a container in the refrigerator for lunch the next day.
8. Stop eating when you begin to feel satisfied and don’t continue to eat until you feel overfull. This is an important point as we have so much food available in our society that it can be tempting to overindulge. It takes at least 20 minutes for our brain to get the message that we have eaten enough food. This is why it is important to take your time eating, so you can ‘get the message’ in time, before you have overeaten. Remember to think about portion sizes and leaving a little on your plate. Never go for second helpings and don’t have dessert if you already feel full after the main course. If you can’t possibly resist, then remember to eat lightly the next day to balance out the week.
9. Use statements to achieve your goals. Rid your mind of negative thoughts. You are not only what you eat, you are what you think about yourself. The thoughts you have about yourself and your body will influence your eating habits and lifestyle choices. If you constantly berate yourself or put yourself down, you are more likely to make poor food choices, exercise little and struggle to maintain a healthy weight.
Say this statement to yourself: ‘I am overweight and I look horrible’. How do you feel inside when you say that? Do you notice that your energy seeps away just holding that thought? Now say this to yourself: ‘I love eating well and feeling great!’ How do you feel inside when you say that? Do you notice that your energy increases as you hold that thought?
Some further statements that will help you feel great are:
• ‘I feel very good about myself and enjoy looking after my body’
• ‘Every day I am getting better and better’
• ‘I am fit, healthy and full of energy
Place these statements where you can see them daily. Repeat them to yourself several times a day, even if at first you don’t agree with the words. When you catch yourself having negative self thoughts, immediately say in your mind ‘No!’ or ‘Stop!’ and repeat a positive statement a few times. Continue to work on changing your thought patterns for the better and you will achieve your goals.
10.Weigh yourself once a month only or lose the scales forever if you feel addicted to weighing yourself. Many people jump on the scales each day and if the result is not favourable, they feel bad about themselves which starts off the comfort eating cycle. Scales are only a useful tool when they are used at regular intervals and at the same time each month (this is particularly the case for women whose hormone levels may influence fluid levels in their body). If you like, jot your weighing day in your diary and treat it as a challenge to yourself to be pleased with the reading each month. You really don’t need to rely on scales because you can tell if a little weight has crept on, or if you have reduced any extra padding, by the feel of clothes and by looking in that full length mirror. Adopt our philosophy – become tuned in to your body so you will know when it does not feel as good as it could, then take measures to correct it accordingly.