Summer is coming and our thoughts are turning to the warm sunny days ahead. We need to start thinking about taking off the layers of comfortable winter clothing- but might find that our bodies have gained their own ‘extra layer’ of padding! What can we do to get rid of the extra pounds so that we can fit back into our summer wardrobe again?.
While its good to be mindful of the health issues linked with being overweight, I am also aware of the adverse metabolic effects of crash and yo yo dieting on your body. Its important to support your body nutritionally to ensure that you are providing it with the nutrients it needs to enable it to function properly. So, if you are trying to lose weight, doing it by simply reducing calories is not the best approach. Remember that there are about the same calories in two Jaffa cakes as there are in an egg. The Jaffa cakes have very little nutritional value, but the egg is full of good quality protein, very rich in the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin which support our vision, as well as being rich in iron, phosphorus, selenium, Vitamins A, B12 and B5. To top it all it is a rich source of choline which is good for our brain!
So, what is the best way of losing weight healthily? As a Nutritional Therapist I am trained to treat every person as an individual – and I know that an eating plan that works for one person may not work as well for another. This is why when seeing a client who wishes to lose weight, I will spend time in the consultation, analysing a detailed questionnaire of current and past health, as well as discussing your current eating routine, in order to help work out the best nutritional plan for that person. I will support that plan with at least 7 different breakfast, lunch and dinner ideas and lots of tasty nourishing recipes.
However, there are some basic rules for healthy weight loss that work for many people – providing there are no other ongoing health conditions. Here are my six top tips
- Eat your vegetables – this is a no brainer. Plant foods are full of healthy vitamins, minerals and plant chemicals that support a healthy metabolism. Studies show that a plant based diet is one of the healthiest ways to eat. Focus on those vegetables that grow above the ground and try to eat as many different coloured veggies as you can every day. Eat a rainbow! A few portions of fruit a day are fine, but if you’re trying to lose weight focus on berries, apples and pears as these offer the least disruption to your blood sugar.
- Eat a small amount of protein with every meal. Protein provide us with the amino acids needed to repair and replace your cells. Protein is also satiating – so you are less likely to feel hungry between meals. As well as animal proteins like lean meat, chicken, fish, eggs and live yoghurt, try eating more plant proteins like nuts, seeds, legumes and pulses. There are lots of great recipes around that focus on foods like chickpeas, black eyed beans and lentils – so give them a try
- Eat Complex carbohydrates like wholegrains, oats, brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat and root vegetables like sweet potato. These are much slower to digest than the refined carbohydrates found in refined carbohydrates like white bread, sugary cakes and biscuits, pasta and white rice. Being unrefined they have avoided the manufacturing processes which removes most of their nutrients. These complex carbohydrates, along with vegetable fibre will help keep your bowels moving and will also provide food for your microbiota – the beneficial bacteria that live in your gut and work hard to support your digestion and immune system.
- Eat good fats. Please don t eat ‘low fat’ manufactured foods. These tend to be full of sugars and additives. Your body needs fat to help you absorb vitamins A D E and K; to help make hormones and to keep your cell walls flexible enabling your neurotransmitters to work efficiently. Just avoid trans fats and too many saturated fats. Focus on the healthy fats in olive oil, nuts, avocados and oily fish.
- Drink around 6-8 glasses of water a day. If this is a bit boring try adding fruit or herbs. Some good combinations and lemon and lime slices, cucumber, berries, mint and even rosemary. (Rosemary also reputed to help you concentrate better – so add a few sprigs to your work water bottle and stun your colleagues with your efficiency!)
- Give it a rest. Research shows that leaving around 12 hours between your last meal of the day and your breakfast can really help weight loss, as well as giving the cells of your body some ‘spring cleaning’ time.
Here is a great recipe for a Detox rainbow salad. This can be made in bulk as it lasts 2 or 3 days in the fridge. It’s tasty, nourishing and filling and really useful for work lunches. Just add some protein in the form of salmon, (red tinned salmon is very nutritious), chicken, hummus or feta and olives. A few sweet potato wedges left over from last nights dinner can also be added for some healthy carbs.
Rainbow Detox Salad
½ red cabbage, thinly sliced
Red onion, chopped
Orange or yellow pepper, chopped
2 carrots, grated
1/4 cucumber chopped
Large handful coriander or flat leaf parsley chopped
Salt and pepper
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon organic apple cider vinegar
Finely chopped red chilli pepper (optional)
½ – 1 pomegranate, seeds
Contains the following anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant nutrients:-