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Healthy Weight Management

Healthy Weight Management

Each one of us is incredibly unique individuals, with our own characteristics, quirks and looks due to our hereditary history, individual circumstances and lifestyles.  When it comes to our bodies and weight, especially in these current times where we are equipped with endless dietary studies, self-love techniques and body acceptance, it is no question that “skinny trends” are so last season and being healthy, loving oneself and personal development are definitely what it is all about.

This article is definitely not for weight loss, it is for weight balance and management for the individual, wherever you’re at on the scale. Most diets have not proved to be successful or sustainable and many diet plans can leave you feeling hungry or unsatisfied especially if it’s to lose weight. Extreme limitation diets can encourage, lead or trigger eating disorders and just don’t develop nor encourage good relationships with food.

Instead, we are focussing on two main factors – firstly, that bodies come in all shapes and sizes and we have to honour that and not compare our bodies to others, but instead maintain fat levels that keep us healthy and feeling good since excess fat is hard on your joints, heart and brain, regardless of where it’s stored. Secondly, that our bodies are astonishingly intelligent and efficient and there are foods that complement, sustain and nourish the body and its functions and there are foods that lead to imbalances, disharmony and dis-ease of the organs and systems.

Health and overall wellness go beyond diet, it requires ongoing lifestyle changes, which rely on healthy eating and physical activity to help keep one’s weight in check. According to the National Weight Control Registry, that noted a study of participants who maintained a significant weight loss, reported improvements in physical health as well as energy levels, physical mobility, general mood, and self-confidence. It’s important to note for naturally lean bodies, even if one doesn’t look overweight, they could have a high percentage of body fat, which equally makes one vulnerable to many diseases and health problems. Even a modest weight loss of 5 to 10 percent of your total body weight is likely to produce health benefits, such as improvements in blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugars.

Besides diagnosed eating disorders, (learn more: https://nedic.ca/eating-disorders-treatment/), eating too fast, always clearing your plate even when full, eating when you are not hungry and skipping meals or skipping breakfast can also cause imbalances in the whole body’s working system. This not only leads to weight problems, but also hormone imbalances leading to a myriad of conditions like mood swings, skin breakouts and fluctuating energy levels.

So, where would one begin? Before we even lead into which foods best complement the body, it is only fair to mention that feeding and nurturing oneself is much akin to feeding a young child, it is best done with care, urgency and mindfulness as to what is needed for specific outcomes. For example, the baby will need nutrient-dense breast milk/formula for growing, food intake is to match the needs. This is the same for us, there are certain foods that encourage certain mechanisms in the body that match our body’s natural flow.

So, let’s dive into some of the foods and natural ways of intervention needed for the body to function optimally, with those strong two factors mentioned before being kept in mind.

First, detox is essential for moving closer to your healthy weight. As mentioned in a previous article (See: Detox Foods) there are an array of foods that assist the body’s natural detoxification process that rids the body of excess toxins and includes roughage and fibre-rich foods, like psyllium husk, soaked chia seeds, leafy greens, etc. to assist in a colon cleanse and get debris moving out of the gut, or certain probiotic-rich, fermented foods to assist the natural biome, that exist within the large intestine, and improve gut health.  An easy way to assist your body in detoxifying is to start the day with hot vitamin C rich lemon water and increase your antioxidant-rich foods like leafy greens, berries and by cutting back or eliminating fast, oily and sugary foods. Since we’re detoxing from the additives and extra things we don’t want to remain in our system it is a good indicator that our bodies much prefer whole foods, unprocessed and as nature provided.

Now we can look at what our body and its intricate systems require to be healthy, restored or to function optimally. Ours bodies quite simply require macronutrients like fats, proteins, carbohydrates, and micronutrients, like vitamins and minerals. There is a common consensus that the best way to achieve this is by diversifying our meals and perhaps challenging the old taboos of how we think of food, meals and meal preparation.

Fat has gained a bad reputaion over the years due to ignorance, misleading studies with not enough scientific evidence and lack of updated knowledge. Our bodies, especially our endocrine system, that is involved with our development and proper growth, require fat to convert to energy (See: Hormone Balancing). An example is the natural “hourglass” figure which may be due to higher levels of female hormones like estrogen and progesterone. While they can have health benefits, estrogen is also a fat-storing hormone that can lead to weight gain, which increases estrogen even further. If your natural hormonal rhythm is disrupted, the stress hormone cortisol is released, this can lead to an increase in appetite and sweets cravings.

It’s important to know that not all fats are equal, some types of fat are harder on your health than others and may respond differently to different dieting techniques. Laura Cipullo, RD, a registered dietitian and the author of Everyday Diabetes Meals, recommends focusing on eating healthy fats. She says; “Forget the old diet advice that eating fat will make you fat: monounsaturated fat and omega 3 fatty acid will help you feel fuller, lead you to eat less, and help you trim your tummy and reduce your risks of heart disease and diabetes. Fat has a minimal effect on insulin levels, so you’ll get fewer blood sugar spikes.”Cipullo added that this translates into fewer cravings and more energy. Oils like the B-well Pure Canola Oil or B-well Extra Virgin Olive Oil, or even using ‘fatty’ spreads like mayonnaise, the B-well Mayonnaise range is created with monounsaturated oil, allergy-free and both are naturally cholesterol-free which make it an excellent route to adding good fat to one’s diet. Here are some examples of other good fats for the body: avocados, nuts, seeds, salmon, tuna, sardines and trout. A small portion of fat is required for the body to be well sustained, why not cook with it or drizzle some over your meal like a dressing.

Like fats, not all carbohydrates are equal and have the same effect in our bodies. Carbs are essentially our sugars, starches and fibres which then fall into two categories: simple and complex carbohydrates. Our bodies require both of these and essentially the complex carbs will be broken down by the body into simpler molecules. The breakdown of it gives clue to how long these foods will keep you fuller for longer and because simple sugars such as fruit sugar (fructose), corn or grape sugar (dextrose or glucose) and table sugar (sucrose) get broken down by the body so quickly, we ultimately want to limit these for weight management. Once the body takes these in, a lot of the excess energy from everything else is turned to storage and excess body fat. Complex carbs are the way to go, most actually providing an array of excellent micronutrients too, like sweet potato, pumpkin, wheat bread, whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, beans, peas and oatmeal.

An easy way is also to start looking at the food in your diet and eliminating the things that have sugar for no good reason. Sugar ends up in a lot of processed, pre-made foods like pasta sauce, ketchup, bread, instant oats and peanut butter are notorious for hidden sugars. One easy rule of thumb: avoid any food that has more than 3 grams of added sugar on the label says Keri Glassman, RD, a celebrity nutritionist and brand ambassador for the healthy bouillon company BOU.

Next is proteins, the nutrient needed to help build and maintain bone, muscle and skin. Too much protein from animal meat can result in an excess of “bad” saturated fat which is still needed in small amounts. The body does require a good amount of protein, since it breaks these down into the essential building blocks, called amino acids. Going predominantly plant-based is an excellent way to balance the body and naturally shed excess weight, by incorporating a sufficient amount of plant-proteins daily, supplementing on healthy protein powders like, hemp, pea or even just adding more chia, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds or flax to your daily meals. Otherwise it is a better idea to rely on lean protein from good ethical meat sources, like chicken, ostrich or fish.

The last of the foods come with colour, the vibrant vegetables that ought to fill up half of the plate. This is where one can experiment, have fun and also get extra creative with, especially to diversify, since this will diversify the needed micronutrients, phytonutrients (chemical compounds produced by plants) and polyphenols going into the body. These come with special properties that assist the body and organs in remarkable ways that complement its natural function, like adding in flavonoids through colourful vegetables to assist in combatting histamines from seasonal allergies, or eating omega 3 fatty acid rich foods to help support brain and heart function (like found in all B-well products).

With food comes water, and while the standard recommended 2 litres per day can be daunting for some, it is important to remember that water creates movement and like we use it to keep our exterior clean, so it does on the inside. Water not only hydrates but also assists in weight maintenance, helps with weight loss[1] and it is required for overall health and well-being of the entire body, including the skin. One can also enjoy naturally hydrating foods like fruit and vegetables. But ditch the cool drinks and commercial fruit juices, I repeat, drop the soda!

All the lists and tips and plans can be established for how to eat for your own body, but it truly does come down to the essential notion that one has to love and delegate time to care for oneself. Sustaining health is the main goal, health is wealth and it takes fully dedicating only a little extra effort to oneself in order to see or feel what the body is subtly communicating with us, our bodies are that intelligent. Love sometimes means setting aside some time and this brings us to the last point: preparation. Life is busy, go in unprepared and you will be hungry and more likely to opt for quick and convenient foods which chances are high that it isn’t the best for your body, so rather prepare. Assign some hours of a week and purchase your produce, prepare your foods so you create convenience and an easy stream to those healthier options, for example: peeling and grating your carrots, making extra and freezing, having the lettuce washed and ready, making a container of date balls, make your own granola, etc.

All it takes is some love, self-love while you learn to love and nurture your beautiful body the best.