Sunday, September 27, 2009

More secrets to losing belly fat - and it's not what you think!

I've been on my personal 'losing belly fat' journey and finally I can see it's starting to work WITHOUT dieting - but watching what I do eat and being careful about one particular food - sugar.  Sugar and all it's various forms is the main culprit with the weight that accumulates around the middle.

I've reduced my middle so far since starting this blog by about 2 inches.   Have a way to go yet, so I'm hoping to give more and more postive reports with each post.   
Here's some of the habits I'm finding I'm being quite successful in changing.

  1. My love of chocolate!   I'm still a choccy nut, so if I'm really feeling like that 'full bar of choc' I'll go for my Usana Choc fusion bar - OR - have a square or two of a good quality dark chocolate.  It has a much lower level of sugar without the super sweet taste instead of the milky sugary confectionary style of chocolate.
  2. When out socially, I would always go for a brownie or a muffin or something snacky with a friend when meeting for coffee.   Now this might be hard to start with, but if you're a coffee lover, go the full fat way and it'll fill you enough to know that you don't need the muffin.   AND... if you're a savoury lover and having the odd champagne at a networking event, don't go for the deep fried or chip like savouries - they're a killer.    Not this time because of sugar, but because of trans fats.
  3. Don't overdo the fruit.    That was one of hardest things to change for me.    I love all forms of melon, oranges, anything juicy, anything sweet and of course - it's fruit isn't it?   Surely I'm fine filling up on fruit and loads of it???    Not necessarily.    It's been said in health reports that fruit is really nature's candy.   Don't overdo the fruit and it's never a good idea to eat fruit WITH your meal.    If you must have it, have a very small portion away from meals.    I now stick to one piece of my favourite a day.    This '5 servings of fruit and vege a day' has to be taken very carefully.
  4. I found new snacks.    I need to snack and I have a bad habit of often going to the fridge as I work from home so I used to pick lots of dried fruit like prunes, dates, dried apple etc.   But did you know they're loaded with sugar?    Dates particularly have a very high GI.  Now I stick to protein if I can.   Have some boiled eggs in the fridge, pieces of chicken, a soft creamy cheese - protein and fat are far better to snack on.   Why? because you only need a very small portion to feel full.
  5. I don't buy low fat anything - I've taken out all the skim milk, low fat yoghurts, low fat cookies as they usually contain a fair level of sugar.   (a little more of this is below)
  6. I make sure I take a lot of essential fats - fish oil, coconut oil and good old fashioned full butter.    AND... I've stopped cooking in olive oil - it's very unstable at high temperatures.  I know cook in ghee or lard - far healthier and very stable at high heat.
Here's just a few more secrets that I've adopted and have found it's working. 

Forget low calorie and low fat shopping. The low fat/low calorie way of eating is still being taught by lots of diet aficionados out there and it is slowly being proven that it just doesn’t work. We think we need to eat ‘low fat’ because naturally anything that’s full fat has to be fattening. That’s one of the biggest myths out there. When you understand good quality essential fat as opposed to the wrong kinds of dangerous fats you’ll know why low fat isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

But won't I get fat if I eat fat?
The body must have good fats i.e. omega 3s.  We already overconsume omega 6, so you’ll find that good fats in the form of fish and marine oils, olive oils, avocado, leafy greens, lard, ghee, duck and goose fats etc that are all found in the Mediterranean and French way of eating are the way to consume fat. Bad fats are the transfats found in foods like margerines, pies, pastries, cookies, processed foods, deep fried foods, takeaways etc. This is the kind of fat that will put the weight on, not the good quality fats.

Low fat often means added sugar. So watch your food labels. Sugar is the killer so when a food is labeled ‘low calorie’, just see how they work that out. Is it a low calorie fat content with a high sugar content? If so, put it back. Coke and all soft drinks are low fat but as we well know they’re loaded with sugar and therefore considered to be full of ‘empty calories’ i.e. calories that have no nutritional content whatsoever.

Why not go for low calorie? Let me explain the best way I know how what I’ve discovered about low calorie. I did that for years and I hated the ‘hungry’ feeling. You must never allow yourself the hungry feeling. Our body needs a certain amount of calories to operate – let’s say the average man or women needs 2000 calories a day i.e. nutrient rich not empty calories.

Let’s say, like I did, in order to get the weight off we drop to 1500 calories per day when the body is used to 2000 calories per day by choosing differently or cutting things out. If you would normally consume 500 extra calories of alcohol or sugar, and by cutting out your chocolate a day or a few beers a day habit, then it’ll work. But what if you aren’t a drinker or a consumer of a lot of sugar, and you feel you eat well but still want to drop calories?   So many of my clients say they think they eat very healthy, don't have a sweet tooth, but can't understand why they're only putting more weight on.

For a few days you’ll notice you might lose weight and things are looking positive. But what happens then is – it stops and you find the body won’t lose any more weight. The cells of your body all have a brain and are very smart and know exactly what’s going on. What’s happening is, your body has gone into ‘starvation/storage’ mode. It thinks, ‘hello, we’re in food shortage mode, looks like we’d better start storing’. And what happens – you don’t lose weight at all, in fact after a low calorie diet, most people put all the weight back on, and more.

Many dieters think they need to drop calories and go nuts with exercise. That’s a dangerous thing to do to your body - IF, it's not used to a full on exercise program.  A prime example is watching shows like ‘The Biggest Loser’. Those poor guys have their calories greatly reduced and are put in a ‘killer exercise’ pressure cooker environment. What happens almost 90% of the time is, they go home and put the weight straight back on. That method of weightloss overstresses the body and can lead to some chronic health problems.

You can’t just do one or the other – you have to do both.
Statistics prove that most people would prefer to diet as exercise isn’t everyone’s favourite choice. But to lose belly fat, you do need an enjoyable, doable combination of both. You can’t exercise like a mad thing and keep up your bad habits.  One really will cancel the other out. And you can’t ‘diet’ and forget about doing some core exercises, some resistance training or cardio work. Your body absolutely craves movement, so developing a combined routine of careful selected eating that keeps you full and satisfied – not dieting – and good quality exercise will get that belly fat off.

Why should we not ‘diet’.
Too many diets are actually damaging to the body and can rob it of essential nutrients and fats. Think about the cabbage diet, the soup diet, the all fruit diet and any of these other crazy ways of eating. What damage is being done eventually shows up in all sorts of health problems. When we suddenly change the body’s way of eating and rob it of too many nutrients, we think we’re improving it, but in fact can be creating a health risk and a serious one.

Fat that is accumulated around the middle over a long period of time, cannot be dropped off quickly. It takes time, dedication, concentration and a sensible approach.

More on diet secrets and exercises in a future post.

Anne Noonan

Style and Wellness Coach


Ph: 0417 761 998

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