Things that are secretly making us fat
- Your genes: you can’t change them BUT you can work with them. I’m in the 10% of the worlds population who struggles to process carbohydrates so have struggled with unexplained weight gain and food intolerances for many years, and sadly, this is more common than we think! I’ve learnt however, to work with my genes, feeding it food that FUELS my body, rather than feeding it with the foods that created inflammation, leading to weight gain. Now my body is losing the inflammation it carried and is finding it’s way to equilibrium. If you’re struggling with your weight, look at your family genetics. My understanding is that the effects of our genes can be switched on and off according to what we eat, stress and environmental factors. You can’t change your genes, but you can work with them and change the triggers that aggravate them.
- Your environment: A New England Journal of Medicine study declared that people can actually ”catch” obesity from close friends. When researchers followed 12,067 people over 32 years, they concluded that those of us with very close friends who are obese have a 171 per cent higher chance of becoming obese too. The theory goes: you’re influenced by your friends, and if they overeat, you may unwittingly follow their lead.
- Sedentary lifestyle: our jobs have changed. Back in the 1950’s and 60’s there were more physical jobs. Now we have more technology, more convenience, more sitting down, more sedentary jobs. To deal with this, find any excuse you can TO MOVE. Take stairs instead of the lift. Bike to work. Dance with your kids. ANYTHING you can do is better than nothing! Also remember, you’re body is a fuel burning machine and the way to success is to stop eating more than you burn! Remember calories in vs calories out – and while I may not be a huge advocate for being totally calorie conscious, I know my diet is balanced as I eat a lot of plant, ensuring that I get great nutrition through lower calorie, fibrous foods.
- Stress: When you have chronic stress, your body steps up its production of cortisol and insulin. Your appetite increases, and so do the chances you’ll engage in “hedonistic” eating in the form of high-calorie sweets and fats. When you try to combat stress with food, you activate the reward centre of your brain. After that initial feel-good spell wears off, you’ll reach again for the same thing that made you feel good. It’s no different from being a junkie….just on foods that don’t serve your body, loaded with empty calories. The solution? Have healthy alternatives available. Go for a walk. Have a cup of tea. Phone a friend.
- Not getting enough sleep: I was shocked to discover that lack of sleep can impact insulin sensitivity and contribute to a slower metabolism!
- Light at night: This disturbs you from getting the deep restorative REM sleep you need to ensure your body rests, repairs and revitalises. You wake up tire and end up reaching for high energy foods to lift you throughout the day – and often those foods are high calorie with little nutritional value.
- Eating on the run: How often have you done this? Do you work through lunch? Eat breakfast as you run out the door? The gut is your second brain. It needs time to digest and process your food. That takes around 20 minutes. Eat on the go and you’re not giving your gut time to understand that you’ve eaten, leading to more snacks and treats because you still feel hungry!
- We’ve stopped listening to our bodies: Babies know when they are hungry and when they’re full – and they are pretty quick to tell the world! When did you have hunger pains and just ignore them? When have you ended up light headed because you couldn’t be bothered eating? Our bodies are giving us these signals for a reason! Ignore them and you’ll disconnect from consciously eating and start making dumb choices! I speak from experience!
- Your skincare and personal care: Your skin is your biggest organ. If you’re loading your skin with chemicals, where do you think they end up? Absorbed through your skin and they can end up messing with your liver and your hormones! While you may never have heard of phthalates—a family of chemicals used to make plastics flexible—new evidence linking these and other so-called “endocrine-disrupting” chemicals with obesity has been growing. In fact, researchers have taken to calling many of these substances ‘obesogens’ (obesity-promoting chemicals). Be careful what you put on your skin AND what you carry your food in!
- Undiagnosed intolerances or allergies: Bloating? Stomach upsets? Mood swings? Irritability? Unexplained weight gain? Skin irritations? Insomnia? Exhaustion? There could be a reason. It may be your food OR it could be a sign that something else is going on. If so, please consult your health practitioner.
In 1977 the McGovern report was released stating that there was an increase in cardio vascular disease caused by too much fat in our diets. The food industry freaked out and the low fat food industry was born. It’s interesting to not that some fats are great! Fat carries flavour. Remove fat and you remove flavour. As a result, low fat foods ended up higher in sugar, to compensate. And….VOILA…..we now have a diabetes epidemic…..Hmm coincidence? Sugar is 9 times more addictive then cocaine, so buyer beware!
- Hidden sugars: watch out for condiments! They can be carrying a load of extra sugars! Read labels and BEWARE. Avoid those vanilla or hazelnut shots when you go to your favourite coffee place and where you can, go sugar free.
- Portion control is out of control: meals are on average 30% larger than the 1960s and restaurant meals are 50% larger. Do we need that? NO!!! Eat more plant, protein the size of your palm and the thickness of your little finger and a little fat. To really control your portions, trick yourself by eating from a smaller plate!
- Dried fruit: once deemed as a healthy option, now just loaded with sugar. It’s a good option if you’re an athlete or really physical, however for most of the population, it’s just added carbs that get stored as fat. You’re better to eat a piece of fruit!
- Smoothies and protein shakes: OMG! Have you looked at the ingredients in some of these products? When I realised that one smoothie from my favourite smoothie place actually gave me my entire days worth of calories (while thinking it was a healthy choice…!) I nipped that one in the bud! Protein shakes can be a bit misleading too. While they may have loads of extra protein, some are loaded with extra sugars that mess with your insulin levels! If you want a healthy smoothie recipe, try mine! SOOO tasty!
- Diet products: KEEP AWAY!! These can be loaded with all sorts of weird chemicals and I think they just taste funny!! Check out this study from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio: Study subjects who drank two or more diet sodas a day had waist size increases that were six times greater than those of people who didn’t drink diet soda, said researchers. So why would diet soda cause weight gain? I’ve heard that it excites the part of the brain that tells the pancreas to produce insulin, messing with our blood sugars and our hormones. OR it could be that people think they can eat more if they drink diet soda, and so overcompensate for the missing calories by eating more???
- Energy bars and energy drinks: NOPE. Are you a marathon runner? Are you really active? You’re just overloading your system with chemicals, caffeine and sugar that you just don’t need! Your body will end up storing that energy as fat. Don’t do it to yourself. You’re worth more.
- Cheat days: No one has cast iron will power. For me a cheat day turns into a cheat week, into a cheat month. Don’t do it to yourself! And by eating like this, you never feel like you’re missing out anyway!! Also, cheat days create the idea that food is ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Remember, this is not a diet. This is a lifestyle.
- Processed foods: these can contain lots of sodium, sugar and additives that can mess with your hormones, hold water, make you look puffy and mess with your bodies ability to burn fat!!! Get rid of it immediately!
- Eating empty calories: You know what they are – chips, bread, pasta, doughnuts and all that stuff. They hold absolutely NO nutritional value and I don’t know about you but I’d rather eat food that makes me feel good as well as being tasty. By the way, that’s what I eat every day….!!! ( Want to learn my recipes and taste my food LIVE? Click here!!)
- Not drinking enough water: Yes, it’s simple. However it actually prevents your body from working optimally!!
- Meat and chicken: One word – hormones. You’ve already got stuff going on. Why add more hormones to your already super busy and stressed existing ones? If you can, go free range.
- Programming: Were you told as a kid to ‘Clear your plate! Eat up, there’s children starving in Africa!’ Those messages, especially when they are repeatedly told to us as children become the ‘truths’ in our subconscious, which governs our behaviours and our choices for around 90% of our day. Create new truths such as ‘ I eat till I’m full.’ Re-setting and re-programming is a part of the journey I love and have done this successfully for myself and many others. If you need help, hit me up! There’s also the realm of negative self talk: ‘I’m not worth it. I’m fat anyway. I’m unattractive….’ and all those statements. Again, I’ve battled those demons so if you need help, let’s smash it.
- Your expectations: ‘I’ve eaten well for a few days, so why am I still fat?’ Are you freaking serious? How many years have you spent building the current body you have? Do you think a few days of eating differently and going for walks is going to miraculously change all this? It’s a fantastic start, but remember this is the long game. ‘Lose weight fast’ campaigns do not work!! What does work is creating new healthy habits that will serve you for a lifetime. Throw our your scales. Be kind to yourself and judge your changes by the clothes you wear and how you feel.
- Skipping meals: This was me. ‘I skipped a meal so I’ve saved calories!’ I can afford to eat more! NO NO NO!! In that moment, your body goes into deprivation / starvation mode (particularly if you’ve done it regularly like I did) and it inevitably leads to weight gain! Not to mention you may alienate people because you’re a moody, grump a$$. Eat good food, when you’re hungry, till you’re full. Simple.
- Crash diets and diets that say LOSE WEIGHT FAST: as mentioned before, they don’t work! I speak from experience! My solution? Stop dieting all together! Eat real food and be happy!
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