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- Retreats / Programmes
Right now, more than ever, approach any desire to change something about your body, your health or your habits with compassion. Consider how you might give that to yourself now, in the life situation you find yourself in and in your current body. Don't delay self care.
It is also important to detect underlying problems or habits that can be causing or contributing to a weight problem. It may be stress or emotional eating that has been the tipping point for your body. Unhealthy eating can mean that you are not getting enough of the vitamins, minerals and essential fats that your body needs to work well.
Rather, for sucessful weight loss, it is important to focus on the quality of what you eat. What you eat actually changes how you expend energy, so, some foods support weight loss efforts, others hinder them. And, as we all know, some foods are more-ish, others make you feel fuller for longer, so what you eat impacts when you subsequently eat. Try replacing those “empty” calories with nutrient-rich lean proteins, leafy green vegetables and even healthy fats from nuts and oily fish and I promise you, you will feel full and will be much less tempted to overeat. Nobody binges on lentil soup or salmon, do they?
As a population, we tend to eat too much of a single grain - wheat - and we would all benefit from diversifying to include others such as oats, barley, quinoa, buckwheat and millet. A varied diet is also the best way to achieve good gut health, as each type of bacteria prefers different plant chemicals. Good gut health supports weight loss efforts and helps you to beat the bloat.
In my experience, those “ancient grain” products are still available on otherwise rather sparse supermarket shelves too, so there’s no excuse.
Diversify breakfast most of all. Most people reach for high-carb, sugary cereals, but why not focus is on nutrients instead? You could try having vegetables at breakfast, best combined with a protein such as in a spinach omelette.
Fat isn’t bad for us, it’s beneficial. It helps the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins and is satiating, so we feel satisfied after we’ve eaten. That means we can regulate how much we eat and realise when we are full.
So, adopt a diet that includes more healthy fatty foods - avocados, olive oil, fatty fish and raw nuts for their essential fatty acids and omega 3s. People often don’t get enough omega 3s, but they are vital for brain and heart health. They protect cells, limit free radical damage and, crucially, reduce inflammation in the body. Inflammation is a causative factor in diseases such as dementia, cancer and heart disease. So, if you reduce your level of inflammation, you can reduce your risk.
Reset your eating clock
Widen the gap between dinner and breakfast, what’s known as Time Restricted Feeding (TMR) technique. You are allowed to drink, just not something that contains calories, and avoid artificial sweeteners too. During the fasting period, the liver is helping to burn off fat and repair our bodies. This allows the body to do a type of “housekeeping” during those hours, which can improve health.
One or two days a week, extend this 12 hour rule up to 16 hours. You will feel more capable of doing this easier on some days than others. During those days you will be eating brunch or lunch instead of breakfast, effectively skipping a meal. Ideally you’d finish eating at 8pm, and eat again at 12 noon, or from 7pm to 11am. This is a good way to boost weight loss but also reset your appetite triggers - you’ll be hungry but in a manageable way, helping your appreciate and savour your food more.