Diet vs healthy lifestyle
Diet vs healthy lifestyle. As a personal trainer in Milton Keynes I see people following fad diets almost daily. By following crash and fad diets you can have a short-term solution to shifting a few pounds by cutting out certain types of food, but often these diets lack the source of nutrients and vitamins that are essential to keeping your body healthy long-term.
You could find that in between these extreme diets you will slip back into your unhealthy eating habits and on will go the pounds and the circuit will start again. Understanding your cravings is the key to achieving sustainable weight loss, along with some changes to your eating habits and lifestyle will ensure you maintains healthy intake of nutrients and vitamins, and without depriving yourself of your favourite foods.
Is your craving for sweet, sugary things? Well sugar stimulates the same neural pathways as drugs, so in the short term it makes us feel good, but just like any other drug, we need more fixes and bigger doses just to feel ‘normal’. But by just trying to cut it out completely you are doomed to failure. Try adding protein to each meal, get rid of refined carbs and keep away from alcohol. This will balance your blood sugar and help regulate those cravings.
If dairy is your downfall you might be reaching for butter and cheese as a way to beat the blues. No surprise as some substances in milk match those used in anti-depressants. Deficiencies in essential fatty acids – omega-3, 6 and 9 add to your fat cravings. Don’t go down the low fat diet route – eating fat is good for us – if it’s the right kind. So try to include every day oily fish – mackerel, sardines, tuna, salmon – raw nuts, seeds and butters, cold pressed olive oil, natural yoghurt and a little cheese made for sheep or goat’s milk.
If salty things are your craving, it could be you are stressed. If you crave salt, it could be adrenal fatigue, you feel stressed, foggy, lethargic and in need of a salty snack. Avoid refined table salt and processed foods loaded with salt and replace crisps and snacks with homemade popcorn sprinkled with a little sea salt.
Studies show that people whose diets are rich in pulses, such as beans, chickpeas and lentils, have a lower body mass index (BMI) and carry less fat around the middle. This is because pulses are rich in soluble fibre, which makes your body sensitive to the effects of insulin, the hormone which removes excess glucose from your system. The more sensitive your body is to insulin, the more fat you will burn. You could also add more oats, barley, vegetables and fruit to your diet which will increase your fibre intake.
By fasting for 12 hours your body can burn fat. It could be as simple as going to bed a little hungry (nothing to eat at 8pm) and not eating breakfast until after 8am. During the day, your body burns some of the carbs you consume for fuel and deposits the rest in your liver as glycogen, a storage form of glucose. At night, glycogen is converted back into glucose to keep blood sugar levels stable while you sleep. Once stored glycogen is used, you start burning fat – but this takes time. Late night snacks followed by an early breakfast mean your body never has time to start fat burning. So try the night time fast.
Several studies have shown that a lack of sleep can stimulate over eating by causing changes in the hormones involved in hunger, appetite and the way your body uses glucose. For example, one study found that people who slept fewer than six hours per night on a regular basis were much more likely to have excess body weight, while people who slept an average of eight hours per night had the lowest relative body fat of the study group. So by getting a good nights sleep, you could be helping your weight.
According to research from the University of Glasgow, people who walked for an hour before having their first meal of the day were more sensitive to the effects of insulin, and burned more fat and carbs than those who walked after breakfast or didn’t walk at all. So get walking then according to more research – have breakfast as this is the most important meal of the day for your blood sugar, if you skip breakfast you eat more over the rest of the day.
By trying to adjust your diet, not to a faddy crash type, but just by eating more healthily and perhaps taking note of some of the tips above, by making changes to your lifestyle – trying to include more exercise or maybe by discussing your concerns with a personal trainer who will discuss and support you in ways to benefit your health issues, you will say goodbye to this ‘yoyo’ dieting and have a long term solution to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.