Diets, diets, diets...
There is a wide variety of diets all claiming to help you lose weight fast without negative effects on your health. I've tried several myself but none with success and good lasting results. There are millions of us who try it over and over again and the results are always the same. The diets don't work because they are too strict and so we can't cope with all the restrictions and our mood swings or because they are too low in calories and, because your body is not getting all the nutrients it needs, you start feeling exhausted, moody and even depressed. It is not easy to chose a diet that will work for you and make you achieve your goal which is to feel better and not worse.
Throughout all my research I've learnt that the best diet (and in my opinion the only one that really works) is the "Control diet" as I like to call it.

What is the "Control Diet"?
The Control Diet is exactly what the name says. It is about controlling what, when and how much you eat. This means you don't have to stop eating the pasta, pizza or burger you love so much but it means you have to control the portion sizes and the time of day when you eat them. The what and when are very important here. Some of the most important points to consider are:
  • Breakfast must be the most important meal of your day. Don't even think about skipping your breakfast. It will make you want to snack or eat more towards the end of the day which is the opposite of what you want.
  • Drink at least 1,5l of water everyday.
  • Eat small portions and more often. This was one of the things I was doing wrong. I used to eat only when I was hungry, meaning I would spend hours without eating but then would eat huge portions and usually at night. Big mistake.
  • Increase the quantity of healthy foods, specially vegetables and fruit. Since you must eat smaller quantities and more often, having a big portion of vegetables to compensate the smaller portion of pasta or potatoes on your plate, means you can still make yourself feel full but on a much lower calorie intake.
  • You don't need to cut anything from your diet. Our body needs plenty of vitamins, minerals and it needs carbs as well. You just need to reduce the quantity of carbs and avoid fast foods and sweets as much as possible.
This are the general changes I have made to my eating habits and, although I see the good results, I still find it amazing how big the effect is.
I always loved pasta, rice, potatoes, bread and was addicted to chocolate. Believe me, I never thought I would be strong enough to avoid chocolate and bread nor to reduce my portion sizes. I always loved salad, but I never ate many vegetables or fruit.  I don't drink fizzy drinks or alcohol, I just drink water, but I wasn't drinking enough water. I used to skip breakfast and go on without any food (coffee was my breakfast) till midday when I have my lunch. This meant I needed bigger portions for lunch and many cravings in between meals. It was also affecting my energy. I used to feel tired, physically and mentally throughout the day and the funny thing is that I thought spending so many hours without eating would help me lose weight. How wrong I was!...

Why is the metabolism so important on the weight loss progress?
Your body uses food for energy. It stores any excess energy as fat. This means if you eat more food than your body needs for daily activities and cell maintenance, you'll gain weight.
Don't even think about skipping breakfast or live from salads. Eating only salads, soup or drinking fruit shakes only is a good to clean your organism but you should never do it for longer than 2 weeks. 2 weeks is the absolute maximum.
The success of your weight loss plan doesn't depend only on the calories that you eat. The metabolism, that is the way in which your organism transforms those calories in energy has a fundamental role on the process. The rate at which your metabolism works is determined genetically but it's possible to increase it transforming the fat into muscle. The more muscle, the faster and higher is the calorie burning.

The starting point to get there
Chose the best foods
Carbohydrates are essential for a fast metabolism. They provide energy that fuels the muscles, the nervous system and the blood cells. Without energy you become slow and a sedentary life will make you gain weight. 
Carbohydrates are classified in:
  • Always: The ones with low glicemic value. Called Complex Carbohydrates, they are usually referred to as starch or starchy foods. They are found naturally in foods and also refined in processed foods.  These carbohydrates keep your insulin levels stable avoiding the up and down of glucose in your blood and therefore keeping hunger away for longer. Wholemeal and wholegrain cereals, pasta, rice and bread, vegetables and fruits are all very reach in fibre and very low in fat - they take longer to digest, therefore increase your metabolism.
  • Sometimes and rarely: The ones with high glicemic value. Called Simple Carbohydrates, they are everywhere. In white rice, sugar, biscuits, jam, cakes, jellies, sweets and snack bars, etc. Being refined, fibres are removed to give place to sugars and additives that slow down your metabolism. They are digested very quickly sending wrong signals to the brain making you hungrier a lot sooner.
Proteins help the build up of muscle that burns calories quicker, besides they reduce the speed at which carbohydrates are digested. Always chose light proteins such as fish, chicken, eggs, soya, etc.

Make more meals (and smaller)
Your stomach capacity decreases about 30% and your calorie intake decreases 10%, your metabolism speeds up and this change alone can help you lose around 4, 5lbs a month.

If you need menu ideas and healthy low calorie recipes, check the recipes page where I will be including menu ideas (based on the ones I follow) and recipes of meals that I usually cook.

Move and increase muscle mass
Walking, climbing stairs, dancing, washing the car, gardening, swimming, etc. Physical activity is essential for a faster metabolism. As you get older, muscles tend to "shrink" and fat starts taking their place. That's why it is so important to exercise. Physical activity is responsible for 50% of the metabolism speeding process

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