The other day I was lunching with the ladies at the Beef Bar in Monaco. Despite a variety of appetizing menu choices, we all had the kale salad. No one touched the fresh bread. We ordered one portion of delicious vegan ‘cheesecake’ and split it four ways. Wine was out of the question – still water all around.
Why the deprivation?
Was the omnipresent kale salad particularly delicious and enticing that day? Had we all suddenly become sensitive to gluten? Why on earth could we not ‘indulge’ in one small dessert each and whatever happened to that glass of wine at a girly lunch?
Maybe we’re just a little obsessed with our weight.
It seems that even if we’re not actively trying to shed kilos, our weight still dictates our body image and self-esteem.
Accordingly to new research, a woman’s body image is linked to her perception of what she thinks men prefer. Apparently, if women are told that men desire women with larger bodies, then they are more content with their weight. Unfortunately, for some reason women believe that men desire ultra-thin women.
What’s more, women are constantly being told to monitor their appearance in a way men very rarely are. When was the last time you saw a man leafing through a magazine telling him to renounce his steak and chips for the sake of losing a little belly flab?
But even if you’re not working towards satisfying your perception regarding men’s desires for ideal female body size, you probably still have some sort of effort aimed at losing or maintaining your weight. In my experience as a nutritionist this is what I commonly hear:
• “I want to prevent disease”. People are increasingly aware that carrying around even small amounts of extra weight can increase the risk of illness. By age forty many people may have been through a personal health scare, or know someone who has. Keeping trim can improve overall health and protect our health.
• “I want to stand out in my career”. It’s not exactly a job requirement, but being lean and mean shows that you have discipline, which may impress and instill trust in business. Many believe that their body image is directly linked with their level of confidence and ability to perform and leave a lasting impression.
• “I want my clothes to fit better”. Sometimes the benefits of losing weight really are about looking good – and feeling it. Getting dressed in the morning becomes easier when you don’t have to try on fifty things to find one that looks good!
So what’s the bottom line?
Keeping to an ideal weight doesn’t have to be complicated or involve undue sacrifice. Here are my 3 basic tips.
This is the big one. Sugar in all its forms triggers the release of insulin, a hormone that promotes fat storage and prevents us from burning up stored fat for energy.
Do allow yourself the occasional ‘naughty’ treat (and daily dark chocolate!) but avoid white, refined and processed foods like white bread and baked goods (unless whole grain).
Avoid sweet fruits like bananas, grapes, melon and dried fruits (raisins, dates and figs) and avoid alcohol. It contains no nutrients and is immediately converted into glucose, sending blood sugar levels rocketing and interfering with our ability to make healthy eating choices (after the high comes the low and more cravings for sugary foods).
‘Brown’ instead of ‘white’
Replace white flour, pasta and rice with ‘brown’ versions. Whole foods made from natural, unrefined grains retain their natural fibre, which keeps you feeling fuller, longer and much less likely to succumb to food cravings). Fibre also nourishes friendly bacteria in the gut – which speeds up weight loss, reduces cravings and promotes healthy digestion.
Don’t obsess about calories
It’s much more important to eat the proper foods. Every meal and snack should consist of a balance of protein, complex carbohydrates and some healthy fat – this will keep blood sugar levels steady and increase your body’s ability to burn stored fat.
The recipe to start with: Green Goodness Smoothie
Smoothies are a great way to load up on vital nutrients as well as protein and fiber to help keep you full until your next meal. Whipping up a smoothie for breakfast will further help you rev up your metabolism first thing in the morning.
¼ inch fresh ginger (no need to remove the skin)
Half an apple (skin too – better if organic)
I cup fresh kale or baby spinach (a couple of blocks of frozen organic spinach work well too)
1 kiwi (peeled)
¼ avocado (peeled)
Blend all ingredients together until you achieve the desired consistency.
Tip: If you’re still hungry and need something a little more solid, eat two wholegrain crackers (preferably with seeds) with one tablespoon almond butter spread on top (you can find this at any health food store)
For more advice on healthy weight loss and lots more visit: https://www.foodwise.life
Or come to the next lunch workshop at ‘The Clever Kitchen’ at Starsnbars on Tuesday November 8th. It’s a chance to enjoy a lively social gathering, share a healthy meal together and get informed on a variety of nutrition issues – all at the same time! For bookings please visit the facebook ‘The Clever Kitchen” page