Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Look amazing without having to diet!

‘But I just want to lose some weight I don’t care about my health!’ oh the times I’ve heard that saying.

Take the t of diet and what do you have! do you really want to die just to look slim?

Ok so this blog post was going to be another rant about the Cambridge Diet and Lighter life, but after some serious consideration I have changed my mind and now want to try understand why people opt for these extreme ways to lose weight, these type of diets take some major discipline to follow and to maintain afterwards. Almost every person I have known try these diets have put it all straight back on, even weight watchers and slimming world followers have the same problems.

What exactly is it about these diets that people are prepared to go out and spend their hard earned cash on an expensive eating plan? Is it because we as a nation are not educated enough on what really is healthy and what’s not anymore? Gosh there are even things I thought were healthy last year whereas this year i've found that they aren’t all that great!

Confusion is a key element here, we are all confused over our diet, as a health and fitness professional I have to keep on top of reading up on health and nutrition but what about everyone else who just wants to lose a bit of weight but isn’t sure how to do it, there’s so much confusion out there and with TV and so called ‘healthy’ diets I’m not surprised we are in the middle of an obesity epidemic.

Everyone’s looking for the magic diet to help them shift the weight fast, but what people tend not to be aware of is that weight loss and fat loss are two very different things. When you have been overweight and lost it you will know it’s really hard to maintain. That’s because our body has had fat stores, and when we put on weight we increase our fat storing cells, when we diet we will remove the fat from the cells that is holding on to it but we will never lose the fat stores, this means that when you go back to ‘normal’ eating your fat stores will then fill up super quick and if you’re not careful you will lay down even more fat stores. This is when we get into the pattern of yoyo dieting which adds even more strain to the body.

Let’s get one thing straight there is no quick fix when it comes to getting in shape – if it has taken you 10 to 20 years to become the size you are today you’re not going to drop 6 dress sizes in a few months with a magic diet and keep it off long term.

The fact is you need to strive for health – if a healthy body is your goal then the weight and inches will drop off – here’s a great saying I read in a book a few years ago ‘strive for health and thin will follow’. People who care about what they eat will very rarely be overweight.

‘But what I’m eating is healthy right?’ Well that’s where a lot of the confusion comes in – cereal, bread, pasta, milk are all considered by most people to be healthy foods when actually they are not that great.

Cereal is generally processed to the point that there’s little nutritional value to it so the manufacturers have gotten around this by fortification, they convert to sugar very quickly which will then trigger your insulin response very quickly, then after a few hours your blood sugars will drop very quickly making you crave sugary foods throughout the day – leading you to that lunchtime sandwich or pasta dish.

Bread usually contains wheat and gluten which the body finds extremely hard to digest, wheat is also very closely linked with celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome and much more, just by cutting out wheat alone people see great health benefits.

Pasta – again pasta contains wheat which can be indigestible for a lot of people.

Milk – gone are the days you have to shake the bottle to get the cream to mix in with the milk (sorry if your too young to remember this!), we have Homogenization to thank for not having to shake the bottle anymore, since homogenization and pasteurisation were introduced milk has become very hard to digest, making a lot of people lactose intolerant.

‘So what can I eat’ I hear you shout?
Good wholesome foods such as fruit, vegetables, seeds and nuts (in moderation), pulses and beans, grains such as brown rice and quinoa, lean organic free range meats.

‘Ok so now I’ve got the nutrition sorted how do I get my body looking great?
We often hear the saying ‘muscle weighs more than fat’ well this is not entirely true, muscle is denser than fat and takes up less space in the body, here is a picture 5lbs of fat and muscle:

Therefore you might have two girls that are both a size 10, one of them may be very toned (1), eat healthily and exercise regularly and weighs 9 stone 6lbs, the other may not do any exercise and will weigh 9 stone (2), whilst this person may weigh less they have more body fat giving them a different shape:

It just goes to show that weight loss isn’t necessarily everything.

I don’t know any woman that doesn’t want to be toned? ‘I just want to lose weight and tone up’ is one I hear all the time, well guess what toning up is ladies – building muscle.

‘but I’m scared I’ll bulk up’ don’t worry it’s very hard for a woman to bulk up, you see its testosterone that helps promote muscle growth, ever wondered why your man could eat like a horse and not put on an ounce – they build muscle easier than girls.

Building muscle means carrying out resistance based exercises such as squats, lunges, press ups, rows and much more. By following a good Resistance and Cardiovascular programme as well as eating healthy nutritious foods you will achieve the healthy body you desire, be warned however the body does adapt very quickly so you will need to set new challenges for it every few weeks so that you don’t plateau, this is where a personal trainer can help you to get the body you desire or if that’s too expensive choose a boot camp that’s run by a personal trainer, boot camps can fantastic because every workout is different and will challenge your body each and every time, plus you have that support network from a group environment.

If you enjoyed reading this check out this post FAD DIETS