Over the last 2 weeks I’ve lost 15% of my body weight (63kilos down to 53kilos). I did this naturally, healthily and in a way that is sustainable. I didn’t feel hungry once. I didn’t crave anything and my appetite naturally reduced. In fact, I felt full all of the time. It was easy.
The first few days I had to do some shopping and start some new eating habits but I didn’t use any fad diets or a weight loss franchise company (e.g. Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig etc). I still had my treats, went out for dinner and drank wine and cheese; just not everyday.
My main objective was to build muscle, lose fat and get my body functioning at an optimal level of health. The latter half of 2011 saw me being quite sedentary and, to be honest, a little stressed, and this moved my metabolism into retaining fat around my stomach and not functioning as well as it could. As I’m now in my sixth decade, this spurred me into boosting my metabolism to create a leaner, stronger and healthier me.
I started by increasing my water consumption and my raw vegetable intake. I accentuated bitter greens to boost my liver and pancreas into a higher level of detoxification. Next step was to increase physical activity. I decided this was a great opportunity to explore lots of different types and schools of yoga. I slowly increased activity to 4-6 days per week. My physical activities also included walking for a minimum of 30 minutes. I also ensured that I gave my body time to recuperate. Taking a day off once a week provides 24hrs for muscles to rest and repair and also gave me a change in routine.
Once my vegetable intake was up to 3 handfuls of fresh greens per meal, I started to increase my protein intake. Small regular protein meals were great for my mood, building muscle and stimulating the metabolism to burn fat. My work and home schedules are pretty busy so I used some fast easy commercial products to help make it easier. Pea protein powder and sprouted broccoli powder supported me, especially in the early days and they’re a great post-workout way to rehydrate mixed in water.
Protein is required to maintain bone density and, if consumed with a balanced amount of fresh vegetables, ensures a balanced calcium/phosphorus ratio and acid balance that in turn supports the healthy mineral mass of our bones. Protein is also essential for a healthy digestive tract including the production of stomach acid, digestive enzymes and neurotransmitters as well as providing the amino acids that we require for healthy liver detoxification.
Interestingly, protein deficiency can reduce our ability to absorb Vitamin B1. Vitamin B1 is important for digestion and a deficiency contributes to depression, fatigue, low morale, irritability and anxiety. Low dietary protein may also exacerbate Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5) deficiency and cause symptoms of fatigue, apathy and increased sensitivity to insulin. Vitamin B5 is required for healthy hair, skin and wound healing, and a deficiency can contribute to strong feelings of hunger.
As a result of gaining muscle mass and losing fat, I’ve also found my mood has improved and my energy levels are more buoyant. During this process, I took into account that reduced calorie intake lowers the tryptophan levels needed for maintaining mood. Fortunately Tryptophan is found in most protein-based foods and is especially high in egg white so a diet that is skewed towards protein will help maintain or improve mood when on a fat-loss diet. (Incidentally, Niacin (B3) is synthesised from tryptophan and low Niacin levels are associated with slow metabolism, high cholesterol and sensitivity to the cold – so best to keep those tryptophan levels up!).
My experience has certainly been that the benefits of following The Body Guard “Feel Good Food Plan” are far more outreaching than just a cosmetic weight issue with the results very different to the average calorie restricted diet.
My sensitivity to stress has now definitely reduced and I’m sleeping very well. Meal preparation time has also reduced. The changes to my metabolism have also regulated my insulin (a hormone) as well as the rest of my hormones, and this has reduced my pre-menstrual tension and inflammation as well as pain residue from old injuries. In a nutshell, I’m happier, leaner, stronger, less stressed and have more time to enjoy this new state of body and mind.
Now, having reached my goal weight, I’m into weight maintenance. That’s the subject for another blog, but a lesson has been learned and I will not fall easily into the trap again of being over-sedentary.
To recap, here are some tips for fast successful weight loss using The Body Guard “Feel Good Food Plan”:-
2.5 to 3 litres per day in order to keep the bowels moving. Water flushes out the toxins and keeps your skin plump and youthful.
Food choice readjustment
Increase your fresh raw vegetable intake. Ideally, include three (of your) handfuls, of fresh vegetables at lunch and dinner and don’t forget to add vegetables to your breakfast where you can (e.g. steamed baby spinach with poached eggs or mushrooms). Allow cooked vegetables (mainly green or multi coloured) at one meal per day and try for a majority of fresh raw vegetables in most of your meals. Reduce your refined carbohydrates (e.g. white rice, white bread, potatoes etc) significantly and including protein as part of every meal and snack. Eat the protein portion of the meal first and this will stimulate your metabolism to operate more efficiently.
It’s also important to realise that digestion starts in our mouth and is better initiated by chewing our food well. In order to extract all the nutrients our food contains, take your time to chew your food really well, extracting every nutrient from it. Taking your time also allows the body time to recognise where the digestive system is; this will ensure that you will feel full earlier than you would otherwise.
If you are pre disposed to constipation - your Naturopath can help before you start. Check that your water and raw vegetable intake is adequate and if you still have a challenge in this regard, your Naturopath can also prescribe a specific supplement regime to suit your unique constitution and lifestyle.
Ideally six days per week. Exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes per day. Think fast walking, yoga or dancing. Be consistent and mix it up a bit to keep your interest up. Find an exercise buddy, a friend you can walk with or take turns in driving to the gym or yoga class.
Regular 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep is required for efficient functioning of the metabolism and the immune system. Ideally you should wake refreshed. If you do not feel refreshed or are experiencing interrupted sleep or have difficulty falling asleep, please visit your Naturopath who can address any sleep hygiene issues you may have. To read more about sleep hygiene click here.
Sleep issues can be associated with excessive levels of stress. If you think this is you, read more about the management of stress here. If necessary, your Naturopath can also prescribe safe, non-addictive and effective solutions to regulate your sleep pattern and help you get more sleep.
Goal Setting and Commitment
Prior to starting, talk to your Naturopath who can help you set appropriate goals that suit your personality and lifestyle. Together you can develop simple easy steps to get you started and your Naturopath can provide ongoing coaching to support your progress and ensure your goals are met. Muscle weighs more than fat so ensure you take all of your measurements as well as your weight. Weight alone is not a good indicator of fat loss and it can be quite disconcerting if your weight is increasing during the muscle building stage. However, during this period your body will begin to change shape.
Start slowly and don’t worry if you slip up here and there. Just get back to emphasising quality protein as soon as possible. If you find yourself craving sugary foods, just have a small amount of protein (e.g. ½ a boiled egg) and they will soon subside.
Talk to your family and friends before hand. Let them know about your diet and lifestyle changes. You may find someone who would like to be your walking buddy and/or offer encouragement. Some of your family members may like to be included in your food regime. Communication is a key aspect for your friends and family to feel included versus excluded. Team support will help you reach your goals.
Stress causes our body to retain fat. Keep an eye out for our new Stress Less Starter Kit pack available soon. To read about how to reduce your stress click here.
It’s hard to lose weight by yourself. It’s even harder to keep it off by yourself. A natural medicine practitioner will be able to prescribe an individually tailored and practical protocol for weight loss that will address both your goals and your overall health and wellness as well as provide regular coaching.
The above tips are just a few basic elements in The Body Guard “Feel Good Food Plan”. If you’d like to know more or you’d like The Body Guard to assist you in fat loss, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for an appointment or phone 0421 379 615 to speak to me personally. To read more about becoming a consultations and ongoing coaching for weight loss and/or wellness click here.
Hechtman, Leah. Clinical Naturopathic Medicine. Churchill Livingstone Australia.
Institute of Medicine, (2006). Dietary Reference Intakes Research Synthesis: Workshop Summary. National Academies Press. p. 37.
Gropper, S. S, Smith, J. L., Groff, J. L. (2009). Advanced nutrition and human metabolism. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage learning.
Pitsavas S, Andreou C, Bascialla F, Bozikas VP, Karavatos A (2004). "Pellagra encephalopathy following B-complex vitamin treatment without niacin". Int J Psychiatry Med 34 (1): 91–5.