The Hunger Games (part II) – lose weight and KEEP it off…

Anyone who has seen “The Hunger Games” movie, or read the book, will know that it is about being in a situation where you have to literally fight for your life – the same may be said for some people trying to deal with either being overweight or obese.
I talked in the last blog about the reasons why many people seem to regain weight after having lost it through dieting/exercise, whether it just be the way you lost it –  perhaps too too quickly?, losing it from lean muscle mass so reducing your fat burning efficiency or falling off the wagon and not being able to stick to a strict restrictive way of eating, to not being able to maintain an exercise regime – or, as recently discovered by Australian researchers something more out of our control, like hormone imbalance

If this is you, or someone you know – what can you do about it?..

Plenty is what! Here are some strategies…

Maintain Muscle Mass – resistance training is vital for a myriad of reasons, as even though muscle weighs more than fat, it will enable you to keep burning fat more efficiently.

Watch what you eat (not the TV)… & I mean literally pay attention to it… it was found that people who watch TV whilst eating will consume way more calories than those who don’t. It’s hard to ‘listen’ to your tummy saying ”I’m full” with the television blasting out.

Slow down in your eating as well, stop and breath – give your stomach time to know it is actually satisfied, its quite a way for the food to reach the end of your digestive tract where the hormones say ‘I’m full!’ Plus use smaller plates to reduce portion size. Overeating again is a major factor in weight regain.

Maintain food / drink restrictions – VERY important, this has to be one of the main lifestyle changes – that is NO junk/fast food (only if totally desperate!), NO soft drinks/soda, including diet drinks, they may have less calories but are full of chemicals and lead to wanting more sugary foods. NO heavy or binge alcohol drinking. Plan your meals to have a good mixture of protein and plant food, mix your veggies & try to have different colours as this represents different vitamins & nutrients.

Beware at work & peer pressure, those snacks, birthdays, leaving do’s, Christmas and so on can mean a huge intake of cake/treats and calories that you DO NOT need!

Snack healthily – keep the pantry clear of bad things and full of the good.

Veggie / fruit juice – nearly ALL of them (even the ‘healthy natural’ one’s) are FULL of sugar. Much better to make / drink your own and its a great way to get your veggie intake if you can’t always eat them! (nb using tall skinny glasses can also help!).

Continue your motivation, with regular weigh-ins (without being obsessed), PLUS take note of other measurements like waist/hip circumference, arm and chest sizes, your dress size and how clothes are fitting you and address any increases immediately before they get out of hand – DO NOT lose your vision! Keep making realistic goals and sustainable changes to eating habits.

Take advantage of support groups – whether they be friends, family or official organisations.

Depending on your individual DNA / genetic make up, many of these ‘lifestyle’ changes will have to be for exactly that – LifeIf you are to maintain your weight loss results.

Always be aware of :-

  • Your sleep patterns, lack of sleep means more weight
  • Keep stress levels down – the stress hormone cortisol stunts weight loss
  • Leave the TV and make activity a hobby
  • Aim to cut SUGAR as much as possible from your diet, beware things like dried fruit and salad dressings and the like
  • If you find yourself slipping, get out your food diary again, even if for just a short time, its a great motivational tool.

There is a registry in America the “National Weight Control Registry” made up of some 7,000 people who have lost weight (around 15 kgs) and kept it off for over a year, where their habits are recorded and assessed. Some things tended to come up regularly for example

Exercise – most did moderate level intensity up to an hour every day. Exercise is not just about burning calories, but bridging that energy gap. There is suggestions that exercise effects more than fitness and weight loss but actually gets the body back to a better working order and helps make the body more sensitive to leptin & insulin.

Diet – most consumed a low cal, low fat, low sugar amount of food and they ate breakfast (thought to reduce binge eating later in the day).

Most people who kept the weight off also were described as disciplined, with good self-esteem and not suffering from depression. And interestingly, over 55% sought the assistance of either a nutritionalist, GP, weight loss program (for example like IsoWhey) or a personal trainer to maintain their progress.

It is worth noting that for extreme cases, where people are obese, & have diabetes, there ARE other options. Namely surgery – just this week it was announced that there is a new type of ‘gastric banding’ available, where much of the food eaten is diverted straight to the small intestine, preventing a lot of calories being absorbed by the body. This has had a huge effect on patients both here and in the UK, with diabetes sufferers no longer needing insulin and losing a lot of weight. What is so interesting is the fact that patients no longer had symptoms of this disease hours after the op – that is, before any weight loss. This could be due to how the operation diverts food away from hormone rich areas of the intestines which influence insulin control. All very encouraging.

Research is also being done on providing medications to help control weight for non-diabetics as well especially regarding control of the hormones leptin and Ghrelin mentioned in the previous blog, which effect appetite after weight loss occurs. While so far there are NO quick fix medications or pills on the market (so don’t be fooled by adverts saying there are!) – this area of development is very exciting and worth keeping an eye on!

So, the Games aren’t about going Hungry, but eating a proper well balanced diet, andexercising… so taking all the above into account, you can set yourself up to WIN!

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