Miss M asked Garth about what to do when she is trying hard to eat healthily, fruit for lunch and lots of veggies with dinner, no snacking, a good breakfast, but sometimes the urge to eat some chocolate hits her… “And yes I want to lose weight!”
Somehow it seems that you can’t have one without the other.
However, here’s the good news, you can!
Now before you get carried away and start wolfing down chocolate bars like Charlie from Willy Wonka, there is a catch (isn’t there always?).
Chocolate, like everything else that tastes so good and is apparently “bad for you”, is composed mainly of sugar, and sugar as we all know, or should know by now, is just basic empty calories i.e. there is no nutritional content to it whatsoever!
The good news is small portions of cocoa-rich dark chocolate as part of a healthy lifestyle and eating to suit your very own personality (because everyone is different) chocolate, cakes, cookies, pastries, meat with fat, chicken with the skin intact, whole fat milk are all allowed as long as you don’t overindulge, and eat and drink everything in moderation and not to excess.
Food is there to be enjoyed and so is life and I’m a firm believer in enjoying everything you can in life as you’re only here for a “blink of an eye” and before you know it you’re gone, just like that!
You can spend your entire life dieting, exercising, doing everything that’s apparently good for you and get so caught up in it that you actually forget to enjoy life itself.
The key to losing and maintaining weight is not rocket science, it really is calories in vs energy out, so if you’re taking in too many calories and not expending enough energy to “burn off” the calories they will accumulate on your body as fat, simple math!
If you’re really serious about losing and maintaining weight it will involve a little bit of experimenting in the first two or three weeks. Even though I don’t advocate counting calories (and you won’t have to after the first few weeks) it’s something you must initially do to stand any chance of losing weight, after all you wouldn’t set off on a long car journey without checking how much fuel you would need would you?
The majority of people don’t lose weight because they don’t eat enough (yes you heard correctly) they mistakenly cut back on their food intake in the mistaken belief that doing so will make them lose weight. Not so, all that does is put your body into survival mode and tell it to hold onto every ounce of fat that it can as it doesn’t know (metaphorically speaking) where it’s next meal is going to come from, so what does it do, it saves the most precious fuel commodity it has access to, namely your fat stores.
An average woman will need to take around 1,800 to 2,000 calories a day in order to lose weight and once you’ve counted your calories for a week or so I’d bet money on the fact that most of you aren’t even taking in 1,200?
Why is this so important, you ask?
1,200 calories a day is roughly what is needed to maintain your BMR (basic metabolic rate) and that’s basically enough calories to function, brush your teeth, go to the loo, walk around a bit, very similar to the car analogy I used earlier, if you’re only going to the local shops you only use a small amount of fuel, any longer journeys require more fuel. Therefore, to lose weight you have to take in more calories to be able to fuel your body and turn it into a fat burning furnace!
By doing this you immediately trick the body into releasing your stored fat stores because all of a sudden it says it itself “Ah, I’m now receiving regular and consistent meals, i.e. fuel, so I don’t have to hold onto these fat stores for an emergency any longer as I know I’m being fed on a regular basis, and not only that I’m being given enough food to “fuel me for exercise” as well, which is incredibly important, you cannot and will not lose weight even if you exercise on a regular basis unless you feed your metabolism and keep it fired up.
Remember food is not your enemy and neither are calories, eating little and often and enjoying the foods you like are paramount for a healthy mind as well as a healthy body and healthy lifestyle.
So count your calories for the first week or two so you know exactly what you are taking in, increase them by around 500 calories a day over the course of around 4 x meals a day, never starve and never go hungry as you will not benefit and are only fooling yourself.
By eating little and often it serves several purposes, psychologically you never feel hungry, you’re eating what you enjoy (in moderation) you’re fuelling your body and physiologically you’re fooling your body into releasing fat stores as it doesn’t need them any longer.
It’s like keeping a coal fire burning brightly, if you don’t put enough coal on the fire it burns out (your metabolism slows down) if you put too much coal on the fire the fire goes out (if you eat too much your metabolism switches off as it can’t cope) but if you put a piece of coal on the fire every two to three hours the flames burn bright and hot (your metabolism turns into a fat burning furnace) and you get leaner and lose weight.
By consistently eating little and often you will train your mind and body to start enjoying food, be happier in yourself and really enjoy life.
It’s also quite important to be as active as you can be and remember exercise doesn’t have to mean the gym. Walking the dog, swimming, walking up and down the stairs, walking to the shops, getting off the bus a couple of stops earlier will all increase your activity levels easily and effortlessly and help to burn even more calories.
So you can have your cake and eat it but just have a slice, not the entire cake, and the same with chocolate, just half a small bar not entire bar and if you do overindulge it’s not the end of the world, either cut back on what you’re eating later in the day or simply exercise for 15 minutes longer.