So many people have asked me what I do to lose weight (I've lost 2 stone over the last nine months,) that I decided to do a post on it in English. You know guys I'm not a doctor or a dietician, these are just a few principles that I gathered together from different sources. If you know me personally you have probably heard me mention a book that inspired me to start losing weight. It was Escape the Diet Trap by John Briffa. His diet is in fact paleo. I don't do paleo, I'm not a cavewoman. His book, however, made me understand why I wasn't losing any weight before, going hungry and eating less than I do now. I do recommend the book. It's sitting on the shelves in your local library.
In order to maintain healthy weight you must eat enough food containing all the necessary vitamins and nutrients that will enable your body to start processing the mountains of accumulated fat.
To lose weight you must eat. Never, ever go hungry. You should eat something when you're slightly hungry, but don't allow your body to get to the starving point.
Starving yourself long term will have adverse effect. It does not matter how much you weigh, starvation is equally stressful for your brain.
Your brain needs good fats. If you don't provide it regularly your brain will stash it in your stomach, because that's where it takes it from when it's under stress (cortisol belly).
Forget calories. Do you really believe 300 kcal worth of carrots will have the same effect on your body as 300 kcal worth of KFC fries? Your body does not do maths. 'Calories consumed minus calories burnt equals calories stored as fat' is just a big fat lie.
The hormone that triggers fat gain is insulin. Its high levels activate enzymes responsible for changing sugar into fat. That's why you should restrict foods that cause your blood sugars to rise, e.g. sugar, sweets, bread, potatoes, pasta, rice, etc. They raise your blood sugar - insulin rises fast - you gain weight - sugars drop very low - you feel hungry and you shake - you have to eat something fast - you eat carbohydrates again and ... you're in vicious circle of overeating, starving and putting on weight. If your diet is permanently rich in carbohydrates you may develop insulin resistance. it means your body cells become immune to insulin and need much higher levels of it to respond to it. More eating, more hunger and even more weight gain.
Limit the simple carbohydrates you eat to one portion a day. I found it easiest to give up bread and save my carbs portion for dinner. It means I can still have my potatoes or pasta for dinner. Try to include a wider variety of carbohydrates, try something different: brown rice, wholemeal pasta, buckwheat, quinoa, etc.
Forget the NHS eat well plate and the balanced diet pyramid. They are so wrong. What should be at the bottom of the pyramid, or on the biggest chunk of the plate, are vegetables. Not fruit and vegetables. Vegetables.
Fruit has sugar, some fruit has loads of it. Limit fruit to 2, maximum 3 portions a day. Don't drink fruit juices, they are full of sugar. It takes three oranges to make a glass of orange juice. Would you eat three oranges? Local and seasonal are best, but apparently citrus fruit doesn't have much sugar. Bananas are for sharing, did you know that?
Don't eat anything that's labelled as 'light' - taking out fat means they had to put things in to make it taste of something. Usually sugar and other bad stuff.
Read labels. Avoid anything with added sweeteners and glucose-fructose syrup. Not to mention all those Es.
Fat. I use butter for cooking, cold pressed oils for salads, lard, clarified butter and coconut oil for frying. Margarine and vegetable oil ... forget them ... or even better read about how they're made and what they really are. Avoid trans fat (hydrogenated fats).
Avoid processed food and ready meals.
Snack on nuts and seeds.
Meat, fish and eggs are fine.
When you start, the most important thing is not to get hungry at all. At the beginning I carried pumpkin and sunflower seeds with me everywhere. Surprisingly, after just a couple of days I stopped craving sugary stuff. Keeping blood sugar at more or less the same level means you don't have the sugar dips.
So what do I eat?
For breakfast I usually have Greek yoghurt with chopped fruit and ground linseed. Sometimes it's eggs or quark, or salmon. Yoghurt is still my favourite. I usually add a teaspoonful of cinnamon to it - it helps to control blood sugar and I just love it.
I have a piece of fruit and some nuts for break.
For lunch at work I always have a salad. At the weekends it may be soup, or sausages, or a warm salad.
Dinner as usual. I aim to cover half of my plate with veg (2 kinds most of the time), the rest of it is for meat and carbs.
If I'm peckish in between I have some more nuts, fruit, or a piece of cheese. I also snack on dark chocolate (85%).
I drink a lot of green tea and add chilli to whatever I can - they are powerful weight loss boosters.