Are you one of the estimated 1 in 3 Britons who is more active now than they were before the pandemic, or will you be beating down the doors of your local gym at the next given opportunity?
A Weighty Issue? – If recent headlines are to be believed, subscriptions to online slimming clubs are at an all-time high as we attempt to undo the additional layer of cushioning around our middles – yet another unwanted legacy of lockdown.
Spoiler alert: diets, quite simply, do not work. When you diet it’s very easy for your body to think it’s in famine mode and as a result, it employs thrifty mechanisms to counteract this, which disrupts metabolism, making it easy to gain weight when the diet is over!
The key to a healthy lifestyle is exercise. It increases the rate at which the body breaks down foods, so less of your food intake is stored as fat reserves.
Try to exercise for at least 10 minutes a day and as your fitness levels rise, increase your activity accordingly. Your routine could include swimming, cycling or simply walking, all of which will help to improve circulation, make you feel brighter AND burn off those extra calories.
Feeling sluggish or bloated?
Weight control is often hampered by poor digestive function. If food isn’t digested properly it can ferment in the gut, resulting in abdominal discomfort, acid indigestion and weight gain.
Make sure your diet is healthy and balanced; faddy diets that cut out an entire food group can cause all sorts of problems, including deficiencies, cravings and bloating. A varied, balanced diet should include plenty of fruit and vegetables, plenty of wholegrain foods (bread, pasta and rice), some protein-rich foods (good vegetarian options include eggs, nuts, tofu and lentils) and some dairy foods. Here again there are lots of delicious vegan alternatives available, including nut butters and milk, soy yoghurt and various vegan cheeses.
Your diet should also be low in fat, especially saturated fat, salt and sugar, and high in fibre (18g to 35g a day), but make sure you drink plenty of water to keep your digestive system healthy. Insufficient fibre or too much fibre coupled with insufficient fluid intake can lead to constipation and bloating.
Aim for between 1.5 to 2 litres a day, but don’t drink all of this at mealtimes, and no, tea and coffee don’t count!
A good prebiotic supplement should help to enhance digestion and improve your metabolism. Taken before a meal it can help to stimulate the secretion of digestive enzymes throughout the whole digestive system, which helps to reduce the rotting of food residues and resulting gases, making it very difficult for unfriendly bacteria to gain a hold.
Once unfriendly bacteria have been discouraged and friendly bacteria are given the environment they like, digestion and metabolism improve, and energy levels increase. Try A. Vogel’s Molkosan Fruit diluted in a large glass of water, twice daily.
Never skip breakfast. It is the most important meal of the day! Without breakfast, blood sugar drops and the hormones adrenaline and cortisol kick in to correct the balance. This leads to cravings for stimulants such as caffeine, carbohydrates and sugars. Your body may also start breaking down muscles for fuel. Muscles help you to burn fat, so less muscle means more fat and not what you want.
Don’t go more than 4 waking hours without eating. This helps to keep your blood sugar steady, keeping cravings at bay.
If cravings for sweet foods are your biggest downfall the mineral chromium might help. When you eat something sweet your blood sugar levels rise quickly, triggering a release of insulin to help bring them back to normal. The trouble is, insulin does this job rather too well and you’re left with a blood sugar level that’s lower than normal. This produces feelings of weakness, fatigue, and cravings for sweet foods to combat the sugar low – and so the sugar cycle continues! Chromium helps to regulate the uptake of sugar or glucose into cells, which helps to keep sugar highs and lows, and consequently cravings, to a minimum.
Craving Essence from Jan de Vries may also help. It provides flower essences to help maintain the motivation to make daily progress and keep a positive self-image.
Finally, change the way you think about food. If you are serious about changing your body shape, then you need to start thinking about food and eating in terms of your lifestyle, so that healthy, enjoyable eating becomes a habit – something you do every day without a thought. Aim to eat well 80% of the time and give yourself leeway 20% of the time.
For further advice ask Alan and Tracey Malcolm of Tullivers Health Store, 1-2 Colliergate, York, or visit www.tullivers.co.uk.
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