Regulated diet? Eat right? Tons of exercise? Where to from here?

Regulated diet? Eat right? Tons of exercise? Where to from here?

If you find yourself caught up in the decision of a regulated diet or exercise, eat right or give up… It may be time to assess where you are and what and why you need the answer. Wading waist-high in decisions can be the one reason why we do NOTHING.

If like me you have found yourself staring at the less than satisfactory reflection of yourself in a shop window, convincing yourself that your value is not directly proportional to your size, digging deep to be ok with your XXL pants size while smiling broadly as a perfect size 10 stands next to you asking to advise on crop top versus chiffon blouse eating a muffin simultaneously, continue reading.

If any of this rings a bell then the next actions may too. With an absolute realization that the fat pants are having a dent in your self-esteem regardless of learning to ‘love yourself regardless of your shape and size’, you surround yourself with your bevy of friends to have a REAL discussion on your dilemma. Here comes the challenge, half of them spend time convincing you that you ARE GREAT JUST AS YOU ARE [not] and the other half start advising on better health. Debbie, for example, has done the Keto diet plan and she shook 15kgs from her frame and can only highly recommend it. Sally says no way, exercise is the only way to go, yes watch what you eat but you need to get a personal trainer AND exercise like a beast [YOGA is maybe an effort for you so the idea of sweating every day is making you cringe inside]. Pam pipes up that she got hold of Garcinia, a ‘magic pill’ that fabulously fries fat and eats and drinks whatever comes her way [not that she has ever struggled with fat and generally only takes it to make her bikini fit better than the previous summer]. Level headed Anna stays quiet, so you prompt her on her opinion as she NEVER seems to discuss fighting the bulge and she NEVER seems to eat at gatherings anyway, she claims without a blink of an eyelid that she never thinks about food, eats what she wants when she wants without it affecting her… [kill me now… – yes, there are Anna’s out there]. More confused than ever, you find yourself in a quagmire of opinions about how YOU should go about slaying the fatty dragon wrapped around your body.  

Everyone may have the answer, but it may not be your answer.
Everyone may have the answer, but it may not be your answer.

No clearer on your direction to gain control of your thighs slapping together, you leave slightly demotivated. As you drive home, you try to convince yourself not to be ‘shallow’ and base a successful life on how you look, after all, everyone loves you regardless. Right here the devil and angel within start a full-blown battle… You are torn between handing over your thighs to fate versus acknowledging how you need to take control of the situation before your life span gets reduced or your size becomes unavailable in the shops. You end up leaving the arguing to the angel and devil and hit the bed to sleep on the way forward.

Morning comes, and you have decided now is the time to act. You realized that regardless of the love you feel from those around you, your self-esteem is teetering on broke and because you DO love yourself you are aware something needs to change. You also realize that YOU and only YOU can make a decision about what works best for you. Like a charging elephant [yes, the size of this beautiful beast was intentional] you decide to lean on our good friend GOOGLE to determine a direction. This IS where you WILL find the answer… [or not]. After typing out a string of searches regarding weight loss and fat loss and diet types and and and… you find yourself on a page about ‘cute puppy pictures’ and realize you lost the plot completely. Too many blogs later and countless email sign up landing pages later you throw your hands in the air… bugger it. Fat for life seems to be an easier answer, just then you get offered a muffin and you see it as a ‘sign’ that you should NOT GO ON DIET after all… 3 months down the road, 5kgs heavier, you sit through the same debate.

Now, this seems like a long sad story but I really wanted to paint the picture. If you are someone that struggles with weight, this story would resonate for sure. I would like to give some FURTHER advise to the hefty out there [this is not said in a nasty way, rather in a loving way as this IS familiar territory for me too!] for the roadmap to choosing a way forward.

THERE IS NO ON-OFF SWITCH

The world we live in allows us to live ‘easy’, as easy as it is for most people to switch a light on and off.  EVERYTHING is literally at our fingertips. Ask and you shall receive has never been as real as it is in our current day and age. With this immediate gratification in mind and foundation of expectation, we not only expect regulated diets to be easy but FAST as well! And if it isn’t, we blame the diet. Generally, if we find ourselves desperate for answers we may just reach for something which is portrayed as THE ANSWER but is not necessarily OUR ANSWER. We are pushed by the ‘miracle possibility’ sold to us, YES, THIS miracle pill WILL WORK! And it will work FAST. Herein lies the fault and flaw to the entire process of selecting a regulated diet, we lose our power by handing it over not to the diet industry but to our assumption that ‘fast and dirty’ could work. We spend fleeting moments ‘deciding or choosing’ our regulated diets, charge forward to using/doing the regulated diet to crash and burn 2 weeks after starting [if we get that far]. The most important items to succeeding at fighting the flab are:

An inspired DISSATISFACTION with how your body fits on YOU

A clear understanding of what you are ABLE to use as a regulated diet based on your CURRENT LIFESTYLE

The clarity in the realization that there are no QUICK FIXES, no on-off switches, it took months or years to pile on, it may take as long to drop.

It has little to do with the diet you chose, it has everything to do with you STICKING TO THE DIET YOU CHOSE.

Accept the fact that not only do you have to live on a regulated diet to attain success physically, you will also need to do work on your MIND to accept and embrace the transformation.

GOOD THINGS TAKE TIME

We spoke about instant gratification. Heres the thing, when it comes to fatty fatness, it likes sticking around, if you see adverts for fat melting away like ice cream on a hot day, take cognisance of the fact that the brain is also made up of fat, and your body will protect it as best it can… also ask is it fat burning or muscle disappearing. Your body will protect fat at all costs ESPECIALLY if it is out of balance (fight or flight is important here), threaten your ‘survival’ through extreme regulated diets and your body’s resources [that would be the fat slapping thighs] will be locked up in two ticks. Now I am not saying you won’t rid your body of fat fast, there ARE actually healthy ways of dropping the fat fast, but use the brain and do the research. Generally, you can trust the company that shows the ingredient list and has scientific studies to back the product. So too, there will be not 1 or 2 reviews but many, check them out. Basically, fast IS possible, but check the chatter first! Personally, I have used a diet that managed to drop fat fast off my body, it was sound science, fantastic reviews, and properly planned. Those regulated diets that arrive by post with no support claiming magical fat disappearance not disclosing ingredients are NOT the answer. In fact, all it will make you do is dent your already wavering self-esteem when the magical fat-burning doesn’t happen to you… ever felt alien before???

Searching for your dietary choices may be daunting...
Searching for your dietary choices may be daunting…

Now, if you are on the larger side of life, be PATIENT with yourself. Acknowledge where you are and realize you can make the difference, over time… Write down how you feel currently, why you have reached this point of inspired dissatisfaction, it may be not fitting into a favorite dress, not being able to tie your laces, not being able to walk upstairs without sounding like a wounded buffalo, no matter what it is, write it down. I find 10 key points are a great start, keep that list with you wherever you go because just like we sometimes need reminding about a hair appointment, we sometimes need reminding why we are saying no thank you to a muffin too. This will keep you on the journey of reaching your success. We forget how awful that reflection was in the shop window when a choc chip muffin gets waved in front of our noses. Besides writing it down, record it to your phone, on the way to or from anywhere, listen to it, keep reminding how sh*t it felt to be that buffalo. You may have heard this before, motivation is like brushing your teeth, you need to hear it daily. Our prime instinct is to move AWAY from pain TOWARDS pleasure and that list will keep you on your toes when it comes to critical decisions on your journey.  

Then take a look at the time it will take to lose the fat. If it is a long journey, let us say a year, it may seem forever, but we all know that obesity is the leading cause of illness, disease, and death. If we drop the fat we not only live longer but better too. Take that year and see how incredibly short it is in your lifetime. Zoom out and see your entire lifetime and realize that that year is over in a blink of an eye and with that, you can live a life filled with vitality to a ripe old age. If you have the tendency to worry about a birthday coming up that may interfere, know that you still have many more birthdays. A celebration? There will be many more IF you look after your health.

CHOICES MAKE US

This is not a willy nilly decision, a knee jerk reaction, it needs as much focus as deciding where and when you intend planning a vacation, how much you will spend, how you will get there. Choosing a regulated diet requires the same focus. This is where we get it all wrong, I will say this again, DIET’S ARE NOT TO BLAME it is our CHOICE of a regulated diet that is to blame. I have met with clients that loath a shake as a meal but opt-in on a shake diet, or that cannot stomach high fat but take on the keto plan OR someone who has a health issue but then decide to starve their bodies of essential vitamins and minerals which are key to healing themselves first. Point is, you need to sit down and firstly assess your daily processes, identify your strong points and work with those when choosing a diet. Let me elaborate, let us say you are incredibly busy and generally live on coffee and water during the day and the first meal down the pie hole is supper time. Would choosing a diet which requires planning, fresh-cooked meals 3 times a day preferably weighed out portions be the answer? If you said no to that option well done. Now it may seem simple but in pure desperation, people will attempt to move mountains and literally opt for the complete opposite of what they should in the hope that it will make some amazing difference. As a standard, it is human to stick to what is familiar and move away from the unfamiliar, you are possibly no different. Let us get back to the example above. The best possible regulated diet choice would be something that works within your strengths. As liquid is the primary input for the day, possibly a shake diet would be PERFECT for them, with a regulated meal in the evening. In that way, familiar stays fairly familiar and their strengths are worked with to lead to success.  

The same can be said of exercise. Now yes, there are people who succeed to do a 360-degree roundabout when they move from passivity to doing exercise but it comes with the correct understanding of your own capabilities. Personally, I am not a fitness fanatic, a good yoga session is adequate for me, a walk even better. For some people struggling with weight they know they thrive on exercise and always have but for some reason, office, work, excess fat has prevented them from getting active, these individuals can start incorporating exercise once again and chose a regulated diet that fits within those parameters, here my only advice is slow and steady wins the race. If you are carrying excess weight you could damage joints along the way, try to shift some weight before doing MAJOR EXERCISE, stick to swimming or an easy stroll and work your way back to the gym.

Exercise - Know what you are capable of.
Exercise – Know what you are capable of.

Closing off, choosing and taking on a regulated diet is not a form of punishment, it is a journey based on your strengths and endpoint requirement. If you are feeling deprived or ‘punished’ as a result of your regulated diet chances are you have chosen the wrong diet for YOU. Take your time, be truthful to yourself and your regulated diet journey may just become a lot simpler. Besides the journey to your success, if you chose the right diet it BECOMES A LIFESTYLE instead of a LIFE SENTENCE and you can steer clear of the ‘haters’ when it comes to diets knowledgeable of the fact that you can make the RIGHT choice for your journey.

TOP need-to-know INTERMITTENT FASTING diet focus.

TOP need-to-know INTERMITTENT FASTING diet focus.

If you are into choice, variety, flexibility, and benefits when it comes to a regulated diet, then Intermittent fasting may be for you!

Intermittent fasting has always been on my radar, possibly because I have never enjoyed eating breakfast and ended up drinking coffee until my first meal at lunchtime. However, there needs to be a BUT or I would surely never have struggled with being fat! Like everything in life, drinking at least 4 cups of coffee with milk and sugar before lunchtime was a little OTT. There is ALWAYS a right and a wrong way to do anything…

This long lost art of eating we can thank our Neanderthal relatives for since 2010 the demand for and understanding of this manner of eating has escalated due to its successful manner in dealing with diabetes. For some reason, this practice disappeared but now it is back in full swing with success around every corner.

The basics are as follows, you get clever…(actually, your body does the cleverness, you just follow instructions), with intermittent fasting, your body understands that relying on fat for energy makes more sense, in fact, 5 calories more sense, as fat supplies 9 calories per gram and protein and carbohydrates only 4. Understand one thing however, if you are willing to supply it with continual copious amounts of carbohydrates, it is willing to use that BEFORE fat for fuel. Your body wants the simplest shortest easiest route to gain energy for your functioning, it WILL chose EASY if you supply EASY in carb form, so whatever you do, careful of that on your intermittent fast. It does need a little convincing i.e. regulated clean fasting to nudge it in the right direction of fat burning.

Let us look at the Top need-to-knows.

INTERMITTENT FASTING – It is all benefits!

Expect weight to drop

The minute you improve hormones – which you do with intermittent fasting, expect fat to start frying. Basic fat burning known as lipolysis kicks into overdrive. If you want to speed it up, use a VLCD (Low-Calorie Diet around 600 – 800cal) in combination with Intermittent Fasting.

If you have a desire to supercharge your weight drop then consider including 10 min intensive exercise in your day. As time progresses, add another 10min by including a slower pace after the intensive exercise. This depletes your glycogen stores that result in your body relying on burning fat for energy a lot sooner.

Intermittent fasting, ketosis diet
Any exercise is good exercise, focus on 10min high impact per day.

REMEMBER, fasting is not about calorie reduction (unless YOU chose this of course) it is about limiting the time period in which you eat daily. If you would like to focus in on fat burn then YES, drop the calorie load in that time period, but DON’T STARVE.

YOU will live longer!

Now, personally, I have not tested this theory but have an absolute belief that living to 100 will not be a problem… There is sound science that backs the fact by consuming fewer calories in a restricted time frame daily, aging may slow down and we will live longer. Just this benefit, if you love life as I do, is possibly enough to give this a PROPER go.

We found [that beta-hydroxybutyrate] can delay vascular aging. That’s actually providing a chemical link between calorie restriction and fasting and the anti-aging effect. This compound can delay vascular aging through endothelial cells, which line the interior surface of blood vessels and lymphatic vessels. It can prevent one type of cell aging called senescence, or cellular aging.

Dr. Ming-Hui Zou

Hormones, they get better and therefore your waistline too!

Everybody knows it takes control of insulin and blood sugar to start controlling and ridding your body of unhealthy weight. With intermittent fasting, that IS what happens. Not only does it control it but boy does it IMPROVE it enabling significant weight control and better health in muscle maintenance due to an increase in growth hormone and better heart health. With a decrease in insulin levels, intermittent fasting increases insulin sensitivity.

Be aware that it increases norepinephrine and epinephrine levels which of course increases fat breakdown. Reason being, both of these are attached to our Neanderthal status of fight or flight, stress response. When we fast, there is a primitive side to us (mine is extremely primitive, literally, my primitive side has an anxiety attack when someone says to me “maybe eat less often!”). Our bodies without food from around 12 hours starts protecting itself, releasing these 2 hormones indicates that we need to start finding energy elsewhere… that is, FAT for FUEL!!! BUT, if you have adrenal gland issues or thyroid issues, DO have input from a medical professional before taking on any fasting routine or your hunger will turn into HANGER and ill-health.

WT? is autophagy?? And why do we care?

Autophagy, sounds like a possible disease, but in fact, this is what prevents ill health in your body, see it as a built-in cleaning service with MEGA BENEFITS. And this is the exact process that comes into being in our bodies when we do intermittent fasting. It is our body’s way of cleaning out all our ‘YUCK’ cells. The ‘Auto’ means self and the ‘phagy‘ means to eat, so basically this process in your body, directly speaking is ‘self-eating’. Whilst fasting, the process of autophagy ends up breaking down cell debris and recycling proteins that are compromised. If your body is breaking down fat, there just may be a greater toxin load, and for that reason, dumping the excess debris may be required! The science behind this including information on Cancer is a great read.

Oooohhhh there is a choice…

Intermittent Fasting – Alternate Day

As it states this is intermittent fasting every other day for a full 24-hour period. Now, this is one which is not on my recommendation list at all, as you basically end up spending half your remaining life not eating. For us, as women where our hormones and fertility are regulated by calorie intake, this is NOT an advisable option.

Now yes, some do take on this fasting process but for me personally, I cannot see myself functioning optimally on this. First of all, most people with weight issues enjoy food. Chances are anybody fighting fat may have to choose between taking on a controlled diet and integrating it into their lifestyles for life and not eating every second day is diabolical. Then, if you have a lot of fat to sizzle, sticking to this over a short period can also be tough, never mind 6 months to a year and can cause you to give up and burn that diet wagon once again!

5: 2 Fasting

This is one plan which a vast majority of my clients succeeded at. It entails eating normally for 5 days and limiting food to 600cal and no more for 2 days. You chose the 2 days which makes it fairly flexible. With this plan burning fat around that belly works a charm.

16/8 Daily Fasting:

My personal favorite, where I fast for 16 hours and eat for on average 8 hours. I have found this an easy way to fast, based on the fact that I am not a big breakfast eater as said before and can go without. I also chose to skip breakfast rather than supper as I love sitting down with my children for supper. Within this manner of fasting is great flexibility, chose to skip breakfast or supper, chose to have your larger meal at lunchtime to reduce the calories that need work whilst you sleep. It may sound difficult but in fact, when you reflect on it you may find that you HAVE done this before without feeling regulated. You may not get to lunch and in fact, I know of people who don’t even get to lunch and push through to supper. Why I love this choice is it is something which I would do as a choice of lifestyle which allows me to live healthily and control my weight. Often when we chose a diet it does not allow us to embrace it FOREVER, I do believe that whatever we use to drop fat we must be able to do forever and a day AND be flexible within it.

Intermittent fasting, ketosis diet
Keep an eye on your eating times with handy apps you can find online.

The flexibility is also based on when you start, you can start your fast any time, and start eating 16 hours after. So maybe you would like to eat from 10 till 6 pm or 2 till 10 pm (little late unless you work nightshift of course) but pick your 8 hours based on YOUR LIFESTYLE.

1-DAY Fasting

This is once per week, on average for 18 to 24hours. You start from supper time around 6 pm the previous day, sleep through most of the fast (yes, I do advise an early evening to prevent finding yourself wandering to the fridge by midday the next day). Your intake for the day is water, tea, and good quality coffee till at least early evening, that is a full successful day. If this suits your lifestyle, fantastic. PLEASE be kind on yourself, there is no need to berate yourself if you do NOT make 24 hours. You have effectively stretched yourself and possibly no matter how many hours you have given your body a resting period it will thank you for and most likely next time around it will be easier!

Added note:

My advice would be as follows, make sure if you are fasting that days you are not fasting in, for example, the 5 : 2 fasting times, make sure you eat sensibly, mindfully and not try to overeat or treat it like a ‘cheat’ day and gorge yourself… big mistake. Yes, common sense but sometimes we need reminding… Of course the same applies for the 16 : 8 hours, it can turn into on-diet and off-diet which can undo what we are trying to do.

METABOLISM, I need all of it!

We have been sold on the fact that little snacks through the day is good for us… it keeps our metabolism going… well, what I found firstly, was that when this was the approach healthy snacks eventually became ANY SNACKS and at this point for some odd reason, he he heheheheheheheh, there is a weight loss plateau… On further investigation we find muffins becoming the standard in between snack which causes more harm than good. Other than that, snacking is not necessary to keep our metabolism in place. There are plenty of available studies in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition which deal with continual fasting and alternate-day fasting resulted in no decrease in metabolic rate. Even if you chose to do a very low-calorie diet of around 800 calories, your metabolic rate remains unharmed.

Being foodless is not the problem, rather excessive weight and lack of muscle mass is more the problem. You see, some plonkers – that includes me, did do extreme diets in which case muscle is lost, the minute that drops there is less to chew excess fat and then your basal metabolic rate drops… when eating correctly and nourishing your body with great REAL FOOD and include supplementing where needs be is the right way to go about this, then metabolism will NOT be a problem. Burn fat and live a healthy lifestyle and metabolism concerns will disappear.

It may be for you, OR NOT

Disclaimer: Note the benefits of intermittent fasting but know that it is controversial. If diabetic your dose may need to be adapted and you would need to discuss any lifestyle changes with your doctor. Please take note that people who are underweight or have eating disorders like anorexia, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and people under the age of 18 should NOT do this plan.

Take care, as stated above, if any adrenal gland and thyroid challenges and/or any chronic medical conditions seek medical advice before taking on intermittent fasting. Add to that, if you do have low blood sugar or suffer from dizziness if you do not eat, be cautious. Then, based on the energy requirements of a child, pregnant or breastfeeding women, this is NOT an optimal choice.

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