1 WEIGHT LOSS
Weight loss is a goal for hundreds of thousands of people everywhere. Many people struggle to ever reach their goal because bad habits and temptation always get the better of them. Some people starve themselves or over-exercise to lose weight quickly, but as this punishing lifestyle is unsustainable they can’t keep the weight off, so their weight fluctuates, creating an unhealthy cycle. If this is you, then keep reading. My sister’s journey may give you the inspiration you’re lacking. Connie went from a size 16 to a healthy size 12 in just 12 weeks by following my food and fitness plan.
Connie loved sport throughout school and had never been overweight. But aged l 8 she went to university, where she threw herself into the lifestyle of drinking and eating cheap processed food. She then got herself a 9-5 job when she graduated, where she sat at a desk (with a snack drawer) all day and, finally, she had a long-term boyfriend who wasn’t healthy at the time either. She admits these were all contributing factors to her gradual weight gain over the last 5 years. Nevertheless, when it came to doing something about it she always had an excuse, the biggest one always being: ‘I am perfectly happy the way I am’.
I knew she wasn’t deep down. I knew she longed for her old body back. She would hide herself in big baggy tops, day or night, and never wonted full body pictures taken. She would have weeks or months of trying to lose weight, but nothing really lasted because she wasn’t consistent. I had to figure out what would motivate my sister to lose weight so that she could become happier and healthier.
Connie had a year of stomach infections and in the end they became the trigger to her change of mindset. She was sick of feeling unhealthy and wanted to feel good again because it was affecting her mood and productivity at work. Once we established this, Connie was more willing to admit that she wanted to look and feel better.
THE SOLUTION FOOD
1 CUT OUT SUGAR
One huge factor contributing to weight gain and obesity is sugar. Sugar has so many negative effects, mentally and physically. It is addictive and makes us fat! Studies have shown that sugar is even more addictive than illegal drugs like cocaine, yet sadly the majority of convenience foods, jars and snacks found in supermarkets and cupboards are riddled with it.
Sugar avoiding tips:
• Cook everything from scratch to avoid added sugar or hidden sugar.
• Empty all cupboards of sweet treats and processed foods.
• Don’t go food shopping hungry – if you don’t buy it, you can’t eat it!
• Use sugar alternatives such as dried fruits or honey (in moderation).
• See sugar as something damaging to your body rather than a treat.
• Many products that are FAT FREE are full of sugar; it’s a marketing tool to suck you in to believing you’re eating a healthy alternative This is why I get¬frustrated with diet clubs; the treats they recommend tend to have no fat but loads of sugar, which means the weight loss is solely focused on appearance and not health and isn’t a long-term solution.
• Why does sugar make you fat?
• Sugar is a molecule that the human body does not produce and therefore is not a natural part of our metabolism The only cells in the body that can make use of it are liver cells – these cells turn the sugar that we eat into fat (so not a very productive use) This fat is then distributed around the body. Therefore, because our bodies have no use for sugar, the more sugar you eat, the more fat is produced by the liver.
• 2 EAT LESS BAD FAT AND MORE GOOD FAT
• Put your hand up if you’ re scared of the word FATI
• We usually associate it with being overweight, but ‘t’s actually an important source of energy found in Food.
• Fat is made up of amino acids, which are either saturated, polyunsaturated or monounsaturated, depending on their chemical structure. Some of hese amino acids are essential to the human body and others are actually quite damaging to our -ealth. This is why some fats are referred to as SOOD fats and some are labelled as BAD fats.
• A really important point to remember is that regardless of whether fat is ‘good’ or ‘bad’, both provide the same number of calories (lg = 9kcal) So too much of any type of fat can eventually lead to weight gain, something we should be mindful of even when eating ‘good’ fats.
• So if all fats have the same calorie content, what makes a bad fat ‘bad’, and why should you care?
• Bad fats. Croissants have become one of the UK’s most popular grab-and-go breakfasts. They’re convenient and easy to eat on the morning commute. The catch? Each one contains around 11 g of saturated fat If you’re a woman, that’s half of your recommended daily allowance! If you’re a man, that’s one third. All in a couple of bites you probably didn’t even think about or stop to enjoy.
• Other foods high in saturated fat are butter, cheese, cakes, biscuits, fried food, fatty cuts of beef, lamb, pork and poultry skin. Too much of any of these can cause health problems such as high cholesterol, which, if not treated, leads to more serious illnesses like heart disease or stroke.
• By swapping that daily croissant for yoghurt, oats and berries, or a protein pot (see page 121) you’re already a step closer to finding a healthy balance.
Also, remember what I said about being distracted by the latest trends? Well coconut oil, for example, despite having many good properties, is very high In saturated fat and should be used moderately when cooking, just like all other oils, until research is more advanced.
On a more positive note, unsaturated fats like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated help us to maintain a healthy cholesterol level. Monounsaturated fats ore found in vegetable oils such as olive and rapeseed oil, nuts and avocados. Polyunsaturated fats ore found in oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines, trout and whitebait, as well as flaxseed, walnuts, chic seeds, linseed oil and sunflower oil. They also contain essential fatty acids such as omega 3.
However, it’s worth mentioning again that just because these ore healthy fats doesn’t mean you should put away a whole grab bag of nuts a day or eat an avocado at breakfast, lunch and at dinner. They are still fats, and can still cause weight gain, so they should be eaten regularly but in moderate amounts.
You’ll notice these fats featvring in a lot of my recipes, so you can feel confident that you’re going to be consuming the right amount of the right fats very soon.
3 EAT MORE AND LOSE WEIGHT
Many people who hate exercising but want to lose weight follow some sort of ‘starvation diet’. I can’t stress enough how unhealthy this is. Your body is going to become weak and you’re going to feel lethargic, dizzy and sometimes anxious. You’ll also lose muscle mass and become ‘flabby’.
When the body is put under this sort of starvation stress it produces the hormones cortisol and glucagon. They send signals to your liver, encouraging the retention of fat By eating very little the body stores whatever calories it can find from the little food you are eating. So, for example, if all you have eaten all day is a bacon sandwich, your body is going to keep every calorie from that sandwich to sustain your energy levels. If you are someone who loves junk food but thinks it’s okay because you only have one or two meals a day, think again Your body is retaining all the saturated fat from that food. This way of living can eventually cause serious long-term health problems.
Eating like this slows down the metabolism, causes muscle loss and has other side effects such as bad skin, bad breath and hair loss. It’s also proven to cause cellulite, fat around your liver, heart disease and depression. Now if that’s not enough to convince you to eat regularly, I don’t know what is!
Three meals a day. I advise everyone to enjoy three delicious and filling meals a day to keep your body’s metabolic rate consistent and help you get all the right vitamins, minerals, fats and proteins your body requires
Snacking is not a necessity unless you have huge gaps in between meals or you’ve got a hard workout scheduled. Some people obsess over snacking, when personally I think it’s usually done out of boredom or fear of hunger. I know I sniff around the fridge if I have nothing else to dol
Regardless of what you’re snacking on, it m~ans you’re continuously consuming calories that will then be stored as fat if they’re not needed as fuel.
One of two exceptions where I think snacking is fine is if there’s more than 5 hours betvveen meals, [ust to ensure your blood sugar levels stay stable and your energy levels don’t drop. The second option is pre- and post-workout I’ve included some simple snack options for those days when your body will require a little more fuel.
Otherwise, NO SNACKING. If you are a serial snacker, the changes you are making could make your tummy rumble but your body will quickly get used to it
Don’t starve: eat more. Once you start consuming the right proteins, plants, grains and fats in your diet, you’ll be amazed by how much you can
eat (and how delicious it is) on your weight-loss [ournev and how good it makes you look and feel. This book contains lots of refined sugar-free recipes ideal for healthy sustainable weight loss as well as exercises that will burn calories fast