Eat Towards a Slimmer You!
So the holidays are over, and for your New Year’s Resolution you’ve decided to lose weight. Great idea – but the decision is daunting… so daunting that you grab the ice cream and head back to bed. Stop right there! You may not know it, but nature has already provided us with many foods to ease your worries and your waistline.
First thing, no more ice cream or sugar of any kind (with the exception of natural fruit sugar in moderation), or processed or fried foods. We’re going back to basics, nutritionally speaking, and all of the above add very little to nutrition but a lot to the waistline.
It stands to reason that the more you expel, the less your body will weigh. The objective is to have a minimum of one fully formed bowel movement per day. I think we all realize I’m talking about more fiber in the diet, and not in the form of Metamucil, but in the form of fiber-rich foods. The addition of fiber will increase your feeling of satiety and make it easier to avoid the cookie jar.
Broccoli is high in fiber and calcium. The fiber is self-explanatory, but calcium is also a weight-buster that has been shown in recent research to increase weight loss in patients who are actively pursuing weigh-minimizing goals. In a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, Professor Angelo Tremblay of Laval University’s School of Medicine found a 500% increase in weight loss with the addition of calcium supplements. According to Professor Tremblay, the brain responds to calcium deficiency by stimulating appetite and requiring the consumption of more food.
Another good choice for fiber is flax seed. This can be ground up and added to cereals or yogurt. And flax seed is also high in omega-3 fatty acids, which alleviate issues of depression and aid in weight loss. Studies from the University of South Australia have found an increase of nearly 26% in weight loss when fish oil has been added to the diet. Researchers found that the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil activated a fat-loss enzyme and increased the metabolism, aiding weight loss, in combination with a balanced diet and exercise.
If your weight gain is an emotional response, omega-3 fatty acids are a must to target the issue on both levels, as depression levels are substantially lower in civilizations that consume fish regularly, according to research. Other good sources of omega-3 fatty acids are salmon (and all cold-water fish) and walnuts. Salmon, like many health-promoting foods, also does double duty with its high calcium content. Other good options for fiber are beans, lentils, avocados, bran and oats.
Further, avoid empty calories (donuts, processed foods) and fill your plate with nutrient-dense foods. It’s very important to eat all the colours of the rainbow in foods, as every colour provides a different combination of vitamins and minerals. And as the calcium study shows, a deficiency causes an imbalance in the body that can lead to weight gain, or lack of weight loss. A very important food in the colour category is blueberry. Blueberries are one of many antioxidant-rich, health-promoting berries. They’ll help you remove the toxins that have built up in your system during the chocolate days of December (even if every day was a chocolate day).
Toxins are substances we consume inhale, or they’re by-products of our own metabolic processes that the body doesn’t know what to do with. Because the body doesn’t know how to remove the substance, it hides it in storage – and the only storage our bodies have is fat cells. If you remove the toxins, then you remove the fat. In addition to the blueberry, another good berry to consume for an antioxidant punch and high-fiber content are raspberries. In fact, most berries are health-promoting, and should be intermingled in a healthy diet.
And the last food in the arsenal of good nutrition is our pungent friend, garlic. Garlic is an excellent anti-microbial and anti-bacterial agent. Garlic does for your bloodstream what fiber does to your colon – it sweeps and clears out all that’s bad and all that’s adding unnecessary weight to your body. As cholesterol and saturated fats are lurking in the bloodstream, this is incredibly beneficial. For best results, eat a minimum of one raw garlic clove per day grated on food. Allicin, the ingredient responsible for garlic’s pungent taste and its anti-bacterial benefits, is destroyed during cooking. But if you can’t stomach raw garlic, other properties are enhanced during cooking, making its addition to foods worthwhile regardless of flavor.
In the battle of the bulge, bring all of the tools available to your arsenal to make your journey easier. A lot of the weight people are carrying around has far more to do with toxins, rotting fecal matter and an unhealthy lifestyle than with actual weight. Exercise and clean living, along with the health-promoting foods discussed (and others there isn’t room to mention), will make the job of losing weight much faster and will keep you motivated when results are quickly evident.