I frequently meet individuals who aren’t eating very much, yet they can’t seem to lose weight. When this happens, detective work begins to track down some of the areas that may be inhibiting weight loss. Weight regulation is complex, and putting weight gain and loss down to simple calorie calculations can be over-simplistic and miss many of the complex systems of the human body. Sometimes just one of the following issues could be the key to kick starting the weight loss, in other cases several may turn out to be significant. This is before we even start to look at the content of the diet.
You may have a hot drink each morning from your local café. Doesn’t matter whether it’s a triple espresso, or a “healthy” matcha tea. If you’re sipping it through a plastic sip lid, you may be ingesting a daily dose of BPA plastics with your drink. The heat of the drink may be melting the plastic into your drink and mouth. When we ingest plastics, which aren’t a food we’re designed to eat, they are hard for the body to process. They may be causing inflammation – where the immune cells go into battle against unwelcome intruders. Chronic inflammation, known as “systemic inflammation” can be a barrier to weight loss. Reducing your exposure to these kinds of plastics could help regulate your weight. Apart from plastic sip lids, many shop receipts have a chemical coating on one side containing BPA. When you handle these the chemical can rub off on your fingers and when you then pick up food with your hands, the coating can get transferred to your mouth and be ingested. So always wash hands before eating.
Lack of Sleep and an Irregular Eating Pattern
Eating at regular set times may be the spoke in the wheel of a sleep/weight problem. Do you find that after a night without much sleep, you feel endlessly hungry the day after? Eating at regular set times each day can send a powerful message to our hunger hormones to keep in balance ie – tell us when we should be hungry, signal when we are full. So try to eat at regular times to balance your hunger hormones, and therefore your weight. You may find you sleep better too.
Forgetting to Chew Food Properly
I was on the train the other day. A man sat down and started eating a sandwich. He opened the brown paper bag and took the first bite. Chewed twice. Then the next bite. Chewed twice. The sandwich disappeared in seconds. Start to look around you and you may notice this everywhere. Start noticing how quickly you are eating too. You may not realise how little you are chewing. You may as well be throwing Lego bricks down your throat for all the work and chaos you may be causing your digestive system. Chew, so your digestive system doesn’t have to do all the work further down the chute. Not chewing properly can lead to chronic heart burn, bloating, wind, plus gut bacteria getting out of balance which in turn may lead to you feeling constantly hungry because the gut bacteria interact with hunger hormones.
There used to be a trend to eat several small meals a day to balance blood sugar levels. However, this may not suit everybody. Eating all day can mean your pancreas has to keep producing insulin, and insulin, is – wait for it – a fat-storage hormone. Some people do much better weight-wise on two or three balanced meals a day, with a third of the plate containing protein which takes up to five hours to leave the stomach. Protein can make you feel full and energised for that amount of time too, and you’ll be less likely to get desperate and make poor food choices (such as biscuits or sweets which can really spike your insulin levels.) Remember to fill the rest of the plate with lots of vegetables – as much colour and fibre as you can for good health and weight regulation. Include quality fats such as butter, and extra virgin olive oil for satiety.
Do you exercise a lot then find yourself making unhealthy food choices because you feel you deserve it? The quality of your diet comes first. You can’t outrun a poor diet.
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