The obesity and diabetic epidemics that have taken hold of our society over the last 30 years need to be confronted.
We must realise that perhaps the conventional and current advice offered by doctors, dieticians and sports trainers may be incorrect.
I would like to make three statements:
- nothing will change in your current situation unless you do something differently
- a small amount of discipline becomes a habit and becomes easier over time
- I challenge anyone who is wanting to be healthier or who wants to lose weight over February this year, to completely cut out or drastically reduce all sugar (including fruit juices and hidden sugar in pre-prepared foods - read the labels) and carbohydrates.
It is becoming more and more apparent that the real culprit in obesity is carbohydrates and not fats such as eggs, full cream milk, cheese and butter.
Low fat products are often full of sugar and do not have the health benefits or satiety factor that full fat, sugar free products do.
Studies have shown that sugar itself acts in a very similar way on the brain as other drugs of dependence.
Like other addictions it stimulates the release of dopamine in the brain and sets up a vicious circle of craving and over-indulging. Thankfully this sugar addiction can also be broken quite quickly over a few weeks.
I would recommend that all those interested and open-minded people who realise that they need to change something for the better in their lives look at the following resources:
- The real meal revolution
- The Banting eating plan
- Low carb down under
- Cereal killers
- That sugar film
It will change your lives.
Basically as one ages one tends to become less sugar (carb) tolerantand the equivalent calories of fat and carbohydrate do not end up doing the equivalent things to ones body.
In fact "a calorie is not always a calorie".
We as humans actually do not need any carbohydrates to survive at all. We are perfectly capable of producing all the energy we need from fats and protein.
Carbohydrates stimulate the release of insulin, promote fatty deposits in the liver, increase bad cholesterol , cause drastically fluctuating energy levels and are "pro-inflammatory".
There are many products marketed as healthy which are in fact so high in sugar that they are much more detrimental than one realises.
Examples would include fruit smoothies, fruit juices, low fat yoghurts, muesli, energy drinks and bars and things such as "gluten free" cookies or other deli products.
A small amount of good fat in one's diet promotes a feeling of saiety (fullness) and one does not tend to over-eat.
Some of nature's perfect foods include eggs, avocados, nuts, full-cream milk, cheese and fish.
Another common fallacy is that one must eat three meals a day, even if you aren't hungry and that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
This is no longer accepted as being correct.
In fact it is very beneficial to one's health to have intermittent periods of fasting.
This could be in the form of fasting until midday and then only eating from midday until 8pm.
One can have occasional full days of fasting as well.
This will at first be difficult for those "addicted" to sugar or carbohydates but as one becomes more accustomed to an eating plan with mainly fats, veggies and protein, then one's body is easily able to fast for periods of time.
This is believed to be particularly valuable in those over-weight and obese people who are on the cusp of becoming type 2 diabetics or glucose intolerant.
Exercise is also extremely valuable in making one feel more energetic and reduce cravings.
To feel more energetic one needs to expend energy.
Exercise also promotes an increased muscle mass compared to fat mass. This muscle is more metabolically active and burns more calories than the same weight of fat.
Psychiatrists are now quite often "prescribing" exercise as medicine for low mood, depression, anxiety and addiction problems. The natural neuro-transmitter dopamine is released into the brain and circulation and promotes feelings of well-being , confidence and calmness. It actually also reduces ones appetite and cravings so has all-round benefits besides the pure fun/play/social advantages : )
Exercising outdoors and engaging with mother nature is good in so many ways - not least of all for your soul !
In particular my son and I have re-discovered tree-climbing as our favourite pastime : )
Give it a try...
Lastly I would like to embrace and encourage those who are over-weight and challenge them to change a few things in their lives.
Things can change dramatically.
Striving to be healthy includes weight control and will help prevent heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, cancers (particularly breast, uterine and colon) and reduce your chance of developing depression, anxiety and fatigue.
Take up the challenge - cut out sugar, drastically reduce carbs and see where it leads you by the end of February.
And don't forget to enjoy outside play, exercise and sports.