We are all blessed with different body shapes, sizes and metabolisms. Our genetic makeup, our inherent constitution, can determine many things about the way our bodies function and one of those is a tendency to gain weight easily.
We make choices every day that affect our wellbeing. Recognising which foods and activities that best suit our individual metabolisms can bring a sense of mastery of our health. By sensible management of nutrition and exercise there is no need to endure a rigorous diet programme that leaves us feeling unsatisfied and punished. Small changes over time can have more lasting results.
A genuine desire and motivation to lose weight is key to success. Question what it is deep down that is driving your intention; for best results you’ll need to get your sub-conscious on board. Know that any changes you make are of true benefit for your own vitality, rather than a process that will make others see you as more acceptable.
Believe that it’s going to happen and know that it can happen for you. See yourself as fitter, with the more toned physique that you are striving for. Not all of us are designed to be lean so set your sights for what is healthy and beautiful for you. Belief is a powerful ally – a testament to this being the ‘placebo effect’, which causes havoc in so many scientific experiments.
Stress can play a significant role in weight gain. The ‘freeze, fight or flight’ response we experience when stressed causes cortisol to be released into the bloodstream. This triggers an increase in blood sugar levels and the release of fatty acids, providing readily available energy for muscles in preparation for exertion. This mechanism was invaluable for our ancestors who may have needed to run away from a bear, but it is rare for us to make use of this energy. Instead the excess blood glucose is stored as fat – primarily around the abdomen 1.
Prioritise taking the time to exercise in a way that you enjoy, have fun and get a good night’s sleep. Choosing to slow your pace and balance your life could be one of the most significant changes for your health, your weight and your happiness.
Eat your largest meal at midday when digestion is at its strongest and a smaller meal of soup or a cooked vegetable dish in the evening.
Drink a glass of water 20 minutes before eating. The brain often confuses hunger and thirst signals so this helps to distinguish true appetite for food.
Chew thoroughly. The first part of the diges-tive process begins in the mouth. Macrobiotic teachings recommend chewing each mouthful 50 -100 times and research has found that prolonged chewing has numerous benefits; decreasing calories consumed whilst increas-ing satiety and nutrients gained from the meal. Aside from the benefits for weight loss, chewing also increases neurogenesis – the formation of new pathways in the brain: chewing grows your brain!
Put your knife and fork down between mouthfuls. This encourages a slower eating pace.
Recognise satiation – leave a 20 minute gap before taking any second helpings allowing the body to send the signal that it is full. Take the time to enjoy the sensation of feeling nourished.
Research to Chew Over
Fat or Water?
Air or water trapped in the abdominal cavity results in a swelling of the abdomen that is often mistaken for fat. In fact this is a very different condition related to the efficiency of the internal organs, particularly the digestive and eliminatory organs. On observation, this condition presents as weight on the front of the abdomen – the rest of the body seems proportion-ately thin. Physical examination by a qualified practitioner will confirm this.
Drink this tea frequently throughout the day to help to boost your metabolism as well as improve digestion and clear toxins.
1 inch of fresh ginger grated
1 teaspoon of loose green tea leaves or
1 green teabag
Juice of ½ lemon
A little raw honey to sweeten if desired
Place the ingredients except the honey into a teapot and pour on 1 pint of boiling water. Allow to infuse for 15 minutes before sweetening and drinking.
At the Herbal Clinic we find this valuable as part of a weight loss program. Fine needles inserted into the outer ear raise serotonin levels and stimu-late the auricular branch of the Vagus Nerve, both of which have been shown to increase tone in the smooth muscle of the stomach, thus suppressing appetite. In one study 95% of overweight subjects noticed suppression of appetite when acupuncture was applied to specific points on the ear 2.
Meilyr James BSc (Hons) DBTh DAcu AcuC Dir MGNI registered Medical Herbalist, Iridologist and Acupuncturist
32 King Edward Road, Swansea SA1 4LL Tel: 01792 474356
- Henry, J.P. Biological basis of the stress response. NIPS 8: 69-73, 1993.
- Richards, D. and Marley, J. Stimulation of auricular points in weight loss. Aust. Fam. Phys., Jul. 1998, 27 (Suppl.) 2: 73-77