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August Guest Blog

August Guest Blog
01/08/2015 Alice

Are you nourishing yourself enough for your bikini/mankini body?


 Zoe Gray BSc MSc Clinical Nutritionist & NLP Practitioner

Low calorie and low fat diets are old news, we have been encouraged to malnourish our bodies by diet companies, bad research and unqualified journalists for too long and now is the time for it to come to an end. Excess fat accumulation can be a symptom of imbalance in the body, just as eczema or asthma and by taking away the raw materials the body needs to function it only makes things worse. Metabolism slows down, reliance on diet products and expensive diets increases (much to many companies’ delight) and we can then reach the stage where no matter how careful we are, the weight just won’t budge.

Often when we are dieting we go for low calorie and low fat foods i.e. the foods that are low in nutrition, increase hunger and are addictive. We do now live in a world of plenty and rarely have times when there is no food availability, making it easier to eat too regularly and sometimes too much; however with the right foods it is harder to over eat. I rarely see clients who are over eating in my clinic and so I encourage you to ditch the depletion diets and embrace a way of eating and lifestyle of physical and emotional nourishment.


Foods that are Foe

Foods that can increase hunger and the reward centres in the brain include:blog2

  • Cereals – make up your own with heartier ingredients instead
  • Sugar in any form including honey, agave, maple syrup, fruit juice
  • Food that combine sugar and salt – packaged foods, fizzy drinks, biscuits
  • Breads
  • Yoghurts and milk drinks
  • Flavoured waters
  • Low fat foods as these usually have more sugar
  • We usually crave or despise the foods we are reacting to. Food sensitivities can manifest as food addiction and alterations in appetite.


You don’t have to avoid these foods 100% but knowledge is power and so gradually moving away from relying on sugars can massively help cravings and fat burning.

Maltose, sucrose, lactose, fructose, glucose, mannose are all different types of sugars which you may see on food labels. You can start to see that hiding sugars in foods can be easy if we don’t recognise these terms. Another trick is using skimmed milk powder which is very high in lactose – the milk sugar. to avoid actually having to put more sugar in the food. If you don’t recognise the ingredient, or you wouldn’t see the food naturally in nature (e.g. walking in a forest) don’t eat it.


 Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners found in many diet foods and drinks as well as full fat squashes, fat free yoghurts and ‘skinny foods’. Artificial sweeteners include saccharin, aspartame, acesulfame K and sorbitol. These can confuse the body and reduce its ability to balance blood sugar levels and handle glucose well, and encourage the body to store fat in response to sweet foods. There are also many links to an array of health problems from consuming these synthetic sweeteners. There are more natural versions available such as Stevia; however these don’t come without problems, but they are better than artificial versions. I encourage people to gradually change their tastes – it is easier than you think to turn off that sweet tooth.



Foods that are Friend

  • The ‘F’ word – fats and oils. Having a higher proportion of energy from fats and oils helps to provide sustainable energy and reduce the reliance of carbohydrates for energy. If your energy only lasts two hours and you are looking for your next snack, then you are burning almost only carbohydrates for energy, which only lasts for two hours max. Start by ensuring there is a hearty protein source at every meal – this usually naturally contains some fat, before taking anything out.
  • Good fat sources include: oily Fish – salmon, sardines, anchovies, mackerel, kippers; sea vegetables, eggs, walnuts, linseed/flaxseed, olives and olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds, on the bone chicken and duck.
  • Good sources of starch include: Carrots, parsnips, beetroot, plantain, swede, squash, pumpkin, potatoes, sweet potato.

Of course we still need to be vaguely aware of your overall calorie intake and avoid eating too often – stick to three substantial meals a day in general.

Emotional Eating

Sometimes we can eat not because we are hungry, or make choices based on emotions. Because what we eat has such a huge impact on our brain function and emotions we can make food choices based on our emotional state. It is difficult to give generic guidance on how to change this, but techniques and support I find most helpful for clients include NLP, solution-focussed hypnotherapy or psychotherapy and mindfulness.

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A deficit of 200 calories is usually plenty of see weight loss and sometimes we have to start by giving the full calories in order to kick-start metabolism first.

Eat After Sport

Often if we’ve worked hard we think that we will burn calories and so the last thing we want to do is put those calories back. However, our body is waiting for food as it’s just spent most of its energy and expected you to have sourced something to eat, seeing as you have used up energy. If we don’t refuel, our production of the stress hormone cortisol can rise. This can increase sugar cravings, make us irritable, affect our sleep negatively and encourage fat accumulation around the middle.

There may be specific targeting that is required to help somebody lose weight and that’s where personalised support can make the difference and…..

Most importantly love your body! Nobody is perfect, perfect is boring.

Happy summer!