So you thought eating less helps you lose weight? You couldn’t be more wrong. Old-school diets with their emphasis on unsatisfying salads, no-sugar/fat unpalatable porridges and boring soups are passe!
Today nutritionists recommend eating foods that spike metabolism and help the body burn off excess fat. Unhealthy habits like skipping breakfast or other meals can in fact fool the body into thinking that you’re facing a food-shortage! That means it goes into fat-storage mode and instead of dropping pounds, you could be piling them on.
Let’s first clear a few things!
What Is Fat?
Fat in terms of our bodies means a group of different types of fat cells and fat tissue. The amount of fat cells in a person’s body is set in adolescence and levels off in adulthood. When you “lose weight” your fat cells don’t disappear, they just shrink in size. When you gain weight, the fat cells store more and expand in size. Obese people’s bodies are simply not burning off the excess fat adequately.
Remember fat cells are not just inactive blobs – they release proteins and hormones besides being in constant communication with other cells in your body.
So why do we need them?
They’re the store-rooms of our body’s energy-reserves. When the system burns off all the available sugars for energy, it draws upon the fat reserves and converts them into energy that the body needs to function. Fat cells help to cushion/protect vital organs and nerves, protect against heat-loss, release appetite-inducing chemicals and also play a huge role in regulating women’s menstrual cycles and fertility.
Why Ordinary Diets Don’t Work
If you’ve watched the TV program “The Biggest Loser” you’d be surprised to know that six years later, after dropping colossal amounts of weight like 129 lbs, participants had regained nearly 70% of their original weight since the show’s finale. Though the diet industry lashed back with studies showing that such rapid weight-loss is always a failure, the truth is in the long run, dieting is rarely effective.
In fact, it could do more harm than good.
Few of us understand the brain’s role in metabolism. It works to keep the body within a certain weight-range, based on genes and life-experiences. During dieting, especially crash-dieting, the brain declares a state of starvation-emergency and begins to use every method to induce you to eat more!
Diets are also stress-inducing, anxiety-ridden experiences. Calorie-reduction produces stress-hormones which help to add belly-fat and increase the risk of developing diabetes or certain heart-conditions.
Burning It Off
Avoid feeling hungry. Don’t let your body think that you’re facing a famine!
Nutritionists recommend that you make smarter choices, monitor your intake and kick-start your metabolism so that no excess is left to be stored in fat cells.
Certain foods do have a thermogenic effect so Char as you Chew!
- Lean meats: Protein is great for burning it off
- Low-fat dairy: Adds calcium and helps build muscle-mass
- Green tea: Sip it hot or cold, whenever you feel the urge to much
- Lentils: Boosts iron, and fills you up
- Chilli peppers: Capsaicin that gives peppers their heat is great for burning off excess fats and also makes you feel satisfied and full
- Peanut butter: Stabilizes blood-sugar, are slower to digest and provide longer-lasting energy
- Apples and Berries: Have pectin which limits the amount of fat the cells can store
- Quinoa, oats, barley and whole grains: Help build lean muscle, and slow release energ
- Garlic: Has allicin which builds a protective shield around fat cells and prevents them from storing too much
- Soups: Hot, satisfying and filling, these are great as a between-meal filler too. Or you can add a salad, whole-wheat toast and a fruit to make a full, healthy meal
- Oily fish: Along with flax-seeds, oily fish like mackerel, salmon, herring etc, these are sources of essential fats which help in weight-loss
- Almonds and Walnuts: Improves the cholesterol profile, curbs food cravings and increases nutrient intake
- Seeds: Pumpkin, sunflower seeds are energy powerhouses, great source of vitamins and minerals
- Water: Subjects in a German study found that their metabolism was higher by 30% when they drank water. It also helps keep your body hydrated and prevents you from mistaking thirst for hunger
- Spices: Cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cumin are all great producers of heat that helps burn excess energy
Don’t stop eating if you’re on a weight-loss program. What you need to do is eat smart. Listen to your body, know your food-habits and work with these. Eating fat-burning foods helps to keep those fat cells under control.
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