Best Food Habits to Change to Prevent Weight Gain
This second of three posts for Losing and Staying at the Right Weight consists of 14 key points that get in the way of successful weight loss, plus 20 causes that slow down weight loss. These causes are specific to metabolic functions that inhibit the burning of fat calories and imbalances that store fat and cause water retention. Certain food habits are explored with examples of alternative solutions.
Changing Food Habits
1. Replace white denatured products like sugar and white flour products or keep them to a minimum.
Sugar leaches minerals and vitamins from body and interferes with calcium. It lowers the immune system for hours and throws the endocrine system out of balance, all the while adding useless calories to the diet. White flour as most people know has its nutritional value removed during the stages of processing and bleaching. This substance becomes a paste in the intestinal tract, encouraging constipation and weight gain. It is now classified as a worthless sugar or carbohydrate since it has now turned into an easily broken down foodless food which is too readily absorbed by the body.
2. Reduce or Eliminate processed foods – Elimination is best.
Buy your food and cook it. On the rare occasion, if there was no other choice than a fast food option, once in a long while would not do harm. It is what we do most of the time not some of the time. The integrity of the food value is greatly reduced in its processing and packaging. Preservatives abound in these types of foods, for obvious reasons of storage and convenience of preparation. Expect the food to have chemical additives in them which may lead to chemical imbalances and toxic reactions in the body.
*Caution should be exercised when feeding children these foods especially if they routinely eat a poor diet or are young and small in size.
3. Problems with Salt
I suggest eliminating salt from the cooking process. Salt is not addicting, it destroys our taste buds. Salt also causes water retention and has been linked to hypertension. When it comes to weight gain, many times a good portion of weight is water retention. Salt is an incredible leach of organic sodium which is not table salt related. This mineral is the main element in our lymph system which feeds the joints, ligaments, collagen, synovial fluid and cartilage. Because salt kills your taste buds the more you salt your food, the more you will use salt since you no longer taste the food. Interestingly, when salt is removed from the diet and your taste buds have had a chance to rebuild, your food will taste amazingly sweet and you cannot tolerate anything really salty again. Organic sodium keeps calcium in solution. This mineral imbalance is the culprit for the condition osteoarthritis. Salt is always going to be somewhere in the diet. Every time you eat out or at someone’s home or buy canned food.
There is a lot of promotion for pink or Himalayan salt and like because it has minerals and is a better source of salt. This form of salt is acceptable in moderation and has actually shown to help our heart and kidneys and more.
4. Avoid all deep fried foods
And foods cooked in hot grease or oil, especially in restaurants where the fat for deep frying is all rancid which means it has carcinogenic properties.
5. Eating in a relaxed atmosphere
Such as mealtimes with your family is preferred. Prepress conversations at the table to remain as distressed as possible. If you are wanting to lose weight at a consistent rate, you may eat what the family does but less of the calories laden items like potatoes, too much animal protein or pasta. Increase your salad and veggie portions for the feeling of fullness without all of the unwanted calories. Most important get into the habit of not feeling stuffed when leaving the table. Eat 80 percent of what you would really like to eat. Try leaving either some food on the plate or more room than normal on the plate to exercise discipline over your appetite.
6. Realize that feeling hungry does not mean you will lose more weight.
If you go for long periods of time between meals you could trigger the starvation response in the brain. Eat often to balance blood sugar but it is the items that are eaten that make the difference. Foods that help curb your appetite include alkaline protein like whey powder and if lactose intolerant, lactose free whey is available. Try a spoonful of nut butter or healthy peanut butter to ward off hunger pains. Always have something healthy to snack on like fruit or a small amount of nuts and seeds rather than be starving when first getting home or going grocery shopping. The temptation is great to grab carbohydrates when hunger becomes too great. Have handy, raw veggies or low calorie fruits; berries are always good. The body will burn calories for energy when you feel hunger but do not go for long stretches between meals. For example, do not go all day without eating and then eat dinner thinking you will lose more weight.
7. Many factors contribute to water retention.
Lymphatic congestion, high cortisol levels, lower functioning adrenal glands and kidneys are a few reasons. Potassium is the mineral that runs water off the body. Asparagus and watercress are high in potassium as are several other vegetables and greens. Cleavers tincture or tea is a natural diuretic and may be taken several times a day until improvement occurs. There are stronger suggestions that require a practitioner. Health food stores offer lymphatic drainage crèmes. These are best applied at bedtime to promote the most benefit (while lying prone). B 6 is a vitamin that will also help reduce water retention. For those that tend to hold water eat high potassium foods and watch out for hidden salt, providing you are not using additional salt.
8. Avoid all fast food establishments and junk food.
Surveys show their food to be high in calories, salt, chemicals and fat. Most of the food suggestions are acid based foods. Primarily starch and protein sources. Acid foods should only comprise 20% of our daily food intake. 80% should be alkaline found in fruits, vegetables and Probiotic products like yogurt and kefir. Whey powder is a protein yet also alkaline.
9. Reduce all fat-rich foods.
This does not include essential fats found in fish and nuts and seeds. Besides helping with weight loss, heart disease is the number one killer among women over 50; more than cancer and other ailments. A low fat diet will pull fat out of the artery walls which should be the principal goal. Higher sources of high-fat foods include whole milk, whole milk cheese, cream, butter, cream cheese, sour cream, fried foods, margarine, mayonnaise, many salad dressings, pork products (especially bacon and pork hocks), duck, ground meat, short ribs, frankfurters, lunch meats and cold cuts and spare ribs. However, butter would be my spread of choice. There are many health giving components and nutrients in butter.
10. Alcoholic Beverages
There is one culprit I notice with men and women wanting to lose weight but insist they do not eat high calorie foods. Alcohol affects metabolism which becomes especially problematic when wanting to lose weight. Imagine your are eating dinner, the largest meal of the day and at this time of day a person is normally the most inactive. Wine with a meal slows down the metabolism to a crawl. You are not burring calories but storing them. As we age this scenario becomes even more prevalent when drinking wine or alcoholic drinks with dinner. Wine is more calorie laden unless drinks are mixed with pop. Drinking anything with a meal is not recommended because it dilutes the digestive enzymes. When food isn’t salted you will not be thirsty during the meal.
11. Soft Drinks and Processed Fruit Juice and other Sweetened Beverages
Pop and related soft drinks are extremely high in sugar and chemicals. Artificial sweeteners are not problem free even though they are recommended for diabetics. The body does not want additional chemicals especially if they are routinely being poured in. Energy drinks possess a long list of health related problems. Fruit juice is a better choice but can be high in sugar unless it is only fruit juice with nothing added. Read labels carefully. Processed fruit juices tend to be acidic whereas freshly made juice is alkaline. Consider adopting a routine of freshly made vegetable juice for the valuable minerals and antioxidants that are most often missing in the average person’s diet. Fruit is high in vitamins but low in minerals.
12. Holiday Meals
The holidays are a challenge for everyone let alone someone who is truly working towards a steady weight loss and does not want to sabotage their regime. The logical choices are as follow:
A: Control what you eat during the meal. Normally food combining is not recommended but this could be insurmountable at special holiday meals. At such times, your only option is to pick which item you want the most. If its turkey, then your potato portion would at the very least need to be small. The vegetables and salad could be large. Desert is another big challenge. If you have been practicing a healthier way of eating, by now your sweet tooth is curbed and a small piece of something will more than satisfy your want. Or you may even decide you don’t want it and choose fresh fruit.
B: If you know you are going to eat more than you know you should, make allowances days before and after the holiday meal to help balance the calories out. Be aware that when suddenly a heavy meal is consumed, it will affect most peoples bowel transit time. It can appear as though you gained 5 pounds from just that one meal which would not be the case under normal circumstances. I actually had a weight loss patient who gained 10 pounds in one week and was eating extremely well with exception to going to a wedding on the weekend. She did consume alcohol and ate everything but not too excessively. Many chemical preservatives and tenderizers will cause fluid retention and so will the alcohol; wine in this case. It took two weeks for her weight to revert back to its steady reduction.
13. It Does Not Cost More to Eat Healthy.
I have often heard it said that it costs so much more to eat healthy. This is absurd. The items that cost are the processed foods and pre-packaged items. For example buying lasagne or hamburgers instead of making your own. Buying fish or meat that is breaded. Junk food like chips, corn chips and the dips and condiments that go with these items. And when you are not eating out; the savings is huge. To buy fresh vegetables for a week is low compared to the typical choices people make for their families and themselves. Time is always the excuse. Time management may need to be learned. The problem isn’t the cost as much as it is the effort to put into cooking a healthy meal. Most meals could be fully prepared in 30 minutes. If you hate to cook, but you recognize that this is where a main problem lies, then treat this activity as an exercise to learn something and become good at it. We learn lots of things in life that we didn’t necessarily like but did serve us to know. Feeding the body is second to none.
14. What can Slow Down Weight Loss?
Realize there are many extenuating circumstances that cause the body to lose weight slowly or quickly. The following list is common examples that inhibit weight loss:
An extremely low caloric intake diet creating a starvation response in the brain. The brain then slows down the metabolism via the thyroid gland to store more calories and to burn far fewer fat calories; once a normal eating regime has returned.
- Typically the liver is sluggish or fatty and even over burdened from too many medications and poor dietary habits. Smoking and alcohol consumption will impact the liver and body as a whole.
- Low functioning thyroid gland
- Poor circulation
- Glucose problems and insulin resistant. Diabetics and Hypoglycemia
- Water retention
- High cortisol levels which puts on abdominal fat and fluid retention
- Dieting too often
- Not eating all day until dinner and evening time
- Skipping breakfast
- Lack of exercise
- Malnutrition: Deficiencies of essential fats, minerals, vitamins, amino acids, antioxidants and enzymes
- Low fiber foods
- Foodless foods
- High fat and processed foods
- High sugar intake
- Mood swings: Emotional eating
- Too many medications
- Many poor health conditions will impact weight loss. As the body heals and returns to a healthier state, it becomes easier to lose weight and keep it off.
Copyright © 2016 – All Rights Reserved – Michelle Honda Ph.D.
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While close attention was given to the accuracy of information in this article, the author accepts neither responsibility nor liability to any person with respect to injury, damage, loss or any circumstances involving alleged causes directly or indirectly related to the information in this article. The sole purpose is to educate and broaden ones awareness. This information is not meant to replace medical advice or services provided by a health care professional.