Indulged your way through Christmas, imbibed your way through New Year and now its reconciliation time with that unrecognizable moon orb accusingly staring back from your bathroom mirror. Your guilt ridden persona grudgingly admits to a flagrant violation paraphrasing at least one of Einstein’s laws of physics E = mc where engorgement equilibrates with meals consumed or in lay terms INDULGE and you BULGE. First instinct is to scramble for pen and paper to hastily scribble a well-intended New Year’s Resolution. DON’T. That mea culpa, that annual pilgrimage to the altar of contrition based on guilt and transient sensory overload has not worked in the past and has no durability for the future. Your misdeeds are behind you; more likely, all around you. YOU NEED A PLAN. I HAVE A PLAN…it involves no abusive body flagellations in a gym, involves NO DIET, costs NOTHING out of pocket…and most importantly, it works.
I bring two sets of credentials to the discussion. Yes, having an MD and decades of clinical experience is useful as is knowing more than the rudiments of behavioural psychology and the basics of human metabolism but the second credentials are the more credible for readers seeking encouraging guidelines. I faced my own health Rubicon about a decade ago. I HAD to lose 40 lbs or face the consequences. It took me two years but by having a plan and sticking to it, I have kept that weight off for more than eight years. In actual fact, I exceeded my target and lost 50 lbs BUT I was lethargic and lost some muscle mass. With advice from my personal physician I backed off the program over the next two years for a NET Loss of 40 lbs
To control weight you need to understand the WHY behind our eating patterns followed by the WHEN and thirdly the WHAT. Unfortunately in an affluent country the WHY too often equates with the fact we can. The buffet is the enemy. You need to start thinking quality over quantity. You also needed to address any underlying stressors leading to excessive eating as a substitute behaviour. All calories are equal BUT the body does not perceive them as equal. Too many rushed Canadians skip breakfast possibly substituting an excess sugar load in latte and muffin form (fyi calorie load about half your daily limit) , sparse through a meager lunch and overload at night. To succeed, you must reverse this pattern. If you starve yourself early in the day or “sugar-fix” your morning, the brain slows your metabolism actually increasing your appetite and increasing the production of fat storing insulin. Its straight up math the calories consumed during the day are burnt not stored. Eating late at night gives the body no choice but to store. Recent studies have also shown that THIRST is one of the more influential drive mechanisms in hunger. Also important is the understanding the satiety centers telling us we have eaten enough do not activate until we are overfilled, again part of starvation overprotective system in the brain. Two counter this tendency, I began two practices the first being the consumption of two glasses of water before every meal and limiting the actual food
to 80% what I had planned to eat. Water is 99% of whatever you drink so why not spare the expense? Aversion to the (chlorine) taste? Add a fruit slice
I’ve placed WHAT you eat in third position for several reasons. Too many weight loss programs obsess over food groups and calorie limits. If you feel the need to count calories then do it. As guideline. The average female with usual activity level requires 1800 sustaining calories daily possibly 200 less after menopause. For men, the numbers are 2400 and 2100. For the number crunchers a brisk walk burns 250 to 350 calories in an hour. I am not a big fan of
running for the wear and tear issue orthopaedically assuming my readers are my age. My final
suggestion is eat what you like. I’ve previously expressed my strong disdain for added sugar carb sources so no need to revisit that issue. Remember those “concentrated” morning fruit juices have had the beneficial fibre removed reducing them to mere sugar-water mixes.
You will have bad days. I did but if you do chipmunk your way through dinner, drink some water, walk it off and the sun will come up in the East in the morning.
Happy New Year everybody
Dr. David Carll