Do you feel guilty if you eat full-fat salad dressing, real butter, or cheese? Do you still eat mostly low-fat foods? For years, the diets we followed told us that "fat would make us fat" - so low-fat foods were encouraged - while high-fat foods were usually banned. Those diets often allowed - and some even encouraged - pretzels, baked chips, crackers, rice cakes, and other processed or sugary - but low-fat - foods. I still remember eating rice cake "sandwiches" and lots of Snackwell cookies!
Researchers learned that certain fats are good for our bodies not too long ago. A way of eating that contains and encourages the eating of healthy, monounsaturated fats is the Mediterranean Diet. It promotes "good" fats such as olive oil, olives, avocados, nuts, and nut butter. These fats not only enable us to feel full longer, but they also help to make our food more satisfying. Recent reports confirm that the Mediterranean Diet is one of the heart-healthiest ways to eat.
In recent years, “keto” diets have also become popular. Many people have successfully lost weight eating the high fat and high protein – but minimal carbohydrate – ketogenic diet. The ketogenic diet allows all saturated and unsaturated fats while severely limiting carbohydrates. However, many people find this diet challenging, and some do not feel well eating this way. This diet also restricts many foods, and there is controversy about its long-term harm or benefits.
One of the reasons the ketogenic diet is successful is that body insulin levels stay low when minimal carbohydrates, sugar, and processed foods are eaten. Insulin is a hormone that is important in storing fat. When insulin levels are low, your body uses its stored fat for fuel while not storing much new fat.
So what does this mean for you if you like and want to continue eating carbohydrates and other favorite foods and yet want to lose weight permanently? Many women, especially post-menopause, will successfully lose body fat by limiting sugar, flour, and processed foods. When you eat this way, whole carbohydrates – such as potatoes, rice, farro, and corn - are preferred, while processed foods - those made with flour or many chemicals - are limited. Fats are not only allowed - but encouraged (especially healthy fats such as those on the Mediterranean diet). Fats increase satiety, so you feel satisfied longer and need to eat less frequently.
In addition to limiting processed foods, flour, and sugar and eating more whole grains and healthy fats, changing how often you eat may influence weight loss. Insulin levels increase when you eat frequently - especially if your meals contain sugar, carbohydrates, or processed foods. The longer you allow between meals and snacks, the longer your insulin levels stay low and the more your body can use your stored fat for fuel. That is why intermittent fasting can be very effective - but it is only recommended if it fits your desires and lifestyle. The best way to lose weight permanently is to find a healthy way of eating that you enjoy and can continue.
You will eventually become "fat-adapted" and less hungry when you allow time between your meals and snacks and limit sugars, flour, and processed foods. When you're "fat-adapted," your body uses your stored fat as fuel. Hunger decreases, and so weight loss becomes easier. Many menopausal and post-menopausal women find that when they eat minimal flour and sugar and allow at least 4 hours between meals, they lose weight more quickly, and the weight stays off. However, because every woman’s body is different, once you consistently lose weight, you can experiment with how much sugar and flour you can eat to continue losing or maintaining your weight.
Become a scientist and study your own body. Experiment with eating the foods you love. Once you know how your body reacts to certain foods, you can decide what foods fit into your diet so that you feel energetic and healthy.
I am here to help you change your relationship with food. Sometimes just knowing what to do isn't enough. If you know what to do - but aren't doing it and want to change, schedule a consultation at: https://calendly.com/coachbarbarakatz/60min, and we’ll chat and decide if coaching is the piece you need to lose your excess weight for good. There is no pressure or obligation.
With swimsuit season coming, there is no better time to lose your excess weight and become healthier.
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