Health - Slimming down for summer

By: Eugene Sims

If the mere mention of having to squeeze into your summer beach wear is a scary idea, then perhaps this may be of interest.

It seems that losing weight is a very hot topic, and there is no shortage of info around in that area. However, like anything popular on Google, it can be very confusing and conflicting to say the least. So, to help I have done my best to simplify to help your countdown to summer.

Aside from underlying factors such as thyroid issues, adrenal imbalances and issues with endocrine glands, the overall formula for weight loss is input versus output. Input referring to what you eat and drink, output referring to the amount of energy you expend. So, to put it crudely, to lose weight you need to eat less, exercise more or both. Importantly, what you eat is just as critical as how much you eat.

Some foods turn into fat in the body easily, such as sugar and carbohydrates (bread/cakes, pasta, rice, potatoes etc.). Other foods such as proteins (eggs, meat, fish etc.) and most low-starch vegetables and fruit are much better for helping reduce fat. This is why diets such as the paleo diet can be useful for a while to help the body reset.
To summarise, these are the eating recommendations to help lose weight …

  • Stop sugar. The exception being moderate fruit intake (two to three pieces a day). Alcohol is included in the sugar category.
  • Stop all refined carbohydrates (bread, buns, cakes, pasta).
  • Limit other carbohydrates to half a portion a day or none at all for the first six weeks (brown rice, corn, potatoes, kumara, pumpkin). If you have issues with blood sugars, then check with your GP first.
  • Increase all non-starchy vegetables.
  • Eat a good protein source for at least two meals a day (fish, chicken, red meat, eggs).
  • You can eat other proteins once a day (nuts, seeds, beans etc) or more if vegetarian/vegan.
  • Drink plenty of water daily – about one to three litres, depending on how much you are exercising.
  • Avoid coffee and black tea.

The other aspect is exercise. This ideally needs to be cardiovascular-based exercise. A brisk walk for a minimum of 20 minutes daily is good. Longer is better if you are able, 45 minutes is preferable. Cycling or swimming are great alternatives. Your heart rate should be about 70 per cent of your maximum during the course of the exercise. To find your maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220. So, if you are 60 years of age then your maximum heart rate is 160 beats per minute (220-60). Seventy per cent of this would be 112 beats per minute (0.7x160). If you are unsure then check with your Doctor first.
If you are overweight then making positive changes will also benefit your health. You will feel better, have more energy and can help prevent other health problems. Enjoy the new you.

Eugene Sims, Warkworth Natural Therapies


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