Nutrition Myths Busted for Self Help Weight Managers

Food Advice often involve disclaimers which may read as follows

“Nutrition Australia does not currently endorse or recommend any specific weight reduction diet. It encourages you to follow healthy eating principles based on Healthy Living Pyramid that is a diet based on plant foods such as vegetables, fruits, wholegrain cereal products, legumes and nuts…… “(Page 162 The Truth About Weight Management take from the book “Nutrition the definitive Australian Guide to eating for Good Health”

Whereas there is nothing good or bad about disclaimers, Certified Nutritionists are almost mandatorily obligated to qualify their expert opinion to comply with their respective regulatory obligations essentially signalling their important albeit  limited relevance in helping us escape lifestyle diseases.

Relevance of Eastern Food Values to Western Evidence based Food Plans

Having reviewed numerous freely available content on Internet, it goes without saying that there is no shortage of theory underlying countless food plans which have a successful track record of achievements by fitness enthusiasts.  “Personal Discipline” is possibly the key principle for duplicating success in what has already been demonstrated by experts in multibillion dollar global weight loss industry.

One aspect of Nutrition which I have understood in over two years of my personal weight loss and maintenance journey is whichever approach is chosen by readers, it should not lead to boredom and mental blocks in maintaining consistency in the long term. I say this confidence because I have seen people loose significant weight in a short span of 10-12 weeks and subsequently regain more body weight because the initial standards of discipline at the start of weight loss journey were exceptionally high.

Self Help weight loss if followed consistently with discipline will teach us to intelligently overcome our cravings for high calorie low nutrient food whether savoury or sweet and side step from past unhealthy over-eating habits. I would highly recommend blog readers also read Deepak Chopra’s book “What are you hungry for?” wherein the author has attempted to provide solutions for permanent Weight Loss, Well-Being and Happiness of Soul through a radical new integrated approach to permanent weight loss, combining latest scientific research with alternate therapies.  My Eastern Food Values based taste buds effectively mean that at least one regular meal a day should be close to what we mostly preferred before significantly changing our personal diet such as cutting down on food portion.

What is Frustrating about reliance on Modern Age Experts in Nutrition

Having seen a Qualified Australian Nutritionist while accompanying an extended family member in private, I have reasons to believe that the major challenge about relying on nutrition specialists is short term impact on our memory which eventually fades away with the passage of time. Despite a whole range of electronic resources, guides, checklists and food planners regularly used by experts in private consulting sessions, we must never lose sight of the fact that it is ultimately up to us to manage our dietary changes to have any form of lasting impact on our bodies. This however does not mean that we must completely ignore expert advice in Nutrition but rather look at easy to implement acquisition of personal skills and experience on a regular basis which will integrate expert advice into our regular food habits and avoid the frustration of all advice eventually being of either no use or hopelessly redundant.  Self Help weight loss and healthy body weight maintenance is both a science and an art which will overcome limitations of reliance on experts in Nutrition in the long term.

Elimination of Root Cause of Diseases and Poor Health through Dietary Changes

It is a simple fact of life that as we age our metabolism begins to slow making some food habits of the past simply unsuitable for us in the present and future. A child or a young adult’s digestive strength is simply not comparable to that of middle or matured aged person which effectively means that worked for us in the past may not necessarily work for us in the future.  Most Modern experts hold the view that poor eating habits, over eating and inconsistent food timing is more of a mental issue rather our actual need for food to sustain internal body processes. So, the root cause of food based diseases or lifestyle diseases such as obesity, heart disease, dental problems or diabetes can easily be eliminated or reduced progressively by rewiring our brains to deal with cravings judiciously. In my experience, there is no better way to manage risks associated with lifestyle diseases than to thoroughly understand our internal strengths to process food and provide us healthy energy.

Calorie Counting and Fitness App Data Entry – definite pathway to boredom

Modern smartphones provide easily accessible apps to create records of food consumed during the day and calorie intake associated with food. I have come across people managing calories in pretty much the same way as we all manage our cash-flows in personal and work life. Whereas this method of managing food calories may easily meet health expectations of people looking at near perfect outcomes, it may lead to boredom and an unsocial personality which can be counterproductive in the long term. If we have attained reasonable level of discipline in understanding the permanent cycle of calorie intake through food and calorie burnout through body’s internal processes and physical activities, we must consider avoiding duplication of food data entry into smartphones and focus more on other more important activities realising that time invested in duplication and glossy smartphone applications is in fact time wasted. Another downside of smartphone applications is their constant occupation of our limited mental space preventing clear and rational thinking.

Maximum Health rather than Minimum Weight is the goal

It is a great achievement to be constantly feeling light and easy after significant weight loss but it simply does not mean that others who are overweight do not have the same feelings. Having experienced an Obese body frame for around three years followed by a normal frame in the next three, I have learnt that what matters most is the quality of our state of mind. Poor mental health is highly likely to discourage us in our healthy weight maintenance after weight loss whereas a Positive mindset will give us maximum health possible within the existing body frame.  Carl J. Lavie, MD in his book The Obesity Paradox- When Thinner means Sicker and Heavier Means Healthier has challenged the conventional wisdom which is constantly preoccupied with thinness and has explained how extra fat provides additional fuel to help fight illness so long as sedentary lifestyle is swapped with reasonable level of daily activities and health eating.

 Pre-and Post-Workouts Food

In my experience hydration of the body after an overnight sleep is an absolute must for all levels of fitness and age groups which can take the form of common beverages like Tea, Coffee and Drinking Chocolate combined with a Banana and few Nuts before a daily workout. Although no hard and fast rules exist as to what food may work and what may not work immediately before and after workout, a simple way to test personalised suitability is to follow a consistent plan spread over several pre-and post-workout sessions which will eventually establish evidence to help us maintain some form of discipline in diet.  A practical approach to understanding this aspect of Nutrition is to appreciate that empty stomach works for some and a semi empty for the rest. Nearly all fitness trainers and enthusiasts do not recommend a full stomach for pre-and post-workout runs.                

Dietary Supplements

Dietary Supplements Industry has grown exponentially across the globe to help people plug gaps in Quality of Food Intake. A Strong Fitness regime not only needs a Balanced Diet with moderation/ elimination of Alcoholic consumption but also regular supplements to suit personalised goals. Vitamin D3, Vitamin B12, Omega-3, Iron, Calcium and Magnesium supplements taken over a reasonably long period of time particularly by people predominantly on Plant Based Diet can help overcome fatigue and deficiencies normally associated with a successful weight management plan.

Food treatments and alternate medicine

The volume of content on numerous social media platforms, e books and hard bound publications on food treatments and alternate medicine is overwhelming for most of us these days and create more confusion than solve problems. The key to understanding content is there is no perfect solution for most health issues just like the fact there are limited medically prescribed solutions without side effects. The cycle of Food, Work and Rest progressively and practically adjusted to our age profile are inseparably interconnected. Food treatments, alternate medicine and natural therapies will work only if we swap our sedentary lifestyle with a disciplined fitness program.

A Few Weight Loss Diet Plans at a Glance

It is helpful to review the below mentioned commonly known Diet Plans, the Underlying Scientific Theory and numerous names allocated to them for self-help body weight managers after commencing a new fitness pathway because a plan accompanied with width and depth of knowledge is likely to be more successful than the one based on a narrow understanding.

  • Low Fat Diet- Weight loss occurs on these very-low-fat, high fibre, mainly vegetarian diets because much less of such foods is required to feel satisfied.
  • Carbohydrate-Controlled- Based on either a significant reduction in carbohydrates or strict ratio of carbohydrates, protein and fat, these diets aim to maintain stable blood sugar levels, which helps the body break down fat, work within its “peak performance zone”, and maximise weight loss.
  • Controlling portion sizes Based on the principle that eating large portions is a major factor in becoming overweight. Diet plans promote weight loss by controlling portion sizes. 
  • Glycaemic Index These diets are based on the theory that insulin levels, appetite and weight can be controlled by eating low-glycaemic-index foods.
  • Food-combining Based on the belief that different food types are digested in different ways and should not be eaten together, weight loss results from correct combining of food types.
  • Metabolic typing Different blood types affect digestive processes, weight loss occurs only when correct foods for a blood type are consumed.
  • Quick weight loss Based on severe kilo joules (calorie) restriction, these plans produce specific weight loss over a very short time period.
  • Low kilojoules, liquid meal replacement Weight loss based on very-low-kilojoule (calorie) meal replacements supplying 100 per cent of recommended daily vitamins and minerals.
  • Detox Programs aimed at eliminating toxins from the body, since a healthy liver burns fat more efficiently and therefore aids weight loss.
  • Weight-loss centres Weight-loss programs supported by consultation, advice, and/or group support. Many people find it easier to maintain a diet plan in which they are accountable to others.
  • High Protein Low-kilojoules, moderate carbohydrates and fat and higher than usual protein. Based on the belief that high-protein food increases satiety.
  • Behavioural Focuses on motivation for behaviour change rather than on food.

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