By Brigitte Mars
Some 34 million Americans are at least 20% over their ideal weight and this can contribute to a wide variety of problems including heart disease, diabetes and lethargy. Select what is ideal for your body and don’t be overly influenced by unhealthy images that fashion magazines promote.
Cravings are more likely to occur when one is hungry. When craving sweets, choose a crunchy fruit such as an apple. Craving sweets may be an indication that the body really needs more protein. A dose of bitter herbal tincture (available at natural products stores) can help dispel a sweet craving. Craving salty foods like chips may indicate that it needs minerals such as those found in sea vegetables. When craving fats, a daily tablespoon daily of hemp seed oil gives the body beneficial essential fatty acid that can help emulsify fat. Most cravings will pass within a few minutes. Taking a few deep slow breaths may help.
Chemical sweeteners can actually cause one to crave more sweets by upsetting blood sugar levels.
Find ways other than food to nourish yourself. Consider the sensual delights of a warm bubble bath, a massage, reading a great novel, or walking in a beautiful environment. Make a list of all the alternative ways to bring nurturing enjoyment into life, besides food, and start doing them.
Keep a food journal of what you eat and drink for a week to gain insight about your diet really looks like. Keep a weekly shopping list and stick with it. Avoid the aisles in the grocery store that are off your diet.
Too often mealtime is a rush and continuation of the stress in our daily lives. Before eating, serve yourself, rather that eating out of containers. Serve portions to the table and avoid country style platters on the table. Sit down, relax, look at your food and say a blessing or take few deep breaths to help get calm. It takes the average person about twenty minutes for their brain to receive the message that it is satisfied. Put the fork down between bites. Avoid eating while reading or watching TV. Some find that using a smaller plate and a cocktail fork or chopsticks reminds them to appreciate each bite.
For centuries many slender cultures have recognized that sea vegetables are an important source of nutrition. Their natural iodine content nourishes the thyroid gland which governs metabolism, thus improving the rate at which our digestion functions. Kelp and dulse can be added to many dishes and can reduce the amount the salt used to flavor food.
Start each meal with a salad. Consider having your entrée with salad rather than an empty carbohydrate such as pasta, mashed potatoes or white rice. Have lunch rather than dinner as the main meal. We require fuel more at midday than at night. Right after dinner, floss and brush teeth to discourage any more food consumption. If you must eat something choose an apple or raw carrot.
Exercise is essential in any weight loss program as it warms the body, improves digestion and helps produce endorphins to improve mental outlook Take up a craft that keeps hands busy, and out of the pretzel bowl such as knitting, sewing, woodworking, origami, beading or embroidery.
A heaping teaspoon of psyllium husk stirred into water or a handful of freshly ground flax seeds daily will cause one to feel full and help lubricate the. When using these foods, consume plenty of fluids or they could cause constipation.
Drinking room temperature pure water with the juice of some lemon squeezed into it is naturally diuretic and the slightly sour taste will improve liver function and thus aid fat metabolism. Avoid carbonated beverages, which are high in sodium and can cause fluid retention,
There are a multitude of herbs that can help weight loss. Burdock and dandelion toot stimulate bile production, thus enabling fat breakdown. Nettles are used traditionally to break down cellulite. Chickweed contains natural lecithin, which helps fat metabolism. Fennel seeds are delightfully sweet and help curb the appetite by stabilizing blood sugar levels. For centuries wise Italians have combined chickweed and fennel as an aid to staying trim despite their wonderful tempting foods. Not only is parsley rich in flavor and nutrients, it helps prevent water.
From the spice shelf we have a number of herbs are known as “thermogenic,” meaning they help the body to produce heat and burn calories. They usually have a warming nature, improve circulation and aid digestion. Herbs that fit in to this category include cinnamon, ginger, cayenne and cardamom.
A popular trend in weight loss is to use herbs that are caffeine-containing stimulants because they are energizing and decrease the appetite. Yerba mate, from South America has a similar effect as does green tea from the Orient.
The Ayurvedic herb Gurmar (also known as Gymnema sylvestre) has long been used to treat obesity. Gurmar means “sugar destroyer.” When one chews some gurmar and then places sugar on the tongue, the sweet taste is eliminated in a few seconds. Much research is being done on this and the findings are that it improves glucose utilization.
Garcinia cambogia, a fruit from a South Asian tree inhibits the body from turning carbohydrates into fat. It also helps to alleviate hunger and lowers cholesterol production. It contains hydroxcitric acid, similar to the citric acid found in oranges and grapefruits.
Your local health food store carries herbal combinations in tea, capsule and tablet form that can used along with a good diet and exercise program that can help you let go of unnecessary weight.
Clean out the basement, closets and cupboards. Get rid of what you don’t need (make some charity happy or have a yard sale) and let this be a metaphor for getting lighter in your life.
Start a piggy bank and save daily what you would spend on a soda, latte or candy bar. Use the money to buy new clothes or donate to a food bank. Choosing to lose weight can be an opportunity to pay more attention to yourself and bring about better health to all aspects of your person. Set goals for yourself and use this as an opportunity to live a healthier lifestyle that can add years and joy to your life.