These past weeks, I have also adopted a more relaxed and moderate approach when it comes to eating. I am not that strict with sugar and starch as I was when I first started out. But I always strive to maintain equilibrium or balance.
Before you are wondering if what I am retracting my previous posts about bad effects of sugar, allow me explain…
What Sugar Blues and Sugar Busters talk about influence of sugar and starch are very true. If you grown up eating too much processed food, sugar, fast and fatty food, you will tend to
hit the sugar blues- resulting mood swings, lethargy and constant hunger/craving. You need to learn about those triggers and during the initial stage- learn to avoid them as much as possible.This is to bring your body back to a certain level of balance or stability. You will need to spend time and invest lots of patience. You need to be strong and endure because you need to undo years of damage (believe me, it’s worth it).
You don’t need to go to extreme such as Atkins diet or Carbohydrate Addict’s Diet. But you need to sacrifice noodles, white rice and white/wholemeal bread that you are used to having. If you must have bread/ spaghetti, then it must be the whole grain (not wholemeal) version. Else, you can just take the dishes. Keep cookies, chocolates, ice cream, candies to a minimum- and that includes the low fat versions (usually low fat are high in sugar) and sugar free (studies have shown that sugar free still triggers insulin response). If you cannot fight the craving, take a little but also eat low GI food such as grapefruit and vegetables to minimize the response on your blood sugar. Or take it after dinner at night.
It’s important to include exercise in your plan. For best results, combine cardio (good for your heart and circulation), weight (built muscle mass and increase your metabolic rate) and yoga/ pilates (well being, flexibility so that not so prone to injury and core stability). Exercise is your best bet to expedite and sustain the weight lost. There is no surgery, cream, pills or taking any type of food that can increase your metabolic rate and muscle mass.
Also, drink lots of water. If you don’t drink enough water, your body will store water- that’s where the ‘water weight’ comes from. If you drink lots of water, your body is not pushed into ‘survival’ storing mode. And you will end up sweating more and eliminate more toxins from your body.
If you can, eliminate or minimize sweet drinks- that means carbonated drinks and I don’t really encourage fruit juice- unless you blend yourself and take the juice with the pulp and fiber. Else, the sugar from all these drinks will go straight to your blood stream and made themselves known in your waistlines, stomach and hips. Trust me, I know what I am talking about because I gained weight because of packet tea and coffee that have tonnes of sugar. Still, I could not give up coffee or tea (which I must take with sugar and milk)- but I reduced substantially and seldom pack from restaurants/ mamak. Anyway, reducing sugar had made me less tired and as the result of that, I was less dependant on coffee/tea to keep me awake.
Practice mindful eating, ie conscious of what you put into your mouth. For me, I can’t practice chewing my food thoroughly like what is being recommended by some experts. But I reduce habits that tend to make one eat mindlessly such eating and reading paper/watching TV at the same time.
The above are what I have applied and worked for me. Of course, I also recently realised that my whimsical philosophy about life in general had contributed to my fatigue and stress. I am learning to:
lighten up :)From my personal experience, you will reach a ‘stability zone’– provided you have incorporated exercise into part of your plan. Before you can get to this stage, you need to abstain- and get your body back to balance.
As your health improves, sugar and starch gradually loses its grip on your blood sugar and starch level. You find that even though you have feasted on pizzas and sweet indulgences, you don’t get tired, moody or felt your pants tight the next day. Unlike previously, eating sugar/starch does not trigger a chain reaction that leaves you wanting for more. But it does not mean that you take it as a sign to push your luck and sinking back to old habits.
Once you reached a stability zone, you no longer need to be very strict with no sugar or starch. You can take in moderate quantities but try to select those in low/ middle GI Index. Probably the bloated feeling from eating a starchy lunch or slight sugar blues will be a turnoff – and reminds you of how much you missed out in your life when you used to feel tired, fatigue and moody.
Many nutritionists and health experts now agree that it will be next to impossible for anyone to stick to any eating plan that calls for total abstinence of a major food group, be it protein, fat or carbohydrate. Or plans that calls for strange food combining such as eating one food group in a meal (eg cannot mix protein and carbohydrate in a same meal). Where’s the joy to life?
But first, you will need to eat well to get back to to the road to health. Once you reach there (stability zone), you can then just strive to maintain the balance- no longer abstaining from food that you love but indulging in moderation.
This is akin to working hard when you are poor and after you can gained a secure job/wealth, you can sit back and relax.
If you are nearing obesity/obese, at the risk or already having high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes, you will need to stick to slow acting carbohydrates (low in Glycemic Index) for the sake of your health.