Are you still trying to lose weight and shed the extra pounds?
There are different weight loss diets and regimes providing you with different weight loss tips to follow. I am sure you may have heard of the tip: avoid late night snacking and go to bed hungry. So, how effective is this weight loss tip? Let’s take a look….
Avoid late night snacking, go to bed hungry
Studies have suggested that the only thing that matters for weight loss is what you eat and how much you eat, but various studies have now shown that when you eat is just as important in achieving your weight loss goals. Staying awake and eating late is a very recent occurrence in human history; many years ago, we humans never used to eat late at night.
Did you know that you don’t need to eat every 3 or 4 hours to live and be healthy and that you actually burn fat while you sleep?
Your body is inclined to burn fat at certain times of the day and store fat at other times. When you eat a meal or snack, your blood glucose rises, some of the glucose is used up by your muscles and brain for energy, some is stored in the form of glycogen in the liver, and the rest is stored as fat.
When you are asleep, your body is in a fasting state. Your blood glucose drops. As your blood glucose gets lower and lower, your body will use up your glycogen store; the glycogen is converted into glucose to provide energy. If you haven’t eaten anything after dinner, the glycogen store will be used up quickly, then your body will be forced to burn its own fat stores to provide energy to keep you functioning properly. This helps with your efforts to lose weight. If you snack before you sleep, your body doesn’t have a chance to burn its own fat store, it uses the food you eat for energy.
Your body runs on a regular circadian rhythm (an internal clock) that matches with when you wake and sleep and almost every organ in your body also has its own circadian rhythm or internal clock when it is programmed to perform more efficiently. Light is the main cue that sets your body’s internal clock – for example, your liver is scheduled to function more efficiently during the day. The timing of your meals may throw off your body’s circadian rhythm and lead to weight gain.
Numerous studies have shown that weight loss is not just about “calories in and calories out”, but is to a large extent under the control of your hormones
The major hormone here is insulin. Insulin is a fat storing hormone. Higher levels of insulin prevents weight loss. Insulin is secreted in response to eating, so it tends to be raised during the day and fairly low when we are asleep. Insulin levels can be normalised by changing not just what we eat, but when we eat as well. So, avoiding snacks late at night and going to bed hungry will help to keep insulin low and help with your efforts to lose weight.
Ensure you have a routine to live by. Sticking to a meal schedule every day will prevent you from snacking after dinner. It is important to eat your last meal 3 hours before bedtime, so that you spend less time awake.
If you are tempted to snack after dinner, here are 2 things you can do to avoid yielding to that temptation:
1) Brush your teeth after dinner. This will give you the sense that you can’t eat anymore.
2) Drink warm water or a hot cup of caffeine-free herbal tea. Make it hot (not burning hot) so that you can sip it gradually.
1) ScienceDaily (2012) Could high insulin make you fat? Mouse study says yes.
How often have you read that you should eat mindfully? What does that actually mean?
Eating mindfully is the practice of being present as you eat.
If you’re into mindfulness, you might think that ‘mindful eating’ is all about “eating slowly and without distraction.” That is certainly one way to look at it but I also want to share my take on it…
One of the things that comes up all the time for my clients is non-hunger eating. This is eating even though you’re not actually hungry.
Does that resonate with you? Do you ever eat for comfort, due to stress, out of boredom, in secret or because you’re upset about something? The consequences stretch far beyond problems with weight. They go right to the soul, and have you feeling incomplete, wrong, guilty and ashamed.
In my book, mindful eating is with intention and attention.
- Eating with the intention of caring for yourself.
- Eating with the attention necessary for noticing and enjoying your food and how it affects your body.
- Being aware of your physical and emotional cues.
- Recognising your non-hunger triggers.
- Learning to meet your needs or reward yourself without food.
- Choosing food to nourish your body.
I find many people who struggle with food react mindlessly to their unrecognised triggers, thoughts, and feelings. Mindfulness increases your awareness of these patterns and triggers without judgment and creates space between your triggers and your actions.
HOW TO EAT MINDFULLY
- Whenever you notice you feel like eating, pause to ask the question, “am I hungry?”. You are then able to observe your thoughts andchoose how you will respond. This gives you response-ability and empowers you to break old automatic or habitual chain reactions and discover options that work better for you.
- Exercise: think back to the last time you ate. Did you look at your watch for your cue or to see whether it was time to eat? Did you have an appointment, for lunch, maybe? Or perhaps you walked past a shop window and THEN decided you really needed a cake just like the one you saw in the window.
I can tell you that before I got out of the diet trap myself, I was alarmed to discover that I never ate because I was hungry. What were your reasons?
- It was TIME to eat (lunch, dinner, etc.)
- You were offered food
- You were sad and needed to be comforted
- You were angry
- You were bored
- You were happy and wanted to celebrate
- You saw something you fancied
- You were upset and needed a treat
This exercise will give you a valuable insight into why you are choosing to eat.
Remember you were born knowing exactly how much to eat. Hunger is your body’s way of telling you that you need fuel.
By reconnecting with your instinctive signals, you can manage your eating without restrictive dieting or obsessing over every bite of food you put in your mouth. Proper hunger is your natural guide but you need to be able to distinguish this from the non-food triggers.
To break out of the pattern of eating on autopilot, get in the habit of asking yourself, “am I hungry?” every time you feel like eating. This simple but powerful question will help you recognise the difference between an urge to eat caused by the physical need for food from an urge to eat caused by ‘head hunger’ or non-hunger eating.
The more you are conscious of what you are putting into your body, the more you are able to choose healthier, nourishing foods. This will help you establish a healthy relationship with food and maintain a healthy weight.
Avocado is known by its botanical name Persea Americana. It is also known as alligator pepper. Today, over 80 varieties of avocado exist most of which is HASS avocado.
Avocado is extremely nutritious.
It is loaded with high amounts of healthy fat, essential minerals and vitamins including fibre, vitamins K, B6, B5, C, E, folate, magnesium and potassium.
Did you know that avocado is one of the few fruits that can provide you with high amounts of good fat and protein? Did you know that avocado offers amazing number of benefits? Let’s take a look…
Here are 21 amazing benefits of avocado
1) Avocado enhances your body’s ability to absorb nutrients from plant food
Enhancing your body’s ability to absorb nutrients from plant food is one of the amazing benefits of avocado.
It is important for your body to be able to absorb the nutrients from the food you eat where they can be used. Some nutrients need to be combined with fat in order to be absorbed meaning they are fat soluble.
A recent research carried out by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) found that adding fresh avocado or avocado oil to salad increased the body’s absorption of carotenoid antioxidant from the salad.
So, when avocado is eaten with other foods, your body is better able to absorb nutrients such as beta-carotene and lutein.
2) Avocado helps to protect your eyes
Protecting your eyes is one of the amazing benefits of avocado. Avocado is rich in the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin which are essential for eye health. They protect the macula area of your eyes responsible for short range vision and detail.
A study published in the Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science Journal showed that lutein and zeaxanthin significantly reduced the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration which is common in the elderly.
3) Avocado helps to lower cholesterol and triglycerides levels
Lowering cholesterol and triglycerides levels is one of the amazing benefits of avocado. A number of blood markers including high total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides levels are linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
A study suggested that a diet rich in mono-unsaturated fats using avocado as their major source reduced the total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol levels. It also reduced triglyceride levels and increased the HDL-cholesterol level by about 11%.
The soluble fibre in avocado also helps with lowering cholesterol.
4) Avocado helps to reduce your homocysteine levels
Helping to reduce your homocysteine level is one of the amazing benefits of avocado. Homocysteine is a consistent marker for cardiovascular disease. High homocysteine is linked to an increase risk of cardiovascular disease. Avocado is high in folate and vitamin B6. Research has shown that vitamin B6 and folate reduces homocysteine level in the blood.
5) Avocado helps with weight loss
Helping with weight loss is one of the amazing benefits of avocado. Avocado is high in fibre, a plant matter that is not digested by the body.
High fibre foods make you feel full, reduce your hunger and cravings so you do not eat more than you need. This helps with weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight.
A study published in the Journal of Nutrition showed that a diet high in fibre promotes satiation, prolongs satiety and encourages healthy food choices and eating habits. It also encouraged weight loss and maintenance.
6) Avocado has anti-inflammatory properties
Its anti-inflammatory properties are one of the amazing benefits of avocado. Avocado and avocado oil is high in good fat. It is rich in the healthy mono-unsaturated fat called oleic acid which is also the main component of olive oil.
Oleic acid has anti-inflammatory properties, it has been linked to reducing inflammation. A study published in the Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology Journal found that oleic acid reduces the biomarkers of inflammation.
7) Avocado helps to support healthy blood pressure levels
Supporting healthy blood pressure levels is one of the amazing benefits of avocado. Avocado is very rich in potassium. It contains about 14% of the recommended daily amount compared to 10% found in bananas.
Potassium has been linked to reducing high blood pressure. A systematic review published in the BMJ showed that an increased potassium intake reduced blood pressure in people with high blood pressure.
8) Avocado helps to stabilize blood glucose levels
Stabilizing blood glucose levels is one of the amazing benefits of avocado. Avocado is high in soluble fibre which helps to stabilize blood glucose levels.
9) Avocado helps to nourish and moisturise your skin
Nourishing and moisturising your skin is one of the amazing benefits of avocado. Avocado is rich in antioxidant carotenoids such as beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin which helps to protect your skin from free radicals that can cause damage and aging.
Avocado is also rich in vitamin C and E, strong antioxidants which also prevent free radical damage. Vitamin C is also important for the formation of collagen and elastin which helps to maintain the structure and firmness of your skin and Vitamin E is important for the maintenance of healthy skin.
10) Avocado helps to build healthy bones
Helping to build healthy bones is one of the amazing benefits of avocado. Avocado is high in vitamin K, an important nutrient for building healthy bones and the proper metabolism of calcium.
11) Avocado is a great conditioner for your hair
Conditioning your hair is one of the amazing benefits of avocado. It’s natural oil acts as a hair mask and helps to revitalise the scalp.
12) Avocado helps to improve your digestive health
Improving your digestive health is one of the amazing benefits of avocado. Avocado is rich in dietary fibre. About 75% of the fibre is insoluble while the remaining 25% is soluble.
Insoluble fibre helps to prevent constipation. It bulks up your stool and helps to maintain food moving through your digestive tract while soluble fibre helps to feed the healthy bacteria in your digestive tract helping to increase their numbers. This will boost your digestive health.
13) Avocado helps to boost your immune system
Boosting your immune system is one of the amazing benefits of avocado. Avocado is rich in vitamin C which is important for a healthy immune system. It is also high in antioxidants which help to reduce inflammation as a result boosting your immune system.
14) Avocado may contribute to cancer risk reduction
Contributing to cancer risk reduction is one of the amazing benefits of avocado. Avocado contains various bioactive carotenoids.
A study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry found that these bioactive carotenoids are likely to be absorbed into the blood stream, where in combination with other diet-derived phytochemicals they may contribute to the important prostate cancer risk reduction linked with a diet of fruits and vegetables.
15) Avocado helps with balancing your hormones
Helping to keep your hormones balanced is one of the amazing benefits of avocado. Avocado is rich in mono-unsaturated healthy fat which are essential building blocks for hormone production and keeping your hormones in check.
16) Avocado helps to build lean muscle mass
Helping to build lean muscle mass is one of the amazing benefits of avocado. Avocado has a high protein and low sugar content which can help to build lean muscle mass and burn fat.
17) Avocado helps to maintain cellular health
Maintaining cellular health is one of the amazing benefits of avocado. Avocado is rich in magnesium which is important for maintaining cellular health.
18) Avocado pits can be used for arts and craft
Using avocado pits for arts and craft is one of the amazing benefits of avocado. Avocado is so flexible, you can use the pit for arts and craft.
19) Avocado can be used as a natural food dye
Using avocado as a natural food dye is one of the amazing benefits of avocado. You can use the ink from the pit as a natural food dye.
20) Avocado helps to improve your mood
Improving your mood is one of the amazing benefits of avocado. Avocado is rich in the healthy mono-unsaturated fat which can help to improve your mood and your sense of wellbeing.
21) Avocado supports healthy pregnancy
Supporting healthy pregnancy is one of the amazing benefits of avocado. Avocado is rich in folic acid (folate) which is an important nutrient for forming your baby’s brain and nervous system. It is also rich in vitamin B6 which is important for your baby’s growth.
As you can see, avocado’s amazing benefits are great and so is its taste.
1) Fulgoni V, Dreher M, Davenport A. Avocado consumption associated with better nutrient intake and better health indices in U.S. adults (19+ years): NHANES 2001-2006. Abstract #8514. Experimental Biology, Anaheim, CA. April 28, 2010. 2010.
2) Delcourt C, Carriere I, Delage M, Barberger-Gateau P, Schalch W, POLA Study Group (2006) Plasma Lutein and Zeaxanthin and other Carotenoids as Modified Risk Factors for Age-Related Maculopathy and Cataract: The POLA Study. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, 47: 2329-2335.
3) Carranza J, Alvizouri M, Alvarado M R, Chavez F, Gomez M, Herrera J E (1995) Effects of avocado on the level of blood lipids in patients with phenotype ii and IV dyslipidemias. PUBMED 65:342-348.
4) Burton-Freeman B (2000) Dietary Fiber and Energy Regulation. Journal of Nutrition, 130: 272S-275S
5) Basu A, Devaraj S, Jialal I (2006) Dietary factors that Promote or Retard Inflammation. Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, 26: 995-1001
More and more people are now avoiding gluten and as a result the sale of gluten free food is also on the rise. So, are there any benefits of going gluten free? Let’s take a look…
What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in grains like rye, wheat and barley. Gluten is also regularly hidden in a majority of processed foods such as low fat and fat-free products, refined grains (pizza, pasta, spaghetti, bread, biscuits, cakes and pastries), soups, sauces, sweets and various ready-made foods.
About 1 in 100 people have celiac disease.
For individuals with celiac disease, the consumption of gluten triggers an immune response that damages the microvilli of the small intestine, disrupting their digestion and preventing the absorption of nutrients.
A study published in 2008 in the Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology Journal stated that celiac disease is a disorder caused by the ingestion of gluten and this causes inflammation (1).
People with celiac disease would benefit from a gluten free diet. A majority of people without celiac disease are also deciding from a lifestyle perspective to adopt a gluten free diet.
So, what are the benefits of gluten free? Here are 3 benefits of gluten free…
1) Gluten free can help you lose weight
Helping you lose weight is one of the benefits of gluten free. Majority of refined carbohydrates such as bread, pizza, pasta, spaghetti, pastries etc. contain gluten. When you consume these refined carbohydrates, it causes a quick rise in your blood sugar level.
This sugar is stored in your liver and muscles and the rest is stored as fat. Constantly eating these refined foods will keep your blood sugar level elevated, causing you to store more fat.
A study published in 2005 in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that there was a link between eating refined carbohydrates and being overweight. The study also found that overweight individuals were more prone to eating excess refined carbohydrates (2).
The type of carbohydrate you eat is important.
Good carbohydrates such as vegetables and some fruit will not cause a quick rise in your blood sugar, preventing you from storing fat but bear in mind that it is important to eat more vegetables and less fruit.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”2716″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]2) Gluten free can help keep your brain healthy
Helping to keep your brain healthy is one of the benefits of gluten free. Foods that contain gluten promote inflammation.
Chronic inflammation anywhere in your body can cause destruction on your brain.
A research published in the Oxford Journals suggested that food proteins like gluten contain opiod peptides that may go from your gut to your brain and cause symptoms of various brain disorders such as schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease (3).
3) Gluten free can help to keep your thyroid glands healthy
Helping to keep your thyroid glands healthy is one of the benefits of gluten free. The structure of gliadin, the protein part of gluten is strongly similar to that of your thyroid gland. When you eat foods containing gluten, gliadin triggers an immune response that causes damage to the lining of your small intestine and disrupts your digestion. The antibodies also cause your immune system to attack your thyroid glands.
A study published in the Hepatogastroenterology Journal found a link between thyroid disease and gluten intolerance, it stated that if you have an autoimmune thyroid disease and you consume foods with gluten, your immune system attacks your thyroid glands (4)
There are numerous benefits to going gluten free but it is important to bear in mind that, because a food is labelled gluten free, it does not automatically make it healthy.
You should still always read the labels of gluten free foods.
- Quaka-Kchaou A, Ennaifer R, elloumi H, Gargouri D, Hefaiedh R, KochIef A, Romani M, Kharrat J, Ghorbel A (2008) Autoimmune Diseases in Coeliac Disease: Effect of Gluten Exposure. Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology, 1: 169-172 PUBMED.
- Ma Y, Olendzki B, Chiriboga D, Hebert J R, Li Y, Li W, Campbell M, Gendreau K, Ockene I S (2005) Association between Dietary Carbohydrates and Body Weight. American Journal of Epidemiology, 161: 359-367. OXFORD JOURNALS.
- Dohan F C (1988) Genetic Hypothesis of Idiopathic Schizophrenia: Its Exorphin Connection. Oxford Journals Schizophreniabulletin, 14: 489-494.
- Akcay M N, Akcay G (2003) The presence of the antigliadin antibodies in autoimmune thyroid disease. Hepatogastroenterology, 50 Suppl2:cclxxix-ccixxx