Struggling with Weight Loss?

One of the aspects of being in the fitness industry for 21 years is that I have seen so many phases, philosophies and fads ... they come and go... some are recycled. We totter from one trend to the next ever seeking the ultimate holy grail of easy weight loss.

Whilst there is no EASY way, as in take a magic pill and you lose 2 stone, if you're battling the bulge, menopause, adenopause (male hormonal changes), lack of energy, ... then I suggest you read on. Oh and if you have children in your life with sugar highs and lows ..... read on.

Carbohydrates and Weight / Health.

There are 3 Macronutrients - Carbs, Protein & Fat.

Over the years we have demonised them all - fat in particular but carbs has had its fair share with the likes of the Atkins Diet discussions.

Carbohydrates come in two main forms - sugars (such as fructose, glucose and lactose) and starches which are found in foods such as starchy vegetables (i.e. potatoes), grains, rice, bread and cereals. Essentially starch is long chains of glucose molecules. The body breaks down or converts most carbs into the sugar glucose which is absorbed into the bloodstream. The excess that the body does not need right there and then is converted into fat to be used later (but note if you then later eat more carbs you won't burn the fat as the instant carbs will be used first) and this cycle continues.

Our UK eating habits tend to favour carbs as a stalwart of our diet - in fact the NHS Live Well website states "It's recommended that you base all your meals around starchy carbohydrate foods and you choose higher fibre wholegrain varieties when you can".

Unfortunately most people tend to eat the type that we really don't need and eat too much which leads to a blood sugar roller coaster and leads to weight gain.

My personal philosophy is that there is no one size fits all in weight loss / healthy living for our body BUT there is one major crisis impacting us all - Excessive Carbohydrate Consumption - in many different ways.

We all have different body shapes, different metabolisms, different psychologies however we have all been subject to the massive societal carbohydrate flood in the shape of sugar which has led to a massive carb intake. Some even suggest Carb Addiction but others suggest comparing sugar to drugs and the like is making light of addiction.

We know obesity is a major factor in the top causes of death - mainly heart disease and stroke, and is a major risk factor for non communicable diseases like diabetes, musculoskeletal disorders and some cancers ..... and we know consuming high energy dense foods is a contributing factor to obesity ....

so why are we still reluctant to bite the bullet and call it out?

Because we like sugar. We like to think we are in control of our consumption. We have been told calorie controlled diets will help yet that doesn't explain why we still crave carbs and wreck the balance. We also get told carbs & protein have 4 cals per gram whilst alcohol has 7 and fat 9. So we tend to eat more carbs thinking that is less calories. There is one big BUT though,


Eating different foods results in different hormone reactions. Hormones impact our cellular behaviour and our human behaviour. Carb eating triggers insulin (a hormone) which regulates the metabolism of sugar - it will convert some to glycogen stores but only around 1500 calories worth can be stored and the rest is converted to fat which we have unlimited capacity to store. As well as affecting this cellular behaviour, hormone levels also change our human behaviour impacting our focus, hunger, cravings, motivation and our ability to stay on track.

Eating 100 Calories of fat is not the same as eating 100 Calories of carbohydrate.

When was the last time you binge ate steak in comparison to chocolate? When was the last time you drank 3 glasses of water in quick succession as opposed to 3 glasses of prosecco? That's because our hormones control the reactive processes and we develop insulin resistance.

And let's not forget the golden ration of fat and sugar that the manufacturers know just hit that 'sweet spot' making us want more and the marketing psychology of ice cream and afternoon teas with fizz that are marketed as indulgent and decadent to make us 'feel good'.

So what's the best way forward

- that depends on where you are at and it is why I say one size does not fit all. Someone who is already fat adapted i.e. their body fat is at a percentage and their body balance is such that they are eating and using the right balance in a day and can use their glycogen and fat stores efficiently is completely different to someone who is overweight and potentially has some level of insulin resistance.

If you are struggling to lose weight, have hormones wreaking havoc (menopause, adenopause, teenage years) then eating 6 small low carb meals (non processed, non starchy) is a good starting point - whilst this sounds tricky it's actually easy in practice with the right preparation and commitment. Then moving to fewer meals with not much carb at all becomes much easier and without the rollercoaster highs and lows of headaches, shakiness etc. The 6 small meals mean you never feel hungry whilst the body fat adapts and you don't experience cravings and all of which works with our natural body processes (our gastrointestinal tract is not designed to consume large quantities of veg or sugar at once).

Combine clever eating with smart exercise and a growth mindset and there's no limit to what you can achieve!

I appreciate this might sound tough, but I guarantee it can make you feel amazing - I live by this process and have created tailored plans for many clients - even incorporating holiday 'weight management' -and once you get to where you want to be you move onto a more lifestyle plan which means you never have to worry about the scales going up/down again.

We can also make it a win/win for our environment as we focus on locally produced seasonal produce. With the likes of the indigenous people in Peru & Bolivia no longer able to afford their staple quinoa due to its soaring superfood popularity in the USA & Europe - perhaps as we think about our food intake we should also take it as an opportunity to think about our global social responsibility....

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