Read an Excerpt
QUICK METABOLISM BOOSTER
Deep belly breathing boosts your metabolism—and when your metabolism is boosted, you are burning more calories.
- Stand up.
- Place one hand on your stomach.
- Breathe deeply and slowly, through your nose, as if you could breathe into the depths of your stomach.
- Repeat for 5 breaths.
does not mean
Before reaching for a snack, have a glass of water.
When you are thirsty your body can send out hunger signals, because it knows that you can get water from food.
Drink some water and you might find that your hunger disappears.
Q: How can you burn more calories watching TV at night?
A: Exercise in the morning!
This will boost your metabolism for the rest of the day.
Even when you are sitting in front of the TV in the evening you will be burning more calories than normal.
UNWANTED FOOD CRAVING?
Rub the area between your nose and your top lip with your index finger for about a minute.
This is a soothing point that will comfort you and reduce your craving.
When you hug someone you feel better.
When you feel better you eat better.
So go on—have a cuddle.
THE TEMPTATION BATTLE
Sometimes it feels like a battle is going on in your mind. A part of you knows you are not hungry and really don’t want that cookie—but the other part of you is trying to convince yourself that it’s okay to eat it—that after all, you deserve it.
Win the temptation battle!
If you find yourself tempted by snack food—like a bag of chips, a handful of M&Ms, or a late-night bowl of ice cream—try this exercise:
Touch the front part of your ear, that bit of cartilage that sticks out in front of your ear canal. Now, rub it between your thumb and index finger for a few minutes.
This is a strong acupressure point. Rubbing it will help turn off cravings by redirecting your energy and lowering your appetite.
The chemicals at work in your body: insulin
Insulin is a hormone produced by your body, which allows it to absorb sugar. Here’s how it works:
• Insulin is produced by the pancreas to absorb sugar from your bloodstream.
• Refined carbohydrates, which are essentially sugars, are quickly absorbed into your bloodstream after a meal.
• After you eat a large amount of refined carbohydrates, your body rushes to produce enough insulin to absorb the high level of sugars in your blood.
• But when your blood-sugar levels inevitably drop you will probably feel hungry, irritable, and cranky.
The white carbohydrates and sugar hunger trap
Imagine a small child who has just eaten a huge bag of candy. You know what happens next—his energy will skyrocket and you’ll practically have to peel him off the ceiling! Then before you know it, he’ll crash—and he’ll be irritable, unhappy, and likely to throw a tantrum. The same thing happens to adults when we eat processed foods—only instead of having a tantrum, we tend to reach for more comfort foods. Here’s how the chemistry works:
When you eat a bowl of pasta or a slice of cake. . . .
• Your blood sugar zooms up.
• Your body releases more and more insulin to cope with the sudden increase.
• This excess insulin now causes your blood-sugar levels to plummet.
• As a result you feel hungry, tired, and irritable.
• You crave more food.
• You gain weight.
• More important, this can lead to type 2 diabetes.*
How can you stabilize your blood sugar?
Eating protein (eggs, turkey, chicken) or unrefined carbohydrates (that’s brown pasta, brown rice, and whole wheat or multigrain bread) prevents your blood-sugar levels from plummeting, instead causing a more gradual rise in blood-sugar levels.
When you stabilize your blood sugar:
• You feel fuller for longer.
• You eat less.
• You have more energy.
• You feel happier.
• You naturally lose weight.
Slim people stop eating when
they are no longer hungry.
Overweight people stop
eating when they are full.
AFTERNOON ENERGY BOOST
It’s 4 p.m. You are tired, and you need an energy boost.
Try this exercise as an alternative to going to the vending machine.*
- Stand up.
- Start marching, lifting your knees high and swinging the opposite arms.
- Now shift to marching with the same-side arms and legs moving together.
- Repeat for a minute or two.
Beware, beware the bliss point . . .
This is a special point in your brain that is stimulated by foods containing excessive amounts of fat, salt, and sugar.
Think pizzas, cookies, and battered chicken.
Your brain loves it when this point is stimulated—it’s like a drug, and your brain doesn’t want this feeling to end.
Part of your brain is going to try to keep you eating more and more of this food.
Even if you are full—stuffed—it will still want you to eat more.
When the bliss point takes over, you just can’t stop eating. You are out of control.
Be aware of the foods that trigger this for you—this is what some manufacturers work toward. They want you to crave more and more of their product. Avoid those foods—they will beat any willpower!
If you recognize this behavior, then you need to avoid the foods that cause it.
Is all hunger the same?
Physical Hunger Comes hours after your last meal. This is a real hunger—one that you need to pay attention to. Emotional Hunger Is caused by a negative or positive emotional trigger and can hit you any time of the day, even if you have just eaten. This type of hunger makes you gain weight.
POSITIVE MIND AND BODY BOOST
This exercise will help you to feel good and to reconnect with your body.
- Stand up.
- Bring your hands in front of your chest in prayer position. As you inhale deeply, raise your hands, still in prayer position, above your head and look up.
- Hold this position as you inhale and exhale deeply for a couple of breaths. On your next out breath, bring your hands back in front of your chest. Repeat 3 times.
- Each time you raise your hands, feel yourself rooting into the ground as you simultaneously stretch toward the sky.
- Finish by tapping the top of your head with your fingertips, like raindrops. Notice how much calmer and lighter you feel.
As you go about your day, periodically tune into your body, and recall the sensation of peace and ease that you felt as you finished this exercise.
When you feel better you eat better.
Forget about eating right
Eating better is easier than eating right.*
Eating right all the time can be hard work and depressing. Plus, you will probably fail—and when you do, you will then feel that much worse.
You can succeed at eating better than you have before. You can feel good about yourself and the positive changes that you are making.
When you fail at eating right, you will feel bad. When you feel bad you are more likely to comfort eat. This is what restrictive diets do to you.
Eating better makes you feel good. It’s about the many small accomplishments that add up to a big change. Most important, it allows you to be human—and humans make mistakes!
Pay attention to what you are eating.
Binge eaters don’t taste
what they are eating.
Notice your food. Smell your food.
Chew slowly. Savor the tastes and
textures of each mouthful.
Appreciate your food.
Stop forbidding certain foods
Why should you? Try this:
Don’t think of pink elephants.
I’ll bet you did!
Now say to yourself, “I’m not having chocolate, no chocolate, no chocolate.”
What does your brain hear?
Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate
This will beat even the strongest willpower. Because you were so fixated on forbidding chocolate, it was all you could think about—and you ate a pound of it.
Instead, allow yourself a bit of chocolate and open up your thoughts and your energy for other, better things.
Are you hungry?
Put your hand on your stomach and notice how your stomach is really feeling.
Ignoring real physical hunger until you are starving causes your body to slow down, as it thinks there is a famine and it must save energy.
When this happens, you stop burning calories.
Then when you do eat, your body is worried that this might be all the food there is, and it will store reserves (on your stomach and butt) and make you eat extra, just in case there is another famine on the way.
So when you are hungry—EAT!
And place your hand on your stomach once
an hour, just to see how it is feeling.
You have probably been ignoring your stomach
for years—it could do with a bit of attention.
Eat with awareness.
Stop eating when you are
no longer hungry.
Feel that excess weight melt away.
. . . It really is that simple.
Are all calories the same?
Rate at which food leaves your stomach:
- Protein: around 4 calories per minute
- Sugar and carbohydrates: up to 30 calories per minute
Eating high-protein foods will keep you fuller for longer, as they take more time for your stomach to digest.
As a result, you will eat less and lose more weight.
The chemicals at work in your body: serotonin
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, which is made in your body from tryptophan.
Serotonin is responsible for your “happy feeling.” It also helps regulate moods, causing you to feel calmer and to sleep well.
Low serotonin levels have been linked to feeling emotionally low.
Eating refined carbohydrates will result in a short-term boost in serotonin, but the pleasure this leads to will quickly disappear as your blood-sugar levels rapidly drop, leaving you feeling tired and down.
To maintain stable levels of serotonin it is important to eat foods containing tryptophan—salmon, turkey, almonds, bananas, avocados, eggs, and also complex carbohydrates, like oatmeal or whole wheat.
If dieting in the past has left you feeling melancholy or unhappy, it’s probably because you weren’t taking proper care of your serotonin levels. When you begin to change your diet, it is important that you support your body with things that will promote both your physical and mental well-being.
Real mood boosters
Serotonin is a chemical in the brain that triggers positive emotions. But it also exists in large quantities in the gut. There is a complex relationship between the stomach and the brain, which makes it very important to look after your body’s serotonin levels.
You can start by paying attention to the foods you are eating, as some contain tryptophan. Your body needs tryptophan in order to make serotonin, so there are literally some foods that can boost your mood and your energy.
There are other ways, besides food, to boost your serotonin levels.
Spending time with friends
All these make you feel better, and as a result you will eat better—and be more motivated to look after your body.
Aspartame can deplete your
serotonin levels, causing
you to feel down.
As a result, you might crave comfort foods and fall into the trap of emotional eating.
Since many low-fat and low-calorie foods contain aspartame, beware—this is one of the ways that some so-called “diet foods” can lead to weight gain.
Protein stabilizes blood sugar
and reduces your appetite;
it will reduce the amount
of food you eat in a day.
Good sources of protein include
grilled chicken, eggs, fish, tofu,
almonds, pumpkin seeds, beans.
Listen Listen Listen
Listen to your body: when it is
When you eat, choose something
good for your body.
Your body will believe that
there is plenty of food, and your
metabolism will speed up.
*As discussed in “Increased consumption of refined carbohydrates and the epidemic of type 2 diabetes in the United States: an ecologic assessment,” by Lee S. Gross, Li Li, Earl S. Ford, and Simin Liu, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 79, No. 5, 774–779, May 2004.
*An applied kinesiology technique.
*As discussed in the excellent book The End of Overeating by David A. Kessler.
*As discussed in Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink, New York: Bantam, 2010.
*As discussed in “Direct and indirect cellular effects of aspartame on the brain,” by P. Humphries, E. Pretorius, and H. Naude, European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 62, No. 4, 451–462, May 2008.
© 2011 Kimberly Willis