The sun is out, the sky is blue… are you dreading showing what is you? Esther Mills-Roberts looks at smart slimming solutions.
You envy them. The slim ones in the shorts and tees. Whilst they strut their stuff around town, you’re hell-bent on keeping your winter tights or trousers on because once they’re off… the wobble is set free. And if you’re the kind of person who’s struggled with weight for years, it’s an annual cycle that isn’t going away. There’s only one thing for it – accept the weight or shift it. But how?
What kind of eater?
Over the years, research studies have shown that people eat in all kinds of different ways. You might have heard about some of them:
- The pickers: Dipping in and out of eating, picking at food as if it doesn’t really exist and certainly isn’t worthy of any preparation.
- The grazers: No matter what time of day, just keep up a steady stream of food as long as it’s small and tasty.
- The stuffers: Don’t eat much, but when they do, it’s really happening. Food is rushed, barely chewed and more than likely ends up with indigestion.
- The abstainers: Don’t eat for most of the day and aren’t really all that interested in whether they will.
So, how are you going to make sure that you’re looking slim and sassy this summer? What’s out there to help you on your way?
Detox me slim
If you’re the kind of person who needs a short, sharp focus, then detox plans are a great way to focus your mind and your attention into a slimming mindset. Detoxes provide the body with a break from regular eating cycles. Many practitioners believe in the concept of giving the gut a ‘break’ from the many stodgy and often fibre-low foods that are typically eaten. By having a diet based mostly on liquids or fruits and vegetables, there is plenty in the diet to encourage the bowels to clear, which can often lead to weight loss. Of course, this is only because of the bowels not carrying bulky, heavy load, but it’s still good to get rid of it as having the biproducts of food in the intestinal tract can increase toxic load in the body.
Fast me slim
Fasting is emerging as an interesting health concept, with studies showing that a fast can help to increase immune function and blood sugar balance. Fasting can really help you get back in tune with your inherent hunger signalling. Many people who overeat lose touch with what it is to feel hungry and a fast can really help to reconnect with this. Start small first – a one day fast is enough. The concept of intermittent fasting, which involves going without food for around 16 hours of each day, has become very popular.
Whilst fasting, it’s important to have plenty of fluids and many choose to keep this simple, choosing herbal or fruit teas. When fasting, it’s helpful to keep health benefits in mind rather than just thinking about a calorie deficit for weight loss. This is because you need to keep properly hydrated, and once you begin to eat again, you’ll gain the weight that you lost when you step back on the scales. Seek advice from a practitioner about the length and type of fast that’s suitable for you.
Fill me slim
One of the most recognised ways that supplements can work for slimming is to make people feel full. This is how supplements such as glucomannan work. They bulk out in the stomach making it feel fuller for longer. Other supplements work by delaying the rate at which food is released from the stomach into the rest of the intestines. Examples of this include fibre, guar or hoodia.
CLA me slim
If you’re more or less in control of your eating (that is you know what you need to change and why), and you’re reasonably fit, then the supplement that’s perfect for you is CLA. Conjugated linoleic acid is a ‘smart’ slimming supplement, working with a balanced diet and exercise to favourably change the ratio of fat to lean in your body. This is especially good for yo-yo dieters who have, on a regular basis, gained and lost around 10kg. The body’s biochemistry doesn’t like this and puts back less and less lean tissue every time weight is regained. In short, you become wobblier, and wobblier. CLA can help you to buck this trend. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and wholegrain products and increase your activity whilst taking CLA, and you will tone up more effectively.
Sugar balance me slim
Blood sugar balance is really important for slimming, especially those who are prone to mood swings when they’re hungry. For many years, natural health practitioners have recommended chromium to help manage sugar cravings. It’s worth noting that concentrated fruit juices and smoothies are high in free sugars, so if you’re having them, you should counter the effects of a rushed sugar rise by adding some fat-containing foods such as nuts or seeds, or eat them with protein-containing foods such as cheese, yoghurt or milk.
Bind me slim
One of the most common slimming supplements is chitosan which binds to fat in the stomach and renders it useless. This is most useful for people who are used to eating high fat meals typical of junk food – whether they’re savoury or sweet. However, fat isn’t all bad – it carries fat soluble nutrients such as vitamins A, D, E and K. Often, practitioners recommend a supplement of these nutrients to go alongside fat-binding slimming supplements. It’s also really important to make sure that you have your vitamin D levels assessed, as government advice it to take a 10 microgram supplement even when you’re not on fat-blinding slimming formulations – which will greatly increase your need for good intakes of this nutrient.
Metabolise me slim
Supplements that support metabolism aim to do one of three things. Firstly, there are supplements (such as kelp, which is a natural source of iodine needed for the thyroid gland) to help regulate metabolic rate. Secondly, there are those taken for their ‘thermogenic’ effect – which means that it increases metabolic rate (such as caffeine, guarana, chilli or ginger). Thirdly, there are ones that provide nutrients needed to make important cofactors for the energy-producing metabolic pathway (such as a general multi-nutrient).
Some simple switches
When trying to manage your weight, don’t forget the simple steps:
What you use to quench thirst is important. Five cups of tea with an average amount of semi-skimmed milk adds nearly 200kcals. A semi-skimmed medium latte adds over 300kcals.
Cut out carbonated sugary drinks. There are so many other healthy options; fruit and vegetable juices, strongly flavoured cordials or mineral waters.
Got fluid retention? Consider herbal formulations including dandelion and nettle, but don’t restrict your fluid intake unduly. It’s easy to get to the recommended eight glasses of fluid daily.
About Esther Mills-Roberts
Esther Mills-Roberts is a degree-trained nutritional biochemist and registered nutritionist. She has a private practice in Stratford Upon Avon.
Esther studied nutrition and biochemistry at Nottingham University and worked for a number of nutritional supplement companies before eventually setting up as a consultant on nutritional marketing, PR, quality standard, labelling and new product development.
She has also lectured and educated many about the science of nutrition, written for a number of health titles, written her own books and has featured on both TV and radio. Esther is a member of the Guild of Health Writers, London.