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Weight loss/maintenance does not have to be a harrowing experience

Losing weight can be a necessity or a desire. The former can happen when an individual is clinically overweight, and has their wellness jeopardised by various weight related ailments. These may include Type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, high blood pressure etc.

 A desire to lose weight is unlikely to be life threatening, but can cause anxiety nonetheless.

Many find the weight loss journey to be quite difficult. This is usually because they embark on various diets that require them to severely restrict foods. The ‘forbidden’ foods are often carbohydrates (carbs).

A significant reduction in carbs will result in weight loss. The big question is, will this loss be sustainable. It often is not and typically will result in the weight that was lost being regained plus extra.

Let’s look at what causes rapid weight loss with these low carb diets and why it is often unsustainable. A severely reduced carb diet, causes the body to go into ketosis. This is a process that occurs when there isn’t sufficient carbohydrates in the body to be utilised for energy. During ketosis, the body burns fat and uses it instead of glucose for energy. This causes weight loss.

Clearly low carb diets cause weight loss. They are difficult to maintain, for sustained periods though, as the forbidden carbs are often craved. When an attempt is made to ignore these cravings, headaches, anxiety and crankiness can be experienced. Eating this way is not enjoyable. These unpleasant feelings were certainly my experience. And I know many who have had similar experiences. Have you?

When the cravings which are typically strong and persistent are succumbed to, the resumption of the consumption of carbs is often in an uncontrollable manner. The outcome here is usually excess weight gain...all that was previously lost plus some. Yikes!

Many are unable to cope on severely restricted carb eating plans for sustained periods, and really should not have to. There are more sustainable ways to lose weight.

 I like the way the nutritionist Lisa Drayer, a CNN contributor, puts it. "The keto diet is just not sustainable long term. It doesn't teach you how to acquire healthy eating habits. It’s good for a quick fix, but most people I know can hardly give up pasta and bread, let alone beans and fruit." The keto eating plan, is one of the popular weight loss diets that severely limits carbs, and so causes the body to go into ketosis as mentioned earlier.

Not all carbs are equal. Carbs can be healthy, not so healthy and unhealthy.

Examples of the former, healthy carbs are a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains, minimally processed, before they are eaten. The not so healthy carbs, include those that have been compromised in their preparation before consumption. This can include the addition of processed sugar to vegetable and/or fruit and other smoothies to make them sweeter. This is why it is so important to read food labels carefully. A good example of unhealthy carbs are those found in highly processed foods. Please see my previous blog, titled ‘Overly processed foods the bane of good health.’

It is possible to consume moderate amounts of healthy carbs, in combination with healthy proteins and healthy fats and lose weight. Examples of healthy carbs, are various fruits like papaya, water melon, pineapples, guava, berries, and apples. Vegetables like spinach, collard greens, kale, bitter leaf, other green leafy vegetables, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, green beans, sweet potatoes, asparagus, artichokes, aubergines and legumes. Also whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and oats. Nuts and seeds also contain healthy carbs.

Examples of healthy proteins include lean cuts of various meats,poultry, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds.

Examples of healthy fats are avocados, whole eggs, fatty fish, extra virgin oil, nuts and seeds.

I will say it again...it is possible to eat a variety of these healthy foods in moderation and lose/maintain weight. That's what I did to lose weight over 30 years ago, and have continued by tweaking (increasing) the amounts eaten to maintain my weight. Let's not forget exercise, it is also important in moderation, to lose and/or maintain our weight and stay healthy too.

The desire to lose weight to fit into an outfit for an occasion is often the driving force to embark on diets that promise a quick fix. Consider this scenario, an individual who is unhappy with their weight gets invited to a wedding in 6-8 weeks time. They have an idea of what they want to wear, how they want to look at this  event. An outfit is purchased or one previously purchased is chosen. The attempt to lose the required weight to fit into the outfit begins. It usually involves a highly restricted carb eating plan. In more extreme cases fruit and/or vegetable juice fasts are embarked on for extended periods. Many succeed in their weight loss goals; but remember that it is often, all very quickly regained. Others are unsuccessful, disappointed, and uncertain about what to wear…

Life does not have to be so miserable. Let's first be intentional about getting to our healthy weight, so that we are well to fulfil our purpose; not just to look good for an occasion. Do you think that's impossible. I am here to tell you, that it is not. I made a life changing decision over 30 years ago to lose weight. Being successful in this quest, requires a lifestyle change, which takes time.

Very often what happens after the fleeting weight loss and it's rapid regain is a harrowing sense of failure and/or another attempt to lose weight. The latter can very quickly begin the yoyo dieting phenomenon, which has absolutely no benefits.

Other possible pitfalls of low carb weight loss plans are boredom with our meals, as too many foods are forbidden, constipation, increased cholesterol levels, resulting in strokes, etc.

Our good God has graciously blessed us with a wide variety of healthy foods.

Genesis 2:16-17 NIV

And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

Proponents of various weight loss diets classify an assortment of foods as forbidden. Our Heavenly Father labelled the fruit of ONLY one tree as such. Who do you give more credence to? God or others? Food for thought right?

Our Heavenly Father did not bless us with so many different plants as food, only for us to eat a very limited variety; and expect long-term success, with our weight loss/maintenance goals. The avoidance of so many fruits, veggies, legumes and whole grains is the focal point of many weight loss eating plans.

As long as we live, we must eat. It is in our best interest, to develop a healthy relationship with food. Moderate exercise is also essential for good health. My book 'Moderation Is Key' will show you how to strike the right balance with what you eat and how you exercise.

 Eating a variety of the foods God has blessed us with in moderation does not ail us. Indeed it can aid weight loss and/or maintenance and keep us healthy and energised. That's how I lost weight over thirty years ago and have kept it off. It can work for you too.

Have you truly tried eating this way, without success? Perhaps you have an underlying condition/s. These will have to be medically treated first. I discuss some of these in Chapter 10, titled 'Cannot seem to lose weight?' of my book.

Losing weight does not have to be a daunting experience, as it often is with eating plans in which carbs are severely reduced. IT IS POSSIBLE TO ACHIEVE OUR WEIGHT LOSS GOAL, KEEP IT OFF AND ENJOY OUR FOOD, ALL AT THE SAME TIME. The key lies in eating moderate amounts of real, nutrient dense foods...healthy carbs, healthy proteins and healthy fats and exercising too. Moderation is key.

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