Slow and steady – in this case – most definitely wins the race. It isn’t really a race… One of the most misconstrued ideas around weight-loss is that you need to dramatically cut calories in-order-to lose weight. It’s often accompanied by following strict rules and trying to stick to an unrealistic number of calories each day – does 1200 kcal sound familiar? The average energy intake for adults is approximately 2’080 kcal/day (8’700kj/day). Reducing your energy intake by approximately 500 kcal/day is the best place to start for most individuals – helping to reduce weight by approximately 0.5 kg/week.
In addition – that golden rule “Calories in = Calories out” – #not-always. What happens in the kitchen, doesn’t stay in the kitchen when it comes to weight loss – the biggest contributor to holding on to that extra weight is what you’re putting in your mouth, followed by how long you spend sitting on your bum – a lack of regular physical activity is a major contributor to weight-gain and hinders weight-loss.
So – here are some practical and easy guidelines you can follow:
Vegetables are your new best friend. The majority of your diet should consist of lots and lots of fresh vegetables, some fruits and clean-lean meats. Include smaller amounts of grains, nuts, legumes, and dairy/alternatives. Nuts are best when they’ve been soaked or dry-roasted to avoid enzyme inhibitors. Grains ideally should be sprouted or fermented making them easier to digest.
No need to cut all processed foods (Hello Raw Chocolate) out of your daily life – The idea is to reduce the amounts of not-so-healthy foods you’re having – try and stick to the serve size on the packet, if you choose to have one of those not-so-healthy treats. Applying the 80/20 rule to treats is key. Focus on the maximum amount of fresh vegetables and clean lean meats as the bulk of your energy sources.
The guidelines state adults aged 18 – 64 years should do AT LEAST 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity each week – Think walking/cycling to work, to the shops, taking the kids to school or household chores. For added benefits – increase your activity to 300 minutes per week. Strengthening your muscles is just as important – so be sure to spend two or more days per week strengthening those major muscle groups – think squats, lunges, push-ups and bent-over rows.
Sometimes the messages sent from our stomach to our brain, don’t get through – We may be so used to ignoring them that we don’t know what it feels like to be hungry, thirsty or full anymore. Practice listening to your body before you make your meals, while you’re eating and when you’ve finished – CHECK IN WITH YOURSELF.
There’s no need to fit into a diet ‘box’ when you’re trying to lose weight – enter ‘guideline’ number one above. Nutrient dense foods are the way to go as opposed to high energy dense foods. Carbohydrates often get a bad wrap – choose whole-grain, low GI carbohydrates and stick to portion/serve sizes and they’re not as bad as they’re made out to be. If you decide to follow one of those ‘low-carbohydrate diets’ by limiting your carbohydrate intake to 60 – 130g/day – the body starts to metabolise glycogen stored for utilisation as energy – weight loss here is largely due to glycogen breakdown and water/other fluid losses rather than fat loss (and that is hardly ideal).
Creating a state of Ketosis can assist in weight-loss. Ketosis occurs when your body is using fat for energy rather than glucose. Ketosis begins when you consume less than 50g/day of carbohydrates. The reduction in insulin is accompanied by an increase in the breakdown of fat. The liver begins to create more ketones to supply the brain with energy. If you chose to create that state of Ketosis, make sure the rest of your food intake consists of lots of fresh vegetables, healthy fats (mono and polyunsaturated) and lean protein (fish, nuts, legumes, and poultry).
Intermittent fasting can also induce mild ketosis, generally developing after a 12- to 14-hour fast – generally fasting for two out of seven days has shown benefits for some people. Reports of increased energy and regulated hunger signals (meaning you’re eating less in general on the non-fast days thereby promoting weight loss in the long term) are common statements from people who have followed it over the long term. During those fasting days – energy intake can be as low as 500 kcal/day (which if you remember is the amount that you reduce energy intake by for healthy weight loss over the long term) – this limits the amount of food you can consume – This is where juicing can have lasting and significant benefits.
Fresh juices contain lots of vitamins and minerals that help cleanse our bodies, helping them function at their best. Juices packed with veggies rather than fruit are the greatest – Think cucumber, celery, lime and some green apple – Hello Zingy Energy! On those fasting days – vegetable juices are fantastic because they’re packed with flavour while being lower in energy/calories, keeping you within the reduced energy range suitable for weight loss. Juicing can also be added to the non-fasting days as well – ‘a freshly pressed juice each day keeps the doctor away’.
This blog was written by Tess Heinonen who has collaborated with Passion 4 Juice, over several years. Tess is currently completing her Masters in Nutrition and Dietetics at Sydney University. She has completed clinical placements at Alice Springs Hospital and at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney.