Here at Aussie Pharmacy, we are all about body positivity. It is so incredibly important to feel at ease in the skin you’re in, and I kind of like that we have moved away from only seeing the super skinny appearing in fashion magazines. Don’t get me wrong, we should still see slender people, but we should also be seeing more from people who are a bit more solid. After all, this is a better cross section of our society. The human body is a beautiful thing!
So please don’t hear me speaking about losing weight as some kind of indictment on not being skinny. It just remains a medical fact that shedding extra kilos is good for your health. Does that mean we all need to count calories and never eat a carb ever again? Do we all need to weigh 60kg on the dot? Of course not. It is relative to your body size. I am personally at my healthiest at around 87kg. Currently, I’m about 10kg off that, and there are no prizes for guessing which way. Here are a few ways I am planning on shedding a few kilos over the next few months.
Get more protein into my diet.
If you’re anything like me, you prepare meals at the beginning of the day, but about 11 o’clock, you’ve either finished your lunch, or you’ve ducked next door for a croissant. The cravings have kicked in and your whole day is off balance. If you can switch to a protein rich diet (particularly for breakfast), you’re going to find those cravings lose their kick. Protein helps keep you feeling full for longer, and it also burns more kilojoules as your body breaks it down into energy.
Cut out juice.
This is devastating news. But the reason I crave juice is because it is ultimately a sugar hit. It is barely any different from drinking a soft drink. Your body will stockpile that sugar as fat because in years gone by, sugar was such a rarity, that the body tried to drip feed it in for as long as possible. Now, even our bread is filled with sugar and we end up consuming it in ways we never expected.
Get onto whole foods
This can feel like one of those buzzwords that feels quite ‘in’ at the moment. But this isn’t just a millennial fad; it is actually moving back towards the eating habits of humanity for the last couple of thousand years. Essentially, you are trying to eat foods that closely resemble the way they were produced in nature. A tomato? Great example of whole food. Bubble gum? Not so much. If the food is naturally produced, it is almost always better for you than that which man has processed in a lab.
Slow down when I eat
I was the youngest of four siblings, and sadly, that old cliche was true of my house; you had to eat it before someone else stole it off your plate. The dinner table descended into a savanna as I jealously guarded my lamb kofta, wary of my brother who was flanking me to the left and (shockingly) dad who was taking birds eye peeks from the right. But this awful habit affects your weight because in the 21st century western world, we overeat. And we do it so quickly, that our bodies haven’t had the time to register that they are full. Our stomach expands slowly. Rinse and repeat. Before you know it, you are eating twice what you actually need and it doesn’t seem unusual.
Pay attention to my sleep
Strange as this might sound, your sleep is incredibly important to your metabolic process. When you are asleep your body works more efficiently at breaking down your food. When you are awake, we are actually charging our hormones to grow our appetite; we are more likely to eat more food, and more likely to seek out the kinds of foods that give us that quick (but unhealthy) hit of energy. This is why if you have ever woken up incredibly early, you often find yourself gearing up for lunch by 10:30.
Death, taxes, and being told to do more exercise. It feels like the inevitable piece of health advice which most of us just don’t want to hear. This is linked to sleep, as research has found that if we don’t get 7-8 hours of sleep on a given night, our Co2 max is reduced by as much as 75% the following day. So if you don’t sleep, you can’t exercise as efficiently, you are eating more food, and the vicious cycle continues on. In general, you should aim for thirty minutes of moderate exercise a day. If you baulk at that suggestion, you could try getting some incidental exercise in: reduce your sitting time, walk to the photocopier that isn’t two feet from your desk. It all adds up.
Find a supplement
I’ll be honest, I don’t do well when I am hungry. My mind wanders, I am a little bit more abrupt than I usually am. Some people can make friends with hunger; I have a restraining order out against it. So I will often supplement these first six approaches with something like Optifast bars. While they aren’t the silver bullet to weight loss, Optifast bars just fill the gap so that I am not constantly staring at the fridge in between meals. As a pharmacist, I am often sceptical of products that make big claims, but there are over 80 clinical studies which support the fact that Optifast bars are an effective way to help you along on your weight loss journey.
The reality is, none of these will work on their own. They need to be balanced together, but weight loss is genuinely possible if you stick with it. This is even more likely if you find someone to do it with you. Misery loves company after all…