How Appetite and Weight Loss Work – The Basics

A huge challenge facing the modern Western world is the issue of weight gain. In today’s society, convenience is a huge priority, as many of us are overworked, always busy, and often rushing between commitments in order to try and keep up with the demands of the lives we lead. Because of these busier lives, many of us are eating in a way that is not conducive to optimum health levels.

craving for food

Never before has fast food and junk food been so accessible, so cheap, and so ‘easy’. And not only fast food that’s easy to spot as damaging to your health from miles away – but food that presents itself as healthy, but in actual food, is swiftly leading to an over-eating epidemic, with many in our society ingesting a far higher rate of calories on a daily basis than the amount we are burning off through exercise or our day-to-day activity. Pair that with the fact that an increased number of us have desk jobs, that see us sitting in front of computers for over eight hours a day with hardly any movement – and it’s a recipe for an obesity epidemic. Already, numbers in western countries such as America, the UK and Australia and New Zealand are on the rise, with the highest recorded rates of obesity in the history of the world at play. This is a problem that not only causes issues for the individual but also for society, as healthcare systems struggle to keep up with the increased pressure on their resources that come with dealing with chronic illnesses which are associated with overweight patients.

The statistics alone are staggering when you take a look at the rate of overweight and obese individuals who are struggling with their weight. In 2017, more than two-thirds of grown adults fall into either the overweight or obese category. These statistics are deeply concerning, as carrying too much weight can lead to an increased risk of chronic illnesses, multiple health problems, and a shorter life expectancy. Not only that, but people who are overweight also often report a lower quality of life, as they find it more difficult to do everyday things such as walking, running, household chores, or playing with family and friends.

food cravings when pregnant

So how do we address this problem? We’re overrun with options – we have gyms, gadgets, and smartphones, smart watches, and tailored personal exercise programs, healthy food delivery services. It’s not a matter of not having access to the tools needed to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Sadly, many of us have these tools right in reach, and just are either choosing not to reach for them or aren’t quite sure what to do with them when we do.

why do i crave spicy food

One of the huge issues that are incorporated into this complex weight crisis is the hyper-saturated culture we live in, that fuel our screens and our computers with moment-by-moment updates. Because of this, ‘fad’ diets can spread like wildfire, filling people with hope as they look at strategically placed before-and-after photos; desperate to look like the people they see on screen. However, many of these diets are presented in a way that promises great results but isn’t backed by the science required in order to actually see these results achieved. Over the years, many of these diets have risen to prominence because of one element or another, but not many have proven themselves true against the test of time. However, for every fad diet that falls over, another emerges from the wings to take its place and vie for people’s money, time and emotional attention.

There is good news for those out there looking to lose weight: once you understand the science of your body and how it operates, you will be far better equipped to tackle this issue head-on, without fear, and with a clear understanding of how to achieve a healthier, happier you.

Diet Myths and Legends

skipping meal mythLet’s begin with the first damaging and unhelpful thought that circles around diets: ‘maybe if I skip meals as much as I can, I’ll lose weight!’ Whilst this might prove as a short-term way to achieve some weight loss, this is a dangerous way to go about it and will see negative impacts across your body as your metabolism deals with the confusion of not receiving food as regularly as is required for proper function. Too many people believe that the key lies in willpower, and in telling themselves to ignore hunger cravings, and will approach a diet with the mentality of ‘how can I make myself not want to eat?’ It’s not going to achieve much if you’re trying to battle your body into submission every time you look to lose weight. Instead, you need to understand a number of calories your body truly requires, and how to remain under that limit on a day-to-day basis without causing yourself extreme angst, or short-term or long-term damage.

The Scientific Information Behind Weight Gain

And this is where the benefit of science and math comes in! When we eat food, our bodies turn that food into a source of energy, which is represented by a number of calories in those foods. These calories are burned up in the process of fuelling our bodies – of letting us walk, talk, laugh, run, and ensuring our brain remains functional at all times. It’s no easy job, being a calorie! However, the trouble with weight gain takes place when we begin to consume more calories on a daily basis than our body is ‘spending’. When this occurs, our body has no option but to store the excess calories as fat, which begins to sit on different organs across the body. This fat reduces our body from operating at its prime to carrying around the anatomical version of excess baggage. Not only do many people struggle with the way their bodies appear physically when they’ve gained and stored fat, but this fat can lead to increased risk when it comes to many health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, strokes, blood clots, and so on.

It’s in our best interest to keep our bodies operating at their prime level – after all, we’re only ever going to receive one of them! Keep in mind as you embark on this learning journey that it’s not just about ‘losing weight’ – instead, you should embrace a healthy lifestyle that is going to leave you feeling nourished, whole and full of energy for what each day holds.

The way our bodies operate is simple: calories in, vs. calories out. If we eat too many calories without ‘spending’ them, our body begins to save them. Of course, this is an oversimplified paradigm and only tells a small part of a much larger story.

However, unlike that warm feeling we get when we see our financial savings piling up in our bank account, we don’t feel quite as overjoyed when we see the calories saved and stored as fat piling up on our hips and thighs. If only we could easily trade one for the other!

The body’s metabolism is different from person to person, but one constant remains – it is responsible for the way calories are used and the rate at which they are spent. Some people have fast metabolisms, meaning they metabolize calories quickly, and there is less opportunity for these calories to turn into fat. However, other people have slow metabolisms, and can almost immediately see the result of excess eating turning up as extra fat stored on different parts of their body. Age is something that can slow down metabolism – it’s one of the sad facts of life when people realize they simply cannot eat the way their teenage selves did without seeing the results turn up on their stomachs if they’re not exercising enough.

The way our bodies use calories differs depending on the organ/function. For example, muscle tissue is denser than fat, and therefore requires a higher amount of energy in order to maintain itself. This means that people with more muscles spend more calories on a daily basis simply to keep their bodies functioning, which makes a strong point for a focus on the increase of muscle building for those who are looking to lose weight in a way that will last for the long-term.

Understanding the simple facts that calories turn into energy, which is either spent by the body in upkeep or is stored as excess fat if there are too many calories in the body at one time, helps to paint a clearer picture for how to truly lose weight in a safe and sustainable way. By avoiding fat diets that are designed to bring fast results in an unsustainable manner, we have a far better chance of working with our bodies, rather than against them, to reach a weight that we’re happy with and that is healthiest for us each as individuals.

How to Approach a Diet – The Facts

lose weight fastThe average woman will need to consume roughly 1600-2000 calories a day if they live a mainly sedentary lifestyle to maintain her weight. If she was looking to lose weight, the key would be to reduce calories by a small amount each day, in a consistent manner, that allows for a slow but steady process to occur where the body turns to the stored fat for fuel in order to make up for its intake deficit (again, this is something you should only look to do within a healthy range). One of the keys to losing weight without feeling hungry is to look at the foods that are making up your daily caloric intake. If you fill those 2,000 calories with empty junk food with no nutritional value, you’ll find it’ll only take a few chocolate bars before you hit your limit – but sadly, you won’t stay full for too long. Instead, you want to focus on consuming food that keeps you full for longer and allows you to lose weight without feeling hungry on a constant basis.

One of the best methods you can adopt in looking to keep your weight at a safe level is to become very familiar with what an average meal looks like. It’s often surprising how many calories we consume mindlessly. Knowing how to create a balanced meal, with a mixture of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates is a great way to keep your calories in check whilst ensuring you’re providing your body with the nourishment it needs and deserves.

The Internet is a great source of inspiration for how to eat in a healthy manner without giving up on variety. Embracing a wide range of vegetables, herbs, spices and grains will let you continue to play with many different flavors that do not have damaging sugars or a high amount of complex carbohydrates in their ingredients lists. Nowadays, there are also many famous chefs who are writing cookbooks designed around healthy eating, so take a look at your local bookstore or library for meal inspiration.

cleaning out your pantry

Another crucial tip in ensuring your pantry, fridge, and office remain safe in terms of ‘negative’ foods is to be careful in how you grocery shop. You’ll do best to ‘shop the perimeter’ – stocking up on fresh fruit, vegetables, meats, eggs, dairy (cheese and yogurts are great tools in providing a source of healthy fats that promote satiation), nuts and grains. By staying away from the middle aisles, you avoid loading up on carbohydrate and calorie-heavy snacks, sauces, pre-made meals and terrible dinner options. Your meals should be made with fresh ingredients, locally sourced when possible, and in a way that lets you eat to your palette without deadening your palette by ingesting excess salt or sugar. You’ll be surprised at how good food begins to taste in its natural state once your palette has had a chance to reset itself – flavors emerge once more and everything becomes much tastier as is!

Oh, and it’s also important to understand the connection between a good night’s sleep and weight loss. Research has proven that those who are sleeping for under five hours a night have a 73% chance of becoming obese, compared to people who are sleeping 7 hours or more. That’s a staggering statistic! Whilst 8 hours is the goal, 7 hours will also let you reap the benefits of a solid night’s sleep.

We’ve all been there before – heading out the door to work after a terrible night’s sleep. You can feel how your body is responding to your needs in a far less productive manner and how you’re lethargic, weak, tiresome and irritable. By getting the sleep you need each night, you’ll be empowered to make better choices when it comes to food, will have more energy for exercise and for your daily needs, and will significantly lower your risk of obesity by a huge percentage.

losing weight by sleeping well

One fatal mistake you could make early on in your diet process is expecting miracle results overnight. It’s important to think about this practically. If it took you two years to gain twenty pounds, do you really think it’s possible to drop that weight in two weeks? Just as it took time for the weight to settle on your body, it will take more time to shift it – fat is stubborn, and convincing it that it’s not welcome can be a difficult task that makes a worthy opponent.

So How Much Should I Eat in a Meal?

One of the best approaches you can take is to even out your caloric intake across your snacks and meals so that your body is getting enough energy in to keep you from getting hungry and remove those nasty hunger pangs and cravings. Hunger pangs are caused when the muscles in your stomach contract on the release of a hormone called ghrelin, which the brain sends out to let the body know it’s time to eat once more. If there’s nothing in the stomach, the muscles have nothing to work with, and the result is the feeling we recognize as hunger pangs. As well, the noises our stomachs can make when we’re extremely hungry are caused by these contractions when there’s no food in the stomach for it to digest.

portion control weight loss

To keep your stomach happy and those hunger pangs from becoming pesky, the key is to eat regularly, filling your stomach with healthy and slow-burning foods that will provide a reliable source of energy for your body’s needs. Again, this is where you need to be familiar with your recommended daily caloric intake. If you’re aiming to stay under 2000 calories a day, then ideally you would look to control your food and eat 3 main meals at a 450-500 calorie count, allowing space for 2 snacks at 200 calories each to keep you going in between and to stave off hunger whilst suppressing your appetite. If you follow this simple calculation, you’ll find you’re able to stop yourself from overeating, and also will not suffer from feeling hungry all the time.

If you find you’re still getting hungry even on this controlled eating pattern, consider incorporating more green tea into your daily routine. This can help you to fight hunger and stop hunger pains before they cause your body to respond with a ‘feed me now!’ signal that could have you reaching for a snack that’s less than ideal. Green tea is an appetite suppressant and helps to keep your body stable by stabilizing your blood sugar levels, which is one thing that can send people scrambling for the junk food when these levels crash quickly. It’s an effective appetite suppressant because of two peptide hormones in its makeup that activate the sympathetic nervous system and lead to a reduction in the desire for food.

There are many great apps that exist to support a scheduled and moderated eating plan, so take a look at what’s available online in order to arm yourself with tools that will allow you to track your on-going calories vs. your outgoing calories on a daily basis. Knowledge is power, and power leads to weight loss! Consistency is key when it comes to any weight loss program, as results will not occur overnight. However, time can bring about some incredible results, and the hard work it takes to get there will only ever be absolutely worth it.

Other Appetite Suppressants

There is a range of natural appetite suppressants available on the market, which can be incorporated into a balanced daily diet to keep your appetite in check in between main meals, especially if you’re looking to slightly reduce your caloric intake on a daily basis for the purpose of weight loss.

These Suppressants Include…

Peppermint tea – much like green tea, peppermint tea acts as an appetite suppressant. It’s also highly enjoyable with its beautiful and smooth peppermint flavors. Peppermint is also used in essential oil form as a stress relief. Interesting, a study carried out by the Wheeling Jesuit University discovered that when people smelt peppermint at the two-hour mark for five days straight, they ate up to 2,800 calories less in that week. That’s more than the daily intake recommended for the average woman!

Coffee – this is a great way to reduce your appetite first thing in the morning, as coffee has also been proven to kick-start your metabolism and encourage fat oxidation (the process where your body uses fat as fuel).

Ginger – ginger in either tea, in meals or as a supplement, is a powerful way to suppress your appetite. The active compound in fresh ginger root, Gingerol, has been scientifically proven to reduce body weight and keep leptin in control (leptin is the satiety hormone that sends signals to the body about whether or not it’s hungry).

Water – really, water? Surprise! Scientists have been able to prove that the humble old glass of water is a great way to stop hunger pains and help to reduce overeating. By drinking two 8-ounce glasses of water before each meal, you can reduce your caloric intake by up to 90 fewer calories per meal, as water leaves you feeling fuller on a lower caloric level.

Spicy food – spicy food is a great way to keep your appetite suppressed, as they’ll also kick in an extra ability in encouraging your body to burn more fat through their capsaicin ingredient. As well, because spicy food is harder to eat and slows you down, your brain has more time to register how much it has eaten and send messages of fullness, which can help to prevent over-eating and an excessive amount of calories being wolfed down.

Avocadoes – avocados are a great food for those looking to lose weight! Unsaturated fats trigger a compound in your body that regulates hunger through its communication with nerve endings, telling your body to increase feelings of fullness throughout the body. Avocado is a great source of unsaturated fats, and what’s more, it’s an extremely versatile ingredient. On toast, in salads, as part of a sauce, as a dip with vegetables – there’s not much that doesn’t taste great hand in hand with some avocado!

Apples – by eating an apple at the start of a meal, you’ll find your overall caloric intake is reduced due to the apple’s fiber. This fiber helps to regulate blood sugar and keep it from either spiking or dropping.

Dark chocolate – good news for the sweet tooth enthusiasts out there, dark chocolate is a great source of satiety! Dark chocolate is a powerful little tool to utilize in the fight against junk food cravings, as your brain will still be excited by the thought of consuming chocolate, even if it’s far more bitter than the kind of chocolate it’s grown used to over the years.

Eggs – eggs are a wonderful source of protein that can also be used in a versatile range of ways. By eating eggs at breakfast, you can reduce your daily intake of other calories and also help your glucose levels to stabilize, promoting fullness for longer.

Nuts – nuts will help to keep hunger from roaring and growing in between meals. Some nuts, such as walnuts and pine nuts, are also loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which has been proven to promote satiety. This allows you to grab a quick and easy snack whilst ensuring you’re not filling your body with empty carbohydrates that aren’t going to pull their weight in contributing to the weight loss journey you’ve embarked on.

Signs of Hunger

natural hunger pang cure


The way hunger looks is different from person to person, but common symptoms of hunger include a gnawing feeling in the stomach, a gurgling or growling noise emitting from the stomach, a hunger headache, and a light-headedness or faintness. Other people also experience nausea when hungry – some people simply cannot deal with going too long without something for their body to consume!

Often, people believe there is a battle to be fought against hunger and scour for information on how to stop feeling hungry all the time, how to feel full without eating, or why they always feel hungry. However, these people are forgetting that hunger is a natural part of the body’s process. Hunger signs are a signal that your body needs sustenance and a new source of energy to continue its functions. Hunger is not the enemy! There are many ways to ensure you do not suffer from excessive hunger whilst still going on a weight loss journey, so this is an important thing to familiarize yourself before setting out on any diet: hunger is not a bad sign.

cure cravings for sugar and food

Now, the damage can occur when people do not effectively deal with hunger, and let themselves reach for bad and damaging snacks or junk food rather than eating in a manner that is nutritious, satiating, long lasting and good for your overall health.

One last note on hunger – often, dehydration can lead the body to send signals that feel like hunger. Any weight loss program will stress the need to remain hydrated. If your body is not getting the hydration it needs, you’ll find you struggle not to go for more snacks, and you’ll often consume excess calories as the signal is confused and you ingest food, rather than water.

Remember – hunger is not in and of itself a bad thing and is your body’s natural way of telling you it requires more energy. By learning how to recognize the true signs of hunger, and how to supply your body with the nutrients and energy it requires, you’ll be able to lose weight without feeling hungry and potentially reduce your appetite in the process.

Intermittent Fasting Dieting Technique

One popular diet technique that often makes the rounds online is intermittent fasting. However, contrary to the fad wording that surrounds it, intermittent fasting is a technique that has been around with proven results for thousands of years.

Intermittent (or intermediate) fasting can be used to lose weight, increase general health levels and increase energy. The term is used to refer to a pattern of eating that moves between fasting and eating. Because of this, the word ‘diet’ is not a true reflection of what it really is, and instead, it’s more accurate to refer to it as an ‘eating pattern’.

So How Do you Fast?

fasting is healthy

The most common fasting methods people use on this eating pattern is a daily 16 hour fast, or an alternative approach involves fasting completely for 2 x 24 hour periods throughout the course of one week.

If you decide to try intermediate fasting for yourself, there are some areas you need to be familiar with before you begin. Firstly, it’s very important that you remain hydrated during these fasting periods. Drinking water during the intermediate fasting time is crucial to ensure your body is remaining healthy, hydrated and strong. You’re able to continue to drink coffee and tea during this fasting time as well, as long as you do not add sugar and only use small amounts of milk or cream. In fact, drinking tea during fasting is encouraged, as it’s a way to hydrate and stimulate the body during this time when it isn’t receiving any calories from food.

What to eat when fasting

One of the great things about intermediate fasting is it does not require you to follow any set eating plan. Because you are eating for a shorter period of time, your calories will be restricted in a natural way. However, as with any diet, it is advised to stay away from sugars and empty carbohydrates, and instead, to embrace meals that are rich in protein, healthy fats, and provide great sources of much-needed nutrients through fruit and vegetable consumption.

Remember, the goal here is not to send your body into starvation mode – when your body is starving, it begins to operate in an unhealthy manner that will only make your weight loss goals harder to achieve in the long term, whilst bringing with them a whole host of other potential complications as a result of not providing your body with the nourishment it needs.

The Breakfast Skipping Myth

We’ve been told for years that ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day’, and whilst this holds some truth, it’s also more to do with the fact that more often than not, people who skip breakfast are leading unhealthy lifestyles and are at risk of consuming more empty and excess calories throughout the rest of the day. When you’re fasting, breakfast may not come at the traditional time, as your 16-hour break (if doing the 16:8 version) will see you beginning to eat later in the day. However, you don’t need to give up on your favorite breakfasts! You can adapt your normal eating pattern to suit an 8 hour eating window, so if you still want to sit down to a plate of scrambled eggs, eating them during the 8 hour window will see your day beginning with a healthy feed and positive calories that are going to supply your body with the energy it needs to function at its most optimal.

Many people skip breakfast simply because they don’t have the time in the morning with their busy schedules to fit it in – if this is you, planning ahead and doing some meal prep means you’ll be able to enjoy a delicious breakfast, later in the day. Other people struggle with their appetite first thing in the morning and find they skip breakfast purely because they have no desire to eat that early. If this is the case, you’re a perfect candidate for intermittent fasting – your body is naturally leaning towards that process already!

How Long to Fast

The key with intermediate fasting is that crucial word: intermediate. This is not an eating pattern that encourages you to go for unsustainable or unhealthy periods of time without eating. Instead, this is a lifestyle change that can be adapted to and used for a long period of time in a healthy and sustainable manner.

Studies have found that short-term fasts have a boosting effect on the metabolism, but fasts that last for 3 or more days have the opposite effect, and actually suppress the metabolism.

This is why choosing one of these fasting plans will allow you to reap the benefits of fasting without causing any damage or harm to your body…

The 16/8 method – another name for this approach is the Leangains protocol. On this approach, you don’t eat breakfast and restrict your eating period each day to only 8 hours. You don’t consume any food for the 16 hours that follow.

Eat-Stop-Eat – this is the term for the 24 hour fast that can occur 1-2 times per week. Most people do this by having dinner as their last meal before dinner on the following day.

The 5:2 Diet – this is an easier way for some people to approach intermediate fasting. On two days of the week (non-consecutive days), the key is to eat only between 500-600 calories. The other 5 days of the week, people eat as usual.

These methods all have proven weight loss benefits (and many others!) as a result of the natural calorie restriction.

Other benefits of intermittent fasting include…

  • An increase in the Human Growth Hormone, which has positive benefits for fat loss and muscle gain
    Improved insulin sensitivity, which makes fat stored on the body more accessible for burning and associated weight loss
  • Increased cellular repair rates
  • Better functioning genes that relate to longevity and disease protection
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Increased heart health
  • Increased prevention of cancer risks
  • Brain health is promoted with the growth of new cells and protection against Alzheimer’s

One note of importance: fasting is not recommended for people who are diabetic, for children, or for pregnant women.

Liquids While Fasting

It’s extremely important to keep up your liquid intake during fasting to keep your body alert, aware and safe from the risk of dehydration. Tea, coffee, and water are great ways to keep your hydration levels up, and if you’re looking to begin any kind of intermittent fasting, investing in a great water bottle that can hold a decent amount of liquid is a great way to ensure you’re drinking enough water as the day continues. The average recommendation is 2 liters of water a day, but you may find you drink more whilst fasting as a way to keep fluids moving through your body and your energy levels up before you consume calories.

Sugar and Junk Food – How to Kill Damaging Cravings

One of the reasons overweight and obese people are so prevalent in our modern society is because of the way sugar has now made its way into a huge range of meals and ingredients in comparison to its presence 50 years ago. Here’s an experiment you can try if you’re not convinced about sugar’s sneaky presence in places you don’t expect it: head down to your local supermarket and go about your weekly grocery shop as usual, except this time, check the labels on each box or jar before putting the item in your trolley. What you’re looking for is the amount of sugar per 100g of product. Your favorite pasta sauce? Probably full of sugar! That stir fry that advertises itself as a healthy dinner option? Sugar loaded!

Sugar is an addictive substance that has a similar effect on the brain as hard drugs. It activates the rewards system in the same manner these drugs do and creates the same kind of cravings and withdrawal patterns. In fact, scientific studies carried out on rats have concluded that sugar is even more effective in lighting up the brain’s pleasure center than cocaine. That’s a serious substance to be concerned about!

So, how do you resist these sugar cravings and cravings for damaging foods?

The first step is to educate yourself. If you’re still in the old train of thought that tells us ‘a little bit here and there won’t hurt you’, you’re yet to understand the addictive nature of sugar, and what that addiction does to our bodies as we cycle through giving in to it again and again.

One solution is to go on a complete sugar detox and to go cold turkey in getting rid of sugar’s presence in your life and control over your cravings. Unfortunately, this withdrawal process can look a lot like the withdrawal process that occurs when you’re dealing with hard substances. People who have quit sugar cold turkey have reported anxiety, fatigue, headaches, and even the shakes as their body gets used to operating on healthier and longer-lasting energy sources in comparison to the ‘quick fix’ sugar can supply to our blood sugar levels.

However, detoxing has many advantages. Not only does sugar add significantly to our daily caloric intakes without providing us with a sense of satiety that stops us from reaching for more, but also people have reported that their palates are reset. Instead of looking for the false sweetness, their bodies are actually able to respond to natural sweetness as their taste buds have changed. Most people have found that the intense cravings for sugar went away for 2-3 days, with almost 90% of people finding that the withdrawal effects disappeared entirely after six days.

Six days to a sugar-free life and body? That’s a pretty sweet deal when you think about it!

If you decide to remove the damaging effects of sugar from your life, here are some tips to help you curb the cravings.

Clear out the house – it’s no use trying to go on a sugar detox if your pantry and fridge are loaded with sugary snacks. You need to embrace this wholeheartedly, which means removing temptation before temptation has the opportunity to hit. Go through your kitchen and remove anything with added sugars, being careful to check in areas you didn’t expect. Fruit snacks or sauces are common culprits that often go unnoticed by the sugar-removing newbie. The same goes for your office. Do you normally rely on sugary snacks to get you through the 9-5 grind? Instead, load up with healthy fats, nuts and sources of protein that you can turn to in your hour of need. A strategically timed can of tuna can go a long way in keeping you on the sugar-busting bandwagon!

Create accountability – tell a few key people in your life ‘I’ve stopped eating junk food.’ Perhaps you can even enlist your friends and family to join you and can turn the detoxing experience into a group exercise as you all move towards a healthier you. This is a great way to have someone to turn to when the cravings hit for some moral support. It’s important to have someone to remind you why you began in the first place and what lies on the other side of success if you’re able to stick to the path you have set for yourself.

leaky gut diet

Plan ahead of time – of course, we’re more likely to reach for the salty or sugary snacks if 3 pm hits and we haven’t got something on hand instead. Plan strategically so you’re armed with a range of healthy meals and snacks that will keep your energy levels high and stop you from reaching for a quick fix.

Look for the non-scale wins – not every victory will show up on the scale. You’ll find your skin gets clearer, your energy levels are more stable, you’re suffering from less of a blood sugar level drop and spike, and you’re sleeping better at night once sugar is removed from your diet. Whilst it may seem difficult in the process, it’s a highly rewarding journey that will give your body the gift of health for the long run once you’ve got yourself across the sugar line and are embracing a sugar-free lifestyle.

It’s important to stop eating junk food and ingesting so much sugar not only for your weight but for your overall wellbeing. Find a friend, a family member and make a plan for how you can attack the sugar demon and finally see yourself living without sugar as a component in your day meals.

Keep in mind, it’s not enough to just cut out negative food – not only do you need to replace those foods with more positive calories, but you also need to remember the other crucial element in weight loss: exercise!

Many people have been scared off of exercise from either a bad experience or an association with pain. However, there are so many different forms of exercise, you’re almost guaranteed to find one you’d enjoy if you explore the options available until you’re satisfied.

Exercise options include…

 Running – this is a great way to increase your body’s strength and stamina and does not require any special equipment. Begin by slowly increasing your running ability and mixing running and walking together as your lungs improve. It may seem impossible at first, but everyone is able to turn into a solid runner if they commit the time and energy to letting their body improve naturally through repetition.

Pilates or Yoga – these are great forms of exercise that emphasize flexibility, strength, and the core. When your core muscles are engaged, you’re able to take in a wide range of exercises, as this core muscle group is what provides a base level of strength to your body. This can also help to improve your posture and your overall wellbeing.

Swimming – this is a solid sport for people who may experience pain in their joints whilst running. Not only that, but rumor has it, swimming is four times as effective! Many neighborhoods have a local pool where for just a dollar or two you can swim laps to your heart’s content.

swimming for health

Of course, this is another exercise type where patience is absolutely necessary, as your cardiovascular system will improve over time, as will the strength in your arms and legs. One of the benefits of swimming is its ability to strengthen muscles all over your body at once, rather than placing more emphasis on the arms and legs. Even older people can embrace swimming, with aqua-aerobics very popular with retirees.

Boxing – boxing is not only for people in the competitive ring or on shady street corners! Boxing is a fantastic exercise that engages multiple muscle groups across your body, as well as requiring a commitment to cardiovascular health. Boxing is also a good exercise for people who prefer to be mentally stimulated whilst exercising, as it requires a high level of concentration and responsiveness. You can easily buy a boxing bag and some gloves and begin to practice at home, but it would be wise to invest in the training of a personal boxing coach as you’re beginning in order to ensure your technique is correct and you’re learning in the best way possible.

Competitive sports – soccer, football, volleyball, netball – you name it, there’s a sport and a ball for it! Competitive sports are a fun way to work out in a team environment with a social element built in. Perhaps if you’ve got a friend or family member partnering with you to lose weight at the same time you are, you should also look into joining a competitive team together. Not only will you get a great workout in, but you’ll also make new friends and learn some more life skills such as trust and teamwork in the process. Two birds, one stone! However, men, one thing to watch out for if you join a team – many male teams like to celebrate a win with a few beers at the pub, and let’s keep in mind that excessive drinking is only going to pile that belly fat back on, no matter how hard you worked on the field to burn it!

A gym membership – depending on your schedule, there is most likely a gym in your local neighborhood that will happily welcome you to be a part of their club. Gyms bring with them a wide range of tools and fitness options that allow you to work out in a way that suits you best. 24-hour gyms are becoming more and more common, as people juggle exercise with early morning or late night work requirements. If you decide to sign up to the gym, ask one of the personal trainers to introduce you to the equipment. It may also be wise to invest in a couple of personal training sessions, as these trainers can work with you to identify your fitness goals and put into action a personalized plan that will allow you to achieve these in the most effective way possible.

Whatever exercise form you choose, remember that exercise is not meant as a punishment, but as a tool for building your body’s strength and abilities. Keep trying different exercises until you find one that works for you. You’ll be surprised at the way your mental health improves at the same time – exercise has many benefits outside of weight loss!

boxing is not only for people in the competitive ring or on shady street corners! Boxing is a fantastic exercise that engages multiple muscle groups across your body, as well as requiring a commitment to cardiovascular health. Boxing is also a good exercise for people who prefer to be mentally stimulated whilst exercising, as it requires a high level of concentration and responsiveness. You can easily buy a boxing bag and some gloves and begin to practice at home, but it would be wise to invest in the training of a personal boxing coach as you’re beginning in order to ensure your technique is correct and you’re learning in the best way possible.

Competitive sports – soccer, football, volleyball, netball – you name it, there’s a sport and a ball for it! Competitive sports are a fun way to work out in a team environment with a social element built in. Perhaps if you’ve got a friend or family member partnering with you to lose weight at the same time you are, you should also look into joining a competitive team together. Not only will you get a great workout in, but you’ll also make new friends and learn some more life skills such as trust and teamwork in the process. Two birds, one stone! However, men, one thing to watch out for if you join a team – many male teams like to celebrate a win with a few beers at the pub, and let’s keep in mind that excessive drinking is only going to pile that belly fat back on, no matter how hard you worked on the field to burn it!

A gym membership – depending on your schedule, there is most likely a gym in your local neighborhood that will happily welcome you to be a part of their club. Gyms bring with them a wide range of tools and fitness options that allow you to work out in a way that suits you best. 24-hour gyms are becoming more and more common, as people juggle exercise with early morning or late night work requirements. If you decide to sign up to the gym, ask one of the personal trainers to introduce you to the equipment. It may also be wise to invest in a couple of personal training sessions, as these trainers can work with you to identify your fitness goals and put into action a personalized plan that will allow you to achieve these in the most effective way possible.

gym exercise curbs appetite

If you decide to sign up to the gym, ask one of the personal trainers to introduce you to the equipment. It may also be wise to invest in a couple of personal training sessions, as these trainers can work with you to identify your fitness goals and put into action a personalized plan that will allow you to achieve these in the most effective way possible.

Whatever exercise form you choose, remember that exercise is not meant as a punishment, but as a tool for building your body’s strength and abilities. Keep trying different exercises until you find one that works for you. You’ll be surprised at the way your mental health improves at the same time – exercise has many benefits outside of weight loss!

Binge Eating and Compulsive Eating

There are a number of eating disorders which many people suffer from, the most common being anorexia, bulimia, binge eating and night eating syndrome.

Binge eating is characterized by ‘frequent episodes of large amounts of food consumption’ that take place without further behaviors that would prevent weight gain such as vomiting. People who experience binge eating report feeling out of control during their binge eating episodes, and experience intense feelings of shame and guilt in regards to the binge eating episodes and the amount of food they have consumed in a small window of time.

This eating often occurs when people are not hungry, and can lead them to eat to the point of experiencing strong discomfort. This is a serious condition that can lead to extreme weight gain and a highly unhealthy attitude to food and wellbeing. However, too many people do not realize that this is a mental challenge as much as a physical, and many of the components that would lead someone to engage in binge eating behaviors stem from mental areas that require addressing in order for that person to see themselves freed from these dangerous and destructive behavioral patterns.

A report conducted by the National Eating Disorders Association in 2007 found that 3.5% of women and 2% of men who were surveyed had experienced a binge-eating episode in their lifetime. This means that Binge Eating Disorder is three times more common than cases of anorexia or bulimia, and requires urgent attention in order to solve this societal health issue.

Keep in mind; binge eating is different to overeating on occasion. Many of us have gone to a party of experience a holiday celebration where we have eaten in excess and suffered from stomach pains as a result. In order to stop overeating on a daily basis, you need to look into your portion control and use an understanding of your daily caloric intake to figure out the calories required at each meal – and then stick to them. If you find yourself overeating constantly, you may want to look at some of the criteria for Binge Eating Disorder, but the disorder in itself is far more drastic than a mere case of a lunch that was too big for you on the odd occasion. Try to eat smaller portions by a slightly reduced amount at each meal to see if you’re able to go about your day on slightly fewer calories without any noticeable changes if you’re looking to address overeating on a more regular basis, but it’s important to understand that overeating in itself is not an eating disorder.

What is a Compulsive Eater?

compulsive eater

The easiest way to understand Binge Eating Disorder is as compulsive overeating, where the person experiencing the excess eating is not in control of a decision to stop. This loss of control leads to a huge amount of food being consumed at one time, placing great stress on the body and on its ability to deal with the excess food and energy sources it’s been introduced to in such a short period of time. The disease was first introduced by Albert Standard in 1959, a psychiatrist whose research in the area was extensive, but it’s only recently been recognized as a disorder with the same intensity as anorexia or bulimia.

Some of the side effects of Binge Eating Disorder, apart from increased weight gain as a result of excess calories, include depression, anxiety, and intense feelings of disgust and guilt. Binge eating can be a vicious cycle – when someone falls into a binge-eating episode, they experience intense negative feelings of self-judgment, but often turn back to food as a coping mechanism to try and stave off these negative thoughts.

The exact cause of this particular disorder is as yet unknown, but there are many factors, which influence its development in individuals. These factors are biological, psychological, social, and cultural. Biologically, abnormalities in hormones or genes can be associated with compulsive eating and an addiction to food. Psychologically, people already suffering from depression are at a much higher risk of succumbing to a binge eating disorder as a result of body dissatisfaction and a struggle to cope with negative feelings. Traumatic situations can lead to an associated risk of binge eating, with people who have experienced negative traumas such as sexual abuse more at risk of developing the disease. As well, when we live in an age that is so singularly obsessed with people’s appearances, emotional eating is the response of many struggling to live up to a culture’s expectations that are based on Photoshopped images of starving models.

It’s important to know what to look for when it comes to binge eating symptoms. People who suffer from the disorder will continue to eat, even when they’re full, they’ll struggle to control their food intake, and they’ll stockpile food for later consumption when nobody is around to judge.

How Do You Treat Binge Eating?

There are intense consequences as a result of this disorder, including an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and sleep apnea or insomnia. However, the good news is there are options for support on the table, with professional treatments available that can assist in breaking the binge eating cycle and helping a patient to understand the disorder they are struggling with and how to live with it in a way that is non-damaging. To get proper help, a team of psychiatrists, nutritionists and therapists will be needed to address the many facets of binge eating and its impact on both the body and mind.

With any disorder that involves a mental and physical aspect, it’s crucial to remember that successful treatment takes time, as there are no overnight solutions. If you have a loved one who is looking to find a solution for a binge eating disorder, or you’re looking for help yourself, become a great source of steady support and have lots of patience prepared for the journey ahead. It’s not an easy journey, but it’s extremely worthwhile, and there is always a light at the end of the tunnel with freedom from disorders once they have been treated effectively.

Damaging Approaches to Weight Loss

For some people, the thought of trying to lose weight in a sustained way feels impossible. Perhaps they’ve tried many diets before, or perhaps they feel confused by the amount of information out there that can often be misleading when it comes to the correct way to approach a weight loss journey. These people may decide to try weight loss methods that have proven debilitating effects on the body’s health and wellbeing.

For the sake of putting these weight loss rumors to bed and potentially saving someone from a harmful weight loss journey, let’s explore what these rumors look like.

Trying to lose 10 pounds in a single week

Some people try to lose far too much weight, too soon. The only way you could actually see your weight reduced by 10 pounds in the space of 7 days is by eating far too little calories per day. Not only will you struggle to do so without feeling like you are starving (because you are!), but also your body will suffer in many different forms. You’ll struggle to concentrate, as your brain is not receiving the energy it needs to function best. Your immune system will be weaker without the help of nutrients it takes from a balanced diet. You’ll be weaker physically, with your body running on reserves rather than running on proper energy sources.

The saddest part of this myth is that trying to starve yourself for a quick-fix weight loss will actually only make your body fight to keep weight on to a greater level. As mentioned in the case of intermittent fasting, when your body fasts for over 3 days, the metabolism actually begins to slow down, effectively moving into what’s known as starvation mode. You’ll burn far less calories on a day-to-day level as a result of your body reacting to the decreased energy supplies, and taking a defensive position to protect itself from further loss. The harsh reality is, not eating can actually make you put on more weight when you begin eating normally again, as your metabolism will not be equipped to deal with the increased calories, even at a normal rate.

By trying to eat so little you could drop 10 pounds in 7 days, you’re actually causing a lot of damage to your body, and will find that this method is not sustainable for true weight loss and proper health benefits.

Emphasizing One Single Food Over a Healthy Range

The other extreme many people go to is by embracing one solo type of food as the solution to their weight problems. For example, one man even went on a potato diet, eating nothing but potatoes for a year! Sure, he lost weight, but medical experts have weighed in on how risky an approach like this is, as your body is no longer supplied with the wide range of natural nutrients it needs to function at its best and most effective. Any diet you go on needs to support long-term health, rather than sacrificing parts of your health for the sake of a quick fix. Any ‘quick fix’ will only lead to more pain in the long term as your body is no longer sure which signals to respond to, and you’ll need to invest more time rebuilding your attitude to food in a healthy manner.

Instead of seeing one miracle food as the solution to your weight loss problems, it’s important to eat a healthy and balanced diet. Increasing your protein and healthy fats levels and reducing your complex carbohydrates is one way to keep your body fuller for longer on a lower amount of calories. There are certain foods that are extremely useful in helping to curb your appetite, and these are foods you should look to eat on a regular basis, as they’ll give you much better results and help with your hunger and energy levels in comparison to high-calorie snacks designed for a quick sugar rush. These foods include apples, avocados, beans, and eggs, which are just many from a range of foods that can keep your stomach quiet and your hunger levels down for longer. Oatmeal is also a great food to kick off your day with as a breakfast choice, as it will leave you full for a much longer amount of time than a bowl of cereal that’s full of empty calories. Scientific studies have found that people who eat oatmeal as opposed to cereal were satiated for far longer, and experienced an overall drop in hunger levels and a lower level of desire when it comes to looking for a further feed. This occurs because oatmeal (or porridge) is high in protein and fiber, which will work with your digestive system to feed and nourish your body in a much more satisfying way than sugars with no substance. This is also a good breakfast for a diabetic, as it allows them to stock up on positive calories which will stay in their system for longer and keep their blood sugar levels stabilized.

Weight Loss for Diabetics

How does diabetes occur?

Diabetes is a disease that occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin. Insulin is the hormone that carries sugar from the bloodstream into cells – once these sugars have reached the cells, they are converted into energy that is either used immediately or stored for the future.

insulin weight loss diabetes

There are two types of diabetes, known as Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 Diabetes occurs when the immune system attacks the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas, which scientists believe is a result of genetic or environment factors. The very immune system that is designed to keep your body safe actually causes harm in this manner by inhibiting insulin from doing its job and messing with the body’s natural system.

Type 2 Diabetes occurs when the body becomes resistant to the work of insulin. This type of diabetes is commonly developed in people who are overweight or have a family history of diabetes.

There’s a third type of diabetes known as gestational diabetes, which is a temporary form that can occur during pregnancy. Often, this gestational diabetes has no symptoms. At this point in time, roughly 3-5% of women develop gestational diabetes during a pregnancy. It’s often the case that this diabetes disappears when the baby is born, but more than half of women who have gestational diabetes will go on to develop type 2 diabetes later on in life, so it’s a strong warning sign to look at how lifestyle factors can be changed in order to avoid this later diagnosis if possible.

How to Lose Weight with Diabetes

People who are diagnosed with diabetes, either Type 1 or Type 2, already have a lot on their plate when it comes to keeping their body healthy and in order. Many people with diabetes suffer from increased weight gain as a result of the condition, but also, people who are overweight or obese are at a much higher risk of developing diabetes than their average-weighted counterparts. 90% of people who are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes are above their ideal weight at the time of diagnosis, so it’s not difficult to see the correlation between weight gain and an unhealthy weight bracket and diabetes occurring in many people.

lose weight with diabetes

The same basic building blocks are important for people with Diabetes when it comes to losing weight: diet and exercise. Exercise helps you to lose weight by burning off calories and building muscle, which increases the base rate of calories your metabolism burns, even in your resting state. As well, diet is extremely important for people with diabetes, to ensure their blood sugar levels are going to remain in safe parameters and no intense spikes or drops will occur which could lead to health complications.

Mental support is also very motivational when it comes to weight loss. There are many support communities for diabetes in existence, and if you’ve been diagnosed with the disease, you should consider reaching out to one of these groups in order to benefit from their experiences and add your own to the table. No chronic disease is easy to cure, and it can take the support of a village of friends and family to cheer you on as you work towards a healthier and safer you.

Diabetes Myths

There are many diabetes myths running rampant, particularly on the Internet. These include…

That diabetes is not a serious condition – 2 out of 3 people diagnosed with diabetes will go on to die from cardiovascular-related conditions, like a heart attack. This is a direct result, at times, of the impact of diabetes on the body. Diabetes is a serious condition that requires proper treatment and medication.
Overweight people automatically get diabetes – whilst being overweight does put you at a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes, this is not guaranteed. There are also many other factors that can expose people to this risk, including a family history of the disease, increased blood pressure, or be leading a very sedentary lifestyle.

Skipping meals – will this lead to weight loss?

Once you understand the maths of calories in vs. calories out and how this relates to weight loss, it would be tempting to believe that skipping meals regularly will rid you of the pesky extra weight and be the weight loss solution you’ve been looking for. Not quite the case, however!

skipping meals does not help in weight lossAlthough you may lose weight, studies have proven that this weight loss has a higher chance of coming from muscle rather than fat. This is less than ideal, as the more muscles you have, the higher your resting metabolism is, which encourages calories burnt on a daily basis. Skipping meals in order to lose weight will have detrimental effects in the long run, as these same studies have shown that you’ll more than likely gain back belly fat in the long run, which is one of the most dangerous places on the body to have this fat.


You also run the risk of running low on nutrients, which has direct links to fatigue, depleted mental function, and more serious health concerns. Our bodies require a balanced diet with a wide range of elements, including protein, minerals, vitamins, and essential fatty acids. If you skip a meal too often, particularly one type of meal such as breakfast where you might get a large source of your protein, you’ll start to see the damaging effects on your body as it struggles to function without this crucial nutrient in place.

You’re also more at risk of getting ill when you’ve skipped meals regularly, as the consumption of carbohydrates after training is useful in combating the spikes in cortisol exercise releases which temporarily have a suppressing effect on the immune system. The carbohydrates that are eaten during and after a workout is effective in closing the window of time when the immune system is suppressed. By eating a meal that has a balance of protein and carbs within 2 hours of completing your exercise routine, you’re assisting your body in replenishing its energy sources and giving it the material it needs to build new muscle on the base of your workout.

The other risk that needs to be calculated when considering skipping a meal is the effect it’ll have on your blood sugar levels. We’ve all experienced that nauseating feeling when our blood sugar levels drop, and we become cranky, shaky, and desperately in need of a ‘sugar hit’ quickly in order to see our mental and physical sides stabilized. If you skip a meal, you open yourself up to these levels dropping out, and you may react negatively by eating junk food on an impulse rather than a nutrient-dense meal that’s going to provide you with the most caloric bang for your buck.

eating sugar is not good for ddiabetes

Overall, skipping meals outside of a targeted intermittent fasting approach is going to be detrimental to weight loss, so don’t let yourself fall for any ideas to the contrary. The goal of losing weight should also be accompanied by rules about self-care and self-respect and giving your body the tools and energy it needs to function a daily basis should be non-negotiable.


Whilst embarking on a weight loss journey is enough to fill many people with doubt and fear, the good news is that science is on our side when it comes to whether or not losing weight is sustainable and achievable. By embracing a healthy eating pattern that keeps your ongoing calories at a lower rate than your daily caloric needs, and ensuring your expended calories are higher than your intake, you’ll be able to see the weight fall off in a way that is long-lasting, healthy, and supportive of your general wellbeing. There are no quick fixes in the weight loss world, but your body is the only one you’ve got, so it pays to take care of it. Not only will you feel better, but also you’ll reduce your risk of a whole host of chronic diseases and serious health complications that come along with being overweight or obese. Your quality of life and its longevity will increase dramatically with every weight loss goal that is achieved.

Consult with a dietitian and your doctor before beginning any weight loss program, and remember how important it is to have the help of friends and families both practically and as a moral support. Remind yourself when the going gets tough of what you stand to gain, and let yourself celebrate each achievement – you’re on your way to a happier, healthier and more vibrant you, and that’s very much worth celebrating!


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