Yesterday I shared my personal journey of yo-yo dieting. It was tough for me to publicly let everyone know that I have had diet demons but I truly suspect many people have and if you are one then I hope hearing my story will inspire you.
Today I would like to do 2 things. Firstly I wanted to look at where our eating habit evolve from and secondly add comment about the HCG diet.
My BAD habit of overeating
This part is about my personal eating habits which some of you may relate to. I don’t blame anyone who raised me or influenced my eating and as a parent I am mindful about the eating habits I am fostering in my kids.
I recall in my early years (while my mum was alive) being told to :
EAT EVERYTHING ON YOUR PLATE and then YOU CAN HAVE DESSERT
Wow what a great enticement for a kid. I am sure my mum was encouraging me to eat all the “good stuff” first so I could have a little reward after. Gobbling up everything on our plate was mandatory if we wanted yummy dessert. I became a human hoover. There was no emphasis on chewing, enjoying out food, it was very much about feed them up and ship them off to bed.
Mum was from an English back ground and desserts were standard. Apple pie, rhubarb and custard, banana fritters, apple crumble and ice cream.
The desserts back then were marginally better than today as the apples were all locally grown and the ingredients were pure (ie no artificial flavours) and everything was home made. But I was probably developing an addiction to sugar and learning to gorge and over-ride my appetite centre.
This is the feeling one gets that you have eaten enough. It is stimulated by a few things: stress receptors in the stomach, leptins secreted by fat but also gastric cells, and physical fullness.
The physiological process takes at least 20 minutes though to co-ordinate with your brain (via the hypothalamus) which then signals on a conscious level “I feel full”.
You can over ride or malfunction your appetite centre by:
– drinking while you eat
– eating too quick
– not focusing on your food while eating (ie watching telly or working on the computer)
– ignoring the signals and ploughing on to get to desserts!
Obviously years of this over riding this feedback system leads to a confused appetite centre and we become “untrained” in what we should innately know – which is when you have consumed enough.
Now this isn’t a problem in countries where food is killed or reaped on demand but in Western Countries where we are now hoarding food on shelves, freezing it, and pretty much surrounding ourselves in it, it is a much more dangerous playing field.
In Western Countries when we are being asked if we would like to be “super sized”what we are saying is “sure, I have no ability to tell when I am full and maybe eating a truck load of food will be ok”. And the truly ignorant still believe on some level that their body will only eat what it needs and the rest will be left.
BUT WE KNOW FROM RESEARCH THAT
Normal weight people think they’ve eating 20% less than they actually did and
Obese individuals underestimate how much they eat by 30-50%
* Lansky and Brownell, Am J Clin Nurt 35:4 (1982)
RECOGNISING WHEN YOUR BODY HAS HAD ENOUGH TO EAT IS CRITICAL TO BE a NORMAL BODY WEIGHT.
If you are over weight, chances are you are over eating at times. Or unconsciously eating so your normal signals are not being read by you.
These are some ideas for eating less
1. Down size your plates and bowls. It has been shown that people feel fuller by eating more variety from lots of side dishes. It reminds me very much of the Mediterranean Way. Food is the currency as is love! Love food in smaller delicate amounts.
2. Finish your meal when you are 80% full!
3. Eat with smaller utensils. No surprises here. Super sizing logically will mean more calories and BIGGER love handles. Say “No thanks” to “would you like to super size, or would you like the Larger size for only an extra 50 cents!” – No super sizing and smaller utensils!
4. Eat MORE (bucket loads if you want) of salads, greens, leaves from any (non-posionous plant) and herbs. Fill up on these guys first and then eat other foods. Once you have filled up on salads, greens, herbs, seeds then you will no longer crave (nor have space) for breads, pastas, HIGH GI carbs.
5. Graze. It has been shown that people who graze versus those who eat 3 big meals a day are leaner
6. Focus on your food while you eat. Expecting your body to keep tabs on your eating while you are doing activities is silly. Use all your senses to engage in food – look at it, smell it, touch it, feel it. Food needs to ignite your brain in positive ways and then you appetite centre has a better chance of working.
The Diet I wanted to explore today is the newish hCG diet.
Before I start I must say that I don’t professionally recommend that many “diets”. Generally I try to inspire people to love food and learn to read their bodies needs but I do concede that diets can help people “clean the slate” , start afresh and break some habits.
Diets can also lead to rapid weight loss (which is highly motivating) and for some people they need rigidity, meal plans and shopping lists as their lives are so busy that they don’t have time to plan and roll out themselves. And maybe that person is you. Which is fine.
Today I would like to discuss the HCG diet and what I have heard. I haven’t tried it myself (fortunately I don’t need to diet any more) but I hear very positive things about it. I am not an HCG expert so am happy to have your feedback in the comments.
I will be summarising all the current “in-vogue” diets in 10 days and giving them a “Health Queen star rating”. This will be based on affordability, ease, commitment levels, support, success and long term results.
What’s the rave about HCG?
In a nutshell the HCG diet works on your higher functions and how your body draws on fat as a fuel source. It works on the principle that your diencephalon (which is the home of our unconscious primitive behaviours including sex drive, appetite, breathing, sleep and a few other seemingly “automatic functions” found in the hypothalamus) starts to malfunction.
According to research undertaken by the founder, Dr. Simeons, the body has 3 types of stored fat. When the diencephalon doesn’t work properly it burns the wrong type of fat namely your so called “normal fat stores” and “structural fat stores”. What the Hcg diet does is force the diencephalon to use up the “abnormal fat” which is the stuff you DON’T want. He also uses this as an explanation why some diets don’t work as your body will use “normal fat” supplies first not the unwanted fat. And hence when you stop it appears that you gain fat back.
HCG (abbrev. for Human chorionic gonadotropin) is the hormone produced by a developing foetus (that’s right when you are pregnant) that gets the body to produce lots of progesterone which in turn gets the womb strong and prepared for a 40 week pregnancy. I had to refresh my brain about hCG and as good as any source is wikipedia.
By inhaling the hCG through your nose you can activate the diencephalon (hypothalamus) to start recruiting the right fat that you are trying to burn.
You still need to combine it though with a meal plan and exercise. The reason being that if you still eat the amount of calories that you need each day your body doesn’t need to chew up fat stores.
So the fat loss comes about through a combination of calorie restriction (quite strict I hear) and getting your higher centre to utilise the right (bad) fat stores.
The THUMBS UP
* It makes sense to me that this diet will work. Any calorie restriction diet will work especially with good support.
* Testimonials for it are great. People get results and often dramatic results
* There is good science to back it up
* HCG definitely plays a role in burning fat and can help some people
The THUMBS DOWN
* Long term habit changes are the real bang for buck in fat loss and some people might see the diet as a quick fix
* It hasn’t been out that long (12 months I think ??) and so comments about long term success won’t be known for years to come – does that matter? Probably not
* Cost – I gather the cost varies a lot depending on whether you do it on-line or in person, whether you use real hormones or homeopathic dosing
Other things to think about
* Make sure you get good support if you choose to do this diet – on-line might not be enough.
* Cost varies depending on whether you use medical supervision or homeopathic drops. Some say the homeopathic drops are weaker and don’t work as well as the real hormone.
* I have read different comments about the homeopathic drops. Wiki saying they are fraudulent and others claiming it is a smear and not true. I honestly don’t know the answer
* If you do this diet make sure you also commit to start regular exercise, address any psychological causes that may lead to over eating or comfort eating and make sure it is a one-way street. That is make it work the first time, adopt excellent eating habits when you have achieved your weight loss and don’t let yourself become over weight again.
These are some links for businesses that offer the hCG diet (as I don’t). I don’t have affiliations with any of them so conduct your own research and I hope it works if you chose to do it!
Xtrahealth, Burleigh Gold Coast
Broadbeach compounding pharmacy
Research Unit Broadbeach
Dr Jim Abrahams 07 55 27 8880
No doubt there are heaps more around the country and the world. Remember think about how you are going to feel lighter, thinner and happier. Once you achieve it learn to love food again and embrace activity and healthy eating.
Sam BP x