Humans differ from all other creatures by their consciousness and their ability to take responsibility for their actions. As conscious beings we often harm ourselves more than we help ourselves. This is a 100% true of our own body and the way we treat it. The intellectual clash between our body’s real needs and what we think out body needs creates a barrier, especially when we adhere to a diet. The paradox is that the more a person tries to control what food they give their body, the more they tend toward an extreme that effectively deprives their body of quality food.
I went down the same road and I suppose most of you have been or are currently walking that path. I reached a level of awareness that made me realize that we do not need to limit the foods we consume to five or six and that excessive restriction of one kind of food or another leads to the same extreme as stuffing our faces with junk – it makes the body suffer and deprives it.
I have previously written several articles where I tried to bring to your attention the fact that food does not have to be low-calorie to help us achieve the results we want and get rid of our excess weight.
A successful diet should:
– focus mainly on health
– provide the body with everything it needs to be healthy and function optimally – this automatically means diversity and the presence of all macronutrients (proteins, fats and carbohydrates)
– provide sufficient energy, i.e. the food should not be low-calorie, but just sufficient – neither more, nor less.
– satisfactory both subjectively and objectively.
We women are experts in depriving our body of food and convincing ourselves we are living a healthy life and doing it for a higher purpose – which, honestly, when stripped of its exclusivity claims, usually is nothing more than sexier looks and better self-confidence.
One of the most important things we should realize is that what matters is not what we achieve on a short-term basis, but what we inflict on ourselves in the long run. The fitness industry is full of women and men who maintain perfect looks for a couple of years (that does not mean a healthy body) and then life gets its own back on them and they pay for what they did with a slowed-down metabolism, the need to work even harder to keep up their results, mood swings, health problems etc.
If I have learned one thing, it is that nothing that requires you to make too many efforts is worth having. There is an easier way to achieve our goals – what we need to do is to stop fighting our body and start listening to its needs and responding to them. The easiest way to lose weight is by taking care of our metabolism by eating food that keeps us satiated and content, both subjectively and objectively, i.e. neither our body craves something, nor our mind.
To do that, we need to know what foods to choose and how to combine them. I think the most harmful habit of anyone following an eating plan is to restrict fat, restrict carbohydrates, remove condiments from their food.
Taste is a complex sensation and as such needs a palette of tastes which can make us feel sated. Have you ever wondered why a piece of bread with butter, jam and cheese tastes good? It may be just for sentimental reasons, but it may also be the combination of tastes – more on that later.
How Can We Tell if We Have a Slow or a Fast Metabolism?
The main indicators for the condition of our metabolism are body temperature, heat perception, hand and foot warmth.
The lower your body temperature, the slower your metabolism. People regarded as obese have a significantly lower body temperature than people with a normal weight. Do not mix up heat perception and body temperature – these are two different things.
The warmth we feel in our extremities is another indicator of the condition of our body. Now you probably think of women whose hands and feet are always cold – coincidence? I think not!
Hand and feet temperature – more specifically warm extremities – indicate a calm nervous system and less stress hormones in the body. This relates directly to metabolism and to how prone we are to weight gain or loss.
Heating and Cooling Foods and their Relation to Metabolism
In this context the foods we eat can be classified as either heating or warming. Depending on what signals our body sends us, it needs either heating or cooling foods. The slower your metabolism, the more heating foods you need to consume.
Cooling foods are foods with a higher water and potassium content (vegetables, fruit, fluids). Heating foods are those that contain starch, saturated fat, salt, sugar.
What is the tendency in diets? Cooling foods dominate and heating foods are scarce. We cut back on salt, because we demonize it, but what we do not realize is that salt is not harmful – the amount we consume is. We cut back on fat and, of course, “sweets!”- stay away from them, they will stick to your belly and butt just by looking at them.
As I said, the slower our metabolism, the more we crave heating foods and stimulants.
The tendency to consume low-fat foods once again drives us to eat more and be hungrier and hungrier, because the saturated fat has been taken out of these products. Although milk is a heating food in principle (when real), store-bought milk is a cooling food. What do most women do? They eat low-fat milk with fruit for breakfast. They drink a couple of glasses of water, tea and coffee. That disrupts the balance between heating and cooling foods and the worst part is this is not just what their breakfast looks like, but what their eating pattern looks like throughout the day (but in this article I wrote about the 7 things women need to change in their diet in order to lose weight). Not to mention that the more macro- and micronutrient-poor a food is, the less filling it is.
There Is a Solution to Emotional Eating
Now is the time to mention the emotional eating problem. For myself I realized that emotional eating, just as anything else, is a biological urge. Maybe you have all noticed that your cravings for everything get stronger when you are most desperately trying to eat right, to follow a certain diet, and at the same time you are depriving your body of something.
Emotional eating is a kind of rescue mechanism for the body – the body activates it to rescue us from ourselves. Making us eat anything in sight is the tool the body uses to heal itself from the damage we inflict on it by our starvation diets and heavy workouts. It’s the only way the body manages to get the micro- and macronutrients we are not providing to it with our “healthy eating”.
How often do you happen to crave something more calorie-dense and restrain from eating it, trying not to think about it or replace it with fruit and vegetables? And you always end up getting the object of your desires anyway, don’t you?
Consider what would happen, if, when your body signals that you need this kind of food, you make something containing fat, carbohydrates, salt and possibly starch. What would that look like on your plate? Salmon – protein and fat, marinated dried tomatoes and a fistful of rice with some vegetables. A perfect meal. And it will not even stop us from achieving our goal to lose weight and sculpt our bodies, while also providing a complex taste which satiates our receptors and the heating effect of food.
What Time of Day Should You Eat Cooling or Heating Foods?
Every person is different – some people need cooling foods in the morning, while others need to consume them in the evening. What works for most people is to eat heating foods in the morning and cooling foods in the evening. There is logic behind all of that. The times we feel weak, when our extremities are cold and we feel a little tired or cannot concentrate, are the times the body needs heating foods. Besides, our body temperature is lowest in the morning and when we wake up, food and movement are what raises it. During the second half of the day our body temperature rises on its own and that is when we need more cooling foods. That is probably why many of you feel good, when they have salad and fish for dinner. Did you notice that you have labeled cooling foods as “light” and heating foods as “heavy” yourselves?
Do snacks fit into your diet?
You know my opinion is that most people do best with four meals a day, i.e. three solid meals and one snack. For me a snack fulfills this exact function – it acts as a heating food. A snack supports the body’s functions, because how many of you are there who eat nothing from 12 to 7-8 pm and then experience a slight drop of energy in the afternoon, drowsiness and probably times when you feel your extremities are ice cold?
In that case it would do you great to have something heating. Please understand that does not mean you should eat a lot of food or eat junk food.
For myself I have noticed that when I feel like eating something, I do better by eating a little amount of it in order to give my body what it wants and come closer to achieving my goals, instead of yelling “no” at my body and then going through emotional eating spells.
For now let me tell you three things:
1.Traditions are no accident and recipes contain encoded wisdom – there’s no dish without fat, salt and some carbohydrate source.
2.What you should trust most is what food you have a taste for, your appetite and your thirst – they are your best advisors.
3. If we eat tasty food, not stripped of condiments, fat or carbohydrates, we need a lot less food to feel full for a longer period of time and at the end of the day come close to achieving our goals.
4.Perhaps it is no accident the French are lean despite the kinds of food they eat. They are the ones who eat cheese and grapes, prosciutto with cheese and a little honey. Calorie-dense, but filling. When eaten in small amounts, these foods fill you up and keep your metabolism going.