PHS editor and Historical Romance author Michelle Styles looks an important but often overlooked part of maintaining your weight -- having a plan.
Last month, I spoke about how you determine your ideal weight zone, this
month I want to discuss how you stay there. You need to have plan and an idea
of what you are going to do. Simply going back to your old lifestyle will mean
the weight will come piling back.
The first thing to know is that there are many competing theories about how
we gain weight and how our metabolism works. Nutrition is an imperfect science. It is sort of in the
same state that surgery was back in the 16th century. Part of the trouble is that
everyone has her own unique biochemistry. It is part of what makes you, you.
And you always have an unique combination of good and bad bacteria in your gut.
How you absorb food makes to a difference to your health and your metabolism.
People can suffer from low level inflammation and leaky gut syndrome which
gets expressed in a number of ways. Once your digestion gets back in balance,
it is far easier to maintain your weight and to begin to work on things like --
what your emotional triggers are for eating.
So the first step in my plan has been to learn as much about my digestion as
possible. What makes me bloat, what makes me crave other foods, what my body
needs more of. The way I did this was through an elimination diet (aka an anti-inflammatory
diet) where I not only went for a few weeks without certain food stuffs but
also paid attention to how my body reacted when I reintroduced those foods.
It is never about having things permanently off the menu but rather allowing
your digestion to recover and your hormones to start working properly and then
Typical foods that cause people problems include wheat, corn, refined sugar,
dairy products, salt, starch etc. But it does depend on the person and how
their gut reacts.
It is also important to allow your body enough time to detox overnight. This
is particularly true if you suffer from Leptin resistance or a low level
inflammation of the hypothalamus. If you have a tendency to plateau or you find
reducing calories no longer works to shift the weight, you might have Leptin
resistance. Giving yourself a 12 hour window from the time you eat your supper
to when you have breakfast in the morning can help. During that time you should
only have water or water with fresh lemon juice.
Speaking of water, another step in my plan has been to dramatically increase
the amount of water I drink. Dehydration can cause bloating. And this is
particularly true IF you have recently lost a lot of weight as the fat cells
attempt to hang on to the water. It can be why you sometimes seem to plateau
and then whoosh lose a ton overnight as your hydration level improves.
By knowing about how my individual biochemistry works and how my body
responds, I am able to respond with the right sort of remedy if my metabolism
changes and my aspirational clothes feel tight.
Second part of the plan is to learn about emotional eating and my individual
triggers for that. 90% of serotonin is manufactured in your gut and when you
get into an emotional state, your gut wants something to do. Food, and in
particular carbs combined with fat can really give your body what it craves
(temporarily). It can also lead to self-loathing and guilt as you know that the
cake or box of biscuits really doesn’t do anything for your waist line. Guilt
genrally leads towards the need to eat more and so the cycle begins!
Any time you binge or eat in an unplanned unhealthy manner, you should
look on it as an opportunity to learn more about your body. You want to create
a gap between the emotion and the eating so that you can do other things to
take care of your body. One of the number one causes of emotional eating is
stress. (I am going to deal with some of the strategies for combating emotional
eating through self-care in later months). But the important first step is to
take away the guilt. Any breakdown is an opportunity to learn and thinking of
it like a baby learning to walk is useful. Babies fall down and then get back
up again and stumble some more. You don’t get annoyed or mad at them for
falling. The important thing is to get back up again and really examine the
reasons behind and see if there is anything you can learn from it. Perfection
is not required or wanted. So the plan is to treat any emotional eating as an opportunity for learning rather than for beating myself up!
The third part of my plan involves exercise. In order to maintain my weight,
I need to sweat. And I am going to talk about exercising and coming up with the
right amount for your body in next month’s blog.
Michelle Styles writes warm, witty and intimate historical romance for
Harlequin Historical. Her next book His Unsuitable Viscountess will be out in
the UK and the US in August 2012. And her book after that Hattie Wilkinson Meets
Her Match is a November 2012 release. To learn more about her books visit her