Struggling to lose weight?
Most of us are serial dieters. You may have previously had success with a diet only to find that the weight inevitably creeps back on even when you are following the eating “guidelines” provided. Losing weight initially can often be the easy part; the hurdle that many fall at is being able to maintain the weight loss for a prolonged period of time. It is this process which leads so many of us from one diet to the next never finding a permanent solution.
But have you ever really thought about why this process occurs?
So many of us slip back into old habits without really questioning why it has happened. We tend to just put it down to lack of will power or becoming too busy to focus on maintaining the diet. But this is not the reason why we fail.
There is one very simple reason why we fail to maintain weight loss and that is because of biochemical imbalances within our body. Biochemical behaviour drives not only our desire to eat, but also what food we eat. It is the reason why we crave food and why once you start eating you may find it difficult to stop even though you know you have had enough. Does this sound familiar?
You may believe it is greed that drives you to the bottom of the biscuit packet; it isn’t. Your body and your brain are simply responding to a complex system of messages that has gone awry; the messages are muddled and can no longer communicate effectively. Your body is telling you to eat food that you do not need or even want.
By understanding the biochemical functioning of your body you will begin to understand the reasons why you have failed at previous diets. If we learn how to correct the imbalance we then hold the key to dieting success and being able to maintain a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. It really is that simple.
What causes the Biochemical Imbalances?
This is a fascinating and very complicated area to which we can only just begin to scratch the surface. There are many hormones which interact and work together to explain the story of biochemical imbalances. This section is intended to provide a brief introduction to the subject, however, it is visited in much more detail in our eBooks Introduction to Paleo and Paleo: 12 Weeks to Change Your Life as understanding this process is integral to a smooth transition to a Paleo lifestyle.
In a nutshell, the key to correcting the imbalance associated with poor diet and overeating largely revolves around insulin. Your insulin balance is directly responsible for making your body store food as fat. The higher your blood sugar levels the more insulin that your body releases in order to process the excess sugar. If your body does not use that extra sugar as energy, it will be stored as body fat.
The main culprit when it comes to increasing blood sugar levels are dietary carbohydrates. This includes ALL dietary carbohydrates. Some are worse offenders than others, and we do need a certain amount to function effectively. Refined carbohydrates such as white bread, cakes and biscuits are the obvious offenders, but wholemeal bread can raise your blood sugar as much as a slice of stodgy white and other grains and legumes will do so too.
By limiting foods with carbohydrate content; namely sugar, grains, legumes and dairy you will be able to get your insulin response under control. This is the first step towards a healthy and sustainable lifestyle.
How can Paleo help?
By following a Paleo eating plan which focuses on good quality proteins and nutrient dense foods such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and oils you will reset your entire biochemical system and regain control over your body. You will find that your cravings disappear and that overeating becomes a thing of the past. Your body will feel nourished and content and weight loss will become natural and not forced.
By addressing your biochemical needs and giving your body the nutrient dense foods that it needs and wants, it becomes easy not hard. You begin working with your body not against it. You may imagine that you will spend your days wishing you could eat your weight in cheesecake whilst leaping up and down in the gym. Not so. As your body heals, hunger and cravings slip away. Exercise feels life affirming, not punishment, and almost every area of your physical well-being will improve.
With the responsibility for your own health firmly in your own hands and a biochemical balance that you know you can now trust to send you the right signals (and the ability to recognise when it doesn’t) you will automatically give your body what it needs, when it needs it. Punishing schedule? Have a high carb day. Feeling particularly hungry? Look at your sleep and eat plenty of protein. Out for coffee with friends? Enjoy it; don’t be hard on yourself. A chilled out approach is essential as long as you don’t work against your body too much or it will rebel. Rather than the restrictive, even harmful, regime that many people believe Paleo to be, it is actually just a path to understanding your body and devising an individual approach that suits you best. It isn’t always easy, and it certainly isn’t instant, but the benefits are clear and they will see you through where simply attempting to modify behaviour alone will see you fall at the first craving-shaped hurdle.