Fat is a critically important element of an LCHF diet. When carbs are restricted and protein is moderated, the remainder of one’s calories must come from healthy fats. Fat is required for energy and is what makes us feel satisfied after meals. Eating a low carb diet full of healthy fats keeps insulin levels low, which enables the release of stored fat to be burned for fuel. The result? We slim down and feel full of energy. Yes, fat is very important, but does that mean we can eat as much of it as we like, and does the type of fat we choose to eat make any difference to our weight loss efforts?
Are you following a low carb diet but disappointed with your results? Is that weight loss plateau frustrating you beyond measure? A glucometer can help you to identify foods and even lifestyle factors that cause your blood sugar to spike and, as a result, hinder weight loss. When blood sugar spikes so does insulin and too much insulin inhibits fat loss. A glucometer is not just for diabetics but is also a very useful tool for people who struggle with stubborn weight. Learning how to keep your blood sugar stable and in the low range is vitally important in shedding those unwanted kilograms. The use of a glucometer, combined with some clever detective work, can reveal valuable information that can help you to get the results you want.
If you are experiencing significant weight loss resistance, despite your best efforts with a healthy low carb eating plan – you may be suffering from an underactive thyroid. Other signs that your thyroid is not working as it should include: fatigue, brain fog, depression, hair loss, achy muscles, painful joints, sensitivity to cold, dry skin and constipation. The thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate the body’s metabolic rate, muscle control, bone maintenance as well as heart, brain and digestive functions. Unfortunately, when it comes to your thyroid, the road to optimal health can be a long and frustrating one. Many people are told that their blood test results are completely normal and have been sent home with a prescription for an anti-depressant or instructions to get more sleep, eat less and exercise more. This isn’t very helpful when you consider that every single cell in your body requires thyroid hormone in just the right quantity. If you have too little your metabolism will slow down, leading to weight gain or severe weight loss resistance as well as low moods and poor concentration.
Do you suffer from one or more of the following: fatigue, stubborn weight, belly fat, brain fog or insomnia? If “yes,” then you might need to pay some attention to your body’s stress response system, otherwise known as your HPA axis. HPA stands for Hypothalamic–Pituitary–Adrenal. Our stress response is governed by the interaction between the hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal glands. Stress activates the HPA axis and leads to the release of hormones like cortisol and adrenaline that prepare our body for the flight or fight response. While our body’s response to stress is protective in the short-term, the longer the stress response stays activated, the more damaging it is for our health. A commonly used term for this chronic stress response is “adrenal fatigue.”
It is no exaggeration to refer to magnesium as the miracle mineral. Dr Carolyn Dean, a medical doctor, naturopath and nutritionist wrote an entire book on the subject which she aptly titled, “The Magnesium Miracle”. This article references her work on magnesium and provides insights as to why it is so critical for treating many of today’s chronic conditions such as acid reflux, adrenal fatigue, angina, anxiety, heart palpitations, high blood pressure, constipation, depression, type 2 diabetes, obesity, fibromyalgia and many more. Magnesium is responsible for over 300 life-providing reactions in our body, yet most of us are magnesium deficient. Many of us severely so. Our nervous system, bones, muscles, heart, brain and other organs all require magnesium to function well. If we are going to avoid chronic and debilitating illness it is important to understand why we are deficient and what can be done about it.
You have lost a significant amount of weight and feel wonderful. Others have noticed and their compliments have really boosted your self-confidence. The fat has just melted away revealing collar bones that had long been forgotten. You visualise effortlessly reaching your goal for the first time ever. It almost seems too good to be true. Until one day the weight loss stops, dead in its tracks like a stubborn donkey with a bad attitude. You realise something has to change, because what worked before is not working now. You have hit the dreaded plateau, but please don’t panic. There are solutions to this frustrating yet very normal phenomenon. It will require patience, perseverance, and an experimental approach. Most importantly you will need to be brutally honest with yourself about your eating habits and lifestyle.
Most of us don’t spend much time contemplating our body’s complex hormonal systems. Even when we are displaying the outward signs of hormonal imbalance, fixing the underlying root cause is not always top of mind. Popping a pill for menstrual cramps, or drinking caffeine all day long to stay awake, are just some of the “quick fix” solutions that our society gravitates towards these days. Unfortunately, these quick fixes do not resolve the reasons why your hormones are out of whack in the first place. One hormone that is responsible for much of the distress is estrogen. Both men and women have this important hormone, but when it becomes dominant in relation to progesterone and testosterone, problems start to arise.
Article written by Nicky Perks for Lose It Magazine (Volume 13)
Escaping stress in our modern word is not an easy task. There is always something causing anxiety be it a concern over finances, ageing parents, sick children, political instability, crime or a relationship that has broken down. Stress comes at us from every direction, and is often unrelenting. Whether the source of stress is physical, emotional, dietary, or environmental in nature, the manner in which one’s body responds is the same. Chronic stress causes a cascade of chemical reactions that impacts our sleep, cognitive abilities, hormonal balance, mood, and libido. As if being an irritable, foggy-brained zombie isn’t bad enough, stress also makes us fat. The type of fat where you seriously consider buying a pair of elasticised trousers from the maternity wear section so that you can sit, breathe and eat a meal all at the same time.