19th June, 2013
Most dieters try to control overeating by the use of willpower. I know because I’ve tried it myself.
My mother was a marvelous cook, and often before visiting her I would decide I was not going to break my dietary routine. I would try to envision myself refusing all the freshly baked pies, muffins, and breads. In my mind, I repeated over and over, “I will not overeat.”
As soon as I stepped inside the house, I would smell a freshly baked pie. My mind told me, “yum! You’ve had that before.” My emotions said, “You like that kind of pie, and your mother made it just for you.” My will would try to respond with “I shouldn’t eat any.”
My willpower usually worked until I sat down at the table with my mother. Then she would say, “Come on, help me finish this up. It will never be better than now!” “Have another piece; you eat like a mouse.” “You can diet when you get back home; enjoy yourself while you are here on vacation.”
That’s when I discovered that willpower is not enough. It takes more than will power to stop that kind of temptation. What is the remedy? It takes courage to adopt a new lifestyle and sustain it.
A Little Change Could Help
The pastries actually convert very quickly to sugar. In fact if you put a piece of white bread in your mouth for a few minutes, you will notice a sweet taste. The starch is converted to glucose. Yes your white bread is fortified with important vitamins and minerals, such as iron and folic acid and contain a little fraction of protein and fiber . But for the most part, refined carbohydrates are sweet nothings.
Have you ever mixed a little water into a big bowl of white flour? What do you get? Paste! And that is what too many biscuits and processed foods are becoming in your digestive tract. It may sound extreme but they are junk foods.
So in order to save my myself from overeating junk food when I am on vacation, I decided to always get some fruits and vegetables such that even when I unavoidably indulge, I can always take my fruits and vegetable which are rich in fibre. It takes plenty of courage to start something new and stick to it.
In centuries past, the base of people’s diet looked much different than today. It contains large amounts of fibre, the most neglected elements of Nigerian diet. The average person only gets about ten to fifteen grams of fibre per day. We need an absolute minimum of thirty grams. The best sources are fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and especially beans. As a rule of thumb, an average serving of fruits or veggies contains about two to four grams. That means you will need the equivalent of ten servings to meet your minimum fibre requirement.
Some of the best sources of fibre are corn, beans, and legumes at five to seven grams per half cup! Also remember that it is very important to increase your water intake as you increase your fibre.
Many cultures with diets that are high in fibre (up to 50 or more grams per day) have very low rates of heart disease and cancer. Fibre is essential for good health and has been linked to the prevention of many other diseases as well.
A recent journal of Medical Association, read that of 65000 women ages 40-65, a diet high in sugar and low in fibre more than doubles a woman’s risk of developing Type 11 (adult onset) diabetes over a diet low in sugar and high in fiber.
So what is fibre? It is the indigestible part of plant food and there are two kinds- soluble and insoluble. Think of the soluble fibre as a sponge that soaks up fluid and excess dietary fat as it travels through the digestive tract.
Imagine the insoluble fibre like a scrub brush cleaning up the walls of your intestines as it travels the miles and miles of it’s journey. Fibre absorbs large quantities of water in your digestive tract. That’s one of the reasons it keeps food moving through at a healthy rate.
Fibre is not just for regularity. It also helps notch up your energy, and that’s because it slows the release of carbohydrate into your bloodstream, thus steadying your blood sugar. Let me give you an example. If you drink a glass of orange juice, the fructose (or natural fruit sugar) in the juice would quickly move into your bloodstream and your blood sugar would rise. That will give you an immediate boost of energy. But the downside is that it also falls as quickly as it rose. Within a short period of time your energy is waning. You’re much better off eating an orange.
Fibre is a key to weight control. Stabilise your blood sugar throughout the day by including fiber in every meal or snack. Over time, you will be amazed at your energy level. You will probably have less sugar craving as well. And because fibre passes through the digestive system intact , not all it’s calories stay with the body.
Fibre-rich foods typically take a longer time to eat than fatty foods, thereby providing sufficient time for satiety to be attained and overeating to be avoided. High-fibre foods also contain mass, which fills the stomach, producing a “stick to the ribs” feeling-a psychological benefit. And there are many other benefits you get from fibre, these includes:
•Decrease in fat absorption.
•Stabilises blood sugar
•Fills you up
•Lowers blood pressure
•Lowers serum cholesterol
•Helps prevent digestive diseases
• Contributes to bowel cleansing.
Lastly, look for situations to be active. Take several daily 10-15 minute brisk walks and increase your activity by doing things like taking the stairs instead of the elevator. This serves to increase your calorie burn even more. People who are consistently on the go can add 20% to their energy expenditure over the day
The secret to permanent weight loss is training your body to be a more efficient calorie-burning engine by maximizing your metabolism. Be courageous.