Thursday 19 August 2010

Weight loss and exercise: Two dead simple and one off the wall tips that really work

I read this post on the "1,000,000 million People to find a cure for Crohn's disease" Facebook page which hosts some fantastic discussions between Crohnies on a wide range of topics: “So I saw my GI doctor yesterday. She told me I am 15 pounds overweight. What kinds of exercise and diet do you recommend to help me lose that weight? She recommended a low carb or carb free diet. Which foods would be good to eat that are low in carbs or carb free?”:
I started to reply and then realised that I couldn't condense it into a short enough space. Here goes........

I have two really simple integrated lifestyle suggestions that are aimed at requiring least effort and the least amount of motivation and a further off the wall suggestion. So if you feel awful and completely cannot be bothered, the food and exercise tips really work. And if you want to go full out, try the Solar Plexus Charging! (with extreme caution).

First, Food: The easiest thing to do might sound completely mad and patronising, but if take the KIS (Keep it simple) approach - just decide not to eat sugar, bread, potatoes or pasta  - this is a sure way of losing weight that is also super easy. Replace these staples with whatever vegetables you can manage. If the reflex response to this is "Vegetables, you must be joking!", then my first suggestion would be try 'em all - there will be some that are OK if you liquidise them or if that doesn't work, liquidise and strain them. This helps when the problem is caused by the irritation of larger fibrous pieces. If it seems that the chemical component of the vegetables is a problem, then try and combine the pureed veg with something that is tolerable.  And in addition, eat whatever you like! Listen to your body to find out what it wants to eat. After a short while of getting into the habit it’s a no-brainer. This is NOT NOT NOT the Atkins diet, just “Stuff the staples - vegetables rock!” More info if required.

Second, Exercise: I read a great book on exercise myths about twenty years ago and annoyingly I’ve forgotten the author or the title. The author was an expert in metabolism and I think he pioneered the application of BMI (he started by taking a massive bath with him to his demos, filling it with water and getting people to totally immerse themselves. The increase in depth of water provided a measurement of their volume which he used in conjunction with their weight to find their density. The “I’m just big boned” excuse was no longer a matter for debate - someone's fat proportion could now be calculated from their density. Thankfully, it wasn't long before he found a good way of approximating this measurement that didn't require a bath :)).

Whilst this may be very interesting, in my opinion his other research was far more revelatory: He demonstrated which forms of exercise were more effective at burning fat. He found that fat burned at a faster rate when the same amount of energy was expended over a longer period. In other words, it was better to exercise regularly at a lower level for a longer time and using large muscle groups than to exercise in short bursts of higher level activity. He advocated a good walk at a decent pace daily to burn fat and increase metabolism. This would seem to be too good good to be true: all the reasons for not exercising just evaporate – no need for specialist kit, no need to get changed, no need to get in the car and go somewhere, no embarrassment of being seen red faced and staggering when you’re so unfit at the outset, no need for the right weather and no gymn fees! You’re simply just going for a good walk. No brainer. Just one final point on exercise: In his official annual report, "On the State of Public Health", Sir Liam Donaldson, the UK Government's Chief Medical Officer described exercise as “nature’s cure”........If a medication existed that had a similar effect on preventing disease, it would be hailed as a miracle cure.”

Third, speed up your metabolism using Solar Plexus Charging: Now this is rather different from my usual recommendations and it comes with a warning. The yogis that practice this are reported to be seen walking up mountains in sub zero temperatures dressed only in something resembling a sheet, melting the snow with their bare feet. You should only practice this if you are experienced in yoga and preferably if you have a yoga teacher. I am not a yoga teacher. I find this very beneficial, not just for the metabolic effects but also it blows your mind. Even better, you do it lying down :). For further information my favourite is Dr. John Mumford’s, “A Chakra and Kundalini Workbook”  You can also find various references on the internet but be very, very careful, Kundalini energy is not to be messed with. To be safe, read the book and if it interests you further, go to an expert Kundalini yoga teacher.

If you are able to, I would expect using just the food and exercise suggestions you would achieve your target weight in 7-8 weeks. What's more it's completely sustainable. It would be great to hear how you get on!!

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