As 2014 draws to a close, now is the time we start thinking about what we want to achieve for the year ahead. If you’ve got nutrition, exercise or weight loss goals for 2015, then here’s a bit of advice.
DO NOT fall for the latest fad diet, pill, potion, detox, or tea. The truth is, you don’t need to spend money on special products to help you detox, debloat or lose weight. I feel sad that people spend hundreds to thousands of dollars on these products, lining the pockets of others when what you really need for permanent wellbeing and weight loss is good nutrition, exercise and a healthy lifestyle is all you need.
Here’s a few of my tips for permanent change:
- Stop focusing on having the “perfect body”. There is no such thing. Focus on nourishing your body with healthy food, learn to love your body.
- Learn to eat mindfully. Eating mindfully helps break the cycle of binge eating and comfort eating as you learn to listen and recognise hunger, emotions and enjoy food for both pleasure and nourishment.
- Eat plenty of vegetables – make these the focus of most of your meals with the addition of other food groups.
- Don’t follow the latest diet, find an eating pattern that works for you. Food rules aren’t often conducive to permanent change, you feel guilty for any “slip ups” and this can then lead to a downwards spiral.
- Drinks – Minimise alcohol, don’t binge drink. Drink water. Avoid sugary drinks.
- Find an exercise you love, do it regularly
I’ll talk more about these in more detail in 2015.
Here’s my thoughts on some of the common products out there at the moment.
Weight loss teas
Teas seem to be all the rage at the moment, with lots of before and after photos claiming to help reduce bloating and assist weight loss. The reality is, the before and after photos are not just because of the tea. The teas often come with eating guidelines which is calorie restricted, thus it’s this that causes the weight loss. And the instant debloat that is claimed is due to laxative ingredients. The majority of these teas contain a natural laxative called Senna. Yup that’s right, they make you poo, that’s why your weight decreases.
Senna contains chemicals called sennosides which irritate your bowel lining, causing a laxative effect. One of the main side effects of senna is that longer term use can affect the functioning of your bowels so that you become dependant on laxatives. Senna should not be used for longer than 2 weeks or dependency can occur.
Because it is a laxative, there are other possible long term effects too, such as electrolyte imbalance which can cause heart function disorders, muscle weakness, liver damage, and other harmful effects.
If you have ongoing issues with bloating, it’s really worth getting a check up and if there is no medical reason, then see a degree qualified nutritionist who can help you figure out what is causing you issues with bloating. There are a number of reasons you could be bloated (from IBS, lactose intolerance or even stress issues) and a professional consult can help get you sorted for life, without spending money on temporary fixes that could cause you long term harm.
The other thing I’m not fond of with these teas is the price! Many I’ve seen cost around $45 for two weeks worth of tea – that’s lot of money! My advice? Buy some green tea from the supermarket. It’s high in antioxidants and it very slightly boosts your metabolism.
Isagenix and Herbalife are two of the big names out there that sell total meal replacement programmes. These are super expensive and the reason for this isn’t because they are more effective or higher quality than some of the cheaper products out there. The reason is every time you buy one, the person selling them makes profit from you. I’ve heard of a few people that sell Isagenix, and they are making quite a lot of money each week. They all make the same claims, and their social media posts are all similar – they say what amazing energy they have, how much weight they’ve lost and how it can change your life too. Don’t spend all your hard earned cash on these. They only work because you’re drastically reducing your energy intake. Often people follow shake diets, only to regain the weight as they don’t change their habits as a process of losing weight.
Real food is always superior to a manufactured powder. Focus on healthy eating with plenty of wholefoods, and if you really must buy a meal replacement, purchase it from a health food store or supermarket, they’re much cheaper and have similar ingredients.
There is nil evidence that just drinking juice helps your body get rid of toxins. That is the job of your liver and kidneys who do a fabulous job without any juice detox. In actual fact, amino acids (the building blocks of protein) are required for every detox pathway in the body. Vegetable and fruit juices are low in protein therefore do not supply with with amino acids to support detox. Can vegetable based juices be a part of a health diet? Yes. Should you drink them as your sole source of nutrition for a cleanse? No need. Not unless you want to be hungry and test your will power.