Is this the simplest weight loss plan ever?

How would you feel if someone told you to stop eating all the time? I guess your answer might be something non-printable in a family magazine. But what if they are right? Whether you want to hear it or not, research is showing that one of our biggest health problems is that we never stop eating.

Not long ago, we were advised that it was healthier to “graze” to prevent blood sugar spikes and depressions. Now everyone is talking about “intermittent fasting” or “limited time eating” (early dinner and late breakfast, with a 12-16 hour “fast” in between).

The New Scientist recently touted a “longevity diet” that recommends fasting, and every health guru from the measured (Dr. Rangan Chatterjee) to the woo-woo (Gwyneth Paltrow) is doing it. So what has changed? It all depends on awareness of insulin levels, which brings us to the scientific part …

“Consistently high insulin levels interfere with leptin, the hormone that provides a feedback mechanism to tell the brain that you are full,” explains Dr. Andrew Jenkinson, bariatric surgeon and author of Why We Eat (Too Much). “It’s like your car’s fuel gauge.

‘You panic when you see it blinking blank. But the problem isn’t that the tank is empty, it’s that the gauge is broken. The Western culture of snacking on sugar, highly refined carbohydrates and processed foods means that insulin levels never go down. ‘

How would you feel if someone told you to stop eating all the time?  I guess your answer might be something non-printable in a family magazine.  But what if they are right?  Whether you want to hear it or not, research is showing that one of our biggest health problems is that we never stop eating (stock image)

How would you feel if someone told you to stop eating all the time? I guess your answer might be something non-printable in a family magazine. But what if they are right? Whether you want to hear it or not, research is showing that one of our biggest health problems is that we never stop eating (stock image)

This jargon about hormones and blood sugar levels can be overwhelming, so let me introduce the simplest dietary concept ever: the SEAT plan (stop eating all the time). There is no need to count calories or buy “diet” versions of foods.

Now, when I walk past the fridge and grab the cheese, I say to myself: stop eating all the time. When I smell croissants in the bakery, I think: stop eating all the time. Try it. Your secret health weapon can be as easy as changing the way you think.

If that sounds like deprivation, the way I see it is this: food should be delicious and fully enjoyed, ideally with other people. For me, this means mealtime. Snacks are often thrown back without thinking, in a state of boredom or stress. So even though I’ve given up on snacks, I’m still enjoying good food every day – and I’m actually enjoying it more because I’m hungry at dinner time. It’s common sense and it’s the only diet that’s easy to stick to, because it’s not a diet – it’s a mindset.

Dr. Jason Fung, author of The Obesity Code and The Complete Guide to Fasting, says this simplicity is at the heart of why fasting works. “It’s easy to understand,” he explains. ‘It’s also affordable, so you save time and make your life easier. And it’s flexible: you always have control over how and when you fast. You can fast more if you need to lose weight and less if you are on vacation. ‘

Experts on the smart way to “SEAT”

Fasting guru Dr. Jason Fung

‘Hunger doesn’t keep growing if you don’t eat. Instead, your body will use the calories it requires from your body fat and your hunger will decrease. Keep busy to take your mind off eating. ‘

Nutritionist Karen Newby

‘If you feel shaky or weak, have a protein-rich snack, such as nuts. For something sweet, eat fruit or dark chocolate, but consume it right after your main meal to avoid an insulin spike.

Bariatric surgeon Dr Andrew Jenkinson

“Sugar and refined carbohydrates give people a thrill, so resisting it can feel like giving up alcohol. Realize that the craving will reach a crescendo and then pass. I call it craving for surfing.

Dr. Megan Rossi, intestinal health specialist

‘Make sure hunger is what you feel, not thirst. So find a distraction like going for a walk. If you’re really hungry, eat a high-fiber snack, like hummus with celery sticks or carrots. ‘

People often think they will get tired or tired at work if they don’t eat but, in practice, the opposite is true. “It increases energy and focus,” explains Dr. Fung. ‘During fasting, your body releases norepinephrine, giving you more energy and focus. That is why the hungry wolf is so dangerous ».

And the hungry she-wolf? Anecdotally, women who haven’t eaten are more likely to report a feeling we all know: being “angry.”

“Hangry” is a classic sign of hypoglycemia, “says Karen Newby, nutritionist and author of The Natural Menopause Method.” The reason this gets worse after age 40 is that our metabolism starts to change when estrogen goes out of balance. The hunger hormone ghrelin also increases in middle age. ‘

Newby likens eating sugar or refined carbohydrates, such as cookies and chips, to pouring fuel on a fire. He will burn brightly but briefly – ignite more cravings. “But protein and beneficial fats, like oily fish and nuts, are like putting coal on a fire,” he explains. “They keep our power factories running, so we don’t need snacks that much.”

Newby says fasting can be effective for women of any age: “Intermittent fasting overnight for 12-14 hours and doing mini fasts between main meals helps us become more aware of the food we are eating. We also give a break to our digestive system, as we did, even just 100 years ago. Snacking is a very modern invention, created by food companies with a market value of billions. ‘

But not everyone sees fasting as a cure-all. “Most of the evidence [of the benefits of fasting] it comes from animal studies and we are very different from mice, “says Dr. Megan Rossi, intestinal health expert and author of Eat More, Live Well.” I have recommended intermittent fasting for some patients because it can be effective for management of weight, but this has more to do with the fact that if you are reducing your eating window, you eat less. “

The important thing, he says, is less when you eat and more about what you eat. ‘If people are too hungry they can tend to binge on ultra-processed foods. The focus should be on foods rich in nutrients and lots of fiber, which feed intestinal bacteria, regulating the appetite hormones ghrelin and leptin. ‘

So the key to not ending up face down in a cinnamon whirlwind after fasting is to make sure your meals contain plenty of nutrients and fiber (in other words: vegetables) and some protein (meat, fish, eggs, lentils, beans. , tofu). . A 14-hour fast wouldn’t be of much benefit if your eating window consisted of chips and ice cream. Once you’re in it, it’s easier than you might think to add seeds to your porridge, nut butter to your toast, or a scoop of frozen spinach to your pasta.

Focusing on getting all the nutrients you need tends to naturally crowd out sugary or ultra-processed foods. What I have cropped out is the mid-morning pastry and late-night snack – and, surprisingly, I don’t miss them. So give it a try. I promise you your life will be better if you stop eating all the time.

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