by Helen Mawson
If the answer to the above question is yes, you are not alone, astonishingly two in five women and one in six men are dissatisfied with their weight or shape and are on a permanent diet! There are so many different diets available that the mind boggles and it is difficult to know what is the most appropriate for your body.
All about balance
I have found the word balance to be one of the most important when considering our diet and our health in general. True balance is not about denying ourselves the occasional coffee, chocolate bar or glass of wine it’s about eating good quality healthy foods most of the time and what we occasionally fancy as a treat. Obviously if you are working with a specific illness or dietary requirement then this principle will vary. With any eating regime, the body needs to be in as balanced a state as possible if you are to achieve the best outcome.
The Bowen Technique
Bowen is a holistic therapy which offers a unique approach in assisting with weight loss helping you to let go of the weight you no longer need. In practice, I will use procedures that address the parts of your body that are not working as well as they could be. Specifically, we may need to look at upper digestion, or issues lower down the digestive system, alternatively we may focus on the hormonal system for example. As part of my training I have learnt about nutrition, traditional Chinese medicine and many other techniques that allow me to address issues with weight.
Back to basics
When I work with people I focus on the basic principles of nutrition, incorporating balanced quantities of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, & vegetation and plenty of variation within these parameters. The following information highlights general guidelines for quantities of the main food groups:
15 % Protein – The 25 different amino acids which are forms of protein and literally “building blocks” for our bodies are used to make hormones, enzymes, antibodies and neurotransmitters and help transport substances around the body. Optimal protein intake for an adult is around 35 grams. Best quality protein in terms of amino acid content includes; eggs, quinoa, meat, fish, beans and lentils. Meat protein sources tend to contain more saturated fats than vegetable or cereal sources and are also acid forming. Vegetable or cereal based amino acids tend to have additional health benefits and are generally better absorbed than animal protein.
70 % Carbohydrates – the main fuel for the body and come in 2 forms; fast releasing including sugar, honey, malts, refined foods, and slow releasing including whole grains, vegetables, and fresh fruits. Slow releasing or complex carbohydrates work to slow down the release of sugar providing a more sustained energy release. Fast releasing carbohydrates provide a fast burst of energy and are best kept to a minimum.
15 % Fats – There are basically 2 types of fat hard or saturated fat and soft or unsaturated fat. It is not essential or desirable to eat saturated fats. The main sources of these fats are meat and dairy. There are 2 kinds of unsaturated fats; monounsaturated fat such as olive oil and polyunsaturated fats found in nuts, seeds, and fish. Certain polyunsaturated fats called omega 3 and 6 are essential for brain, nervous system, immune system, skin and cardiovascular system function.
The following are guidelines for a healthy balanced diet:
- 5 servings of vegetables
- 3 servings of fruits
- 2 servings of protein
- 6 servings of complex carbohydrates
- 2 servings of mineral rich foods
- 1 serving of essential fats – omega 3, 6 & 9
- 2 litres of water per day
Other factors to consider
Dehydration– The body needs water to function properly. When dehydration occurs the body systems do not perform as well and elimination is significantly impaired. Getting into the habit of drinking pure water will help the body in many ways but will also aid weight loss.
Allergies – when your body does not recognise a food an allergic reaction occurs, this can cause weight gain or loss and often needs to be addressed.
Intolerance– you may be consuming too much of a substance for your body to deal with and therefore causing your system to become toxic or overloaded.
Hormonal Imbalance – Hormones are responsible for regulating metabolism, appetite control, blood sugar, reproduction and so much more. If this complex system isn’t working properly problems with weight can occur. There are specific regimes that will help to balance hormones which will aid weight loss, the leptin diet being one.
Psychological / Emotional Issues – when we are feeling bored or low in mood we are more likely to overeat or eat the foods that are not so healthy. Stressful events or traumas from the past may be the root cause of our weight issues and may need to be resolved before we can move on.
When you eat is as important as what you eat
This advice is very important to consider and will potentially have a big impact upon your weight goals. I won’t go into this too much here as it warrants an article of its own but will highlight some basic rules to apply;
1. Eat 3 meals per day.
2. Always eat breakfast and try and get a minimum of 20g protein.
3. Leave at least 5 hours between meals
4. Never eat anything after dinner and leave at least 4-3 hours between eating and going to bed.
5. Minimise carbs if you want to let go of weight.