Dieting, exercise and personal trainers. Are these the common images that come to mind when you want to manage and lose weight? Maybe you’ve tried a few diets but struggle with the motivation and the weight returns after the wheels came off? Maybe you hit the gym for a while but didn’t keep it up or, most likely, didn’t see any beneficial results in the first place? Maybe you’ve tried all of the above, had some success, but have now hit a plateau? Maybe you’re struggling to lose that abdominal fat around your mid section no matter what you do? Whether you want to lose just a few kilograms or 20 kilograms hiring the services of a Nutrition and Lifestyle Coach is likely to be the key decision you make in order to manage and lose weight permanently in Singapore.
In the first of this two part article we’ll look at how our Nutrition and Lifestyle Coaches can help you optimise The 10 Elements of Health in order to get down to your ideal body weight. If you have already read the first part you can find the second part here.
When it comes to managing and losing weight physical exercise is far less important than most people are led to believe. In fact, in many cases it can be downright detrimental. Why? Well take running for example. Humans were designed over hundreds of thousands of years to sprint, lift heavy occasionally, walk a hell of a lot but not run. When you run for long periods of time two things happen. Firstly, your body goes into stress-survival mode because it thinks you’re running away from a tiger for 45 minutes, this raises your cortisol levels and prioritises the body’s storage of visceral fat. This is a genetic self-defence mechanism to coat your abdominal organs in a protective layer of fat so they’ll have emergency fuel when they need it. Secondly, your brain will think to itself, “if this joker is going to go out and do this again tomorrow we’d better make sure he gets more fuel onboard”, so it will ramp up production of your hunger hormones thus, increasing your desire to eat more. Essentially your desire for food will match your energy output forcing you to re-feed to fill up the energy gap you’ve just created. And if that energy deficit is satiated with more junk food then that’s really not going to do you any favours. Gary Taubes does an excellent job of proving this from the multitudes of scientific studies out there in his books: Good Calories, Bad Calories: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom on Diet, Weight Control, and Disease1 and Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It2.
Also, if we look at this from a genetic and evolutionary standpoint out of the few hundred traditional hunter-gather societies still in existence today only 1 tribe, the Kalahari Persistence Hunters, actually run as part of their regular hunting routine.
OK this is a no brainer really so we’ll be brief on this point. You must fuel your body sensibly with real food such as pastured animals, wild fish, organic fruits, vegetables, tubers and quality fats. If you treat your body like a dustbin then you cannot expect to achieve the results you crave no matter how optimal your other lifestyle factors are. Feel free to grab a copy of our nutrition infographic on our contact us page for more information on making better food choices.
It is important not just to make healthier food choices but also to eat food that is in the right macronutrient proportions that are the most appropriate for you. There are 65,000 diet books on Amazon and if any of them actually worked then there would be no need for so many. Diets suck and don’t work - they just make you hungry and grumpy! What our Nutrition and Lifestyle Coaches do is help you understand your body and what it needs, we help you make better choices that do not require exhaustive amounts of willpower and we utilise techniques such as metabolic typing to help fine tune your nutritional needs to create self-empowerment.
If you'd like to know where are some of the best places in Singapore to shop for healthy foods, please visit our Singapore Healthy Shopping Food Guide.
Sleep is great. This is where we rest, repair ourselves physically and mentally. Most of us in Singapore do not get enough sleep. That’s crucial because not getting at least 8 hours sleep a night will make you fat3. Why does a lack of sleep make you fat? Well not getting enough sleep results in an insulin-resistant state. Insulin resistance means that your body cannot shuttle carbohydrates into glycogen stores in your liver and muscles. That doesn’t mean you poop the excess food out! What it means is that your body helpfully decides to convert that into fat via a process called “de novo lipogenesis”, so you can utilise that energy on a rainy day. You want proof? Here are a bunch of scientific studies and research papers:
- Sleep duration and five-year abdominal fat accumulation in a minority cohort: the IRAS family study
- Sleep duration is associated with body fat and muscle mass and waist-to-height ratio beyond conventional obesity parameters in Korean adolescent boys
- Lose Sleep, Gain Weight: Another Piece of the Obesity Puzzle
- Sleep and obesity
- Adequate sleep to improve the treatment of obesity
- Insufficient sleep undermines dietary efforts to reduce adiposity
- Change in sleep duration and visceral fat accumulation over 6 years in adults
There are a number of other reasons why not sleeping enough causes weight gain such as creating hormonal imbalances that result in elevated cortisol levels but we’ll look at those in more detail in another post.
Our Nutrition and Lifestyle Coaches can help you both find the time to spend more time sleeping, something many busy Singaporeans struggle with, and ensure that when you do go to sleep you have a much better quality night’s sleep. By utilising questionnaires, sleep tracking, heart rate variability monitors, environmental changes and stress management, we have the full complement of tools at our disposal to ensure that every night you sleep like a baby.
This might not seem very intuitive at first but is probably one of the most overlooked bodily inputs when it comes to achieving optimal health. A normal breath should be a deep diaphragmatic belly breath where the air is drawn into the belly by the contraction of the diaphragm, creating a vacuum in the chest cavity which sucks air into it. Unfortunately many of us tend to breathe incorrectly often by breathing into the chest first which results in shorter, shallower breaths. Also food intolerances, particularly gluten and dairy amongst Singaporeans4, can cause inflammation of the nasal lining resulting in restricted nasal breathing or or mouth breathing.
These poor breathing patterns not only result in reduced oxygenation of the body at a cellular level but also create a minor stress response. Now consider that the average person takes about 23,000 breaths per day then that’s 23,000 minor stress responses per day adding up to major chronic stress. This is because the shallow breaths tell the body that we're in a fear state. Remember that the body treats stress in exactly the same way irrespective of whether it is emotional (i.e. fear), physical (i.e. poor diet and movement) or environmental stress (i.e. toxins). It all gets dumped in the same “stress” bucket and results in:
- Increased blood sugar resulting in weight gain
- Increased insulin resistance making it harder to get glucose to get into cells and resulting in weight gain
- It makes you hungrier and crave sweets resulting in weight gain
- It reduces your ability to burn fat resulting in weight gain
- And finally disrupts your HPA Axis, creates hormonal imbalances resulting in weight gain
Levitise’s Nutrition and Lifestyle Coaches have a number of different techniques at our disposal to identify and correct faulty breathing mechanics and whether they are caused by poor posture, intolerances, bad habits or something else.
This might seem like a strange one but if you think about it when we are emotionally depressed or stressed out we tend to eat more. And that tends to be in the form of comforting sugary foods that are definitely going to result in weight gain. Those cravings are very difficult to suppress. So, rather than trying to conjure up impossible levels of willpower our Nutrition and Lifestyle Coaches will work with you at your emotional level to try and eliminate the issues at the source. Whether that is feelings of isolation, dealing with stressful situations at work or an argument with your partner, we’re here to listen to you, support you, and provide you with the techniques to improve your outlook on life.
How can a Nutrition and Lifestyle Coach help with weight loss in Singapore: Part 2
In part two, we’ll look at some of the less commonly considered components of weight management such as being well hydrated, the toxicity of your internal and external environments, your social network, positive thinking and sunlight exposure. You can access How can a Nutrition and Lifestyle Coach help with weight loss in Singapore: Part 2 here www.levitise.com.sg/manage-weight-loss-in-singapore-part-2.
Health, Happiness and Longevity
The Levitise Team
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3. Those who have adrenal fatigue may need more like 9, 10 or even 11 hours of sleep a night