Red Flag #3) Second Helpings:
In its natural healthy state our stomach (the organ and not the spare tire hanging over our belt) is approximately the size of our clenched fist. Try holding your clenched fist over your dinner plate sometime to get a sense of perspective. The main reason it is so important for us to chew our food well (something I rarely do, scarfing it down like a starving timber wolf) is because space is limited and the better we chew the better able that poor organ will be able to break the food down into the nutrients we need for optimum health. Chewing is the first stage of digestion, the more efficiently we do it, the more efficiently our stomach will be able to release the nutrients further down the disassembly line.
When we take a second helping, we are usually overloading our stomach. The result is either food backs up into the esophagus causing what is commonly referred to as “heart burn”, and/or food is released into the small intestine without having been broken down sufficiently. The bad news? This seriously screws up your metabolism. The worse news? You are still taking in all the fat and sugar, the empty calories, but you aren’t getting all of the other nutrients because they haven’t been released. You are paying for the food, but most of the good stuff just goes in one end and out the other. The worst news of all? Since you are missing out on nutrients your body keeps telling you you’re hungry!
CHEW YOUR SOUP!
The best way to break these habits is to take smaller bites and chew them well. After you swallow take two breaths before you take your next bite. Yes, it will take you a little longer to eat your sandwich but the benefits are well worth it. First of all you will enjoy whatever it is you are eating a lot more, getting the full flavor. Next and possibly most important you will actually feel full/satisfied after you finish so you won’t keep needing to go back for more. I wouldn’t have believed this was true if I hadn’t experienced it first hand.
Red Flag #4) Sugar Cravings
This insidious substance is probably the most addictive stuff on the planet after nicotine and the internet! It is in almost everything we eat, sometimes is astounding quantities. Any time you purchase pre-prepared foods take a good look at the ingredients – sugar will be right up there at the top. Why? Like our other beloved nemesis, salt, sugar is not only a flavor enhancer but also a preservative. All the sugar our body needs is naturally occurring in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Those naturally occurring sugars are easily metabolized and actually assist the breaking down of certain proteins. Unless you are VERY active however processed sugars are immediately stored as FAT which can accumulate at dizzying speed. Not only does it target our waist, hips and thighs, it also surrounds our internal organs and lines our blood vessels!
The Booze Blues
Now if you are like me and prefer to drink your dessert proceed with caution! A draft beer has at least 175 calories and may have up to 400 depending on the type and size of the glass. A 100ml glass of wine has from 70-145 calories depending on the variety. Spirits are approximately 65 calories per shot but if you mix with fruit juice, soft drinks or other liqueurs each drink will pack at least 250-300 calories, about the same as a slice of (homemade) double chocolate cake. The super evil thing about booze though is the fact that when you drink you also nibble! Every tiny glass bowl of nuts or chips that you consume is at least another 150 calories, canapés or cheese platters are also packed with salt, fats and calories.
In my case I happen to live in a country where palatable wine can be purchased in bulk straight from the barrel and generally costs less than soft drinks and in some cases even less than milk, fruit juice or bottled water! OMG! Between all that sugar, fluid retention from the salty snacks, and the fact that my body was screaming for nutrition and thus I felt hungry all the time, I developed a regimen via which I gained a steady pound every 15-20 days for nearly two years!
Here is a quick questionnaire:
How do your drink your coffee/tea? (try drinking it black, aromatic blends can help you cut extra fat and sugar)
Do you eat bread with every meal? (instead of having bread with your meal, try a slice as a between meal snack)
Do you eat sweets and/or have drinks everyday? (try for every other day, or not to consume after 8pm)
Do you eat take out or pre-prepared foods more often than twice a week? (from scratch is always cheaper and healthier!)
Do you watch TV or sit at your PC more than 3 hours per day? (get up and move around often, sitting for long periods is bad for circulation and slows metabolism!)
We have the power to determine our life style and improve our quality of life even if it is just a little every day!
Victoria Andre King is a freelance writer and audiovisual professional her novel The Führer Must Die is available for pre-orders and will be released on November 8th 2016 with Yucca Publications, an imprint of Sky Horse Publishing NYC.