Imagine that after several months of dieting, you’re almost at your ideal weight – just in time for the Christmas break.
With 5kg to go to get you to your desired weight of 59kg, you decide to enlist a professional. This is exactly what Judy did.
She went to a nutritionist and after three months, she weighed… nine kilos more! Judy was livid when she came to see me, especially since the nutritionist was a fairly prominent one.
Even though Judy could see the holes in the nutritionist’s suggestions, she felt that as a professional, she must know what she was doing.
The nutritionist’s assessment of Judy was that she ate too little and for that reason, her metabolism had slowed down, so the prescription involved Judy eating considerably more than she was used to.
I’d like you to do something: hold your hand, fingers together, palm side up. That’s the size of your stomach (yes, really).
The stomach isn’t flat, so the amount of food that’ll fit into your hands when put together is the amount you should be eating. In Ayurveda, we say you should “eat as much as you can carry”. Sounds pretty sensible to me.
Now if I put my hands together, I could technically carry a burger and fries, or a large pasta. Is that what I have in mind? No.
EATING IN BETWEEN MEALS
To put things very simply, a quarter of your meal (so half your hand) should be protein, the rest of that hand should be starchy carbohydrates and the other hand vegetables. That really is the secret of weight loss. Not very exciting is it?
The problem with most of us is either that we eat too much or that we eat too much of the wrong thing. Even before Judy went to see the other nutritionist, her quantities were fine.
Yes, the proportions needed tweaking, but by changing things around too much (“if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”), she ended up much heavier.
What else did the other nutritionist do that I wasn’t happy with? The way she had Judy eating in between meals.
While snacking on fruit is fine, the wrong sort of fruit – the high-glycaemic, sugary kind like bananas or mango – meant that Judy started craving unhealthy foods that she normally didn’t usually eat.
This is another reason why Judy had steadily gained weight despite sticking to the prescribed regime.
Judy’s blood sugar levels were all over the place and that’s why I used certain supplements to get things back to normal. And eating the right way, Judy has slowly but surely begun the journey to her ideal weight.
The author is a clinical nutritionist. www.nutritionbysona.com