Why It's Okay To GAIN Weight...

What could be more frustrating after a week of making all the right choices, feeling in control and being completely disciplined, than to discover to your horror that you’ve actually GAINED weight..!!!

Why has it all gone wrong…???

Well let me tell you, NOTHING has gone wrong. In fact, if you’ve ever been shocked at the readout on your weekly weigh-in, the only thing you’ve done ‘wrong’ is that you haven’t EXPECTED your weight to increase on some occasions.

Weight fluctuations are inevitable and completely normal, and they happen to everybody. They can be caused by many different factors, such as consumption of a big meal, excess salt intake, water retention, constipation, hormonal changes, lack of sleep, stress, medication, etc, etc.

However, what’s important to realise is that the extra weight that you see on the scale does not come from an increase in body fat; it can be water, waste products or other substances that are temporarily present in your body.

When you’re losing weight, it would be totally unrealistic to expect your excess weight to reduce in nice, convenient, equal weekly amounts; that just isn’t going to happen.

In fact, take a look at these two weight charts; This first chart shows a weight reduction from 70.5 kg to 61.5 kg in 21 weeks. That equates to about a pound per week…

The individual in this next scale, reduces their weight from 190 lbs to 165 lbs in 13 weeks. That equates to about 2 lbs per week…

Whilst the ‘general trends’ of both these typical weight loss charts are heading the right way, they also clearly show almost as many gains in weight as reductions..!! This is completely natural and should be EXPECTED.

There are other times when your body may register an increase on the scales; such as when you’ve increased your activity levels by any significant amount and are building muscle mass. Muscle weighs slightly heavier than the fat it replaces, meaning that regular ‘muscle building’ activity is likely to result in your scales showing an increase in weight from time to time. Again, this is not a signal that your body fat has increased; in fact your body may well feel more toned and your clothes feeling as though they’re a little looser. In these circumstances you may well have ‘lost inches’ and even the odd clothing size (which is what people actually notice), although that doesn’t necessarily equate to a guaranteed reduction in overall body weight.

The important message here is ‘don’t get too hung up on individual weight readings’; they’re only a guide and don’t reflect the extent of everything that’s going on inside your body.

Okay, of course there are going to be a few times where an increase in your weight is a result of taking a couple of steps back… such as over the Christmas period or during holiday times. But even on these types of occasions, re-gaining the odd few pounds isn’t the end of the world…

Because losing weight successfully is a medium-term ‘project’ over several weeks or months, it’s completely realistic to accept that during some of those weeks, you’re going to be taken completely away from your regular routines and your focus is simply not going to be the same. As long as your steps forward are out-stepping your steps back, you’ll continue to head in the right direction, toward your goal.

So next time you step on those scales and discover you’ve taken a ‘step back’, there really is no need to beat yourself up about it; just keep at it… persistence is the key to keeping yourself moving toward your goal.

To highlight this, take a look at this cheesy, 3 minute, 70’s style plate-spinning video… you’ll lose count of the number of times this guy has to step-back.... but he gets there in the end

Plate Spinning

Next Time: How To SLEEP Yourself Slimmer…?

Just How BAD Is Sugar...?

We all know at some level that sugar is bad for us because it contains empty calories, but just how BAD is it…?

Well, whilst it’s true, sugar does contain a lot of calories with no essential nutrients, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Sugar, primarily because of its high fructose content, sets up an extremely powerful biochemical drive to make you eat more, burn less fat and gain weight. Trying to exert willpower over this powerful drive can be next to impossible…

What is sugar?

Plain, white sugar or table sugar (sucrose) is made up of the molecules glucose and fructose.

One of the most commonly used ‘natural’ sweeteners, HFCS (high fructose corn syrup), which is found in many (big name) processed sweet foods, such as sweets, tinned fruit, biscuits, flavoured yoghurts, ice cream, cereals, carbonated soft drinks, etc, also contains the two molecules glucose and fructose.

Now, glucose is absolutely vital to life and is an integral part of our metabolism. Our bodies produce it and we have a constant reservoir of it in the bloodstream. Every cell in the body can use glucose for energy and if we don’t get glucose from our diet, our bodies produce what we need, from proteins and fats.

Fructose however, is very different. This molecule is not a natural part of metabolism and humans do not produce it. In fact, very few cells in the body can make use of it except liver cells.

How does sugar affect us?

When we eat a lot of sugar, most of the fructose gets processed by the liver, where it gets turned into fat and secreted into the blood. This leads to elevated cholesterol and also an increased resistance to the hormone insulin (which can lead to diabetes).

Worse still, fructose also causes our bodies to become increasingly resistant to leptin (a hormone which regulates the amount of fat stored in our body), meaning our brains don’t “see” that our fat cells are full of fat. This leads to increased food intake and decreased fat burning.

Another thing you need to know about Fructose, is that it doesn’t make you feel satisfied after meals. Nor does it lower levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin (another important hormone that regulates our food intake), as well as not reducing blood flow in the centres of the brain that control appetite. All this combines to increase our overall food intake.

And worse still…

Further to all this, with its powerful impact on the reward system, sugar causes addiction in certain individuals. This activates compelling reward-seeking behaviour that drives over-eating. In fact, some of the irresistible effects on the reward system in the brain can lead to addictions comparable to drugs of abuse.

In summary, when you’re looking to lose weight, those little ‘sweet treats’ are not as innocent as you might have thought. The more sugar you eat and the longer all these processes are allowed to continue, the more powerful they become. Insulin and leptin resistance increase over time and the reward-seeking behaviour becomes stronger. Sugar sets up an extremely powerful biochemical drive to make you eat more, burn less fat and gain weight. Trying to exert willpower over this powerful drive can be next to impossible.

Incidentally, it’s worth pointing out that this does NOT apply to fruits (in moderation), which are real, fibrous foods and represent a relatively minor source of fructose in our diet.

Next Blog – Why it’s okay to GAIN Weight..