• NUTRITION

    Everybody can lose weight! – second part

Tatiana Gaudimonte

I reminded you of all those times that you finished a diet and piled back on the weight you lost through so many sacrifices.

Last time (perhaps with little sensibility, I admit it! But for a good purpose!) I reminded you of all those times that you finished a diet and piled back on the weight you lost through so many sacrifices.

First of all, we should remember that our body is not a machine but a finely tuned system. So, the moment that we take in less calories, our bodies react trying to defend themselves against this sudden famine. Our metabolic control unit, the hypothalamus (that can be found in the most primitive part of our brain, also called the “reptilian brain”) in fact evolved around the time we still lived in caves. At that time the only reason we had less food in our bellies was because there was no food (hunting or scavenging had gone wrong, because of bad luck or sickness or injuries)! In these cases, to be able to survive food scarcity that could last days or weeks, the fat reserves had to be preserved.

After thousands of years, we still work in the same way! So, as soon as we force ourselves to eat a salad without dressing and a grilled steak, our reptilian brain immediately tells our metabolism to slow down or to decrease the efficiency of one or more physiological processes and to, above all, to slow down the burning of fat, until this process comes to a halt. The weight that we lose during a diet is mainly lean mass: muscle and water. The result of a low-calorie diet: we become more and more tired, maybe our extremities are cold, we slow down and get nervous and gradually lose more and more muscles, despite our training.

And much of the fat stays in place.

So, the first rule is: do not go hungry! If our hypothalamus "feels" that there is food available, it will activate the processes that use the fat reserves.

This rule should be followed during each of our daily three meals, but especially in the morning. It is said, often without thought, that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It's really like this! In fact, the most powerful signal for the hypothalamus to burn comes from breakfast: all the food ingested within an hour from awakening is transformed into heat and energy for movement.

This meal, as described by the principles of the GIFT diet, must not only be abundant but also complete: carbohydrates (such as bread or whole grains), proteins (such as eggs or raw ham) and fruit must appear together and in comparable quantities on your plate, to hold you over, serene and full of energy, until lunchtime. By eating only a couple of crackers "to be light" or even skip breakfast to then drink some coffee (perhaps sweetened) with a brioche mid-morning you give a strong signal instead to slow down your metabolism and accumulate fat.

Wat should you do during the rest of the day? I’ll tell you next time!

 

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