Stick to this one rule and you’ll never diet again

 
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If you are reading this, chances are you are one of the many Britons that have already had one or two attempts at dieting. Truth be told, we’ve all been there. 
From shifting those last few pounds to dropping that magic half a stone, we are a nation of serial dieters. In fact, two-thirds of us are permanently on a diet.
As a registered nutritional therapist, I see a fair share of individuals wanting to lose weight and have even been there myself (yup, you are reading that last bit correctly, even as a professional I’m not immune).
This blog focuses on the one “rule” that has worked for a large number of my clients and myself to avoid dieting and the good news is it’s not a magic potion or an unaffordable diet programme. 

If you read the first bit thoroughly, you may be wondering why I want to share this diet dodging trick with you, after all, I’m a nutritional therapist so I should be making big money from slimming you all down, right? Luckily, this is wrong. As a registered nutritional therapist, I help individuals that genuinely need to work on their health. From digestive issues to hormone health and some more complex conditions, nutritional therapy can be used to assist with the journey of returning to feeling your best. You can read more about it here.
Weight loss lets just say isn’t worth forking out such a high fee for.

In my opinion, dieting isn’t healthy. 
Yes the majority of us could do with a bit less weight around the middle but the constant yoyo-ing and food-related denial/ deprivation rarely leaves us feeling on top of our game. And that’s assuming that those lbs lost stay off.
Given that the UK diet industry is worth over £2 billion and we have approximately 65 million people in the country, each of us is spending a fair amount on diet “stuff”.
Yet with one easy switch, the loss of lbs won’t translate to fewer £££s.

The more I assess various diets, the more I realise that they are just lesser or greater variations of this one rule, with a few extreme exceptions of course.
Clean eating, paleo, vegan, Dukan, the zone and even the low-carb movement all share one common theme.
Luckily you won’t need a new book/ count calories/ invest in products or diet guidelines.

The solution that helped my clients and I is simple: prioritise whole foods.
Our modern dietary habits have become too focused on processed as opposed to whole foods, leaving us without many essential nutrients. Whole foods are the very things that supply these missing vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats and carbohydrates.
Nutrients are kind of a big deal for overall health not just for weight loss so you may notice a few additional positive side effects such as more energy.
The evidence isn’t just anecdotal when it comes to eating this way either. The Blue Zones project which assesses populations around the world that live the longest, for example, noted a predominantly whole food based diet in these healthy groups.
EPIC (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition), a large study which has been following over half a million people across 23 European countries since 1993 also backs up this notion, highlighting better health, a lower BMI and lower rates of annual weight gain in those that eat a whole food based diet.

There is another good reason: our bodies don’t derive calories from whole foods the same way as we do from processed foods.
As an example, the average 100g bar of milk chocolate has a similar calorie content to 100g of almonds, both clocking up in the region of 600 calories. Yet when it comes to the almonds we only absorb give or take 200 calories. Needless to say, we get the full 600 calorie hit from the chocolate.
Whole foods, especially plant-based ones, aren’t that easy to digest and more often than not contain a good dose of fibre too. Couple this with the fact that we probably don’t chew foods well enough and you can see how calorie absorption would be more difficult. 

The chocolate, on the other hand, is a doddle since most of the “digestion” has already been done for us during processing. The cocoa beans have been crushed up, the sugar taken out of sugar cane or beat so the calories are readily accessible.

BANT (The British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy) have come up with a genius representation of a whole food based diet that makes getting our heads around this super easy. Their ideal plate looks like this:

 
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If you are looking at this for the first time, you may have just had a bit of a “what the ….” moment, so let me break it down for you. 
Simply switch half of what you eat in a day to a variety of non-starchy vegetables plus have some protein and a few starches at each meal.
Prioritise whole foods over processed ones. See the word prioritise. This doesn’t mean you can’t have cake ever again, it just means that the majority of what you eat should come from unprocessed sources.

So that’s it, the “secret” to achieving a slimmer body and better health is simply down to whole foods in the right proportions.
If this notion is still scary, start small. Start by adding in more and more vegetables, eventually aiming for 3 different kinds at each meal. Get more of the good stuff first and be kind to yourself along the way. Remember, this isn’t a diet, this is eating for health and the slimmer body is just a happy byproduct.

Switching to whole foods is something that can be achieved without much guidance but in case you need an example of what a personalised version of it looks like, the One Week Tweak is a great place to start.

Detox smoothie

Here is a helping hand for those sluggish or fatigued days: a detox smoothie.
"Detoxing" is a natural process, carried out predominantly in the liver. The process involves getting rid of both environmental toxins that we picked up along the way and components that no longer serve us a purpose. For example, those hormones, that caused your PMT, detoxification gets rid of them. 
For detoxification to be carried out with ease, certain compounds are required. One of those, sulforaphane, is found in broccoli. 
Although adding broccoli to a smoothie may sound scary, let me just reassure you: it's not about the quantity, it is about the quality. Just a couple of florets of organic broccoli does the trick.
If you have a thyroid issue, steaming or lightly cooking the broccoli is a must. Add raw broccoli if your thyroid is ok.

Ingredients for 1:
1/2 lemon, peeled
3 kiwis, peeled and sliced
2 florets of organic broccoli
1 tablespoon of flax seeds
1/4 teaspoon of matcha (optional)
200ml of coconut water
A couple of ice cubes

Method:
Blend until smooth.

Eggs for breakfast: are they good or bad for you?

Eggs have been the source of significant confusion thanks to their cholesterol content. On the contrary, they are concentrated sources of vital nutrients. So are eggs good or bad for you?
Let's take a look at the science of the golden yolk:

Nutrition:
Eggs are good sources of Vitamin D, choline and riboflavin. Zinc, Vitamin B12, iron and folate are also present in smaller amounts.
A couple of medium eggs, deliver 12g of protein.  A recent study found that eating protein at breakfast reduces weight gain, thanks to its regulatory effect on appetite (1).
If you are watching your weight or just want to be a bit healthier, eggs make a smart breakfast choice from a nutritional perspective.

Cholesterol:
Far from being a bad thing, cholesterol is essential for many bodily processes.
Yes, cholesterol is present in the yolk of eggs, but the link between dietary cholesterol and blood levels of cholesterol is very weak. In fact, 75% of the cholesterol we have in our body is made by the liver, not ingested. 
Research studies show that the consumption of 2-4 eggs per day does not raise blood cholesterol levels in the majority of people (2) but if you have cardiovascular disease it may do (2).

Diabetes
This is where the science gets a little bit confusing. 
Studies indicate that high egg consumption increases the risk of developing type two diabetes (3). Sadly, science is never clear cut so this is at best an association, not a direct cause.
In addition, if you already have type 2 diabetes, eating eggs may increase your risk of developing cardiovascular disease (4) but then again, type 2 diabetes alone increases your risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Should you eat eggs?
If you don't suffer from cardiovascular disease or diabetes then eating eggs is a good move. They contain some vital nutrients, including Vitamin D, a vitamin that we are particularly low on in the UK.
Eggs are quick to prepare and contain protein, which when eaten at breakfast has been shown to reduce weight gain. If you are used to eating cereal for breakfast, eating eggs a few times a week may benefit your health and waistline.
As with any food, it is important not to overdo it. A couple of eggs three times a week is ideal.
Organic is best. Luckily, in comparison to other organic animal sources of protein, eggs are the cheapest.

In a nutshell: eat organic eggs for breakfast 2-3 times a week. It'll do you some good.
 

 

References:

1. Liedy HJ, Hertel HA, Douglas SM, Higgins KA, Shafer RS (2015) A high-protein breakfast prevents body fat gain, through reductions in daily intake and hunger, in "Breakfast skipping" adolescents. Obesity, 23: 1761-1764.

2. Djoussé LGaziano JM (2009) Dietary cholesterol and coronary artery disease: a systematic review. Current Atherosclerosis Reports, 11: 418-422.

3. Djousse L, Gaziano JM, Buring JE, Lee IM (2009) Egg Consumption and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in Men and Women. Diabetes Care, 32: 295-300.

4. Shin JY, Xun P, Nakamura Y, He K (2013) Egg consumption in relation to risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 98: 146-159.