For those of us who are “metabolically gifted” and naturally slim, ** losing weight seems so easy**, really. Eat a lot and spend your evenings in front of TV - and you’ll gain a couple of pounds. Start eating less and join the gym - and in a month or so you’ll get thinner. Sounds fantastic, doesn’t it?
Well, unfortunately, for most of us, thisconventional weight-loss approach simply does not work.
It might work when we are still young, when our metabolism is on its peak and when all hormones are functioning perfectly, given that we are genetically predisposed to be skinny. However, as we age, our bodies get through inevitable hormonal and metabolic changes.
Generous amounts of fat, which women usually start accumulating by their mid-30s, serve as the second estrogen secretor and provide additional nutrients which female bodies need during and after the menopause.
This is why women have such a hard time trying to lose weight on conventional low-calorie, low-fat programs. We are naturally predisposed to gain weight in our mid-life, only to start slowly losing excess pounds after the age of 55.
Well, nature seems to be unfair to us, women. Few of us want to carry additional poundage around our hips and bellies and wait until our “golden years” to shed it off… Is there a practical and healthy solution?
In fact, women of any age can successfully lose weight with a right nutritional approach. The key to get rid of female fat stores is in controlling the production of insulin - the hormone responsible for converting dietary carbohydrates into body fat. Out of the three major food groups - proteins, carbohydrates, and fats - only carbohydrates are not strictly necessary for our survival.
Our bodies can generate ample amounts of energy using just fats and proteins, instead of burning carbs. Traditional diets of many healthy tribes and societies, including the nomadic Mongols and Masai, or the strictly carnivorous Inuit, do not feature any sugar, grains, fruits, or processed foods - the richest sources of carbohydrates in our conventional menu.
Women tend to be addicted to carbohydrates, and eating less of them seems to make us tired, irritable, and depressed. However, a virtual inability to live without breads, pasta, sugary fruits, cereals, chocolate, sweetened coffee, and other "women's delights" signals that our metabolic control over the insulin production has become damaged. We pay for eating sweets and starches by:
• numerous symptoms of hypoglycemia (tiredness, panic attacks, PMS, mood swings, etc.);
• weight gain even when we are on starvation diets (ever tried a low-fat, high-carb "Grapefruit diet" or "Granola diet"?);
• adrenal exhaustion caused by chronic overproduction of adrenalin and cortisol - the stress hormones that can make us restless and tired.
An average woman, whose proper weight should be 140 - 150 pounds, needs about 60 grams of carbs in her daily menu. Any additional piece of cake, fruit, bread, or chocolate will inevitably be converted into body fat, especially in those of us who are genetically predisposed to gain weight or who are getting through middle-life changes. If we restrict the amount of dietary carbohydrates to 60 grams a day, we'll:
• stop gaining weight;
• have more energy;
• break the vicious circle of carbohydrate addiction; and
• help our body lower blood pressure and triglyceride levels.
However, in order to start losing weight, it is not enough to just restrict dietary carbohydrates to 60 grams a day. A more drastic reduction is necessary, particularly for those who have sluggish metabolism or suffer from hypothyroidism, regular "sugar drops", and chronic fatigue. A dietary regime that incorporates less than 20 grams of carbs a day, combined with moderate exercise (a half-an-hour brisk daily walk, or gym equivalent, is enough) will lead to a steady loss of weight of about two to three pounds a week. While dieting, use the following guidelines:
Foods Which Are Prohibited on the Weight-Loss Program:
• grains, such as wheat or rice;
• starchy vegetables, such as potatoes or beets;
• sweets of all sort, including artificial sweeteners;
• fruits other than lemons;
• all processed foods, such as boxed cereals, TV dinners, or chips;
• milk and light cream.
Foods Which Are Encouraged on the Weight-Loss Program:
• home-cooked meat, poultry, liver, fish, and eggs;
• bone marrow and chicken broth;
• hard cheeses;
• natural butter, extra-virgin olive oil, cold-pressed coconut oil, and small amounts of cod liver oil;
• green leafy and other non-starchy vegetables;
• lacto-fermented vegetables, such as kimchi, sauerkraut, olives, or cucumbers;
• unsweetened, whole-milk yogurt, kefir, or buttermilk;
• heavy cream or home-made sour cream.
From my own experience, the hardest obstacle to overcome when incorporating this diet is to give up eating bread. Since grain bread is very high in carbs (about 20 g per slice), it is unsuitable for this weight-loss program. Therefore, I recommend that you make your own grain-free bread, featuring healthy and nutritious nuts, eggs, and coconut oil.
**This bread is: **
• very low in carbohydrates (55 grams of carbs per entire loaf, which corresponds to about 4-5 grams of carbs per a thick slice);
• very high in minerals and vitamins, especially magnesium and vitamin E;
• filling and substantial;
• high in fibre, to help you stay regular on the low-carb diet.
While on the program, eat a slice of the nut bread twice a day, with a cup of unsweetened, creamed tea or coffee. And do not be afraid of piling your nut bread high with natural butter, cheese, or meat!
**Amanda's Nut Bread Recipe: **
• 2 cups almond flour;
• 1 cup hazelnut flour;
• 1/2 cup coconut flour;
• 1 cup whole yogurt or buttermilk, without sweeteners or additives;
• 4 large eggs, lightly beaten;
• 1/4 cup extra-virgin coconut oil, gently heated until liquid;
• 1/2 teaspoon finely ground Celtic sea salt or Himalayan crystal salt;
• 2 tablespoons liquid honey.
• In a bowl, combine together almond, hazelnut, and coconut flours.
• Mix with yogurt or buttermilk and leave, covered, to soak for at least 7 hours.
Soaking is necessary to neutralize enzyme inhibitors and other anti-nutrients which are naturally present in nuts. Soaking in sour milk also pre-digests nut flours, making their vitamins and minerals more available.
• After the nut mixture has been properly soaked, preheat your oven to 350° and add the remaining ingredients to the bowl with nut flours.
• Mix gently just until all ingredients are combined together into a smooth paste, but don't overdo.
• Spoon the mixture into a well-buttered bread pan and bake for about 45 minutes, or until the surface of the bread is golden.
• Cool the bread slowly when it is still inside the stove, remove from the pan, and place into a ceramic or glass dish with a lid.
This bread should be stored in the refrigerator. One loaf will last you for about a week.
• tea or coffee with heavy cream;
• 1 slice Amanda's nut bread with lots of butter and cheese;
• 1 teaspoon cod liver oil
• 2 soft-boiled eggs;
• smoked salmon (lox) with butter and lemon;
• 1 sliced tomato
• 1 cup natural, whole yogurt
• tea or coffee with heavy cream
• 1 slice Amanda's nut bread with lots of butter and cold cuts
• 1 glass red wine
• green salad with extra-virgin olive oil and freshly-squeezed lemon juice
• 1 cup bone broth
• Roast beef with a sour cream and egg sauce
• Steamed asparagus with butter
• Pickled cucumbers
Green tea is always a better option than coffee, however, if you are used to your morning coffee, don't quit drinking it abruptly while switching to a low-carb diet. Giving up both carbohydrates and coffee can be very hard and can cause fatigue, headaches, and other withdrawal symptoms.
If you weight does not seem to go down after being on the program for a week, supplement your menu with:
Depending on how much weight you want to lose, this quite Spartan, very low-carb regime should be continued for about a month, or until you achieve your ideal weight (which should not, though, leave you too skinny).
After the program is completed, add more carbs to your diet (for example, an additional fruit and a piece of wholesome sourdough bread) and keep an eye on your weight. If you notice your weight climbing up again, stop eating fruits and grains, return to your basic very low-carb diet, and try to keep it for life.
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