The Skinny on Staying Slim

Work th­ese tips and tricks into your daily rou­tine to fend off the pounds or kick-start a healthy regime

ZOOMER Magazine - - CONTENTS - By Viia Beau­ma­nis

Tips and tricks to work into your healthy regime

1 MAX­I­MIZE YOUR MI­CRO­BIOME The dy­namic en­zymes and bac­te­rial pro­teins con­tained within the gas­troin­testi­nal tract, col­lec­tively known as the mi­cro­biome, con­trol a vast ar­ray of body func­tions – in­clud­ing weight. Leaner peo­ple have more di­verse gut bac­te­ria. Google a mi­cro­biome-en­hanc­ing diet. In brief, an­tibi­otic- sat­u­rated, fac­tory-far med meat (and egg and dairy prod­ucts) is a per­fect storm for bad gut bac­te­ria. Buy lo­cal or­ganic an­i­mal prod­ucts only. Avoid pro­cessed foods, full of preser­va­tives and ni­trates. Now that farm­ers mar­kets are com­mon, Whole Foods has slashed its prices by a third and chain su­per­mar­kets carry or­ganic brands, it’s eas­ier and cost-ef­fec­tive to make the right choices. Do some on­line brand re­search: On­tario-based Or­ganic Meadow, widely avail­able and an­tibi­otic-free, is an ex­cel­lent choice for eggs, yo­gurt and but­ter. Switch from yo­gurt to ke­fir, which con­tains a bazil­lion more pro­bi­otics, which are good for the tummy.

2 MINI-FAST­ING Not ev­ery­one has the self-con­trol to do a com­plete fast for a week or more. In­ter­mit­tent fast­ing, such as the 5:2 Diet (on two out of seven days, calo­ries are lim­ited to about 600), is more man­age­able. And if you choose to juice for the two days, those juices should be veg­etable, not fruit (see Sweet­en­ers, be­low). Or keep your eat­ing to four hours a day, giv­ing your body the other 20 hours to burn fat – not food. Fast­ing or not, fer­mented bev­er­ages – miso soup, ap­ple cider vine­gar, kom­bucha – boost your mi­cro­biome en­zymes, so have lots.

3 SUN The old maxim If You Can’t Tone It, Tan It turns out to be true! A new Univer­sity of Al­berta study found that fat cells just be­neath our skin ac­tu­ally shrink when ex­posed to the sun. A blue light in sun­shine pen­e­trates the der­mis, caus­ing lipids to re­duce in size and be re­leased from the cell. So, low sun­light ex­po­sure as well as a less ac­tive life­style im­pacts the weight we gain over win­ter. Good rea­son to get out­side year-round.

4 SWEET­EN­ERS No white or brown sugar – ever. Watch The Truth About Sugar (a BBC doc you can find on YouTube), and you’ll be con­verted. Out­side of ob­vi­ous cul­prits – candy and pas- tries – sugar is loaded into pro­cessed foods and liquor. Check the in­gre­di­ents list, even on savoury prod­ucts; any­thing end­ing in - ose (glu­cose, su­crose, fruc­tose, lac­tose, mal­tose) is sugar. Be­ware of sugar-free la­bels: they of­ten con­tain as­par­tame or other ar­ti­fi­cial sweet­en­ers. Avoid pop and fruit juice. Sugar is ad­dic­tive as it trig­gers the re­lease of dopamine, fol­lowed by a slump that pro­duces more sugar crav­ings. High choles­terol, meta­bolic syn­drome, heart dis­ease and di­a­betes are a few of sugar’s side ef­fects, as is fatty liver, a dis­ease that leads to cir­rho­sis. Swap in qual­ity raw or­ganic honey. Though sim­i­lar in calo­ries to sugar, honey is an an­tiox­i­dant pow­er­house, rich in nu­tri­ents. Buy lo­cally pro­duced honey, which con­tains en­zymes that en­rich the mi­cro­biome. Pass on agave syrup, which is akin to high-fruc­tose corn syrup. For a ze­rocalo­rie op­tion, pick up plant-based ste­via.

5 FISH- AND PLANT-BASED DIET Veg­eta­bles are ex­tremely low in calo­ries, roasted or steamed, so you can eat mounds of them if por­tion con­trol is your is­sue. Fish, par­tic­u­larly mack­erel, sar­dines and sal­mon, is high in pro­tein and omega-3s, low in fat, calo­ries and mer­cury lev­els. Five serv­ings a week – which could also in­clude other low-mer­cury seafood such as shrimp, scal­lops and squid – as part of a low-calo­rie diet en­hance weight loss com­pared to a diet with the same amount of calo­ries but no fish.

6 FAT BURNS FAT Your body re­quires three macronu­tri­ents – pro­tein, car­bo­hy­drates, and fat – to cre­ate the en­ergy it needs. But fat con­tains more than dou­ble the en­ergy of the other two. Even bet­ter, re­search has found that di­etary fat breaks down sub­cu­ta­neous fat you store around belly, thighs and bum by ac­ti­vat­ing fat-burn­ing path­ways in the liver. Of course, we are tak­ing about un­sat­u­rated fats here – av­o­ca­dos, olive oil, nuts, fatty fish. Al­ways buy full­fat (or­ganic, an­tibi­otic-free) dairy. Low-fat dairy prod­ucts are laden with carbs and sugar to give it taste and tex­ture, which ren­ders it as calorific as the high-fat op­tion with none of the fat-burn­ing ben­e­fits. Full fat tastes bet­ter and is bet­ter.

7 LOW CARB Re­place rice and pasta with wild rice, which is not ac­tu­ally rice but a wet­land grass that grows wild. Sig­nif­i­cantly lower in calo­ries and carbs than white or brown, a cup of wild rice, cooked, has 166 calo­ries and 35 grams of carbs, com­pared with 248 calo­ries and 52 grams of carbs for brown rice. Beans of­fer a carb-y feel to low-cal meals. Buy them dry and soak: the liq­uid in canned beans can have added sugar, fat and sodium. If you’re re­ally pulling back, black, white and kid­ney beans and chick­peas run 19-plus grams of carbs per 1/2 cup, whereas edamame beans have just seven to eight.

8 AL­CO­HOL The first thing to ditch if you’re re­ally on a weight-loss tear. If you must, spir­its are sugar- and carb-free, and gin, rum, vodka, whiskey and tequila clock in low­est at about 64 calo­ries an ounce. Serve on ice or with fizzy wa­ter. Though it con­tains far less sugar, tonic wa­ter is akin to pop. At 125 calo­ries a can, it’s com­pa­ra­ble to 7-Up or Coke (140). Drink­ing wine? Se­lect a dry, low-sugar red – Pinot Noir over Caber­net – which, un­like white, is rich in an­tiox­i­dant resver­a­trol and, as a fer­mented bev- er­age, of­fers ben­e­fits to the mi­cro­biome. The hitch, even when drink­ing wisely, is that the body burns al­co­hol pref­er­en­tially. Your me­tab­o­lism stops burn­ing calo­ries from your last meal to con­cen­trate on pro­cess­ing t booze.

9 COUNT CALO­RIES Set up an on­line food diary on my fit­ness­pal.com. It takes 3,500 calo­ries to gain one pound. Set a daily calo­rie goal and stick to it but aim at a weekly to­tal. This al­lows you to bal­ance “bad” days with “good.” If you overdo it on Satur­day, you know how much to cut back on the next few days with an eye on ar­riv­ing at a “good” tally for the full week.

10 IN­DUL­GENCE I’m a firm be­liever that to­tal de­pri­va­tion leads to food freak­outs. For a salt kick, it’s pop­corn. Air­popped ide­ally, dressed with olive oil and sea salt, it’s leagues bet­ter than a bag of chips. Un­pro­cessed all-nat­u­ral pop­corn is a whole grain that con­tains tons of healthy fi­bre and more an­tiox­i­dant polyphe­nols than fruit and veg. For a sweet tooth, Halo Top ice cream – just 280 to 300 calo­ries a pint! – has fi­nally ar­rived in Canada. It swiftly be­came Amer­ica’s best­selling brand and was named among Time‘ s Best In­ven­tions of 2017. We have to agree!

Good-fat av­o­cado

Low-carb wild rice

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