Why can’t I shift those kilos?
Dr Libby answers readers’ questions about living a healthier life. She explains why you shouldn’t always run and extols the magic of eggs.
Question: I eat well and run every day but I’m still overweight. Do I just need to run more? I’m not sure when I’ll fit this in but am getting desperate to shift some kilos. Thanks, Lyn. Hi Lyn, the body gets many different messages that tell it to either burn or store fat.
Body shape and size is not simply the result of the calories consumed versus calories burnt. While there could be many reasons why your body is choosing to store fat rather than burn it, the place where I suggest you start looking is your stress levels.
When the body perceives that it is under stress it produces the stress hormone cortisol.
Cortisol encourages the body to store fat, because historically longterm stress typically involved floods, famines or wars. In all of these scenarios, food was scarce. So the body adapted to store fat.
However nowadays long- term stress rarely means a shortage of food. It usually comes from worries about finances, relationships, health – your own or a loved one’s – or weight.
first waking thought is ‘‘what will I or won’t I eat today? How much exercise can I get done today?’’ and excessive cardiovascular exercise can also stimulate the release of cortisol.
This communicates to every cell in the body that food is scarce and muscle break down then ensues to slow metabolism down to ensure body fat is maintained. This makes it more likely for you to survive the famine your body perceives it is going through.
You know you are safe and that food is abundant, but the messages your body is picking up on may be communicating something different. Try incorporating some restorative practices, such as tai chi or restorative yoga, into your routine in place of some of the running. You may like to switch to walking, too.
There is nothing wrong with running if it serves your health but if you ‘‘eat well and run every day’’ as you describe, but your body is not responding, it is time to go beyond these strategies to obtain the outcomes you seek. Question: I was told many years ago that eggs were bad for me so I stopped eating them. But I have read now that they don’t impact cholesterol. Are eggs good to eat? Thanks, Ken. Hi Ken, eggs are an excellent food choice for many reasons. They are a source of complete protein, meaning they contain all essential amino acids necessary in correct proportions to support biological function.
The majority of the nutrition in an egg is in the yolk. All of the fatsoluble vitamins namely A, D and E are present in the yolk.
Eggs are one of few foods that naturally contain vitamin D, a vitamin essential to mood, immune function and bone health.
Eggs contain iron, which is still the most common nutrient deficiency in the Western world, so we must be conscious of where we obtain our iron from.
Eggs contain virtually all nutrients humans need except calcium and magnesium, which are in the shell. They also contain disease- fighting nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin. These nutrients are carotenoids that have been indicated to reduce the risk of macular degeneration.
They also contain choline which is an essential component of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter found in the brain involved in memory and muscle control.
Email your questions for Dr Libby to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note, only a selection of questions can be answered. Dr Libby is a nutritional biochemist, best-selling author and speaker. The advice contained in this column is not intended to be a substitute for direct, personalised advice from a health professional.
There are many good reasons to include eggs in your diet.