Is this the easiest weight loss plan ever?

How would you feel if someone told you to stop eating all the time? I think your response may be somewhat unprintable in a family magazine. But what if they have a point? Whether you want to hear it or not, research is showing that one of our biggest health problems is that we never stop eating.

Not too long ago, we were advised that it was healthier to ‘graze’ to prevent blood sugar peaks and troughs. Now everyone is talking about ‘intermittent fasting’ or ‘time-restricted eating’ (dinner early and breakfast late, 12-16 hours of ‘fasting’ in between).

New Scientist recently praised a ‘longevity diet’ that recommends fasting and is being followed by every health guru from measured (Dr. Rangan Chatterjee) to more woo-woo (Gwyneth Paltrow). So what’s changed? It’s all down to the awareness of insulin levels, which leads us to the science…

‘Constantly elevated insulin levels interfere with leptin, the hormone that provides a feedback mechanism to tell your brain that you are full,’ explains Dr. Andrew Jenkinson, bariatric surgeon and author of Why We Eat (Too Much). Has happened. ‘It’s like your car’s fuel gauge.

‘You get terrified when you see it’s glowing on the blank. But the problem isn’t that the tank is empty, it’s that the gauge is broken. The western culture of snacking on sugar, highly refined carbohydrates and processed foods means that insulin levels never go down.

How would you feel if someone told you to stop eating all the time?  I think your response may be somewhat unprintable in a family magazine.  But what if they have a point?  Whether you want to hear it or not, research is showing that one of our biggest health problems is that we never stop eating (stock image)

How would you feel if someone told you to stop eating all the time? I think your response may be somewhat unprintable in a family magazine. But what if they have a point? Whether you want to hear it or not, research is showing that one of our biggest health problems is that we never stop eating (stock image)

This jargon about hormones and blood sugar levels can be overwhelming, so allow me to introduce the simplest diet concept ever: the sit plan (stop eating all the time). You don’t have to count calories or buy ‘diet’ versions of foods.

Now when I cross the fridge and reach for cheese, I tell myself: Stop eating all the time. When I smell croissants at the bakery, I think: Stop eating all the time. try it. Your secret health weapon could be as simple as changing the way you think.

If this sounds like deprivation, the way I see it is this: Food should be delicious and enjoyed to the fullest, ideally with other people. For me, that means meal time. Snacks are often thrown back without thinking in the face of boredom or stress. So, even though I’ve given up on snacks, I’m still enjoying good food every day – and actually enjoying it more because I’m hungry at mealtimes. It’s common sense, and it’s the only diet that’s easy to follow—because it’s not a diet: it’s a mindset.

Jason Fung, author of The Obesity Code and The Complete Guide to Fasting, says this simplicity is at the heart of why fasting works. ‘It’s easy to understand,’ he explains. ‘It’s also convenient, so you save time and simplify your life. And it’s flexible: you’re always in control of how and when you fast. If you want to lose weight you can fast more, and if you are on vacation you can fast less.’

Experts on the smart way to ‘seat’

fasting master Dr. Jason Fung

‘If you don’t eat you don’t feel hungry. Instead, your body will use the calories you need from your body fat and your appetite will decrease. Be busy to take your mind off the food.’

Nutritionist Karen Newby

‘If you feel shivering or faint, have a protein-rich breakfast, such as nuts. For something sweet, have fruit or dark chocolate, but have it soon after your main meal to avoid a spike in insulin levels.

Bariatric Surgeon Dr Andrew Jenkinson

‘Sugar and refined carbohydrates get people excited, so resisting them can make you feel like giving up alcohol. Feel that the craving is about to reach a crescent shape and then it will pass. I call it crave surfing.

Gut Health Expert Dr. Megan Rossi

‘Make sure it is hunger you are feeling, not thirst. Then find a distraction like going for a walk. If you’re really hungry, eat a high-fiber snack, like hummus with celery or carrot sticks.’

People often think that they will be tired or jittery at work if they don’t eat, but in practice, the opposite is true. “It boosts energy and concentration,” explains Dr. Fung. ‘During fasting, your body releases noradrenaline, which gives you more energy and focus. That’s why the hungry wolf is so dangerous.’

What about the hungry wolf? Unsurprisingly, women who haven’t eaten are more likely to report a feeling we’re all familiar with: being ‘hangry’.

‘Hangry’ is an excellent sign of low blood sugar,’ says Karen Newby, nutritionist and author of The Natural Menopause Method. ‘The reason it gets worse at age 40 is because as estrogen gets out of balance, our metabolism starts to change. The hunger hormone ghrelin also increases in midlife.

Newbie likens eating sugar or refined carbs like biscuits and crisps to pouring petrol on a fire. It will burn brightly but briefly – indicate a craving for more. ‘But protein and beneficial fats, such as oily fish and nuts, are like adding coal to a fire,’ she explains. ‘They keep our energy factories running so we don’t need to snack that much.’

Newby says fasting can be effective for women of any age: ‘Intermittent fasting throughout the night for 12–14 hours, and keeping short fasts in between main meals allows us to eat by ourselves. Being more aware of the food that is going on helps. We also give our digestive system a break like we did 100 years ago. Snacking is a very modern invention, made by food companies with a market value of billions.’

But not everyone sees fasting as a cure-all. ‘Most evidence’ [of the benefits of fasting] Animal studies are, and we do, very different from rats,’ says Dr Megan Rossi, gut-health expert and author of Eat More, Live Well. ‘I recommend intermittent fasting for some patients because it can be effective for weight management but it has more to do with the fact that, if you’re narrowing your eating window, you eat less.’

She says the important thing is when you eat less and what you eat. ‘If people get too hungry they may binge on ultra-processed foods. The focus should be on nutrient-rich foods and lots of fiber, which feeds your gut bacteria, regulates the hunger hormones ghrelin and leptin.’

So the key to not landing face in a cinnamon swirl after your fast is to make sure your diet contains plenty of nutrients and fiber (in other words: vegetarian) and some protein (meat, fish, eggs, lentils, beans, tofu). ) be. , If your dinner window includes crisps and ice cream, a 14-hour fast will not be much beneficial. Once you get into the swing of it, it’s easy to add seeds to your oatmeal, nut butter to your toast or a ball of frozen spinach to your pasta.

Focusing on getting all the nutrients you need naturally excludes sugary or ultra-processed foods. What I bite for is mid-morning pastries and late-night snacks—and, surprisingly, I don’t miss them. So give it a try. I promise that your life will be better if you stop eating all the time.

Subscribe to Rosamund’s Wellness Newsletter at rosamunddean.substack.com

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