Grace Russell, Dietitian, Baulkham Hills NSW
As the year has finally started to settle in – school is back, we’re fine tuning our schedules and finally making those appointments – we have come to realise (again) that diets are harder than we thought. We are faced with another year of trying to ‘be good’ only to eat all the wine and cheese on Friday.
Does this pattern of always trying and never feeling at all satisfied with your body or the way you eat sound familiar? It doesn’t have to be this way! I want to show you that losing weight isn’t what its cracked up to be and what to focus on instead for lasting health improvement.
eating enough food regularly ensures an optimal metabolism
We hear the word metabolism thrown around a lot. But it basically describes how our body uses the food we eat. Thus, if we have a high metabolism (or metabolic rate) our body is efficient at using food as energy and if we have a low metabolic rate our body is sluggish in using food as energy.
Despite common misconceptions, there are no specific foods that instantly increase metabolism. Rather it is our body working together as a whole making sure all its processes are working correctly. When we are not eating enough food our body starts to conserve its energy and over a period of days or weeks our metabolism slows. That means our body is learning to survive on only a little energy, similar to a period of famine.
When we finally do eat a decent meal (or we engage in the classic binge that often goes hand in hand with food restriction), the body stores this for later rather than using it for energy now. What does this mean for our body? It gets harder and harder to reach a weight that is comfortable for us as these restrictive eating patterns have manipulated the wiring of your body’s metabolic system. Thankfully our bodies are incredibly smart and want to get back to their optimal metabolic rate.
behaviours that optimise your metabolism
- Eat regularly, every 3-4 hours. Unless we eat a very large meal our body will signal its need for food multiple times a day.
- Make sure you have food on hand or plan meals and snacks around your schedule to assist with achieving regular eating.
- Eat a variety of food at each meal and snack time (see below)
Eating a variety of foods is healthiest for us
We all know the same old weight loss diets that consist of the same 10 foods… skim milk, lean protein, green veg, almonds … Not only is this incredibly boring and dull, now there is research to show that it is also a less healthy way to eat!
Why is this? Firstly, our bodies thrive off variety and have been designed to digest and absorb an incredible range of food substances – over 40 000! So we are capable of eating a large variety of foods. Secondly, our gut microbiome relies on us having a diet filled with different foods. Study after study shows that our microbiome does best when we eat a range of different foods. And there is not one food in particular that provides all of our body’s needs but rather foods working together, which is known as nutrition synergy. For example, you need Vitamin C to help absorb iron, Vitamin E prevents the oxidation of Vitamin A and many other interactions that are yet to be discovered.
We don’t really need to work out the micronutrients in the food we eat when we are enjoying a varied diet with thousands
of phytochemicals acting together. And these are just a few ways eating a variety is healthier for us!
want to add more variety to your diet?
Take this Quiz to see how you’re going or contact us to see how working with a dietitian can assist you in improving your metabolism through adding in a variety of foods.
Dietitian, Baulkham Hills NSW
Grace is enthusiastic about supporting women of all ages to find their own authentic health. Grace brings a caring, compassionate nature to her work and believes that kindness towards the self is a crucial agent for change. She is passionate about blending this with practical skills to ensure her patients can approach eating in a realistic, manageable way.