By Benjahmin Koenigsberg
Are you uncomfortable in your skin and struggling to lose weight? Do you feel conflicted about what you eat? Does this describe someone you know? It certainly did describe me in the past.
As a weight loss coach, many people have shared their overwhelming anxiety and insecurities about their health with me. It’s sad that despite all our technological advancements, many people still cannot regularly balance their appetites with their waistline or health. It’s problematic when we habitually crave unhealthy foods and also lack the ability to trust our body’s internal appetite signals.
In Hawai‘i, more than 50 percent of the adult population is considered overweight, with one in four adults being obese. And the numbers are steadily rising.
Cases of various cancers, diabetes and heart diseases are also increasing. Many people suffer with food anxieties, negative body images, digestive disorders, allergies, joint pain, skin issues, etc.
Despite the stereotypes, many overweight people try very hard to lose weight and make changes in their life. More than 100 million Americans are on a diet each year. The diet industry is making more than $70 billion annually, and up to three quarters of people are using supplements.
With overwhelming amounts of information, competing headlines and fad diets, it’s no surprise that an unhealthy public, desperate for a quick escape, is confused about what to eat and unable to find lasting peace with food.
Unfortunately, nutritional science was born in academia to further food industry interests. Corporations fund, design and interpret their own studies for the sole intent of selling products. These companies also engineer food additives for “mouth feel” and “repeat appeal” to keep us hooked.
And did you know that Slim-fast, the iconic diet-shake company and Jenny Craig, the women’s weight loss company, are owned by multi-million dollar ice cream and chocolate companies?
Misconceptions about weight loss are more damaging than many care to acknowledge.
Fat-shaming and negative portrayals of overweight people are often normalized on the grounds that overweight people just need to “eat less and move more,” and that they lack self-control and self-respect.
After decades of failed diet attempts, estranged relationships to our bodies and comparing ourselves to others, many of my clients — and myself included — have low self-esteem, partially built from internalized shaming and bullying. Our deeply held self-identities strongly influence our behaviors.
To experience remarkable benefits with your weight loss and health, I recommend committing several minutes daily to cultivate self-esteem! Writing in a gratitude journal, exercising or meditating, for example, do a lot to boost self-confidence and diffuse stress and anxiety.
Long lasting weight loss and lifestyle shifts are built on a foundation of self-compassion and self-acceptance.
In addition, diets do not work because we are not designed to suppress our appetite. Feeling satisfied requires physically filling the stomach.
In the simplest terms, starch containing plant foods such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, corn, legumes and whole grains will physically fill you up with a fraction of the calories.
It is almost impossible to over eat on starches.
These complex carbohydrates are very calorie-diluted compared to meat, dairy, and oils which are very calorie-dense.
For example two baked potatoes contain the same amount of calories as just 2 tablespoons of olive oil, a standard serving size of salad dressing
Starches satiate us long-term, whereas the fats we eat have little affect on satiety and we are left wanting more.
Contrary to popular belief, carbs do not make us fat. In fact, the opposite is true, the populations that consume the most whole starches are the trimmest and healthiest
Overexposure of fatty foods, like meat, dairy and oils in the western diet has desensitized our taste buds. These rich, fatty and calorie-dense junk foods are addictive and throw off hunger signals.
Carbohydrate-rich foods, like sweet potatoes, winter squashes, rice, beans and grains contain sugars that get absorbed into the bloodstream to fuel our muscles. They also contain resistant starch, so named because it “resists” our digestion, passing thru to feed our healthy gut bacteria. Hundreds of studies have shown resistant starch to be a natural appetite suppressant, metabolism booster, anti-inflammatory and overall health promoter. These foods are so satisfying and serotonin-inducing that they are commonly referred to as “comfort foods.”
Experiment by adding approximately 3-4 cups of steamed rice, corn, mashed potatoes, beans, pasta or 6-12 slices of fresh bread in daily diet.
Lastly, to reiterate, the foods we eat are only one part of our health and weight loss equation. Our self-esteem, stress levels and the company we keep are all hugely influential on our health.
My wellness-coaching program offers the accountability, guidance, mindset and practical skills needed to reach your weight loss goals and maintain lasting success.
For more science about the benefits of a carb centered plant based diet, visit The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine at www.pcrm.org.
- Benjahmin Koenigsberg is an online health coach based in Kapa‘a. He offers a complimentary one-on-one consultation by phone to asses what’s not working in your health and where you want it to be. After overcoming his own depression, he is grateful to inspire and guide others to experience peak health and leadership. Visit staytrimeasily.com.