Let the food do the working

                "She Wouldn´t know a calorie if it came and bit her on the leg"                         Photo:Patrick Demarchelier,Vogue

These days, it’s hard to predict what will happen tomorrow, let alone in the coming months. On the rare occasions these days when I´m out in town, the corner of my eye gets gets drawn to the cover of Mens fitness, Mens health on the newstands. They are shouting to me to Lose weight in four weeks, Get abs in 28 days, Burn fat fast!!.Reduce. Rejuvenate. Revitalize. Redefine.Rejuvenate. Recharge. Redefine Reduce. No STOP, let me be in charge I have found better ways to do it more naturally.

I ain´t  Joe Wicks, and I certainly don´t need to be Joe Wicks, not by a long shot and I certainly don´t own abs like Zac Efron, and I so dont want to look like a morphed Ronaldo but I have to say that regarding health, fitness and losing weight I have come to learn by rule of thumb what works and what doesn´t. However what is a success story for one may not be the right approach for another. From my own experience through one lockdown after another, I can share a few survival tips with you.
Given that many people have been infinitely more sedentary than usual in the past year, it’s safe to say our fitness levels might have dropped. But where there’s a will, there’s a way. First of all you don’t need to spend hours, listening to those magazines and influencers who tell you, to work out to burn calories. Whether or not you like cardio however, it’s  impossible to deny it has myriad health benefits. How many of us have tried a diet at some point in our lives? and who can say it was a success? You must well have gathered by now how cynical I am of diets. Well, in my opinion you don´t need diets just discipline.
Not only is summer now fast approaching – motivation enough to spur most of us
into action – so too is our first opportunity in over a year to see many of our friends. We want to look our best, but most importantly we want to feel strong and healthy as we return to normal life. What we do not want is pressure.You don't have to lose weight before the end of lockdown "let out", and summer holidays begin (even if social feeds are putting the pressure on) I dont know about you but my phone feed has been awash with fatphobic memes and diet ads .People have been discussing weight like it is the most pressing and vital thing in the world right now. I have read more about weight than I have about violence on the streets of Belfast these last few weeks. People have been in a genuine panic at the thought of having to get 'Beach body beautiful 'and  'summer body ready.' What needs to stop is the promotion of the toxic diet culture.

Marjorie Dawes, FatFighters fatist support group leader!!

It's everyone's responsibility to not share and spread the ferocious lies that tell us our bodies fall into right and wrong, hot or not, categories. Skinny shaming is as bad as fat shaming. They both have standards rooted in misogyny, racism and other unacceptable phobias. Fat people will still exist when we come out of lockdown don´t worry. Many of us have gained some weight in lockdown and it is important to normalise this instead of shaming it. Fat people will still be beautiful. Hot summer body doesn't mean skinny minny body summer. You only have to  look at the bootylicious Brazilians to see what is regarded as acceptable. If weight gain has been the worst thing you've had to face during a global pandemic, then you have been immeasurably lucky. The majority of people, over the last 12 months, have faced one or more of the following: illness, loss, grief, financial insecurity, mental health deterioration, job losses, and isolation. And yet, 'health gurus' and 'fitness influencers' are bombarding us to sign up for their fitness plans, buy their protein powder, and meal prep like never before. I am 6´.01 weighed 83kilos in March 2020 and am now 71kilos .It took me a year to lose it all granted but what finally pushed me to lose weight was because everything I went to the doctor for got blamed on my weight. Cramps, fatigue, numbness in my toes, headaches, dizziness,all weight. On my return visit, the doctor of course applauded the weight loss, my application and resolve, but it doesn´t end there. I have to keep the weight off and on my weekly visit to the scales it often fluctuates depending on my circumstances, which most recently was over indulgence at Easter.
The body has a set weight zone that it ideally wants to be at, and it will do all it can to get your weight there. Your body has a naturally healthy place that it would like your weight to be, but extreme dieting confuses this system, making your body feel that it needs to store extra fat to prepare for the next cycle of restrictive eating. Well I have good news for those of you who share my problem of maintaining a regulated weight. The solution, food pairings that boost weight loss.This has proved to be a way I can plan my eating to maintain the same weight but at the same time enjoy some of
my favourite foods.
Keeping the weight off
Most people fail to keep track of their calorie intake and end up overeating.How many of us
actually know our daily calorie intake? If we spent our lives calorie counting it would be worse than lockdown.  For any one in my shoes I have found another great weigh to keep those kilos at bay, eat more. Although that may sound counterintuitive, there's sound food combination science behind that recommendation. But before you get too excited and double-up on ice cream and cookies or sausages and pork pies, realize this food pairing trick does have some caveats.The Iconic Victoria wood playlet "Mens sana in thingummy doodah" showed Wood´s matchless ear for the absurdities of the dieting industry and gave us such gems as "underarm swoop" and "runaway midriff" and the fact that a hard boiled egg "kind of eats some of the meal for you". Well we may well laugh at the last one but there´s some fuzzy logic that the line is based on,that makes a whole lot of sense.
To burn belly fat, you'll need to pair the right foods together on one plate. Thanks to their complementary nutrients, all the mighty duos below either fry fat, beat bloat, or ignite your metabolism. Why consume just one better-body food when you can eat two and double your weight loss efforts? hey, sometimes the best presents are the ones you did not ask for.
Well I wont bleat about the bloat any longer, but here´s some food for thought. These delicious food pairings below are not only delicious but seriously nutritious ideas that boost your health and at the same time help keep the weight off. They are 15 delicious pairings I have tried and tested.

Bell peppers + eggs Piperade
Grab a pepper and a few eggs, and get crackin'!

This mighty fat-frying duo will help you fit into those skinny jeans in no time. Eggs contain a metabolism-boosting nutrient called choline, and peppers are a good source of vitamin C. What does vitamin C have to do with weight loss? Getting an adequate amount of it can help fight off cortisol, a hormone that causes fat to accumulate around the midriff. Chop some peppers, add them to a hot pan with some olive oil, add in two or three eggs and scramble them up to stay slim.

Ricotta + berries

Consuming calcium-rich foods like ricotta can help your body metabolize fat more efficiently. Top it with berries, which contain polyphenols, powerful natural chemicals that can help you lose weight–and even stop fat from forming.  Mash 1 cup of berries and let them marinate in their own juices for an hour, then spoon them on top of ricotta for a belly-slimming dessert.Don´t be tempted to add a sprinkling of sugar

 

 

Pistachios + almonds

While a snack mix comprised of corn chips and salty wotsits may taste good, it's not going to give you that tight stomach you crave. Ditch the starchy carbs and replace them with a combination of natural no salt pistachios and almonds.

 


 

 

Tuna and oatcakes


Low-cost, protein-rich tuna makes for a tasty topping and is a solid source of docosahexaenoic acid. This type of omega-3 down-regulates fat genes in the stomach, preventing fat cells from growing larger and keeping you on track toward your trim-down goal.Try a tuna topping on an oatcake or olive oil cracker.

 

 

 

 Melon + red grapes


Fight fat and banish bloating with a fruit salad comprised of honeydew melon and red grapes. Melon is a natural diuretic, so it helps fight the water retention responsible for making you look puffy even though you have a toned stomach. Red grapes add fuel to burn belly fat because they contain an antioxidant called anthocyanin that helps calm the action of fat-storage genes. This dynamic duo makes for a delicious, healthy dessert and is sure to turn your two-pack into a six-pack!

 

Chickpeas + olive oil / hummus


You might not think of these little beige bullets as a superfood, but it's time to start. High in nutrients and soluble fibre, chickpeas are a prime weight-loss weapon, increasing feelings of satiety by releasing an appetite-suppressing hormone called cholecystokinin. And they blend flawlessly with extra virgin olive oil (hello hummus!), which may increase blood levels of serotonin, a hormone associated with satiety.

 

Potatoes + pepper  Thanks to the popularity of low-carb diets, white potatoes have been unfairly blacklisted. However, a second look at the science reveals that the spuds keep hunger at bay and can help you lose weight. Potato is also a good source of bloat-banishing potassium, so it can help you look slimmer almost immediately. But just because potatoes are a go to doesn't mean your favorite high-cal toppings also have the green light. Crispy Bacon bits, dont even go there! : Enjoy half a baked potato with a bit of olive oil and fresh pepper instead. Piperine, the powerful compound that gives black pepper its taste, may interfere with the formation of new fat cells—a reaction known as adipogenesis—which can help trim your waist, zap body fat and lower cholesterol levels.

Bananas + spinach + lemon 
Slightly green bananas are rich in something called resistant starch. This type of starch not only boosts satiety but also resists digestion. The result: the body has to work harder to digest the food, which promotes fat oxidation and reduces abdominal fat. What's more, bananas are rich in potassium, a nutrient that helps banish pesky bloat that can make you look less trim and fit than you actually are. Pair this mighty fruit with spinach, a low-cal veggie that boosts satiety and aids recovery after a punishing work out, to create a fat-frying smoothie in just seconds. Simply throw a small banana, two handfuls of spinach and a cup of organic oat milk into a blender with a couple ice cubes, blend. and enjoy!

Cayenne + chicken

Turn up the heat on your belly bulge by flavouring your chicken with a dash of cayenne powder. Protein-rich foods like poultry not only boost satiety, but also help burn fat.  If you thought it couldn't get much better than that, think again! Research says that chili pepper can also help blast away stubborn belly fat! If you ask me, there's no better reason to sprinkle some onto your chicken before it hits the grill.

 

 

Chilli sauce + eggs

Cooking an egg is always an adventure since it involves technique and precision. Eggs keep you full for a longer time and thus help banish those untimely cravings. Chilli sauce is rich in capsaicin, a compound that's proven to suppress appetite and boost thermogenesis—(the body's ability to burn fat as energy). Recent research has shown that when men ate appetizers with chilli sauce (which has zero calories per teaspoon), they ate about 200 fewer calories at later meals than those that did not. Drizzle some Sriracha over eggs, and fat will sizzle. Eggs are great sources of the weight loss weapon arginine

Cucumber + apple cider vinegar
Cucumbers are about 95 percent water. Not only will they hydrate you, but they also boost your weight-loss efforts thanks to their H2O content and low calorie count. One medium-sized cuke contains only about 45 calories, Alone they can be kind of a bore. For added flavour and fat-busting, try drizzling them with apple cider vinegar, which has been shown to "switch on" genes that
release proteins that break down fat.
Tuna and ginger

Want to look slim and fit on the beach? Look no further than the ocean—or at least your favourite seaside sushi joint. Pairing a tuna roll or a few pieces of tuna sashimi with ginger, the oft-overlooked pickled spice that comes on the side of your plate, can help your abs shine through. Ginger accelerates gastric emptying, which helps diminish that bloated look more rapidly than other foods, and it also blocks several genes and enzymes in the body that promote bloat-causing inflammation. Tuna is a prime source of docosahexaenoic acid, a type of omega-3 fat that can ward off stress chemicals that promote flab storage and down-regulate fat genes in the stomach, stopping belly fat cells from growing larger. Wasabi too

 

Leafy greens and olive oil

If your monster appetite like mine is making it difficult for you to trim down, consider making a sautéed side dish or salad with some olive oil and seasonal leaves. How will eating these foods help you slim down? Not only is olive oil rich in monounsaturated fats that help ward off hunger, and high-volume, low-calorie greens like watercress or rocket help fill you up without filling you out.

 

 

 


Apples and peanut butter


Crunchy, filling (thanks to their high water and fiber content) and packed with nutrients, apples are one of the best weight loss fruits around. Smearing on all-natural peanut butter adds a creamy texture and slow-digesting, heart-healthy monounsaturated fats to the equation, which keeps your belly satiated until your next meal.

 

 


Garlic + fish

Fish host long chains of omega-3 fatty acids, which help to lower triglycerides and reduce inflammation. They're also great sources of muscle-building protein, and the more muscle you have on your body, the higher your metabolic rate. Throw garlic into the mix, and you have a lethal weapon for fighting belly fat.Make yourself a simple dish of baked or grilled white fish with garlic and white wine. 



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