If you consistently struggle with your weight, you may be in what I call "Sumo Mode." While desperately attempting to cut back on calories by skipping meals and leaving long gaps in between eating, you may in fact be mimicking a Sumo Wrestler's diet regime. I'm guessing that becoming a Sumo Wrestler is not on your bucket list...
Typically, competitive Sumo Wrestlers wake up at about 5am and have their first meal at about 11am. And they chow down big time. They then wait until about 6pm to have their next and last meal (again chowing down, of course). Most Sumo Wrestlers consume about 8000 calories per day. That’s 4000 per meal. Sumo Wrestlers are doing this on purpose. They WANT to store as much fat as possible. By leaving huge gaps in between meals, they build a ravenous appetite for their next feast, only to gorge on high calorie foods.
For some reason, women often skimp on food during the day in an attempt to cut back on their total calories, only to over-eat later when intense hunger hits. Often, what I see is that people actually eat MORE calories by the end of the day when they skip meals or snacks, mostly because of mindless afternoon and evening snacking. What I'm saying is that skipping meals, especially breakfast and lunch, is often counter-productive when it comes to losing weight.
Here’s how NOT to eat like a Sumo Wrestler:
Try to eat something (ideally a balanced breakfast) within 30-60 minutes of waking up. This will kick your metabolism into high gear and prevent overeating later. Skipping breakfast or waiting 2,3 or 4 hours after you wake up to eat, will kick you into…Sumo Mode.
Eat every 3 to 4 hours during the day. If your meals are longer than 4 hours apart, have a healthy snack with some protein and a fruit or veggie. Good examples are raw veggies and hummus or greek yogurt and fruit. Eating every few hours will help to keep your blood sugar stable, keep intense hunger at bay and prevent overeating later.
If this is new to you, it may take a while to get used to eating first thing in the morning. You may not feel hungry. This is because your body isn't used to being fed so early. Start slowly—maybe with a piece of fruit, some yogurt or even a glass of milk or soy milk. Before you know it, you'll feeling hungry when you wake up—this is a sure sign that your metabolism has has been kicked up a notch.
This is only one piece to the weight-loss puzzle, but it's an important one. By eating breakfast soon after waking and eating every 3-4 hours thereafter, you may start to notice a downward trend in your weight! You may also notice an upward trend in your mood, energy, and ability to function during the day!
In my mind, there's a difference between eating healthfully and eating like a 'health-a-holic.'
What is a 'Health-a-holic'?
To me, being a 'health-a-holic' is not healthy at all. If you are a health-a-holic, you may eat foods ONLY because they are healthy, low calorie, low-carb or low-fat. You may count every calorie that goes into your mouth and you may restrict yourself if you don't stick to your diet plan. You may get stomach aches from eating TOO many vegetables. You likely stick to restaurants that you know offer only healthy options. You may exercise obsessively everyday. And you probably don't allow yourself many treat foods, if any at all.
What is 'Healthful Eating'?
I encourage my clients, family, and friends to eat healthfully. What this means to me is including a balance of colorful and bright vegetables and fruits that you enjoy, high-quality protein foods, calcium-rich dairy products or dairy alternatives, essential fats and oils, and satisfying whole grains. It means eating a balanced breakfast within an hour of waking up and having a meal or snack every 3-4 hours thereafter on most days. It means enjoying foods not only because of their health benefits, but also because you actually enjoy them. Healthful eating also means being attentive to your body's natural hunger cues, honouring them by eating, and then respecting your fullness and stopping when you're comfortably full. And it means cutting back where you won't miss it anyway. Healthful eating also means indulging in not-so-healthy foods sometimes without guilt or future restriction. And enjoying. Every. Bite.
If you know me at all, you know that chocolate makes its way into my day at least once. It's what I call my "bliss" food. It's something that I just can't live without. I encourage people to figure out what their "bliss" food is and to have it in a small but satisfying portion often, if not every day. Last night I threw this dessert together for a Fathers Day dessert—it was a hit! If your "bliss" food is either chocolate or ice cream, you'll love this!
Easy Mint Chocolate Frozen Pie
8 oz dark or semi-sweet or 70% dark chocolate, melted in a double boiler
4 cups of rice cereal (I used Rice Krispies)
1 cup chocolate cookie crumbs (I used Oreo Baking Crumbs)
1/4 cup butter, melted
3-4 cups of your favorite ice cream (I used my fave‚ Mint Chocolate Chip)
Place rice cereal in a large glass bowl and set aside.
Place the cookie crumbs into a small bowl, pour melted butter on top and mix well (should be the consistency of wet sand).
Pour melted chocolate over the rice cereal and mix until well combined.
Transfer the chocolate covered rice cereal to a springform pan. Using a spatula, cover the bottom and half-way up the sides of the pan. Gently press down with the spatula to "crust" is molded to the pan.
Sprinkle the cookie crumb mixture on top of the rice cereal crust and gently press down to make the second layer of the crust. Leave about an inch between the edge of the cookie layer and the sides of the pan.
Transfer the pan to the freezer for 10 minutes and take the ice cream out of the freezer to soften a bit.
Once you've taken the pan out and the ice cream is semi-soft, scoop the ice cream into the pan and distribute evenly.
Transfer to freezer for at least 10 minutes and voila!
PS. My Dad sure did!
You have no doubt heard the buzz around the beneficial qualities of Omega-3 fatty acids over the past several years. Believe the buzz—Omega 3's are MEGA good! This fatty acid is essential for proper health, and most of us (including our kids!) don't consume enough. Omega-3s are a form of polyunsaturated fatty acid that we need to consume through food or a supplement.
What is Omega-3?
Omega-3 is an umbrella term that describes three various forms of Omega-3 fats (ALA, DHA and EPA). These three types are not created equal. ALA can be found in plant sources such as canola oil, flaxseed oil and soybean oil and is eventually converted into DHA and EPA in small amounts. EPA and DHA are where it's at. These two forms of Omega-3 are the most beneficial forms and are found in oily fish such as salmon, tuna, halibut, anchovies, sardines and mackerel as well as some Omega-3 fortified foods like certain yogurts, eggs, milks and cereals.
Studies have shown that DHA and EPA have beneficial effects on brain, eye and nerve development in babies, toddler and kids. In adults, DHA and EPA are important for neurological and cognitive functioning, and have beneficial effects on heart disease, cancer, arthritis, and perhaps even Alzheimer's Disease, Depression, Asthma, Macular Degeneration and more.
There are no concrete guidelines on how much DHA and EPA we should consume each day, but experts agree that healthy adults should consume about 500 mg (and up to 1000mg) of DHA and EPA combined per day and children should consume about 430-650 mg of DHA and EPA per day depending on age. To achieve this, it is recommended that adults and children eat two food guide servings (a serving is about the size of a deck of cards) of low mercury oily fish per week. Women require slightly higher amounts of Omega-3's during pregnancy and breastfeeding to support proper development of their infants, but it is recommended to continue eating two servings of low Mercury oily fish such as salmon, trout, Halibut, light canned tuna and Mackerel per week to meet required needs (see more about Mercury in fish here).
What about supplements?
For those of you who do not eat fish or who have kids who don't eat fish, an Omega-3 fish oil supplement is something you'll want to consider. Omega-3 supplements can be made from ALA or DHA+EPA-rich oils in varying quantities, so it is important to carefully read labels. Look for supplements that are regulated by the government for safety and quality. A regulated supplement should have an NPN (Natural Product Number) somewhere on the label to show that it's regulated and should be age-appropriate as indicated on the label. Most experts agree that It is not a good idea to take cod liver oil anymore because of its high levels of Vitamin A which can be harmful, especially to pregnant women who are already taking a prenatal multivitamin. For more information on the safety of fish oil supplements, visit www.nutrasource.ca.