Q: Good evening Doc! Please help me, I am overweight. Almost ten years older than my age. Recently I started combining some green teas and a slimming capsule which I take two at a time after breakfast. The capsule makes me lose appetite. This only worked for 3 days after which my longing for food returned again. Now the woman that sold the product to me advised that I increase it to 3 since 2 no longer works for me. I am scared. Will this have any effect on my health? I over eat and can’t help it. I am 25 and size 18. I am single and this has really affected my self-esteem. Please help me, ma’am. I need to trim down.
A: I get a lot of questions about slimming pills, green tea and those wonder drugs that make you shed weight in ‘seconds’ and instruct you never to eat of specific classes of foods. Let’s use green tea as an example. Green tea is great and studies have shown that it speeds up metabolism and so helps you break down all the food you’ve taken in, faster. However, weight gain is a function what you’ve taken in and what you’ve taken out. If you take in 3000 calories and you’re able to burn only 500 calories, then clearly, there is some excess that will get converted to fat et al. Remember that some of our ‘snack’ like some burgers pack as much as 500 to 600 calories in one serving….and that’s just one meal (or maybe even snack) with 3 more meals and perhaps another snack to account for. And so, if you are loading your system with more food than you need, then even the purest of green teas is going to have a hard time keeping up with your metabolism…there’s just too much work to do what with all that food! Remember that generally, women are entitled to 2000 calories intake in a day and men are entitled to 2500.
To practical solutions, there’s no magic wand tablet that makes it all go away. Hmmm, that’s not really true, so I’ll re – phrase. There are a number of take-a-tablet-daily-for-10-days-and-you’ll-lose-all-that-weight-in-the-same-period tablets and fad diets, but what these tablets and diets do is that they make you lose a lot a lot of water weight, which makes you feel like you’re losing weight and then once you go off the tabs or fad diet, you pile it all on again. So, the only solution I proffer is plain hard work 😀 focused on eating right and exercising. You are right to be scared and worried. Increasing the dose of any medication should only be done by a qualified medical personnel who understands the effect he is trying to achieve. This your friend does not sound like one! Truth is, a lot more work needs to still be done on weight loss supplements to confirm their safety profile. Please also note that the fact that a drug is labelled natural or herbal does not necessarily make it safe. A lot of these drugs have significant side effects which an increased dosage will only worsen. So, do not increase dose without discussing with your doctor…and indeed getting his take on your weight loss plan.
Some ask, can I lose weight without exercise? You can…if you watch your portions. However, exercise is useful for more than just weight loss. Exercise makes your heart strong and reduces your risk of other ailments.
And then some ask, I eat only once a day, how can I possibly add weight with that? If you eat once a day, chances are you snack on other things during the day that you do not consider as food…it could very well be cookies etc. But even if you don’t snack on anything, chances are that when you eat once, you binge and essentially make up for all the meals that you didn’t eat during the day….and so we’re back to square 1 😀 Remember that you’re actually allowed up to five small meals in a day. 3 main meals and 2 snacks.
I’m not and never have been a huge fan of fad diets. I think they place a lot of restrictions on you which make them impracticable and thus easily abandoned. So, for all of you who have written in asking for how to lose all that belly fat and perhaps if there’s a magic pill, here’s my answer. It is hard work…plain and simple.
First focus on portion control. Start by reducing the size of your plate. If you eat with a bowl, go for a plate. If you eat with a flat plate with a circumference that could hold the globe go for a smaller one etc. Then make sure that you focus on eating healthier foods. Half the plate should be filled with veggies, a quarter with protein and a quarter with carbs. Focus on complex carbs like brown rice, potatoes, yams, oats etc. Your palm is actually a good measure of how much you should eat and before you pelt me with rotten tomatoes for saying this, I’ve actually got very small palms so I’m suffering through this too
Then, exercise. This could be in the gym or through your regular activities. If you are a stay-at-home mum, dancing while doing your house chores, may not be what you have in mind when you look at a full house of chores, but it could start you on your fitness journey. And if you have a house help, don’t send her to do everything, get up and do some stuff yourself. Taking a walk in the evening when everyone is back, is also helpful. Going to the gym is a great way to start your day. In the office, move around some more…to the printer, to the bank, to the restaurant for lunch. Don’t call for everything.
And then, try and reduce your stress level…I can almost hear your ‘yeah, right! How do I do that?’ Well, stress is a normal part of life and in fact is needed to give you the regular push to get and go every morning. Find out your sources of stress and figure out solutions to them. For those you can’t find solutions for, let them go. No problem has ever been solved by stressing out over them. During stressful times, we are more likely to make wrong food choices. You may feel too lethargic to go anywhere and want to grab a quick food fix on your desk…where you’ve been sitting all day!
A couple more quick tips to help you limit your food intake, limit the episodes of hunger pangs and ensure you do eat right:
Take your time and chew every morsel. Beyond being in tune with etiquette 😀 it helps give your brain the time needed for it to receive the signal that the stomach is full. If you eat too fast, you would have stuffed yourself before you feel full. Remember that vegetables form soluble fibre which absorb water and thus give you a feeling of being full for a longer period of time.
You can have 5 meals per day: three major meals and then two snacks. While snacking, eat a handful of nuts, eat some fruit slices dipped in yoghurt or peanut butter, drink a glass of smoothie etc. Please click on the link below for more tips on snackinghttps://chatwithdrketch.com/2013/04/07/healthy-snacking/
Try to mentally confirm that you’re really hungry whenever you feel the urge to munch on something. Sometimes, it is thirst, boredom or some emotional stress that we are trying to deal with by eating.
Surround yourself with healthy snack and food options so that you are encouraged to do the right thing 😀
Remember that the path to healthy eating/living is long and winding but there’s always a pot of gold at the end of it. The short cuts always bring you back to where you started because they are not sustainable.
Start off today…the first couple of days are often the hardest but if you stick with it, you will feel so much better and be, indeed, healthier
I hope this helps.
Have a great night, people 😀