Here is a an topic, one of my readers request an article on, that is a concern for everyone: losing and gaining weight. Now, the reader was most interested in gaining weight and you could imagine my surprise, after all losing weight is more popular. However, I thought it was only fair that I talked about both, losing and gaining weight. This article is a delayed response, but I hope she finds it helpful as well.
Losing or gaining weight has always been a popular and widely discussed topic. Yet many people find it a difficult task to accomplish. They move from diet to diet hoping that they will finally come across the one diet that will grant them their wish. After several diets, most people become frustrated and think it’s their will to remain at that size as it is meant for them, even though the size may now be affecting them physically, mentally and medically. On the health side, some may have health issues, but will still say things like “I am big boned” or “I am not a big eater, I am naturally big”. Also, anyone who cooks, like myself, think about their chances of gaining weight, and possibly losing weight.
On Gaining weight
For those who want to gain weight, they become worried of gaining the type of weight that may not be attractive. It is possible to gain weight in the wrong places, on the waist, hips, and upper legs in women and around the midsection in men. Your main concern is becoming metabolically challenged, after all, their present situation shows that slim people have a normal metabolism, their bodies show a direct relationship with food and the energy it needs. Yes, the whole issue could be baffling and frustrating. The question is, should eating be one in which we spend most our time counting calories? It should not be like that, after all food is our fuel of life, and we have to eat to live. However, some foods could be the culprit for our weight gain.
Losing and Gaining Weight with “Trini Food”
Trini food is good, hearty food. Many will even say “Soul Food” that sometimes is not heart friendly or weight friendly. So most people try to eat foods they believe is not “Trini food”. They place the blame on what they are eating. Now, I’d say bravely that they are probably right, and yet they are wrong in another instance. Because, there are a lot of Trinibagonians who live long – we have been hearing about a lot of centenarians lately. (There are a lot of myths about healthy eating.) And don’t say they are from a generation past, because I believe we could still have centenarians in the future; many who would say they still enjoy their Trini or even West Indian food. “Green fig and saltfish anyone?” You see the problem of weight has a lot more to do with your emotions, your lifestyle, what you choose to eat and how much you eat. All these factors are further exacerbated by your own body type which you inherited.
Factors that influence our eating
Generally, women are more emotional eaters than men; men are more easily influenced during social situations where food and drink are in abundance. For example, a woman is more likely to allow the stress of work influence her eating habits. And if the stress is habitual, the poor eating habits becomes habitual. The weight gain is slow and steady without much notice. When the person do notice, the weight gain leads to a desperate bid to begin a disastrous cycle of dieting and fasting. Then there are those who are emotionally drawn to eat less food. Now, this is the key to winning the weight-loss battle, recognizing how people use food is as a “mood alterer” and then making the necessary diet changes to lose the weight.
Another factor that influence our eating is our lifestyle. The amount eaten must match physical activities. Today, more people live a sedentary lifestyle; their work comprises of eight hours by a desk; then they hop into their cars to get home. On their way home they might stop at a fast food restaurant or bakery. Then when they are home, they sit in front of the television or computer for a few more hours before going to sleep. There is little time for activities that involve physical exercise. They develop such a routine that lacks physical activities, yet their eating habits would better suit a more active lifestyle. Under such a lifestyle the body is more prone to suffer from a number of aliments. Many of these ailments are a result of their low metabolism which was affected by the many diets they did and the way they eat. It is this low metabolism that makes it difficult to lose weight.
These factors influence, the emotional state and the sedentary lifestyle of a person, also work together and have a great affect on our body. There are those who simply eat what ever they can fit in their busy schedule, what they can afford, and what they can make up due to the time they have. All three factors indicate how life has become so complicated. It is a pity how we have allowed our life to be swallowed up by modern-day materialistic concerns.
How to lose or gain weight
If you want to lose weight you first have to recognize and possibly analyze the factors that affect your eating and intake of nourishing food. For this reason you need to watch your emotions, as it can trigger bad eating habits. Those who wish to gain weight have to watch how their emotions affect their eating habits as well, and guard against developing bad eating habits while they try to gain weight. The following comments would also be suitable for them as well, because your main concern would be ensuring your meals are nutritious and not filled with too much sugar, salt and fat.
Do not overeat
If you are losing weight, watch what you eat. Do not overeat. Cook with small amounts fat and sugar only when necessary. You can change the amounts of these in many recipes, and the taste or quality of the meal is not compromised. You can use a non-stick pan so less butter will be needed. You can cut back on 1 to 3 teaspoons of butter using a non-stick pan. Just remember to preheat the pan before you begin so your ingredients will absorb less fat. Less fat is absorbed when it is hot. You can also use a mixture of butter and oil. Also, there is butter that has half the fat and calories of regular butter. You can use low-fat butter when you are making bread, muffin, cake, and even frosting. Remember, when you use low-fat butter you may have to reduce the amount of liquid required in a recipe. Another way to use butter is to look at butter as a condiment for your meals. You can add a small amounts of butter to steamed vegetables or to baked meat.
Exercise is good for losing and gaining weight
Exercise is also important. Generally, 30 minutes of exercise three or more times a week is helpful to the body. We also get physically active when we perform our daily routines, so don’t put off these routines; they can be used as ways to help you remain physically active. Seek activities you enjoy, walking and conversing, aerobics, golfing, swimming, etc. Let exercise become part of your lifestyle by encouraging others, friends and family to join you. Exercise can be a good motivator in developing a comfortable relationship with others and reducing stress. Involving family means that everyone becomes more committed to getting healthy. Everyone will look forward to a pantry or refrigerator stocked with wholesome, nutritious foods, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and nonfat dairy products, wholesome grains, breads and pasta. The goal to a healthy and fit family becomes achievable.
Four simple steps to losing and gaining weight by an Expert
Finally, if you really want to break the cycle of poor eating habits and get to the weight you believe is healthier you first have to do four things. Shari Lieberman explained them passionately in four steps in her book Dare to Lose: 4 Simple Steps to a Better Body (yes, I recommend this book for any one who is searching for a good book that explains how the body works and how weight can be easily lost). These four things, or rather steps, are: detoxify, control the type of food you eat, take necessary supplements (vitamin and mineral) to support your healthy change, and exercise. These four steps can definitely take you out of the dieting and fasting cycle to lose weight. The book can also help those who wish to gain weight as well.
These four steps do not confine your eating of meals or forces you to totally eliminating some major food groups, such as carbohydrates. It is about getting exercise, giving your body the necessary rest it needs at night time, decreasing the amount of fat and sugar you use to prepare your meals, drinking sugar-free drinks, eating less fried foods, eating more lean meat, eating more vegetables and fruits, eating less simple carbohydrates, and eating less process foods.
P.S. Here is a note to all of Simply Trini Cooking readers and members. Look out for an upcoming giveaway, based on this article, “Losing and Gaining Weight”.
We look forwards to your comments on this article. Tell us your experience to losing and gaining weight.