There are seven “S’s” we can use to work toward becoming Simply Slim.
Salt: Sodium is used heavily in ready-made foods. Soups, canned beans and meat have a high salt content. If we can avoid salt in excess amounts, it will ease water retention from the body and therefore reduce body weight. Consumption of salt also increases calcium excretion which can cause osteoporosis. Salt cannot be digested or used in the body. It has no vitamins and no nutritional value. Salt actually interferes with digestion because the enzyme “pepsin” is needed to digest proteins and salt causes only 50% of the amount of pepsin needed to be secreted.
Sugar: With sugar, less is more. Like salt, sugar is hidden in almost every food. The more we consume sugar, the more we feel like we want to eat. It also contributes to hyper-activity. We should avoid those foods that list sugar as one of the first three ingredients on their label. High Fructose Corn Syrup should be a no-no at all times. Sugar increases glucose levels which can cause mood changes, tiredness and headaches. It also increases the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Sugar can even cause immune system disorders, chromium deficiency, premature skin aging and dental decay and disease which can lead to heart disease. There has even been research that sugar activates stress hormones which can cause anxiety and irritation.
Starch: We find starch in all of our foods. Starch turns into sugar and any unused calories are stored in the body as fat. Some starches are digested very quickly, which causes a fast and large rise in blood sugar levels. Other starches are digested more slowly, which also causes blood sugar levels to rise more slowly, as well. There are also “resistant” starches that are not digested in the small intestine so they cause little to no rise in blood sugar levels. The best starches to eat are whole beans and lentils.
Sitting: If you sit for a prolonged period of time it can be harmful to your health. It increases a person’s tendencies to be overweight, having a heart attack, and even dying. Whenever you can get up, you should take a random stroll to get your body moving. In the midst of watching television or working on a project on the computer, doing couple of sit-ups is helpful. However, sitting meditatively for 10-15 minutes of quiet time and just watching your thoughts and emotions pass-by is a good thing. In Yoga it is said that meditation increases metabolism and makes us feel refreshed.
Second Helpings: Always avoid second helpings. “What does not go to waste, goes to waist.” The hormone leptin is what is released when we eat to inhibit our appetite as we grow full as we eat. Obesity can sometimes be attributed to low leptin levels. General leptin levels tell the brain how much energy the body has stored so that it can regulate metabolism and appetite. The fewer helpings you have, the lower the leptin levels.
Snacks: Always avoid snacks as much as possible. Beware of those snacks which have “o’s” in their names like “Cheetos” and “Tostitos.” Though they are my favorites, they are very unhealthy. However, if you graze on the right types of snacks throughout the day, you can actually increase your metabolism levels and even lose weight. Most “bad” snacks are full of sugar and/or salt that can cause all of the health problems listed under those two headings. But if you eat healthy snacks like fruits and nuts, you can encourage positive effects in your body.
Slippery Food: Foods like butter, oil, and lard are not only unhealthy, but can create more problems, as well. Butter contains two ingredients that can raise cholesterol: saturated fat and cholesterol itself. Vegetable oils are processed to the point that they contain mostly saturated fat which increases cholesterol levels, also. Lard is actually slightly better, as it contains 30% less saturated fat than butter, more polyunsaturated fats than olive oil, more monounsaturated fats than sunflower and corn oil, and no trans fats at all. But you should be wary of all of them as they all can increase cholesterol.