Ask the Expert: What’s the Key to Sustained Weight Loss

By: StacyAtZeel

eggs-and-avovado-flickr-citeeggs-and-avovado-flickr-citeThe following guest blog on how to achieve sustainable weight loss comes from Zeel Nutrition Expert Natasha Uspensky, CHHC, AADP.

I'm sure by now you've read about the French diet paradox (those slim, beautiful women who somehow are able to eat pastries, butter, fat and wine without consequence), or have witnessed for yourself that enviable friend who consumes all the foods you wished you could eat, guilt-free, for brunch or lunch, and still manages to maintain her skinny physique.

What's the secret? It's something so easy and so engrained in our DNA that you won't believe how naturally you'll be able to reach-and maintain-your body's healthiest weight without uttering the word "diet" ever again.

From our hunter-gatherer ancestors to the cultures of East Asia, much of Europe and even the Pacific Islands, most of your calories should be consumed during the earlier part of the day, with dinner being a much lighter, more supplementary meal. Though this has always been a natural way for our bodies to take in calories, this runs very much in contradiction to the American way of eating, as well as the fad diets so many people fall prey to.

Our metabolisms are not designed for small meals every two or three hours, and they certainly aren't designed to take in the bulk of the day's calories at dinner (traditionally Americans' biggest meal). Our bodies do best with three meals a day, with breakfast and lunch being the time to bring out the big guns.

Think about it this way. You wake up (still exhausted), have a cup of coffee and maybe a bagel for breakfast at 7am, are starving by 10am, reach for a granola bar or some sweets around the office, make it to your light lunch of salad or a sandwich, totally crash by 4pm, need more snacks, sweets or coffee to get through the rest of the day, and then come home, tired and hungry, and indulge in a huge, calorie-ridden meal at 8pm. Your body doesn't have the chance to burn off that big meal before bedtime, so you go to sleep with everything still sitting in your belly, and wake up exhausted and in need of that coffee that starts the whole cycle up again. Sound familiar?

Now try this on for size. You wake up well-rested, have a delicious breakfast of eggs, avocado, whole grain toast and some fruit, have tons of energy all morning without even thinking about snacking, eat a big, leisurely lunch of salmon, quinoa, salad and maybe even some sumptuous dark chocolate for dessert, are full, energized and productive all through the rest of your day, sailing by that 4pm mark without even glancing at the birthday cake in the break room, come home, still not starving (since you had that awesome big lunch), have a nice light salad or some soup for dinner, and go to bed, where you enjoy deep, restful sleep. Sounds a lot better, doesn't it?

Eating larger meals with healthy fats during the first half of your day is not only more satisfying and energizing, it also prevents metabolic syndrome, obesity, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. And think about those extra empty calories you'll be able to avoid!

Those late afternoon snacks, lattes, trips to the vending machine or dips into the cookie jar on the receptionist's desk are all a function of low blood sugar. Big, healthy breakfasts and lunches (with healthy fats, protein, whole grains and veggies) eliminate the need for any snacking by keeping your blood sugar consistently balanced.

Meanwhile, light, low-fat dinners give your body very little to do in terms of digestion and fat-burning at night, which allows you to detoxify and rest your whole system as you sleep. Waking up feeling light and refreshed eliminates the need for coffee and sugary breakfasts, which in turn allows you to make healthier food choices right from the start.

So if you make one change to your diet this summer (and for the rest of your life), make it this one! You'll be amazed at how much more simple and natural losing weight and being healthy is when you let your body do what it's designed to do!