Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Michelle Styles: Dealing with diets

Over the past month, I have started investigating what makes a successful diet and why don't diets work. Plus why do something like 85% of people who lose weight regain it plus within a year. Having spent ages losing 66 lbs and reaching a US size 2/4, I am determined to keep it there.

One of the big things is you have to learn to work with your own unique biochemistry. The digestion functions as a second brain and in fact is involved when you experience strong emotion. There are biological reasons why people emotionally eat.
Learning other self-care strategies for coping when you are dealing with strong emotion is vital. Stress raises your cortisol which causes your body to manufacture Neuropeptide Y which induces a carb craving, particularly food where fat and carbs combine (think bread, cake, potatoes with butter, pasta covered in sauce). So your sudden craving for cake can be a natural response to stressful situations. Other ways of defusing stress can include cardio exercise, meditation, reaching out to a friend etc. (This is far easier said than done. I am an emotional eater from way back!) But the worst thing possible is to feel guilty about binging afterwards. Any breakdown should be viewed as an opportunity for a breakthrough rather than a reason to end the positive steps you have been taking to control your nutrition and your weight.
After reading a lot of books, the biggest culprits in any weight gain/plateau situation are fat combined with carb food,(this includes foods made to be low fat as your body appears to react in the same way). Your body processes them differently. The two big problems from eating such foods are insulin sensitivity (which people might know about as it can lead to type 2 diabetes) and the lesser known and currently being heavily research Leptin Resistance. The question of low fat/high carb v low carb/high protein and fat depends on the individual's unique biochemistry.
Leptin is a hormone secreted by fat cells. It combines in some way with gherlin. And the combo often work together to cause a low level inflammation of the hypothalamus. If you have ever experienced plateauing when on a diet, you may have some sort of leptin resistance.
The most effective diet for getting rid of leptin resistance is limited carbs combined with eating mainly unprocessed foods (fresh vegetables, fruits and lean meat). Processed foods often are high in HFCS and refined/manufactured fructose (as opposed to fructose which naturally occurs in fruit) has been heavily implicated in Leptin Resistance.  The other important factor is having a 12 hour fasting period between supper at night and breakfast the next morning. It takes your body 8 hours to properly digest food and then four hours to run a detox of your cells etc. A friend of mine is currently at a conference where Leptin Resistance is being discussed and clinical trials have shown the 12 hour fast is a really useful tool in ultimately breaking that resistance. So if you eat dinner at 8 pm, you should not eat again until 8 am.
Anyway, I find it absolutely fascinating and hope those little tips can help someone.

In other news:
Last month, my editor phoned with the wonderful news that my latest Viking has been accepted (no scheduled publication date). And I just finished reading the proofs for His Unsuitable Viscountess which comes out in August in both the US and the UK markets. I am SO excited about this book after reading the proofs.

Also in June I shall be attending the Loveletter Magazine's first reader conference in Berlin and doing a couple of workshops. They will be having attendees from around Europe. It will be the first time that I've  been to Berlin so I am really looking forward to it.  I will report back on the conference in June.

Michelle Styles writes warm, witty and intimate historical romance. You can read more about her books on


Linda Henderson said...

I really hate dieting. I need to do better, but I have just not been motivated lately. Hopefully I'll get my ambition to loose back soon.

Pat Cochran said...

A hospital stay (food poisoning) and a
diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes combined to
lead me into a weight loss of 60 pounds.
That was in 2004 and the loss is still
holding. It also has taken a complete
lifestyle change to maintain the loss.

Congratulations on your weight loss and
thanks for the leptin information.

marybelle said...

Fascinating thank you. I carry a little extra weight, but nothing to worry about health wise. Thank goodness!

Michelle Styles said...

I am pleased other people found it fascinating.
Pat -- hooray for your weight loose and your maintaining it. It is such a struggle. Have you signed up for the National Weight Loss register? You are precisely the sort of person they want to talk to as so few people are able to maintain a large weight loss for a long time.

Michele L. said...

I enjoyed your blog Michelle! I need inspiring because I need to lose weight. I used to be so good at exercising but haven't done any in a long time since I am my mom's caregiver now. Hopefully, I will get back in the swing of things when the weather gets nicer.