Beauty and Sex-Appeal are in the Body.

Something I have noticed about how women react to men is that in the last few generations we have been operating on the assumption that men aren’t allowed to fancy you for your looks. No longer is only male love supposed to be disconnected from their natural, biological lust, but now their lust isn’t even supposed to be based on your looks.

A perfect example is fat acceptance girls and chubby chasers. FA girls hate chubby chasers. Why? Because chubby chasers like fat women. Now, in any sane world women would be pleased that there are men who like their looks. But in this world sex appeal is now supposed to be divorced from looks. The chubby chasers should, apparently, find large women attractive, but not because they’re large.

Another example is how if a man tells a woman that he finds her attractive and wants to have sex with her and says both these things too closely together, regardless of her relationship with him she will start to become averse to the idea of sex. Saying she’s attractive? That’s cool. Wanting sex? That’s cool too. Saying you want sex because she’s attractive? No, not allowed.

Men are supposed to apparently lust after women’s personalities.

This never used to be the case. Women always accepted that a part of male sexuality was wholly based on her looks and that we had to live with that and work with that to get the men we wanted.

And I don’t think anyone has stopped knowing this. Women still lose weight or do their hair in hopes that a certain guy will notice them. I think the difference is more subtle.

The past few generations have been raised on two messages that, together, create a false impression in a woman’s mind.

1: Men are mindless animals that are blinded by their desire for you and this makes them usable.

2: Only what’s on the inside counts in terms of love, everything else is impure and unfair.

And the impression they caused? That men’s true love is a pure, asexual thing, but men have a wild libido that they don’t even know about that makes it easy for women to control them.

Which is a ridiculous concept, but it’s a concept I have observed most other women of my generation operating on. They assume that sex can and should be used to get things, that men who want sex based on looks are broken, that men who love you truly will want sex regardless of looks. Which is why they let themselves go in relationships, date “bad boys” who upset them and wind up bemoaning how terrible men are.

But then along comes a man who directly associates her looks with her sex appeal with his love for her. Say, a chubby chaser. He, just by calling himself a chubby chaser, is directly saying “I like the way you look, that makes me attracted to you and this attraction makes you potential relationship material.” Or, turned around: “If I didn’t like the way you looked, I would not be attracted to you and you would therefore not be relationship material.”

Which leaves the girl with a dilemma. If men are, indeed, aware of their own libidos and do, in fact, feel sexual attraction as a part of love, then a woman is not special or unique or lovable just for being herself. She is replaceable. And she thought she had triple leverage in the relationship: her looks, her sex appeal and her love. But it turns out she only has one: her looks.

In past times this was balanced. Women knew that men wanted them to be pretty and women made themselves pretty for their men. Women also knew that there were plenty of other women who were also pretty, so they didn’t rely on looks. Instead, they developed charm, a touch of wit, various homemaking skills and a pleasant disposition. It was a way of adding more to a relationship, to keep a man around and keep him interested.

But in today’s world many women rely entirely on looks, sex and love. Which is why it hurts so much to realize that those three qualities are actually one single quality.

TTFN and Happy Hunting.

10 Things That Are Aging Us.

There is no denying that in the West we are in increasingly poor health. And whilst we often focus on weight issues, thyroid problems and diabetes, we are also acutely aware that some thirty year olds look like fifty year olds and some forty year olds have the skin, spines or bladder of an eighty year old. And when Granma is more sprightly than Mummy, we’ve got to ask why, as well as how we can avoid it.

Because respecting the aging process is one thing, but premature aging is another.

1: Chronic stress.

This is arguably the greatest source of premature aging. Chronic stress is when we are not briefly highly stressed (such as if we are almost hit by a car) or a tiny bit stressed for a couple of days (such as if a child is ill). Chronic stress is when we are moderately stressed most of the time. And, as you can see in the faces of people with Anxiety Disorder(s), it doesn’t do you much good. When you’re stressed you develop deep, anxious expression marks, paler skin, wider pores and a general drained look to your face.

This is because when you’re stressed your body is pumped full of cortisol and adrenaline, which force the glucose and, subsequently, the moisture out of as many bodily tissues as they can, trying to give you an energy boost to help you escape the source of stress.

Except we are in a state of continual, moderately high stress, both mental and physical. And we can’t really avoid most of it. Anxiety over relationships, harsh work deadlines, unpleasant working environments, caffeine, alcohol and drug abuse, all these things cause your body to become stressed. And we rarely truly get away from them.

2: Too much sugar.

Now, I will never take back that there is no such thing as a bad food. But all foods, nutrients and micronutrients have a limit that, when exceeded, causes problems. And sugar is one of them. People who consume too much sugar often experience a tightening of the skin, caused by water retention, which eventually leads to either oily or dry skin. It also greatly overworks the liver, pancreas, kidneys, thyroid and many other glands and organs to a lesser extent.

This is because a very high blood sugar content is actually poisonous to your body. But if we didn’t absorb all the sugar we ate, we would hardly have a few teaspoons in our systems at any given point. Therefore, our body absorbs all the sugar, burns what it needs and uses insulin, produced by cells in the pancreas, to store the excess. The first storage location is the liver, being the only organ that can process fructose and one of the most efficient places for accumulating fat quickly. If your blood sugar stays too high your pancreas can’t produce enough insulin for it any more and sends what amounts to a distress signal to the rest of the body, which encourages it to treat sugar as a waste product and dispose of it in the kidneys. If there’s still too much sugar after that, you enter hyperglycemia and die.

This process is perfectly natural, but when you push your entire system to its limits like that, day in, day out, eventually the organs have trouble fulfilling their other functions, such as producing digestive enzymes, hormones, regulating blood pressure and filtering byproducts out of the blood. And when you eat as much sugar as we do in the West, our organs and glands are continually overworked, to a point where their other functions are inhibited, which accelerates aging.

3: No loadbearing.

This is a big one just for how badly the younger generations are getting hit by it. Loadbearing activity basically means any activity where your body is compressed by weight. It ranges from standing up (the weight of your body) to weightlifting (the weight of the metal) and in all its forms it’s observed in tribal societies worldwide. This sort of activity actively compresses the bones and is known to help prevent osteoporosis.

The reasons for this are still a little vague and guess-work-ish, but the two current theories are that it encourages remineralization of the bones and discourages demineralization. Mineralization is where minerals, such as calcium, carbon and phosphor, are added into something, such as your bones. Your bones are continually losing and gaining minerals, just like your muscles are continually losing and gaining protein. Loadbearing helps prevent osteoporosis firstly because your body prioritizes what you need. Just as lifting weights tells your body it needs more muscle fibres, loadbearing tells your body it needs denser bones. Loadbearing prevents osteoporosis secondly because something denser is harder to break down. When your bones are dense with minerals and compact in the right places, chances of your body being able to strip the bone right down in the case of an emergency (such as a pregnancy mineral deficiency) are far lower.

What was the last time you picked up something heavy? What was the last time you carried something heavy? Until very recently, even in urban areas people would carry heavy shopping bags, children, move furniture and heavy machinery with relative ease. In wilder societies people carry children, baskets of food, entire tents and whole animals all the time. To boot, they spend more time on their feet with some sort of weight in their hands, on their backs or above their heads.

4: Too few micronutrients.

Another problem with our diet is that we’re massively undereating micronutrients. That’s vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other trace elements. The effect of this is most obvious when the people who, based on dietary guidelines, overeat these nutrients are the people who age the slowest and look the healthiest. Technically, we all need to eat more zinc, selenium, magnesium, manganese, phosphor, calcium, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, creatine, Omega 3, etc than we are even recommended. The recommended daily amount should actually be seen as the minimum level for many micronutrients.

But we aren’t even getting that. A good test measure is to look at how many bitter and sour foods you eat. You see, many of the most essential, most underconsumed micronutrients taste awfully bitter or sour. And many of the less bitter and sour foods have been specifically bred to taste like that. Which is why lemons and kumquats have higher vitamin C than tangerines. Or dandelions and spinach have more micronutrients than iceberg lettuce.

To boot, how many people even eat tangerines or iceberg lettuce daily? How much of your diet do they represent? In reality, we should on a daily basis consume various greens, some fruit (sweet or non-sweet) and some root vegetables and on a weekly basis consume various types of offal, seafood, nuts and seeds.

5: Too little sleep.

Not sleeping enough ages and degrades your brain. Or at least that’s the effect. Your short term memory becomes hazy, your long term memory has the odd gap, your focus is poor and your interpersonal skills become worn.

This happens because most brain repair happens in your sleep. Your brain is continually breaking and regrowing neural connections. These connections form pathways, which is how information is pieced together to form memories, concepts and learned behavioural patterns. When these pathways break down, your brain regrows them as needed, which is how an unused language becomes “rusty” and a new skill is formed. All the information is there, after all, our brain’s capacity for storage is theoretically limitless, it’s just we need to connect the right bits of information together.

When you don’t sleep enough, or deeply enough, these pathways don’t grow or grow back as quickly. Therefore, you commit less to memory, learn more slowly and start forgetting things that you had already memorized. This is made worse when stress is added to the mix, as memory loss creates stressful situations, poor sleep creates physical stress and being stressed makes sleep harder and lighter, creating a loop. Your body, when stressed, needs far more hours of sleep because the sleep is so light, but due to missing deadlines, forgotten work and stressful interpersonal relationships we want to stay up later and mend what stress broke.

In the West we often don’t go to bed until our brains are about to give out, force ourselves to get up with annoying sounds and caffeine (stressors) and overwork ourselves over the day, only to use stimulating and stressing foods and imagery to keep ourselves up all night to “unwind”.

6: Overeating.

Just as too much of one specific food can make you unwell and too much sugar can age you noticeably, too much food in general, or too many calories, also has an aging effect. We’re all familiar with the effects of overeating when you don’t lose the weight, but regular overeats matched with regular starve or fast days can be just as bad. People who regularly overeat are suffering the burdens of excess sugar, but also the burden of excess fat, protein and waste products.

This means their organs are being overworked, needing to produce more enzymes and hormones, their stomach is stretched, their kidneys are filtering slowly. This can eventually result in a state of being continually slightly run down. The same way if you have a massive holiday binge you start feeling groggy and look fatigued and sick the next day, repeatedly overeating starts to cause lethargy and eventually creates a slightly ashy colour under your skin, some skin sag and oiliness to the cheeks and nose. This is because your organs are not getting a rest, your body is having a hard time getting rid of all byproducts through the kidneys so it starts getting rid of them through other means and a lot of your energy is being invested into digestion.

Per capita, Americans eat around 3700kcal/day, England and the rest of the world are not far behind. We are pushing our bodies to their limit daily.

7: Sitting still.

This ties into loadbearing, but is also important for muscle density and health. Think of the legs of someone who has never walked since childhood. The muscles are all thin and, even when the person is a healthy weight, their legs look like they’re all bones with a little skin and fat on top. This is because muscles you don’t use aren’t maintained. Your body digests them. This is in part when you need more protein or calories and aren’t eating enough, but in part it happens daily to muscle you aren’t using. Muscle is very calorifically expensive and, as far as your body is concerned, why regrow muscle when you aren’t using it?

Nowhere in the world do humans sit still, day in, day out, except in the West. The actual shape and support of our furniture aside, we have to agree it’s pretty comfortable. We can sit in one position for hours and only feel any harm when we stand up and notice a cramp. But this isn’t natural. Even though humans worldwide are naturally lazy, humans outside the West are very different to humans inside it. They sit less often, and get up frequently. When they sit they are not as comfortable as we are, so they move about, fidget, stand up, lie down, squat or stretch. All these minor movements, complete with bursts of intense activity and occasional long treks, lead to better muscle tone. This muscle tone stretches loose skin and shapes fatty tissue, giving men and women alike a more youthful, healthy appearance.

But here in the West it isn’t uncommon to get out of bed, walk downstairs, sit down for breakfast, walk to the car, drive to work, walk to our desk, sit down all day except to pick up our lunch, come home and sit down on the sofa with dinner, only getting up to go to bed. We probably spend well over 95% of our time (around 23 hours) sat down or lying down, without much fidgeting and rarely getting up. As such, our muscles are weak, small and undefined, giving our bodies the shapelessness of muscle wastage usually only seen in the very ill and very elderly.

8: Too little fluid.

Water is a pretty important part of our bodies. And whilst water retention caused by excess sugar can pump your body up, giving it a pudgy, wobbly appearance, plenty of water flushing through the system is actually good for you. For starters it helps the kidneys flush out dangerous byproducts and can help stop them from overworking. Secondarily, some water under your skin will fill out stretch marks, expression marks and wrinkles and encouraging clearer, lighter sweat helps avoid congested pores, leading to fewer spots or blackheads.

But we don’t drink much fluid that isn’t laden with sugar or other substances that slow its digestion and cancel our its beneficial properties. We also eat very little raw food, one of the healthiest sources of fluid besides water, sometimes healthier. Raw fruits and vegetables and even raw meat are heavy with water which is often lost when we cook things. And the main method of cooking foods to retain moisture (stewing) has become increasingly unpopular, with our main choices, instead, being frying, baking or boiling, all of which, unless you drink the water from boiling, extract and boil off the fluids in your food.

9: Low volume heart and lungs.

Another side effect of our inactive lifestyles is that our heart and lungs are not used very much and not pushed to the max more than a couple of times a year. This is good in one sense: just like our other organs, our heart and lungs can be overworked by being pushed to the max daily and are better off resting and doing low level activity most of the time. But, just as with our muscles and bones, when we use them too little, they start to atrophy. This means that your heart, like any muscle, starts losing muscle fibres and becomes weak, which is the reason for sudden death in underweight people; and your lungs don’t stretch and properly fill up, leading to shallow breathing, which is what causes hyperventilating people to sometimes faint.

When your heart is built properly, it can take and move a healthy volume of blood with every pump and won’t start to degrade until old age. When you fill your lungs enough with every breath, they take in plenty of oxygen and stay healthy and won’t suffer weakness until old age. However when we underuse them both, we end up with degraded heart and lungs similar to what we see in much older people.

And we don’t really exercise our hearts and lungs. A marathon a day would be excessive for them, but some form of moderate activity for a couple of hours once a day, such as brisk walking, some bodyweight activities or some gardening, plus intense activity once or twice a week, such as 30-60min jogging, weightlifting or climbing, will help your heart and lungs fill their natural capacity. Our problems are further compounded by our bad posture and stillness. When you don’t move as much blood can pool at the lowest points of your body, causing chilblains, inflammation, cramps and varicose veins and your heartrate takes a while to pick up when you stand, causing dizziness, nausea and even panic attacks. When you sit crouched over you are cramping your organs, particularly your lungs, leading to poor breathing that is hard to correct without retraining yourself.

10: Too little fish.

This one may seem a little odd to some of you, but pescetarians live the longest, are the least prone to obesity and disease and are the healthiest in their old age of any group of people based on diet. The Okinawans, the Icelandic, the Sardinians and the Ikarians all live longer than the rest of the world, the Okinawans being notable for the old age of their women and the Icelandic for the oldest men in the world. They are all fitter and healthier, with lower rates of mental illness, heart disease, stroke and the general ailments of old age than anywhere else in the world.

Fish provides various forms of natural salts and minerals, a healthy balance of Omegas 3, 6 and 9, as well as some of the micronutrients that, as mentioned, we don’t eat enough of, like zinc, magnesium and selenium. It’s not surprising, therefore, that adding fish into your diet, swapping meat for fish or swapping dairy for fish makes you look younger and live longer than otherwise. Of course, you could seek out all these elements as supplements, but the benefits of whole fish and other seafood are undeniable.

However, again, we don’t really eat fish. And the main fish we eat are the lean, flavourless kinds that have been overcooked or fried in vegetable oil, if not deep fried. Seeing as Omega oils are a type of fat and micronutrients often have a strong taste, it’s not really surprising that what little fish we eat provides us no benefit whatsoever.

And those are the ten reasons that, as a population, we are aging prematurely. Between our low levels of activity, bland, highly calorific, highly artificial diets, stressed out bodies and low fluid intake, it isn’t really all that shocking that we’re starting to look and feel older at a much younger age. And that’s before you look at heavy drinkers and smokers, who age even more rapidly than their more moderate or abstinent peers.

What are your bad habits? Based on this, what can you do to age as nature intended? What are your tricks for avoiding these ten bad Western habits? Feel free to share in the comments!

TTFN and Happy… Fishing?

5 Diet Myths You Probably Believe.

I think everyone has a few ideas on diet they cling onto for no reason at all. I know fruit is no worse (or should I say no better?) for me than potatoes, but I still love potatoes and neglect fruit. I probably believe or do some things that are completely nonsensical because I picked them up and never let them go.

But some of these myths are held by so many people that sometimes we have to complain. And that’s what I’m going to do. Here are five diet myths that are demonstrably false which you probably actually do believe.

1. X/Y/Z Is Bad For You.

Yes, we all use it as an expression. But we also genuinely believe it about certain things. You may think meat is bad for you, carbs are bad for you, sugar is bad for you, salt is bad for you, alcohol is bad for you, etc. And we incorporate this into our daily diets and the diet advice we dole out. And to a degree, it’s true. Alcohol does your liver some harm in any amount. Junk food messes with your metabolism. Sugar strains your pancreas. But there is an implicit falsehood in it.

You’ve probably already heard “everything in moderation”, the argument that nothing is inherently “Bad”, just that it can be consumed in too high a quantity. But there is another side to that argument: nothing is actually inherently “Good” for you either. Everything we consume has necessary nutrients, every nutrient is necessary. Everything puts some strain on the body or has some toxic products or byproducts. Avoiding one or two specific things is as meaningless as eating one or two specific things. Teetotalism makes you no more a saint of health than eating Goji berries does. It’s better to work out how your body, on an individual basis, processes all sorts of foods and to balance the right amount of everything.

And, mentioning toxins…

2. Detox.

Detoxes are a joke. Think about this rationally. If you drink enough alcohol that your liver can’t eliminate the toxins, you die. If you eat an apple pip, you body processes the cyanide, if you eat cyanide crystals, your body detoxes too slowly and you die. So, if your body wasn’t detoxing, you’d not be here.

And what about progressive buildup? Well, that’s a whole other can of worms. For the sake of simplicity: if you are keeping your body consistently just below the mark for poisoning, do you really think fasting, drinking green smoothies or some magic shake is going to undo all that damage and filter all that out? And do you really think a detox is a better option than not poisoning yourself to begin with? Seriously?

3. Dietary Variety.

Now, what isn’t a myth is that dietary variety benefits you. But the two main benefits of dietary variety are that you’re less likely to be poisoned and guaranteed nutritional variety. However most people throughout the world avoided poisoning and nutritional deficiencies on a fairly plain diet at some point in history or another. And with modern sanitation we can keep our food clean and with modern nutritional data we can assess our food’s nutritional quality. So there is no longer any actual need for dietary variety. Hell, teenagers can survive on chicken nuggets and you can meet your requirements for every nutrient on a diet of potatoes, bananas, liver, sardines, eggs and sunflower seeds.

Now, your health may be improved if you add some variety and the need to meticulously weigh every serving of food goes away. But the sheer amount of variety some people think we need is not only historically impossible, but is also not at all required for life and general fitness.

4. Going All Out On Cheat Days.

Not so much a rule or belief as an action that has just as negative an effect. When we diet strictly or diet at all, when we’re trying to lose weight or get fit or get healthy, we have cravings for foods we’re not allowed. You could go on an “only my 5 favourite foods” diet and eventually get sick of them and crave something you never thought was all that great. So, we allow cheat days. And the general idea of a cheat day is to go all out, eat and drink everything you can’t eat or drink the rest of the time. And we somehow think this is healthy.

After 150 days. And that’s still not doing his organs any favours. Mull that over.

But overwhelming your body isn’t healthy. Let’s use the pancreas as an example. It secretes insulin in response to sugar, enzymes in response to fat, protein or alcohol and triggers hormonal regulation that affects youth thyroid and adrenal glands, among other things. If you eat low carb, no junk food, moderate fat, just the right amount of protein and no alcohol for six days and then on the seventh day you eat four pizzas, a steak and chips, a tub of ice-cream and a bottle of vodka, you are throwing a week’s worth of work onto your pancreas in one go. Your body just isn’t designed to deal with that. That is why alcoholics get liver disease but some people get severe acute pancreatitis from two beers.

In short, either restrict your cheats to a single meal or follow the 80/20 rule, unless you want to overwhelm your body and make yourself ill.

5. I’ll Just Work It Off.

Surely eating too much or eating junk or drinking too much doesn’t matter, because you can burn it off at the end of the day? Well, we only believe that because we conflate being slim with being healthy. In reality, plenty of thin people have metabolic disorder, heart attacks, liver disease and colon cancer. So working off the calories in your food will not fix you or make you less prone to illness.

In reality, whilst nothing is inherently just “Bad” or “Good” for you, if you do overconsume something that wears your body down, the calories aren’t the only thing impacting your health. And you just can’t “work off” insulin resistance, liver scars, diverticulae or thyroid imbalances. You can only prevent these things from happening by eating a healthy, balanced diet.

And those are five diet myths you probably believed. Do you know any other diet myths that are demonstrably false? What advice would you give to anyone struggling with the issues here? How do you keep fit and healthy? Please share in the comments!

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

10 No-Brainer Ways to Lose Weight

Everyone could do with a little diet advice now and then. As of writing this, I have gained a few kgs of fat due to stress and tiredness, well more due to the overeating that follows. And, being someone who is generally quite in tune with her body, when this is scheduled to publish in a couple of weeks, I should have lost them already.

But how do I do it? Well, a huge part of it is years of experience with diets, of reading and applying advice, of getting to know my body. But another part of it is that along the way I picked up some “cheat codes”. Now, before you go crazy, these are not effortless. You will feel hungry or tired, they will take time and you will not instantly drop from 100 to 45 kilos. But they are also very simple things you can do, without spending much or any money, wasting your time or overthinking, to help yourself lose weight. There are many reasons to choose a simple weightloss option over a complicated one. Each of these “cheats” is:

-Cheaper than pills, a specialist diet or a dietician.

-Safer than a crazy fad or supplement.

-Flexible enough for you to go slow and steady or weightloss crazy.

-Easy enough for you to track your progress and stop when you’re comfortable.

-Simple enough that you can just apply it and not worry about calculating points or weighing stuff.

-Useful enough that you can use it alongside another plan.

Basically, this advice could save you a lot of time and effort and money. And the worst that can happen is that you stay the same.

1. Eat less of exactly the same.

A new spin on an old favourite. Calorie counting certainly works, but it can also be a lot of bother. Especially if you just want to pick up a banana or have a biscuit at a friend’s house and out comes the calculator.

The other, darker side to it is the excuses. When you insist the banana was small, so it must have had around half the calories. Or that you walked a lot, so that must be enough calories for a treat.

Eating less is basically the same thing: cutting your calories. Except a little easier. You just eat whatever you would eat anyway, but less. No “cheat days”, no exceptions, no “treat myself”.

If your weight has been stable you may only want to cut back a little bit to lose weight. Basically, instead of two sandwiches for lunch, have one and a piece of fruit, or put about 2/3 the filing in.

If your weight is increasing, cut the food back to half and see what happens. Instead of two sandwiches for lunch, have one.

If you’re not losing weight or not losing it fast enough, make your portions smaller again until you find you are losing weight. If you are losing weight, but too quickly, add in something calorific as a snack. Maybe add a banana or a biscuit or something, just to slow the weightloss.

But, simply put, eat exactly what you were going to eat, just eat less. Eventually you’ll be eating little enough to lose weight.

2. Do heavy lifting.

Another way to lose weight is to gain muscle. Not just tone or strength: actual mass.

Your body burns energy just to stay alive. And muscle burns a lot more energy than fat, bone, skin or most other tissues. So the more muscle you have, the more energy you use up.

You only need to lift very heavy twice a week or so or do HIIT daily to start gaining muscle. If you aren’t gaining muscle, then lift something heavier. The idea is to lift something your body can only just manage, to encourage it to grow more muscle.

And remember to bias your diet towards proteins, but generally don’t increase your calories. If you just start growing muscle and keep your diet the same, your body will start working on the excess you’re already eating and the excess you’re wearing.

3. Keep active.

The other side of the coin to muscle gain is to just keep moving. We are far too sedentary nowadays. In our past we wouldn’t just sit around and then go running or lifting for the sake of it. We’d either have huge bursts of intense activity as we went hunting or ran from a predator or we’d be continually very slightly active as we built houses, made clothes, gathered fruit or dug trenches.

So, if you’re not going to imitate the hunters, try and imitate the gatherers. Make a point of getting up, walking around and doing bodyweight exercise and yoga whenever you can. Doing a phonecall? Walk around as you do it. Getting up and got five minutes? Do some pushups and situps. Collecting some shopping? Walk it. Changing after work? Do some yoga. Going on a family picnic? Run around with the children and pets.

Just do anything to be on your feet 90% of the time you can realistically be on your feet.

4. Eliminate junk food.

Trust me, it’s a lot easier when you try it. There are many reasons to cut out junk food for weightloss. Let’s look at the three big ones.

Firstly is that it isn’t really all that satisfying, calorie for calorie. A burger may have 500 calories, but you can eat it and still want another 500 calories in the form of medium chips and a medium drink. You may even want a pudding afterwards, or a snack before three hours have passed. So you broke into 1000 calories (which may be your daily limit, if that’s where you start to lose weight!) and you’re still hungry, basically. Compare that to a plain vegetable salad which you can have a kilo of for around 200 calories. To boot, it will keep you full for longer as it’s slow digesting and if you’re hungry two hours later, you still have plenty of room for more eating. I’m not saying you should live on leafy salads. What I am saying is that is it worth it to eat half to all your daily calorie requirement in one meal if you’re just going to be hungry in an hour?

Secondly junk food is often fast release energy. This contributes to problem one, but it also causes a problem of its own. Fast release sugars cause insulin spikes and drops. This insulin helps your body store fat, which means you’re actually eating something that is encouraging your body to store it. Not good.

Finally, junk food is very cheap for calories. A surefire way of reducing your dietary intake is buying something that is expensive for the calories. Junk food can give you 500 calories for £2. If you stick to your current budget but only buy things that cost, for example, £5 for 500 calories, you will be eating less. Spend more on low calorie things and you will have to eat fewer calories. Cruel, but sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind.

5. Reset your sugar.

As mentioned above, insulin spikes can encourage your body to store fat. Basically, insulin is the little guy running around pushing energy places. If you’re working out, insulin sees that the energy is needed and pushes it to the muscles. If you’re not, insulin sees the energy isn’t being used and puts it into your fat cells.

If your insulin is too high, it will tell you to store energy too quickly. When this happens your blood sugar drops too low, making you feel hungry again, because all your energy has been stored away. If your insulin doesn’t drop again, your body can find it hard to burn that stored energy. So this creates a cycle of hunger, insulin spikes, stored energy and more hunger, which obviously can lead to weight gain.

Therefore, having some control over your insulin can help you avoid those intense hunger pangs you feel when dieting and encourage your body to keep its blood sugar even and use its fat reserves for fuel.

The simplest way to reset your sugar is by using the Glycemic Index. You don’t need to learn the GI of all foods, these three tricks are all you need.

One is avoiding sweet tasting foods. As a general rule, the sweeter it tastes, the more simple sugars. Simple sugars cause the highest insulin spikes.

Two is combining carby foods like pasta, potatoes or apples with fatty or proteiny foods, like nuts, eggs or meat. This should make the sugar release much slower.

Three is not eating frequently. Every time you eat your blood sugar goes up. Every time your blood sugar goes up, your insulin goes up. Eating infrequently and avoiding snacks will give you better appetite control.

6. Choose carbs or fats.

Following the same vein of the last two “cheats”, you can do an either-or diet as well.

Basically, there are two components to the difficulty of losing weight. Your hunger and the calorie density of your food. Therefore, addressing one can often help you.

As explained in the section on controlling your sugar, if you keep blood sugar spikes low and infrequent, you can address your hunger. However, if you want to make this a major component of weight loss, you should combine very low carb with moderate to high fat. Low carbs means smaller, less frequent insulin spikes, which means you’re less likely to quickly store the fat you’re eating. Also, not only does lower insulin mean less hunger, but the slow digestion of fat can also contribute to satiety.

On the flip side, you can also try eating high carb and very low fat. This is best for those who can eat a lot of fat easily. Basically you’re letting your blood sugar spike, but instead of eating something fatty and dense in calories, you’re eating carbs, which have fewer calories to the gram.

Whether you choose high fat and low carb or high carb and low fat, try and avoid overt sources of the one you’re not eating much of and continue to avoid snacking for best results.

7. Eat more fibrous plants.

And while we’re talking about satiety, let’s have a look at the easiest way to feel full and satisfied without eating many calories.

As mentioned in the fast food section, a kilo of leafy salad without dressing is only around 200 calories. But it’s still a kilo of food sitting in your stomach, then in your intestine, slowly releasing that energy. With a little mustard-honey-vinegar dressing, it would taste amazing and still be very low in calories.

Roasted low calorie plants like courgettes or carrots and vegetable soups and stews are also good ways to feel fuller for longer. You could always eliminate all fatty or carby side dishes in favour of greens, make two of your daily meals all vegetables or do as I do and keep a plain salad in the fridge to use for meals or snacks. When I have the salad, I won’t snack on anything else and at least one daily meal will be salad. You need to make vegetables easy.

An added benefit of fibrous vegetables is that they feed your gut bacteria. It has been found that a fecal transplant from an obese person into a thin one can promote weight gain, so resetting your gut bacteria by feeding them lots of veggies could help you avoid gaining weight too easily.

8. Kill water retention.

A big reason for minor weight gain is actually fluid retention, not fat. Think about it logically. If you eat 3kg of food and water over a day and after, erm, eliminating the excess the next morning, you’re 5kg heavier, then that isn’t going to be fat. For starters, few foods are all used up by your body, so some waste will have come out. Second you used some of those calories just by existing. Third, nothing will make you gain 2kg of air. The only possible answer, if you weighed your food properly, is that the weight has come from something else you put in: water.

But it’s not like you can just not drink as much water. That’s not really healthy. But neither is inflating yourself full of water your body isn’t using. So what can we do to reduce water retention?

Two things in your diet make you hold onto more water than you need. One is sugar and the other is salt. Without consuming too much sugar or too much salt, drinking excess water would just result in eliminating excess water. So if you find you put on water weight suddenly and easily, you’re probably overdoing one or the other, if not both.

You can also try and get more sleep, take cold showers and reduce stress, all of which would encourage your body to drop retained water.

9. Eat more protein.

This is more if you have an absolutely crazy appetite. Protein is your best friend. It will trigger a hormonal response that makes you feel full, it has as few calories per gram as carbs and it won’t spike your insulin like carbs do. Thanks to all this, it takes fewer calories of protein to feel full and you’re more likely to actually use them than to store them.

Protein is also a building block for your body, so if you’re active protein calories could end up as muscle rather than being stored or wasted. Protein can also be harder for your body to store. If you need energy desperately, your body will turn protein to ketones. But if you need energy you are unlikely to store anything. Protein is hard for your body to store because it can’t just turn protein to fat or put proteins into your fat cells. Often an excess of protein will be eliminated through your urine rather than stored.

10. Fast.

Saving the best for last, there are countless reasons to fast when you’re on a diet.

Firstly, as noted on insulin, keeping your blood sugar low and steady can sometimes make you feel less hungry than eating a big meal does.

Secondly, the longer you go without food, the more your body shuts down your digestive system and starts burning fat. Once this switch has happened, you can go longer without feeling hungry.

Thirdly, the break your digestive system gets will help it reset, just not quite in the same way that eating greens does.

Fourthly, as long as you eat moderately after a fast, a meal missed is calories missed.

Fifthly, focusing on drinking water and avoiding food will allow you to lose a lot of water weight.

Sixthly, once your appetite has been reset from fasting, you could find yourself craving vitamin and mineral rich foods instead of highly calorific ones.

Seventhly, it’s natural to go without eating for a while. All animals do it all the time.

Eighthly, the longer your stomach is empty, the more of your body fat you burn.

I could keep going, but I’m sure you get the general idea.

So that’s my ten “cheats” to help you lose weight without worrying about going on a specific diet, counting calories or taking supplements. You could try them alongside your diet, on their own or all together, if you like.

TTFN and Happy Hunting.

How about you? How do you manage your weight? Does your diet interfere with other aspects of your life? Is it easy, cheap and simple? Are there any other basic diet tips you would give to someone trying to lose weight? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.