Now that I’m back from Brazil I’m ready to resume my healthy lifestyle with daily exercise and the Tone It Up nutrition plan. Because I gained three pounds of “vacation weight” I am following the more restrictive “7 Day Slim Down.” Friends who aren’t familiar with the Tone It Up plan tell me the 7 Day Slim Down seems too intense. They don’t like the idea that they will be told what to eat and when to eat it and probably imagine themselves hungry and miserable. But let me tell you why I have been looking forward to it all week . . .
I admit I didn’t do a lot of research before the first and second time I did the Tone It Up 7 Day Slim down. I figured that, as certified nutritionists, Katrina and Karena are experts and have done all the necessary research. I don’t have to know why it works…just that it does. Blissfully ignorant I lost weight.
But a funny thing happened in Brazil. Instead of eating small, healthy meals every couple hours I was stuffing my face with high calorie, starchy meals several times a day. Each time I finished a meal I was full – a feeling I haven’t experienced in months. And a few hours later I was STARVING. Another feeling I haven’t experienced in months. How could I be pigging out on pizza and pasta and getting hungry just a few hours later? I finally decided to do the research.
Here’s what I found: refined carbohydrates raise blood-sugar levels, setting up an insulin surge that drives blood sugar down again, causing rebound hunger. That insulin spike also interferes with leptin, the hormone secreted by fat cells that should tell the body to stop eating. And, not only does starchy food increase hunger, it increases CRAVINGS. No wonder pasta is all I wanted to eat!
Eating foods high in protein, vegetables, fiber and water has the opposite effect. This explains why the Tone It Up 7 Day Slim Down encourages protein and veggies. The recommended lunch is greens with veggies and a protein source. For example, my lunch today was broccoli slaw, dry-fried tofu, mushrooms and almond slivers tossed in the hummus dressing from trader joes. (Balsamic vinegar is the recommended dressing but it tends not to pair well with tofu:)
I ate hours ago and I’m still not hungry although I know I should eat as snacks prevent blood sugar from dropping too low. The same principles apply to snacks as apply to meals: high-sugar, high-starch, high-fat snacks encourage hunger whereas fruit, nuts, vegetables and clear soups can halt it.
Doing this research doesn’t change anything for me – one look at Katrina and Karena will tell you they know what they’re talking about so I trust them! But I find it interesting to know why things work. And perhaps I can share this information with friends who feel that the Tone It Up 7 Day Slim Down is too “intense” ;)