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Dear Riviera Woman...
Ask our panel of experts
Why can I not lose weight?
Why is it that I just can't lose weight? OK, I know I pick at food and won't stop at one slice of anything and feel it is my duty to eat the whole goddamn pie. My husband says I look just fine and that he loves me for me. We go to a lot of social events and it would be so rude to refuse nibbles when they come round. I'm not over over-weight but floaty dresses are beginning to cling.
Answer by our Nutritionist:

I see many people in my practice who tell me the exact same thing - and the first thing that I do is congratulate them on admitting that they need to take action! Quite often the kilos creep on slowly - most often around our middles and especially as we get older – and before we know it we catch sight of ourselves in a holiday snap and realise that we have let things run away from us!

Some simple changes to your diet and lifestyle will make all the difference and should be easy to incorporate into your daily routine. Start by identifying your problem areas – do you have a sweet tooth, do you always finish your children’s leftovers, are you someone who grazes all day, do you have trouble with portion size – then build your plan of action to deal with it.

In your case you are a nibbler and someone who just can’t say ‘no’ when confronted by food. Start by writing down everything that you eat and drink during a day. Be religious about this and don’t cheat! This is a good plan for everyone to follow once in a while as you really do get to see exactly what and when you are eating – then it’s easier to identify the problem areas and do something about them.

I don’t think that you are constantly hungry therefore there are other factors at work – your blood sugar levels may be out of balance causing you to have dips in energy during the day and making you crave the wrong kinds of foods. It is very important for all of us to eat in such a way that our blood sugar levels remain constant during the day. This is crucial for many things including managing our weight, balancing hormones, and helping to avoid degenerative diseases in older age. You can do this by eating little and often and choosing foods which release their sugars slowly into the blood stream - fruit, vegetables, whole grain versions of bread, pasta and rice, lean protein, good fats and some low fat dairy produce – and drinking plenty of water. You should also avoid those foods which turn to sugar quickly – so anything containing sugar or honey is out – plus also white bread, white pasta, processed and fatty foods and alcohol.

Once you start to eat in this way you will find it much easier to resist those cravings to pick at food all day, you will lose weight as well as centimetres and as an added bonus you will find that you have bags of energy and look great!!

Now you need a strategy for dealing with the social events and I‘m afraid when it comes to this there is no substitute for good old fashioned will power! Think about it – most of the nibbles offered at these events are full of salt, fat and empty calories so the best strategy is to avoid them completely. If not then try to go for the better options such as olives or tapenade and unsalted nuts – if they are available. Hopefully you’ll have been eating sensibly all day so you will not be hungry and it will be easier to say no. If you find that you have over indulged then make a pact to do more exercise the following day to compensate. Talking of exercise, you will find it very hard to lose weight without including at least 30 minutes of exercise into your day – be it walking the dog, swimming, dancing – whatever takes your fancy – you need to get moving if you’re to keep the weight off.

Finally, you might find it helpful to join a diet club – that way you can exchange ideas with other women who are working towards the same goal and get motivation from each other. It really helps to share first hand experiences as well as recipes, tips and tricks and a bit of fun and humour along the way never goes amiss.

Deborah Marzohl-Ives

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