Friday, 4 October 2013

Food commandments: How to think yourself thin


Food psychologist Christy Fergusson shows how transforming your mind will give you the body you've always wanted

FED UP with feeling out of control around food? Depressed, anxious, guilty or irritated about your life? By giving both your plate and mind a complete makeover you'll not only curb cravings you will charge your brain and feel happier and more confident.

In her book Hot, Healthy, Happy, Christy Fergusson recommends following her no-calorie counting diet for 21 days and equips you with a nutritional and psychological toolkit to achieve your goals.

Follow her rules on food, mindset and how to start the diet to help you alter what you eat, how you think and how you live.


Food therapy

Sadly the foods we crave are often the reason we feel self-loathing, depressed and fat in the first place.

Carbohydrates, such as potatoes, pasta and rice feel comforting because they give us a serotonin high. Had a row with a friend or got a bad haircut? Then cake is often the ultimate therapy.

To get out from under that cloud your body needs to create its own serotonin, which will help feed your brain and boost your mood.

But how? It's easy, kick those cakes into touch and eat foods such as brown rice, nuts, eggs, oily fish and green leafy vegetables.

The big fat con

Fat makes you fat, right? Actually it's not that simple. Sugar is the true enemy of weight loss. I'm not just demonising the white cane stuff here. I'm also talking about white breads, pasta, muffins and cereals which all turn into glucose (aka sugar). It's too much of these that really pile on the pounds for people.

Go gluten-free

If you feel lousy no matter what, gluten could be causing you a problem. It is found in wheat, barley, spelt and rye, and can often be the culprit for bloated tummies and lethargy.

Cutting it out can be one of the most powerful things you can do if you have digestive issues.

Seek supermodel skin

Increasing intake of betacarotene is a gentle way to improve collagen and elastin production making the skin plump and suppler.

Top foods include carrots, spinach, sweet potato, kale, squash, apricots, broccoli, peach and red pepper.

Consider taking a good quality multivitamin rich in skin nutrients such as zinc and vitamin A as well.
Top foods, carrots, spinach, sweet potato, kale, squash, apricots, broccoli

Sometimes no matter what you try your life feels like it's on the disaster repeat cycle.

Do you end one terrible relationship only to fall head over heels for another guy cut from the same cloth? Do you yo-yo diet your way from celery to pastries and back to celery again?

To stop these repeating scenarios get down deep into your subconscious.

Question yourself

It's a good idea to have internal conversations sometimes. Ask yourself what am I afraid of? What's holding me back from change? Why do I keep sabotaging myself?

Acknowledge the fear

Perhaps the fear is actually a belief that losing weight means sacrifice and being unhappy, rather than of the weight itself.

Promise yourself that if you feel this happening you will take immediate action to change it.

Tell yourself you can do it

Go search out those success stories, testimonials and positive examples of what you want to happen in your life, because your subconscious will do what it believes is possible.

Use positive mantras

Create a positive belief around all that you want to achieve. For example: "I deserve good food and eating this way makes me feel happy and healthy."

Repeat these words to yourself as you fall asleep and also as you rouse from slumber each day.


Dump it

Make your cupboards and fridge healthy and happy and your body will follow. So get rid of all pasta, bread, cakes, noodles, bran cereals, mock meats, cheese, milk, coffee and those sickly fruit cordials. Read all the labels. If it contains sugar, corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, sucralose, artificial flavourings or colourings, it has to go.

Write a list

Be adventurous. You will need vegetables, herbs and leafy greens, fruit, beans and pulses such as chickpeas, brown rice and quinoa, dairy-free milk such as rice or almond milk, nuts and oatcakes.

Shop like a superstar

Most of your time should be spent in the fresh produce section of the supermarket.

Remember that your first shop will cost more but just think of all the money you'd normally be spending on takeaway and alcohol.

Long-term you will be saving.

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Try this menu on day one

BREAKFAST: Green guru smoothie Using a high-powered blender mix one cucumber, one avocado, one mango, two handfuls of spinach, 120-240ml water or pressed apple juice. Serve at once.

LUNCH: Mineral rich nori omelette Whisk 4 eggs in a bowl, add ½ red pepper, 1 small onion finely chopped, 4 shiitake mushrooms, chopped, 1 nori sheet, crushed (edible seaweed used in sushi). 

Melt 1tsp of butter over a medium heat, add mixture and fold when the egg is semi-firm. Cook until egg is fully firm.

SNACK: Oatcakes with nut butter. Instant miso soup.

DINNER: Coconut curry (serves two) Heat 2tsps coconut oil in a pan. Saute for a few minutes 1 onion, finely chopped, 2.5cm (1in) root ginger, peeled and chopped, 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed.

Add 1 butternut squash, peeled and chopped, saute for a further 5 minutes.

Add 400g can of coconut milk, ½ yeast-free vegetable stock cube, 2tsps garam masala, 1tsp ground coriander, 2tsps ground cumin, 1tsp ground turmeric and cook for another 5 minutes.

Add 8 shiitake mushrooms, 1tbsp fresh coriander, 1tbsp fresh parsley and simmer until the butternut squash is tender. Serve immediately with quinoa.

DESSERT: A couple of squares of 70-85 per cent cocoa solid chocolate.


If you dip between 1pm and 3pm you may need more rest. Set your phone timer for 20 minutes and hide somewhere comfortable.

Remind yourself that by saying "no" to something you're saying "yes" to something better.

To help get a flat tummy breathe deep into your belly, focus on your breath and nothing else, giving your internal muscles a well-earned massage.[express]

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