Eating healthy fats is actually one of the best ways to lose weight!
Yeap, you are reading it right. But I should probably explain my point a bit more, for those of you who actually read stuff on internet. 😉 Of course if you are not interested in learning some cool tricks to control your weight or balance your hormones you can skip this post and go right back to what you were doing before. Won’t judge.
Ok, maybe a little… 😉
Let’s start with the basics: Fats are essential to life
When you think about fats, I bet that the first thought that comes to your head is all those stubborn bulges persistently making their appearances in the most inappropriate places. So you may try hard to avoid everything that contains even remote traces of fat to make that unwanted piece of you disappear at last. Hello “low-fat” madness! But I would like you to know one, fundamental and well established fact.
(you may want to sit down for this).
BY AVOIDING ALL FATS NOT ONLY YOU ARE HURTING YOUR BODY, BUT YOU ARE GETTING FATTER!
Healthy fats (fatty acids, to be precise) have numerous, vital functions in our bodies. Every cell of our body is enclosed by a cell membrane comprising of phospholipids. And what are those? You guessed it! FAT! Those fatty acids are also needed to carry and help absorb fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins A, D, E, and K, and carotenoids. And last but definitely not least (ladies… focus, please!) – healthy fats help our bodies regulate hormonal factory, which not only can turn you into a very mean … person, (as we all know) but it greatly influences how much you weight (PMS water retention anyone?). Fat is also critical for normal brain development and nerve function. It creates a protective sheath around nerve cells, and you REALLY don’t want to lose that!
Oh and if you think that your thighs are nothing but fat, I have to break this one to you: the “fattest” part of your body is your very own brain! Its comprised of about 60% fat! And for all of you folks living in our gorgeous Canadian climates it is pretty obvious when to appreciate some nice layer of insulation. 🙂 So it looks like mother nature is telling us something here on importance of fats, huh?
Fats help with food absorption and portion control
Did you know that you should eat most of the vegetables steamed with a drizzle of oil or a dab of butter? Lightly steamed vegetables are easier on your digestion and eliminate issues that many people with weak digestive systems experience after eating raw veggies, like bloating. Adding oil to steamed vegetables increases bioavailability of vitamins and micronutrients by acting as a solute to fat-soluble vitamins, but also as a messenger for the digestive system to send more trained troops (enzymes) to work on the meal.
Another benefit of healthy fats is that they make you feel satisfied faster so won’t be tempted to overindulge. It turns out it’s only when they are combined with starch, which is really another fancy name for sugar or sugar itself that the fats become a problem.
They help to heal your gut
I think that you must be a hermit living on a deserted island not to have heard of importance of keeping your gut healthy and happy. One of the ways you can do this is by making sure to consume healthy fats. For example, coconut oil is a great source of antibacterial, antifungal and anticancer lauric acid. So is humble butter. What’s more, butter also contains butyric acid, which is a great source of energy for gut mucosa and helps to maintain its integrity. By protecting this important part of your digestive system this fatty acid helps to avoid undigested particles of food seeping through it into the body reducing chances of developing allergies, pains and aches or reduced ability to fight off infections (among trillions of other possible issues) and yes, it can aid with your weight loss efforts. After all, if your body is not busy with resolving its internal battle, it becomes more focused and efficient. Plus any form of inflammation raises your cortisol level, a hormone designed to fight inflammation, sure, but also one that wrecks havoc in our metabolism causing abdominal fat deposits to grow. So to keep it in check (and finally button up those skinny jeans) I suggest you stock up on anti inflammatory omega-3’s!
Don’t feel like exercising? It’s not you – it’s your low fat yoghurt!
It is no secret that healthy and sustainable weight loss (and life, as a matter of fact) greatly depends on movement. But interestingly enough, people who seem to be needing more of it (overweight and obese) are hardly the ones with the greatest desire to exercise. Within the last few decades we have been conditioned to think that fats must be the culprit of skyrocketing rates of obesity in western societies. Mankind has been consuming animal and plant fats for centuries (try telling ancient Romans or Greeks to lay off their olives. Good luck!). Interestingly enough, it wasn’t until we have demonized butter, lard and other saturated fats when we started seeing a dramatic increase in our circumferences (and other degenerative chronic diseases). And the more we chased low-fat, skinny versions of foods, the bigger and sicker we seemed to be. Obviously, something is not adding up here, right?
Short chain fatty acids (like the ones in coconut oil or butter) are used up by the body as fuel, not so much as “I will be waiting in your hips for your next marathon”. Trust me, your body does not like to overcomplicate things, so if something is simpler (shorter) it makes it more happy. Makes sense to me! So no wonder that chains of fatty acids that are either shorter or easier to break up are like the drive-thru lineup when the “roll-up” thing is on. They are gone instantly without adding to your weight.
Speaking of literally eating oil for weigh loss, do you want to learn a cool trick? Add organic grass-fed butter or coconut oil to your morning coffee to boost your metabolism! Skip the sugar and sweeteners, thou. And with increased energy, lace up your running shoes or roll out that dusty yoga mat and show those love handles who’s the boss!
And if after reading this post you still need a convincing argument, here is the deal maker:
EVERYTHING TASTES BETTER WITH BUTTER!
It just does. Period.
Here are healthy fat sources to pick up on your next grocery store excursion. For a list of fats you should run from ASAP, read my next week’s post!
– free range eggs – I absolutely LOVE eggs. They are those perfect capsules of incredible top-class nutrition including complete protein and good fats. Plus the yolk makes me always think of sunny days, even in the middle of winter. They are filling, great for blood sugar control (no effect) and… actually lower your cholesterol levels because they contain lecithin – a type of fat that emulsifies excess cholesterol making it easier for the liver to remove it through bile. I prefer to buy my eggs from a local, free-range, small-flock farm, which not only guarantees freshness but also proper environment for the hens.
– wild caught fatty fish – my preferred fish is mackerel, herring and sardines, but tuna (skipjack) is also a good option. Try to stay away from farmed fish and unfortunately dear, poor, old salmon falls into that category.
– avocados – you don’t have to buy them organic, they are one of the cleanest foods out there and they are nutritional super bombs.
– flax seed oil – omega-3 source. Look for dark bottles in the fridges and really pay attention to expiry date! Omegas are fatty acids that are absolutely indispensable to our bodies, hence the name of the group – essential fatty acids. However, they can turn into our worst nightmare pretty quickly if stored and used incorrectly. NEVER heat up flax oil, use it only in salad dressings and in cold/room temperature applications. Store it in the fridge in a tightly closed bottle and discard any that tastes bitter.
– grass-fed, organic butter. This can be hard to find, as main stream grocery chains would rather stuffed you up with margarine, but an unsalted butter with a list of ingredients containing only “cream” is a great start. And if you have access to unpasteurized cream, best is to make your own. Here’s my take on that.
– organic virgin coconut oil – I don’t think I am exaggerating when I say it is the oil of all oils. Great for baking, cooking, raw preparations or frying. It takes care of the body from the inside out by healing the gut, providing energy and defence against pathogens, but also is a fenomenal as a topical application for skin and hair. Buy it in bulk and learn how to use it. You’ll be glad you did!