I have been dealing with massages since 1998 and I am pretty sure that “slimming massage” does not exist. Both aesthetic and lymphatic drainage massage can help with skin blemish treatments, like cellulite, but neither of them can make us lose weight. Anyway, massage is very useful during a slimming process. It makes the skin stay elastic, promotes circulation and draining, and reduces stress. But to lose weight, we need more.
I have always been slim, but at the end of last spring I had some problems with my weight. In fact, despite I attended a gym three times a week I put on about 3 or 4 kilograms. I said ‘about’ because I did not know my ideal weight. Simply, in front of a mirror I looked fatter. This persuaded me to look for a solution which I finally found and that allowed me to lose weight. I would like to share this experience with you. I relied on the following issues:
NUTRITION – Obviously this is the main aspect to take into consideration in case of overweight. The most important issue to lose weight is not necessarily eating less (low-calorie diet), but eating in a natural way, reducing greatly or eliminating processed food and drinks, and increasing the intake of not processed food, like in season fruit and vegetables, legumes, wholemeal cereals (bread, pasta, rice) and olive oil. Too often the food that we eat is not natural. They put hydrogenated fat, artificial flavoring, additives and artificial coloring (beside sugar) in it. All these chemicals are not recognized by our body and generally speaking, tend to impair it. The same can be said about alcoholic or alcoholic-free drinks, like ‘fruit juice’, fizzy drinks and aperitifs. Those food and drinks are studied to make us eat and drink more. In fact, processed food makes our body incapable of recognizing it as food, so the regulation of appetite fails. The most recent researches show that, calories being equal, processed food (snacks, biscuits, candies, crispbread, crackers, etc.) makes us fatten and damages our health more than natural food (walnut or other dried fruit, usually considered food rich in calories). I used the word damage because being overweight is unhealthy. Actually, the visceral fat that we accumulate produces chemicals that in the long run are very bad for our health, making us fall ill with a series of diseases, from diabetes to cancer, and making our life shorter.
EXERCISE – It is good to do exercise every day, moderately. For example, if we work in an office at the second floor, we can go up the stairs instead of using the elevator. Or if we have to go shopping two blocks away from home, we can go on foot instead of using the car. Non necessarily exercise means to go to the gym or running. A good way to exercise is to take a walk in the sun for at least 30 minutes, which is better than a 10 or 15-minute run . To make a long story short, exercise should be an integral part of our life.
PSYCHOLOGY – Have you ever happened to eat not because you were hungry, but because of boredom, stress, sadness, dissatisfaction, tension, or annoyance? If so, welcome to the club. The fact is that we should separate food from these moods. If I am bored or dissatisfied, eating without awareness will not change the situation. What we really feel is not hunger, but boredom and dissatisfaction. We should eat when we are really hungry. We can learn again to feel the messages from our body, for example asking ourselves just before eating if we are doing it because we are really hungry or it is something else. And what about eating while watching tv or while working? Doing so, we eat without even realizing it. Besides, we often rush through our meals without tasting it, and in the end it is like if we had not eaten. Another issue is eating as a means of socializing. When we invite somebody to our place, there must be food. But food is not supposed to be used for socializing. If we want to do it at least let us eat and drink non processed food. And here is a tip: going to the supermarket with a precise list of the things to buy limits the possibility to buy items more because of the marketing strategies than for our real choices and needs.
STRESS CONTROL – Let us try to keep our emotions under control and not to pass the limit. Stress makes us grow fat because it keeps us apart from our inner awareness which should be the only one to tell us when, how much and what to eat.
REGAIN OUR INNER CONNECTION – A good diet regime should be suggested by our inner awareness and common sense, and not by scales or calorie count. It should be something totally natural and instinctive. We should realize if we are overweight without a medical certificate – a mirror is enough. When I was a child I had the fortune to have a beautiful cat. Sometimes it ate more, sometimes less, some other times it ate catmint and refused meat. She always stayed slim and yet had never been visited by a nutritionist. What I want to say is that our body knows exactly the kind and quantity of food it needs.
CONCLUSION – What I have just written may seem a list of commonplaces, and in fact it is, but in my case, it worked. Reducing or getting rid of processed food does not mean to give up the pleasure of a good meal, it means to take care of ourselves. For example, now I consider white chocolate as a food to avoid because it contains a lot of sugar, additives and artificial coloring, but I never do without my bar of black chocolate (70% of cocoa, a low percentage of sugar, no artificial additives and coloring). Food is the main elixir of life, the most important way that we have to stay healthy or to recover. It is the first cure, the main medicine. Do not wait to become obese before changing our dietary habits. It is easier to take action when we have to lose 5kg than when we have to lose 20kg. Just one last consideration. Talking about diets is always a delicate subject. The diet that is good for a person not always is good for another person. Moreover, there are endless different cases. Sometimes the help of doctors, psychologists and trainers is necessary, but our inner awareness and common sense should come first. Let me wish you… bon appétit!(March, 2013)