Losing weight in your sleep – lose weight easily and stay thin

Essay, 2012

22 Pages


Being overweight and its numerous causes

We live in a land of virtually unlimited food supply and we like to make substantial use of this. Industrialised farming, fast means of transport and improved ways of cooling and preserving food, ensure that the food availability is enormous and independent of the seasons. While man once required excess body fat as a reserve for lean times, today refrigerators and preservation methods mean that we rarely encounter supply shortages. However, our metabolism is still set on efficient energy intake from food and on the storage of body fat. The per capita consumption of fat and products based on white flour has grown rapidly in the last 50 years, whereas that of high-fibre wholemeal products has declined sharply. Professor Dr. Walter Feldheim, University of Kiel, described obesity as a dietary fibre deficiency disorder - because fibres saturate and, thus prevent overeating (see page 15). A lack of exercise in everyday life as well as perceived stress during leisure time, lead to us eating more and more fast food, processed as well as part-processed products. These products burden the physique with plenty of fat. What’s more, eating is a process driven by emotion. In fact, by eating many people try to satisfy needs other than hunger and use it as an outlet in emotionally stressful situations such as anger, sadness, loneliness or insecurity. This type of eating has nothing to do with satisfying one’s hunger or indeed with the necessity to supply the organism with energy, nutrients and health-preserving vitamins and minerals.

Genetics too play a role in the development of surplus weight and the diseases related to the latter. The tendency to develop excess body weight is not the same for everyone. While for one ‘dietary sins’ do not have any immediate consequences (‘carry any weight’), another responds after only a few bites too many with an increase in weight. One thing is for certain: The enticing sight of high-calorie food alone won’t cause anyone to put on weight! Even if one knows of his or her predisposition to gain weight, it should not be regarded as an irrevocable fate or considered as an excuse. You can still get your weight under control! However, you must actively do something to combat the build-up of pounds.

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Unfortunately, being overweight is almost considered to be normal!

Every second German is overweight, one in ten suffers from obesity, the extreme morbid obesity. About 40 percent of the 9 to 11 year olds and 62 percent of the 55 to 64 year olds are overweight. Nowadays, the body mass index (BMI) is used to evaluate the body weight. The BMI is the ratio of body weight in kilograms and the square of height in meters. If the BMI falls above the recommended values, it has implications for one’s physical health, even if the person concerned initially feels no adverse effect or discomfort. See for yourself whether your current weight is already associated with an increased risk to your health.

Example: A 46 year old woman’s height is 1.80 meters and her weight amounts to 85 kilograms. Her BMI is calculated as follows:

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The recommended BMI for a 46 year old woman falls between 22 and 27, therefore, the person in our example is still of normal weight and, accordingly does not have to lose any weight. However, if the person has developed other risk factors for cardiovascular disease (high blood pressure, high cholesterol), a genetic disposition for being overweight or already suffers from compromised health caused by being overweight, she/he should be careful not to gain any more weight.

What are the consequences if overweight individuals remain overweight?

Being overweight is more than a cosmetic problem. It makes you sick, it shortens the life expectancy and reduces the quality of life. This is statistically proven. Only 15 percent of significantly overweight people have a normal life expectancy, because they suffer more frequently from hypertension, elevated blood lipids, elevated uric acid in the blood (hyperuricemia) and diabetes mellitus type 2, and have a higher risk to suffer from a fatal heart attack or stroke. The chance to spend one’s retirement carefree, decreases. If you are overweight be prepared for joint pain, back pain and many visits to orthopaedic surgeons and internists.

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Inadequate nutrition will lead, only after a long period of time, to health restrictions. To avoid future diseases, it is vital to implement a healthy, mindful diet as soon as possible. It is important that a healthy diet is preferred instinctively. Education on how to eat mindfully should already start in kindergarten and during daily family eating rituals. However, it is never too late to change your diet – not even as an adult.

Crash diets make you cranky and hungry, but certainly not slimmer!

Short-term radical diets or fasting are counterproductive, because they are unnatural. They have nothing to do with individual needs and preferences and involve permanent controlling and balancing. They supply the organism with too little energy, too few vitamins and minerals. They even cause stress to the body! Although they grant the determined slimmer a rapid, but short-lived sense of achievement, the starved-off pounds will just as quickly reappear. Fasting, calorie-free diets, appetite suppressants and laxatives pose a major health risk and a danger of addiction, and will not positively influence changes in eating and living habits. As soon as the food intake reverts back to ‘as usual’, the weight gain sets in again!

The dreaded ‘Yo-Yo effect’

Nutritionists refer to the ‘Yo-Yo effect’, if due to frequent fasting and crash diets the opposite happens of what was meant to be achieved: The weight increases permanently. This is because due to the limited supply of energy in the diet the body assumes an emergency situation. As a result, the basal metabolic rate is being reduced, the back burner is being switched on and thus, uses less energy than before. Once the diet is finished, the metabolism remains on a low level. So, when you start eating again as you did before, and at the same time you are using less energy, the weight will increase rapidly.

Weight loss, hunger and satiety

In order to achieve a feeling of satiety gastric expansion has to be induced. Drinking a glass of carbonated mineral water before meals helps with simulating saturation. A sense of satiety sets in only after 10 to 20 minutes after the start of a meal though. This means the control on whether you're already full is delayed. Therefore, eating food slowly is especially important. Babies have a healthy sense of hunger and satiety. But even in infancy food gets another, additional significance. Often it is used as a reward, used to comfort or to distract. If we lose the ability to distinguish between hunger and appetite, it will have consequences: We eat too much, too fast and more than we would have eaten if we had been hungry. If we want to train this physiological mechanism again, we must deliberately eat until we are full! A sense of hunger is the result of low blood sugar levels. Peaks in blood sugar levels are the result of sugar consumption and its quick absorption into the blood, which in turn causes excessive insulin secretion. This excess insulin is not being used and triggers a fall in blood sugar levels. Soon hunger will set in again! What is more, insulin inhibits the loss of fat. This is why high-fibre foods such as wholemeal products, wholemeal pasta, rice or boiled potatoes help to avoid a sudden sense of hunger. They should always be chosen over the simple carbohydrates (sweets, puddings, refined sugar, and soda). Wholemeal products also have a decidedly higher vitamin and mineral content.

The person who chooses food containing a high amount of fibre, can easily control the feeling of hunger between meals

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How to be (eat) successful(ly) long-term?

To achieve a long-term reduction in weight, there is no miracle cure but a few specific rules that should not only be followed during the time of losing weight, but forever - meaning a lifetime. Therefore, you should adjust your eating habits to these rules, so that you may eat with pleasure for the rest of your life. It works! To lose weight, you must consume more energy than you take in. For the weight reduction to work, only ½ kg per week should be lost. The daily energy intake should be around 500 calories below the recommended energy requirement. The calorie intake should not be too severely restricted in order to avoid the dreaded Yo-Yo effect. A food diary helps to get an overview of what was eaten and in what quantity. Once your desired weight is reached, you can be a bit more flexible with your diet at certain events (e.g. celebrations). Sensible and conscious eating has nothing to do with a strict diet and does not mean abstinence. A healthy diet tastes good, fills you up, provides the body with everything it needs and covers all categories of food. There are no fundamental prohibitions for sweets or fats, there are only quantitative limits that should be respected for your own benefit. However, one should particularly aim at increasing the amount of fibre in the daily diet. A healthy eating behavior can be learned by anyone - only will power and motivation are required. Furthermore, food should not be used a comforter, or to help with frustration, or being used as a reward or a remedy against boredom. However, a change in diet alone is only half the battle! Of equal importance to the change of eating habits is exercise - exercise is an important and essential component of a healthy lifestyle! Therefore exercise regularly!

The dietary habits to strive for involve the following modes of behaviour

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Eat more fibre – it helps you lose weight!

Dietary fibres are plant fibres and belong to the group of carbohydrates. The human body cannot digest, hence, not utilise them. Having passed through the gastrointestinal tract they, for the most part, are discharged again. They are beneficial as they fill the stomach and provide a feeling of saturation. Since someone can only lose weight when feeling full, a sufficient amount of dietary fibre should be part of the menu. What’s more, dietary fibres stimulate digestion, prevent constipation, and help to avoid peaks in blood glucose levels and lower cholesterol. Wholemeal products, legumes, muesli (cereal), vegetables and fruits are good sources of dietary fibre. Wholemeal products have a significantly higher potential to saturate than white flour products. The recommended fibre intake is at least 30 grams a day – this, however, is not achieved with our current typical diet. Meanwhile, fibre-containing medical products are available on the market, which according to clinical studies increase the saturation and thereby contribute effectively to weight loss. It is important that you take in plenty of calorie-free fluid. It should really be between 2 to 2.5 litres per day.

Eat plenty of vegetables and fruit - they help to make you slimmer and healthier!

The importance of vegetables and fruits for our health is far greater than previously thought. The positive effects of secondary metabolites such as phytamins have been recognised which, in addition to vital vitamins and minerals, show a potential for the prevention of cancer. So, eat vegetables and fruits as much as you like with every meal, at least a serving or more. It is not fattening as long as you do not cook vegetables with fatty sauces or eat the salad with mayonnaise or oil-containing dressings. All vegetables and fruits except avocado and olives consist predominantly of calorie-free water and are also virtually fat-free. Overweight individuals can also eat bananas and grapes as part of a weight-reducing diet. For comparison: A banana has as many calories as a slice of Mortadella - but is much more filling. In order to obtain the biologically active components, you should steam vegetables in a small amount of slightly salted water. Ideally, the cooking water should be consumed as well. It could be mixed with sauces or soups.

Eat more fibre-rich carbohydrate carriers!

Ideally, 50 to 55 percent of daily energy is absorbed in the form of carbohydrates. High-fibre carbohydrate carriers such as wholemeal products, wholemeal noodles, boiled potatoes, rice or muesli are the basis of our food and are suppliers of valuable vitamins and minerals. Accordingly, forget statements like: potatoes and pasta make you fat. This is wrong! It is not the potatoes or the pasta that makes you fat, but the sauces that come with them. Here are some tips on how you can increase the content of fibre-rich carbohydrate carriers in your food:

Brown rice, wholemeal bread, wholemeal pasta, legumes and sugar-free mueslis are excellent sources of dietary fibre. Replace white flour products!

Natural or wild rice, wholemeal pasta, boiled potatoes and wholemeal-wholegrain products should not be a side dish, but instead the main component of a meal. When shopping choose coarse flours with a high type number (recommended: Type number 1000-1700).

Cut the bread slices thicker and be economical with the topping.

Eat fresh fruit for dessert.

Eat less fat - but the right kind!

It's not just the visible fats like the butter on the bread or the oil for frying. Indeed, it is much more about the hidden fats in selected foods which are responsible for the largest part of gaining those annoying kilos, e.g. salami, pork sausage, fried foods or creamy milk products. Study the ingredients of food in order for you develop a feel for which types of food are low-calorie.

Beware of the following fat traps:

- Sausage and meat products, especially ‘soft types of sausages’ such as liver sausages, ‘Mettwurst-sausages‘ and pork sausages as well as pies.
- Dairy products such as yoghurt and quark, cheese with more than 40 % fat in dry matter (FDM), cream and cheese sauces.
- Pastry / cake with cream, nuts or chocolate, puff- , short- , and deep-fried pastry.
- Sweets/ chocolate/ice cream.
- Snacks
- Fast Food.
- Ready-made meals / Pre-prepared salad dressings.
- You don’t have to radically change your whole diet and immediately banish all your usual food from the kitchen. Start to reduce the amount gradually and replace foods that you will miss the least. Step by step this is how you create new habits.
- The fat content in the diet can be significantly reduced by the following recommendations:
- Watch out for hidden fats in your food, reduce fatty spreads and cooking fats.


Excerpt out of 22 pages


Losing weight in your sleep – lose weight easily and stay thin
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Sven-David Müller (Author), 2012, Losing weight in your sleep – lose weight easily and stay thin, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/283882


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