Author Michele Chevalley Hedge answers some common questions for true well-being

Eat, Drink & Still Shrink…
a busy person’s joyful guide to living.

Author Michele Chevalley Hedge answers some common questions for true wellbeing.

1.About you. Title, qualifications, book title, and publisher. Month released.
Released Aug 6th. Eat drink and still shrink- a busy person’s joyful guide for living. Michele Chevalley Hedge is a qualified nutritionist and wellness writer.

2. Body fat-producing foods. There’s so much controversy around what foods you should and shouldn’t eat (eg. nuts, avocados, butter versus margarine, and so on). What foods should people avoid when they’re trying to lose weight and why?
Avoid packaged and processed foods as much as possible. They contain hidden sugars even in innocent, ‘healthy’ foods like yogurts, muesli bars, iced teas. Not only do they contain hidden sugars but also trans fats which the body cannot metabolize the way we process real, whole food.

3. Fat fighting foods. Is this really a thing?
Nope. I think that is a strange term.

4. Are there any foods people can eat that can help them lose weight?
Yes, quality proteins (fish, chicken, grass-fed meats, etc),  good fats (avo, olive oil, seeds and nuts, coconut milk, etc) and a small amount of smart carbs (brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, etc).Eg. Foods that help metabolism?
Only two that we have research on… green tea and chili.

5. Foods that make you really full without being fattening, etc.
Yes protein and fat will make you feel full and send a message to the brain to say ‘hey I am satiated

6. Along with insulin, what other hormones might play a role in peoples weight, eg. oestrogen, thyroid, etc? What’s the mechanism of action? What lifestyle and dietary things influence such hormones?
Our thyroid plays a big part in our metabolism and weight as oversell wellbeing. Our thyroid needs selenium and iodine from real whole foods to function properly. Sluggish thyroids do well without gluten.  It sees to add to the antibodies of Hashimotos patients and inflammation.

7. Lifestyle strategies to manage with food cravings, bad habits, eating out and going to parties and other traps.
Find micro habits you can do every day like breathing techniques and mediation apps.

8. How much of a role does hidden sugar play in weight issues?
A lot cause excess sugar cause cortisol spikes and insulin issues. When our cortisol or insulin is not working well we often find ourselves with belly fat.

9. Why should we eat to lose weight in your opinion?
For true long term weight loss, I suggest to EAT! Deprivation leads to binge and yo-yo dieting. Behavioural physiologists agree that small changes done daily can lead to a lifetime of habits. My new book explores small changes that are not painful but are easy and implementable. Ie: drink more water before you even go to the toilet in the morning have a glass.  create this as a new habit.

10. Why does eating protein, fat and complex carbs help us lose weight?
Because you crowd out the need and desire for sweets when you eat proper meals pack with satiating nutrients.

11. Carbs have a bad name when it comes to weight loss. What are good examples of healthy carbs to consume?
Quinoa, brown rice, buckwheat, and sweet potatoes are my favourite.

12. Does too much fruit (fructose in fruit) make us put on weight?
Yes, but two pieces of low sugar fruit per day should be fine for the average person who likes apples pears and berries.

13. What do you think of low-fat, low-cal, diet, low-sugar and other manufactured products aimed at weight loss?
I do not believe in low fat or no fat anything.  tasteless and makes you feel hunger due to less satiation.

14. Are there any herbs or supplements that help with slimming?
There are but people should just try eating whole food first.

15. Is it possible to renew the endocrine system? I wouldn't say renew. It is possible to help improve the functions of the endocrine system and in today's busy world, I think it's imperative to take a pause and do a nutritional and mental cleanse to re-calibrate our endocrine system and its powerful hormones like cortisol. When our endocrine system is out of whack, our hormones our out to and this can show up in many ways in the body- weight gain, mood disorders, sleep disturbance, exhaustion, lack of energy and low libido.

16. What things should people avoid - that are bad for the endocrine system (including lifestyle, stress, diet, and environmental factors)
Our endocrine system loves to be nourished- not just with food but also with a calm, well-rested lifestyle and a non-toxic environment. A diet of whole real foods, which is vitamin, mineral, and fiber-rich is essential especially because this type of diet is low in added sugar.  Sugar is quite inflammatory in the body and inflammation is the underlying pathology in most diseases.  Sugar is also the main culprit in most blood glucose and insulin issues

Eating is not enough to nourish hormones.  To achieve healthier more productive hormones, we need not be in a constant state of chaos. Cortisol, our stress hormone, will burn out our adrenals and lower our calming, progesterone hormone not to mention create insulin dysfunction.   We see many slim women these days that do not have insulin issues from food but purely from long term stress and poor sleeping patterns.

17. What things encourage renewal and regeneration of the endocrine system? (As WellBeing is a natural health magazine, diet, herbal, lifestyle, exercise approaches). a
Our bodies love to come back to balance and can recalibrate in a couple of weeks. A rebalance should be a three-prong approach -- sleep, exercise, and nutrition. Nutritionally, we remove all added sugars, all gluten, and go low dairy. Why? Because in so people these may be causing inflammation that is apparent or subtle. By that I mean, some sublet inflammation may show up in your body as mild heads, minor bloat, tight throat ( which is actually your thyroid) There is nothing processed or packaged for 4 weeks so you are eating food that is full of vitamins and minerals that our endocrine system requires and we don't get in packaged foods.

For example, thyroid, the metabolism hormone, and part of the endocrine system requires selenium, iodine, B and zinc which we get in a diet of real food with a bit of protein, fat and smart carbs. Many people with thyroid issues feel better off the wheat component in gluten as well. It is not every day you hear a nutritionist say sleep is more important than food and exercise but it is. The research shows that sleep is like a brain cleanse.  We encourage only natural sugar in the diet, to avoid ‘tired but wired syndrome’ and recommend at least 8 hours of sleep every day. You cannot bank sleep and sleep 14 hours on the weekend nights and only 6 during the week and expect to be a vibrant, clear-headed, productive human.

Exercise can be a double edge sword.  Too much can drive your cortisol and just be another stress but too little can make us depressed and sluggish.  Find your balance. If you are time-poor and working on improving your insulin sensitivity then HIIT training is excellent. If you are looking to reduce your cortisol levels and calm your adrenals then a gentle mindful yoga might be your solution.

18. Can you provide a case study of someone who transformed, healed, renewed their endocrine system?
Felecia Tappenden was my diligent beyond duty PA at our nutrition clinics. So there is an irony to this story. Like many young mums, she ran on sugar and caffeine, over-excelled at work, was the perfect mum and wife, feverously exercise and maintained a busy social life until… she wasn’t. The once bubbly, vibrant, creative thinking Felecia started to come to work exhausted despite 8 hours of sleep. She became puffy and 10 kilo in six months. Her brain fog was clouding her ability to think and was affecting her self confidence.With one out of 4 women suffering from some type of subclinical thyroid problem, it was apparent to me that her thyroid was in trouble. After a few blood tests, she was diagnosed with Hashimotos -- an autoimmune thyroid disease. In the 6 weeks that Felecia was waiting to get into an endocrinologist to get thyroid medication she followed The Healthy Hormone diet (as above)  “ it wasn’t hard, in fact, I thought I was overeating. It is not about starving, it's about eating so much good food you forget about the junk food of the past’ in that short time of no sugar, no gluten, and low dairy and placing a priority on sleep and slowing down, Felecia's thyroid antibodies reduced by half and she lost 6 kilos. We love modern medicine but we also know that sleep, exercise, and nourishment need to be part of your health toolkit.

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