Do I have your attention?
I had no idea that I had 4-stone to lose although I was buying larger suit sizes for work!
Cancer does not have to be the death sentence we are told it is. Your body will heal itself when you give it the right environment.
In 2009 I underwent mastectomy and reconstruction surgery. Beforehand, the surgeon told me I had to reduce my weight to ensure the 8-hour procedure went as well as possible.
This was my first cancer diagnosis and was pretty green on how to prepare myself. With no guidance from the NHS I started flinging myself around the gym, cutting out food groups and starving myself.
Knowing what I now know, I would have declined the surgery today. There are other ways to prevent and reverse cancer which I teach to others – especially senior leaders in business who are at risk of burnout as happened to me.
I’ve since retrained in nutrition, mental health and biohacking the body and developed my innovative DISCPlus Health Formula (DHF) programme. DHF scientifically identifies the root causes of why you are unwell, so that we can create a personalised programme towards reversal and recovery.
Clues on how to reverse health challenges are found within your DISC behaviour profile, your lifestyle and especially your diet and nutrition.
Let’s take a look at diet in this article….
What is the best diet for weight loss and health?
There have been many diets touted as the best, Mediterranean, Paleo, Keto to name just a few - but which one is the best for you?
Maintaining a healthy weight and body shape is important for good health, so how can you do this with a healthy balance?
Here are some of the most prominent weight loss programmes with their pros and cons.
1. Paleo Diet
This diet is based on ‘eating like our ancestors’ and is sometimes referred to as the caveman diet. Whilst following its regime you only eat foods that your body can process for example, fruit, vegetables, nuts and meats but you exclude anything processed, such as ready meals, dairy products, grains and salt. It is currently the world’s most popular diet.
Paleo is naturally a low sugar diet and includes more fresh fruits and vegetables, which can undoubtedly benefit overall health. Many people who follow this also report improvements in sleep and focus and weight loss.
One study, found a mean weight loss of 3.52 kilograms plus a decreased waist circumference and BMI in those who followed a Paleolithic diet compared with those eating other commonly recommended diets.
The researchers behind this study suggest that following a paleo diet may reduce the risk of chronic diseases, because having excess body weight is one of the main risk factors for their development.
By excluding whole food groups, you risk deficiency in certain nutrients. For example, we are told that excluding dairy could lead to low calcium levels if you are not careful although in my view, we gain sufficient calcium from other foods such as green leafy vegetables.
It is impossible to follow a diet exactly like our ancestors as animal and plant species have evolved or become extinct. We are learning more about prehistoric diets, for example cavemen did eat starchy carbohydrates that were available at the time.
There are also concerns that although the Paleo diet may lead to weight loss for some in may also have adverse side effects. For example, beans are not allowed on this diet but are a great source of minerals, fibre, and plant-based protein and are known to lower cholesterol.
Recent studies have also shown that those who follow a paleo diet may have different gut microbiota and higher levels of trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), a compound tied to cardiovascular disease as there is not much fibre in this diet.
2. Keto Diet
The aim is this diet is similar to the Atkins diet and other low carb diets. It involves drastically reducing carbohydrate intake and replacing it with fat. This reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis. It is believed that when this happens, the body becomes efficient at burning fat for energy.
On this diet you focus on eating meat, fatty fish, eggs, butter and cream, cheese, nuts, healthy oils and low carb vegetables. You avoid sugary foods, grains and starches, fruit, beans and legumes, unhealthy fats and alcohol.
Ketogenic diets can cause significant reductions in blood sugar and insulin levels. This, along with the increased ketones, has some health benefits. The keto diet was originally designed to help people who suffer from seizure disorders and research has shown that it has a significant effect on reducing seizures.
As a side effect some people found that they lost weight following the Keto diet. The diet is very filling so will leave little room for snacking and research does indicate that it helps to lose weight. A review of several studies demonstrated that people following a ketogenic diet lost 5 lbs more than those following low-fat diets after 6 months.
Eating the Keto way is high in saturated fat which is commonly linked to heart disease and does not have a wide selection of vegetable options which could lead to nutritional deficiencies.
Also, very low carbohydrate diets tend to have higher rates of side effects, including constipation, headaches, bad breath and more. Also, meeting the diet's requirements means cutting out many healthy foods, making it difficult to meet your micronutrient needs.
3. 5:2 Diet
Commonly known as intermittent fasting, the aim of this diet is to control your calorie intake for certain parts of the day or days in the week. The idea is to reduce overall calorie intake and therefore lose weight.
There are variations of this diet, but the standard version is having a normal diet on 5 days of the week and reducing your calorie intake to about ¼ of normal for two days. There are no food restrictions on this diet, so people tend to find it easy to follow, the main issue is not to overindulge on non-diet days.
Easy to follow as few rules and restrictions. Many studies have shown benefits of fasting including weight loss, reducing insulin levels. And it may help reduce insulin resistance, asthma, seasonal allergies, heart arrhythmias, menopausal hot flushes and more.
One study showed that the 5:2 diet caused weight loss similar to regular calorie restriction. Additionally, the diet was very effective at reducing insulin levels and improving insulin sensitivity.
The 5:2 diet may be a helpful alternative to some people looking for a less restrictive diet plan, but it’s not for everyone.
People who are prone to low blood sugar or easily feel dizzy or fatigued if they do not eat may not want to follow a diet that involves fasting.
You also need to be strict with yourself not to overindulge on non-diet days.
4. Mediterranean Diet
This diet is also known as the Rainbow Diet because of the colourful picture on the plate when eating all food groups. This method emphasises foods that were commonly eaten around the Mediterranean region during the 20th century and earlier.
Although there are no strict rules or regulations for the diet, it typically encourages fruits, vegetables, fish, poultry, whole grains, legumes, dairy, nuts, seeds, and heart-healthy fats such as extra virgin olive oil. Processed foods, added sugar, and refined grains are restricted.
The Mediterranean diet has been studied extensively for its ability to promote heart health.
Research shows that the Mediterranean diet may even be linked to a lower risk of heart disease and stroke.
Following this eating pattern may help stabilise blood sugar levels and protect against type 2 diabetes as shown by research.
Several studies show that the Mediterranean diet could be beneficial for brain health and may even protect against cognitive decline as you get older.
One study including 512 people found that greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet was associated with improved memory and reductions in several risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease.
Since nothing is off limits, it can be difficult to not have a specific plan or calorie guidelines, so could be tricky to adhere to.
Also, since the focus is on healthy fats and whole grains, overeating is quite possible. In addition, this diet promotes eating the whole food, like full-fat dairy products, which, when eaten in large quantities, may be very calorically dense.
One of the Mediterranean diet's disadvantages is that there's no one set rulebook for the eating style. As a result, there's no exact number when it comes to servings per day of each food group which may be confusing for some people.
A juicing diet is a short-term diet consisting entirely of fruit and vegetable juices.
When you blend your juices using fresh fruits and vegetables you benefit from the wide range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants contained within the most popular juicing ingredients.
Increased motivation, you see results rapidly, which encourages you to continue
You may also improve your gut health and even feel an increase in your sense of well-being. One small study found that a three-day juice diet altered intestinal microbiota associated with weight loss and also promoted a greater sense of well-being even two weeks after the cleanse.
By eliminating the bad stuff and putting lots of good stuff into your body. Not only do you lose a few pounds, but it gives you more energy, improves your mood and generally makes you feel better.
It should come as no surprise that fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals. Drinking juices can make getting a variety of nutrients into your body simple.
The high vitamin content of fruits and vegetables can also support the immune system.
The disadvantage of this type of diet is that you can only do it for short periods of time. As a result, your body doesn’t have the chance to adjust so you may experience fainting, headaches, and fatigue. However, most of this can be overcome by increasing fluid intake and the correct juices as well as preparing in advance by reducing food groups to minimise risk of serious detox side effects.
Finding a healthy eating pattern that works for you is important. One that fits into your lifestyle and helps to get rid of old bad habits is the best.
To date, there is no evidence that one specific diet that can effectively support weight loss in all individuals - the best diet for weight loss consists of less calories in than out, plus moderate exercise!
My own diet is primarily the rainbow approach with no dairy apart from organic butter from grass fed cows or ghee. Every day I include two shots of live organic wheatgrass juice to ensure my daily intake of minerals and vitamins.
The DISCPlus Health Formula
To identify and understand what your body truly needs to heal itself, and especially if you have health conditions such as cancer or diabetes, arthritis, gout, osteoporosis etc I advise clients to sign up to my DISCPlus Health Formula programme.
Using lab testing and metabolic analysis, not only do we find the foods that suit your body, but we also identify the root causes of your health challenges and may even reverse them altogether as I did with my own stage IV cancer in 2015 – yes I went on to have 4 different cancers in total.
The starting point for DHF is a DISC behaviour profile. Your behaviour determines your health outcome.
Did you know that I can identify your risk of burn out by observing your DISC behaviour pattern?
Imagine the benefits that would bring to you and your team members by predicting and preventing poor health in the workplace?!
Elaine Godley MBA, O.A.Dip (Psych) Elaine Godley MBA, O.A.Dip (Psych). Awarded The Best Health and Wellbeing Mentor 2022 - UK. A 4-time cancer survivor herself, Elaine supports clients to recover from serious illness and disease and teaches them how to minimise risk of becoming ill. Her unique approach blends DISC behavioural profiling, nutrition, personal development and mentoring alongside lab testing to find the root cause of underlying health challenges. Elaine is a multi-published author, speaker, and regular magazine contributor email@example.com
With thanks to Dr Britt Cordi for the study references.