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Handbook for successful ageing - 2.2 - 2.3


2.2 Tips for slimming

2.2.1 Preliminary remarks

Various diets for slimming are recommended to us. All of them consist of eating temporarily less and one-sided. However, this helps eventually only in the short term. If we eat less, the body also gets fewer minerals, trace elements and vitamins than it needs. Moreover, it will change at first glycogen from the liver and muscles into glucose (blood sugar). This is easy for the body. As a result we are initially losing weight quickly. The fat reserves are degraded only afterwards. However, they "struggle", since the human body is programmed to save reserves in good times for bad times, due to evolution. The metabolism slows down enforcedly. We get along with less food with the same efficiency. Only if a further reduction of the metabolism isn’t possible will the body begin to reduce its fat reserves. If we eat like we did in the past after the aimed loss of weight, the body will get more then it needs at the moment, and we will again gain weight. In general we are even gaining more weight than we have lost. The reason for this: after several diets your body knows that there will always be recurring periods of hunger and will instinctively try to build fat reserves. This yo-yo effect, which repeats constantly, is unhealthy. It promotes cardio-vascular diseases, raises the risk of diabetes and all its possible consequences (see below, 9.3.13), gall stones, osteoporosis as well as kidney and uterus cancer even more, and due to the great number of failures also a psychological burden.

In addition to whole-body exercise in order to increase our muscle mass and therefore our basal metabolism (see below, 3.1), the best way would be eating in a way that allows us to reduce weight even without being on a diet. This will improve the blood pressure and the levels of cholesterol and homocystein, and reduce an already existent arteriosclerosis.

In order to lose weight we probably have to eat less, but in the first place we have to change the composition of our nutrition and we have to avoid ravenous appetite by arranging our meals accordingly.

If you ate large amounts in the past, your stomach will shrink a bit, when you start to eat less. However, your stomach will shrink only slowly. Your hunger, too, will become less only afterwards. You therefore need to be patient.

2.2.2 The following suggestions have proved themselves

1. If you don’t have to eat at fixed times because of other people, eat before you feel ravenous appetite. You also should not eat, when other people eat, but only when you are felling hungry.

Maybe this allows you to skip one or another meal. You should generally not eat soups as starters, unless you make them yourself and particularly low-fat.

When chosing your side dishes you should consider that rice has more calories than potatoes, and that pasta has even more calories, but that on the other hand potatoes and especially mashed potatoes have a high glyx (see above, 1.1)

Never eat when you are bored, in order to concentrate better, to reward or to calm yourself, when you are frustrated or to avoid that food goes off. Stop eating when you have had enough, even if the food - for example food from a buffet - looks so tempting.

If you don’t want to waive bread entirely, you should have the bread basket cleared away after you had one slice. Don’t be afraid to order only a "half" or a "small" portion or a "senior plate", even if you are in middle age or have half of the portion taken away and packed for the next day already in the kitchen. If your dish is accompanied by a sauce you should ask for as little sauce as possible. Stop eating when you know that a dessert will be served, too, and you think that you have had enough. Don’t think that you have to eat all the food on your plate, just because you have paid it. "Lieber den Magen verrenken, als dem Wirt was schenken." (German saying; approximate translation: Rather get a stomach ache than leave something for the innkeeper), principle only our ancestors lived by. With grilled or steamed fish and a big portion of salad you’re eating healthily, low-fat and low-calorie any time. You should, however, make sure that the dressing is low fat. You can drink a mixture of red wine and sparkling water, but in order to satisfy your thirst you should drink only sparkling water during the rest of the meal, since wine, sparkling wine and beer make you hungry.

Never eat till you feel that you definitely have had enough. You will, nevertheless, feel sated after 20-30 minutes, since the satiety feeling will start then.

2. You should preferably eat solid food and chew well. This does not only make it more digestible, but also enlarges the enjoyment, reduces the break between the end of the meal and the beginning of saturation, and puts you in company in the position to eat as long as the others, but to be content with less, provided that you get your food from the buffet. If you cook yourself, vegetables and pasta should be al dente and potatoes shouldn’t be mashed (see above, 1.1). It is particularly dangerous to devour food, since this causes you to eat a lot. Furthermore while eating fast less satiation hormones are built than normally.

3. A quarter litre of tab or mineral water (see above, end of 1.6) before eating fills the stomach a little (see above, 1.4.1), even though this doesn’t last for long. By the way, if it is cold the body uses energy to warm it.

4. Take only low-fat margarine or, if you cannot do without butter, one, which is highly reduced in fat - saturated fatty acids are less healthy than unsaturated ones. Make sure that margarine is labelled "free from hydrogenated fats", since they raise LDL und reduce HDL (see above 1.4.3). You could also spread tomato puree on your bread instead.

Take honey instead of other sweet spreads, since honey contains lots of minerals, trace elements, amino acids and secondary plant compounds. The same applies to nougat cream, but it is richer in calories.

5. Take the butter already half an hour before you eat out of the refrigerator, since you can spread it better that way - if you don’t want to stop using it entirely. And spread your toast only when it has become cold, since it soaks up less fat in this case.

6. Mind the fat content of prepared spread.

7. Take milk with the lowest fat content for coffee and tea, if it is necessary at all. How easy it is to get used to coffee without milk is described below in 2.3 and sugar can easily be replaced by a pill of sweetener or a drop of Stevia (see above, 1.5).

8. Avoid raisins, dates, white grapes and especially fruit preserves without the label "unsweetened", due to their high content of fruit sugar, which increases the risk of gout. Black grapes also contain a lot of fruit sugar, but they are very healthy because of their secondary plant compounds.

9. Don’t think that a coffee and a slice of cake in the afternoon would help you eat less in the evening. In any case you should eat as little as possible in the evening (like a poor man, see above 1.3). If you have been drinking juice with your breakfast so far, you should now replace this by low-fat mild or sugar-reduced whey.

Don’t think that you should not have breakfast at all, since this - according to a study - rather leads to gaining weight than losing weight.

10. Do without cake, puff pastry, sponge mixture, poppy-seed cake and croissants (one croissant contains 20 times more fat than a slice of toast). Eat preferably yeast dough, which contains less fat, with fruit. Don not be tempted to go to a bakery, because of its flavour.

11. Bake cake and biscuits only with wholemeal flour and kernels. And sweeten the dough with liquid stevia essence, rather than with sugar. It is not yet permitted as food additive in the EU in general but it is permitted in France, Switzerland and countries outside Europe. Since 2010 there has been an expert’s report of the European Institute for Food Safety, saying that taking in a daily amount of 4mg per kg body weight has been evaluated as harmless. The permission for the EU is expected for 2011. It is available in health food shops in Germany. It is much more expensive than sugar, but it sweetens 300! times more than the latter (2 drops instead of a tea spoon of sugar) and contains no calories.

12. Eat preferably fruit for dessert. You should buy nibbles for watching TV only in small packs, since according to experience you would finish the big packs likewise.

Of course it would be even better to watch less TV and do exercise/ be active in the additional free time.

13. While watching TV instead of crisps you should eat cheese or salt snacks and similar, as I recommend in section 2.1.2 for attacks of ravenous appetite. By the way, the micro movements when chewing gum increase the speed of your ability to process information and your ability to concentrate.

14. Do your shopping only according to a prepared list, don’t get tempted to buy more by special offers and don’t go into a shop hungry. When you are full, in the supermarket you are ruled not by your stomach but by your brain, as the famous heart surgeon Christiaan Barnard says.

You should buy fresh or frozen vegetables and no fast food. If you buy frozen ready meals you should take those with the lowest caloric value and a low natrium (salt) level.


Buy only food, on which the caloric value is listed, which doesn’t refer to the whole pack, but to 100 g. It should not be more than 110 kcal. If you want to buy a product for the first time, you should always read the list of ingredients carefully. Here the elements are listed according to their amount in descending order. However, those elements that are present with less than 2% don’t have to be listed, apart from those that can cause allergies.

If you, nevertheless, want to know how much sugar certain food contains, sum up the figures for maltodextrin, inverted sugar, molasses and all nutrients, which end with the syllable -ose or -syrup.

"Sugarfree" only means that no common sugar was used. Other sweeteners containing calories like dextrose etc. or sugar replacements can still be contained.

The advantage of sugar substitutes is that they don’t provoke tooth decay and are absorbed consuming less insulin, i.e. there is no increased insulin level and hunger sensation. In general however they contain the same amount of calories as pure sugar. In this view they are not suitable for reducing calories.

"Food for diabetics" or "Diet food" often just means that it contains substitution substances (instead of sugar), which are likewise rich in calories, such as sorbitol, mannitol, isomalt and xylitol. Experts say that you should go without it. You only save calories when sweetener was used for the food.

Make sure that the products you buy contain as little fructose as possible as, if you eat it in larger amounts, it makes hungry, can cause gout and increases the building of visceral fat as well as the blood pressure, with all the risks linked to both (see above, 2.1.3, respectively below, 9.3.7). Besides sweet lemonades fructose is contained above all in fruit juices, ready meals, bakery and sweets.

Take only skimmed milk, sugar-reduced whey and low-fat yogurt.

"Light" doesn’t have to mean that the food is low in calories. It can also mean that it is low in fat and salt, that it contains little sugar, caffeine, alcohol, carbon dioxide or that it is digestible.

"Low in fat" doesn’t mean "low in calories". Food of that kind can contain even more sugar.

In order to be allowed to be labelled as reduced-calories products must contain at least 40% less calories than the original product. In addition there are maximum caloric values for some products.

Only products that have a caloric value of not more than 20 calories per 100ml in a liquid state and not more than 40 calories per 100g in a solid state are allowed to be labelled as low in calories.

The term novel food is defined in an order of the EU ( ), the term "functional food" is, however, not defined.

15. Poultry has less fat, but more high-value protein than other sorts of meat. If you want to eat beef or pork mince, you should choose a particularly lean piece of meat in the butcher’s shop and have it minced in your presence. Especially sausages and often also potato and pasta salads contain a lot of fat. Avoid liver sausage and "Streichmettwurst" (sausage, which can be spread on bread). Ask the butcher to cut the sausage in very thin slices and don’t buy bologna in one piece. Don’t let yourself be deceived by the label "light" on meat and sausages: salami, as "light version", still contains more fat than fatless ham, roast veal and Corned Beef. In general the amount of fat contained per 100g is as follows: liver sausage 35g, Mettwurst (German pate) 35g, salami 33.2g, pork sausage 25g, cooked ham 13g, raw ham 12.6g and corned beef 6g.

16. Cheese is often good because of its low fat content. However, its content of animal protein, which leads to the creation of LDL (see above 1.4.3), is even higher.

17. Sweeten drinks only with sweetener. Too much of it can, however, harm the kidneys.

18. Chocolate develops its full flavour only when it melts slowly in your mouth. Choose a chocolate with a preferably high content of cocoa (see above, 1.5). The chocolate can still be sweet, for example if it contains chilli. If you have big pieces of chocolate you should break it once or even twice in order to make more of it. Nevertheless, you should reduce the consumption of chocolate.

19. Use a coated pan for frying and stewing food. And take as little fat as possible. For oil it would be best to use a "spray flask". Don’t batter food since the batter soaks up fat. Remove all visible fat from the meat. You should not bind soups and sauces with flour but with mashed potatoes or mashed vegetables.

20. Take sour cream or low-fat soured milk instead of cream for sauces.

21. If you don’t want to cook yourself, buy set meals from a producer, who gives you a list of the ingredients, and make sure that the products have a low content of sodium and a low caloric value. Take into consideration when choosing the products that the German Society for Nutrition (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährung) recommends to eat only twice a week meat, but twice a week fish and three times a week vegetarian food.

22. Dress salads only with oil, yoghurt, vinegar or lemon and spices, not with mayonnaise and cream. Take olive oil, since it contains squalene, which protects our bodies from free radicals.

23. Thinking in close detail of your last meal before you eat is supposed to reduce your appetite.

24. In addition, you should ask your doctor for help with losing weight.


2.3 Postscripts

After having read this, you probably think that you cannot get used to a lot of it. Be brave! When I visited China in the mid-eighties on behalf of the Christoffel Blind Mission in order to study the level of the local service for blind people and to prepare specific help I took coffee cream with me. When I had my blood checked one year later, and I was advised to avoid milk and butter, I soon got used to coffee without milk. I got used to it so much that I couldn’t stand it anymore with milk. Today physicians say that my LDL is enviably low.

The responsibility towards our families and our other tasks should make reducing overweight easy for us.

We can, nevertheless, enjoy a festive meal, since the gain in weight, which is caused thereby, can be again reduced quickly. The gain in weight results in the first place from the fact that the body temporarily links more water. However, several meals of that kind lead to a long term gain in weight.

People lose weight in different speeds. For some of you the consideration of my suggestions will be sufficient, whereas others - "good food utiliser" - will actually have to eat less. But you will get used to it quickly. Try it! Perhaps it will be helpful for you to eat from a smaller plate, instead from a plate of a normal size, which is not filled completely. You should rather put less on your plate and take another portion if necessary.

Weigh yourself daily, because then you can enjoy your steady loss of weight, but also because a sudden gain or loss of weight can be an indicator for an otherwise undetectable illness. Buy a body-fat scale (see below, 3). In addition, a diet-diary could help you with losing weight.

After having achieved the weight you wished, continue to weigh yourself to avoid gaining weight again.





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