Ok everyone, bathing suit weather is coming. It's that time of year we all start to panic about getting into our cute little summer outfits, strolling on the beach and hoping that the whole winter’s worth of delectable casseroles is not (shall we say) tagging along behind us. Our first impulse is to crash diet, restrict the food, start exercising like it’s January 1st and buy that new, smaller bathing suit so we have a ‘goal’. Sound familiar?
For so many people, this has become the yearly routine. We have developed the ultimate love/hate relationship with our bodies and food; and the diet fads have us all believing different things about how we should eat. Fat in our diet is often considered the enemy and the cause of weight gain but the truth is the body needs a certain amount of fat and certain kinds of fats to function properly. The right fats boost your energy, support cellular renewal and cardiovascular health, among many other benefits. Healthy fats are not just something you should allow every now and then, they are essential daily to give your body the fuel it needs and the building blocks for optimal health.
While everyone is different, a good rule of thumb is to have a minimum of 30% of your daily calories come from lipids (fats and fatty acids), but the right kinds of lipids are the key. You are probably aware that there are three main types of fatty acids: Saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. While similar in their chemical structures, each has a complex function and play different roles in the body. Polyunsaturated fats contain the Omega-6 fatty acids, which are derived from foods like corn oil and sunflower oil and Omega –3 fatty acids, which come from foods like fish, shellfish, walnuts and flaxseed. Monounsaturated fats contain the Omega-9 fatty acids which are found in (my favorite source) extra virgin olive oil, avocados and almonds.
In this family of lipids, balance is an important factor to make sure you’re getting the most supportive nutrients for your body. For example, most Americans eat way more foods with the Omega-6 fatty acids and don’t get nearly enough of the Omega-3 or Omega-9 fatty acids. These essential fats have a direct impact on our health and well-being, in fact, 60% of our brains are comprised of fatty acids, making it crucial to get these nutrients each day.
Now you’re thinking ‘What does this have to do with my bathing suit?’. Well, in addition to being essential for your brain health and cardiovascular function, good fats (especially those monosaturated Omega-9 fatty acids) serve to help you maintain or achieve your ideal weight. We all know the dangers to our health when our body fat is too high, we risk heart health, high blood pressure, diminished energy and more.
Incorporating EVOO into your diet is a great start to managing your health and weight. It makes you feel fuller for longer, that’s that healthy fat actually telling your body to shut down the hunger hormone, causing you to not think about snacking all day. It also is a great liver cleanser and detoxifier, and a healthy liver is crucial to maintaining a healthy weight. Countless studies have shown the connection to extra virgin olive oil and weight loss and improved overall health. So don’t believe the big FAT lie. Have a shot of EVOO, get into that bathing suit and have a great summer!