By now your New Years resolutions are fully in swing or you’ve fallen at the first hurdle. For a lot of people, the first few months of the year has our concerns focused around health and fitness. As we’re often told… “summer bodies are made in winter.” But it isn’t that easy for all of us – a few stubborn pounds may be sticking around like a guest who’s overstayed their welcome.
We picked the brain of Janet Thomson to see if she could offer us any tips to shed those Christmas lbs! Janet is one of the country’s leading experts in mind and body health and fitness; she is renowned throughout many parts of the world for her specialist teaching of the subject. She combines a high-level academic qualification with advanced certifications in a range of psychological therapies along with extensive experience working in the field of personal development and change.
What first interested you in studying Nutrition and Exercise?
I have always been interested in working in the health industry. Working in an office never appealed to me as a student but working in a health centre or fitness centre where you meet different people all the time and no two days are ever the same. I went to college and did a diploma in Health & Fitness Studies which was a spring board for everything else I went on to do.
Can you tell us more about the psychological side of weight-loss, how do things like Clinical Hypnotherapy help?
It doesn’t matter how good the nutrition advice you give is, if people can’t follow it because they are emotional eaters or have bad habits, then it just doesn’t work.I realised that in order to be successful I needed to do more than learn to tell people what to eat, I also needed to learn to help them change their mind and their thinking, Clinical Hypnotherapy was the first thing I trained in. Its this skill that enabled me to create the “Change Your Mind “ audios that are such a fundamental part of the programme.People have been buying into weight-loss programmes and diets for years and years with little long-term success. What would you say to people who are reluctant to try yours?
The first thing I would say is I can explain to you in simple terms exactly why your previous diets have failed; and I can also explain exactly why this programme works. Over recent years there has been some ground breaking research concerning gut flora particularly that has proven that it’s the health of your gut that determines how many calories you extract from your food. Two people with very different gut microbiome could eat the same food and one gain weight and one not. Learning how to create a really healthy microbiome is critical and many of the diets that were popular in the past hae actually damaged gut flora. Eat less and move more just doesn’t work for everyone, but balancing gut flora and balancing blood sugar rally does switch you from a fat storer to a fat burner.
“The Placebo Diet” is said to change your mind. About what, and how?
Every day we make about 200 decisions about food, yet more than 90% f these are made unconsciously. They are thoughts we had once that became habits, If you want to change what you eat habitually and not have to constantly think about it and use “will power”, but want to be able to naturally not want the foods that caused the weight gain and be genuinely drawn to the foods that bring you health and vitality, then you have to change how you think and feel about food, and also how you feel about yourself.You mention a ‘Colour Fast Reset Programme’ which, you say, boosts fat-burning – isn’t that essentially eating in a calorie deficit? If not, how does this differ?
This is NOT a Calories in Vs Calories Out programme because research has shown that this does not work. It’s the balance of nutrients, the time you start and finish eating, and your gut health that are the key determinants of your weight. The Colour Fast Re-Set uses the principles of intermittent fasting, which simply means having a feeding window taken as the time you take your first mouthful of the day to the time you take the last, and a fasting window which is the length of time that you consume nothing that requires digestion, i.e you only have water based fluids. This has several benefits, specifically to balance blood sugar, clear fake hunger signals, and enhance gut flora. Providing the meals you eat are nutrient dense, you can achieve multiple benefits from narrowing your eating window and still not have to restrict the amount of food you eat. In fact you are actively encouraged to eat as much as you need to feel satisfied. Something that doesn’t happen in a calorie restrictive diet.
How big a part does having a ‘healthy’ mind play in weight loss and why do you think it’s important?
It’s as important as the nutrition element because your mind is what puts the advice into practice. You can force yourself to eat foods you don’t like because they are slimming, and to not eat the foods you love that made you fat, but only for a limited time as eventually the brain cant tolerate the pain or the effort it takes to do this.
This time of year especially, things like detox/weight-loss teas and coffees are increasingly popular, with many reality TV celebrities endorsing them – what are your opinions on them? Do they really work or are they a short-term fix?
Detoxing your liver is a really positive thing to do and is another benefit of the Colour Fast Re-Set. Your liver manages blood sugar levels so anything you can do to lighten its work load and make it more efficient is a good thing. Some of the detox diets are in principle quite good, but they can only be sustained short term. The beauty of the Colour Fast Re-Set is that after the 2 weeks you will also have learned the principles of the Colour Code System to continue to improve your overall health and continue to lose weight at a more gentle pace with a programme that’s totally sustainable.Buying fresh ingredients and a gym membership are often expensive and, for our students reading, aren’t always possible. What advice would you give to people trying to lose weight on a budget?
One of the most expensive food ingredients is meat, and research is very clear, we need to eat more plant based foods. Making things like shepherds pie with a load of vegetables and a tin of lentils is cheaper than making it with mince and using these principles good food doesn’t have to be expensive. On the Colour Fast Re Set you eat meals that are large enough to keep you satisfied, and no snacks. This means more savings as many people (not just students) spend more than they realise on those extra nibbles. When it comes to exercise it costs nothing to join a local group, for example most park runs are free. If you have wifi there are infinite amounts of workouts you can do online, for free.
Would you say there are ‘yes’ and ‘no’ foods – if so what are they? If not, why?
As a general rule most foods that are white, especially sugar, or refined, are likely to get converted into body fat, even if they are low fat or contain no fat at all. This is because your body can only store a maximum of 2000 calories as glucose so if you eat a lot of starchy foods that contain a lot of glucose that’s released very quickly into the blood stream, it will immediately be converted into fat. That’s why its so easy to get fat on a low fat diet. If you want to choose one food group to say no to, it has to be refined sugary foods. The best food group to say yes to, are the plant based foods that are also high in fibre, as these are essential for good gut health. Almost all vegetables are good for the liver and beans pulses and lentils all keep you satisfied and are good for the gut, so say yes to more plant based foods.
A student lifestyle typically involves copious amounts of alcohol and takeaways – apart from the obvious physical effects that may have, how could this be impacting them in other ways?
Anything that stresses the liver will make weight loss harder. Alcohol also reduces gut flora so any reduction in alcohol is good. The key is to find alternatives that you are happy with.Can you share a bit more about the Colour Fast re-set program that you are now offering as a digital diet package?
The Placebo Diet was the original programme and the first of its kind to address the issue of mindset as well as nutrition. Its an interactive programme with videos, a book and “Change Your Mind” audios and was tried and tested for many years. In recent years with so much research coming out about gut health and the importance of balancing blood sugar, it became clear that the body responds well to an intensive approach to literally re-set and reboot many of the functions that turn us from fat storers into fat burners. It also has a mind element and the emphasis is on changing your response to hunger and stopping emotional food cravings. In addition to this shift in mind-set it maximises the amount of nutrients you take in through your food whilst giving your body a two week break from toxins, making it more efficient and resulting in weight loss and increased vitality.