Want to win the war on your increasing bulge? Losing weight is only half the battle – you want to make sure that any changes you make are sustainable long term. If you’re a serial dieter always trying to lose weight then taking a longer term approach to your diet and lifestyle is essential.
The right diet for you is of course one that you can stick to and enjoy but you also need to consider certain lifestyle behaviours as well.
Here we look at proven ways that can help you keep lean and lose weight.
Sounds obvious but it is surprising how many people have no idea how many calories they actually need and how many they are eating. Portion distortion, grazing constantly through the day, overeating, consuming vasts amount of calories in take aways, restaurant meals and drinks all lead to over consumption of calories on the daily basis and in turn weight gain. One of the reasons why the Japanese are one of the healthiest and leanest population is because they have a much better relationship with food. They also eat smaller portions, do not snack and stop eating before they are full. This all means they eat roughly 25% calories than many Western countries. Overall energy balance is fundamental to weight loss so track initially and work out what you need to be eating to create a deficit. Our Lean and Nourish Programme is designed to do this for you.
Importance of Sleep
Both poor sleep patterns and altered circadian rhythm has been shown to be associated with weight gain. Both affect metabolism and energy expenditure. A disrupted circadian rhythm may be why shift workers are at an increased risk of obesity. In addition short sleep duration has been shown to increase obesity risk. It is likely that poor sleep quality increases hunger and cravings due to disruption of hunger hormones – ghrelin and leptin.
Stress is known to increase the risk of weight gain due to the rise of cortisol and glutamate which appears to increase appetite. Similarly techniques such as yoga and meditation not only helps lower cortisol levels but also increases nerve growth factor (NGF) which may help us to eat less. Take time daily to de-stress using mindfulness, meditation and relaxation practices. Perhaps factor in a walk to help unwind and consider magnesium salt baths each night to calm the body and mind.
We all know exercise is important for overall health. Not only does exercise burn calories, it builds muscle mass and jump-starts metabolism. Some studies suggest exercise increases BDNF which supports brain health and may reduce appetite. Exercise also boosts endorphins which may also cause us to eat less. The bottom line with weight loss is you need to create an energy deficit and increasing your exercise is one way to help achieve this.
Get Sunlight and Vitamin D
Sun exposure and getting adequate vitamin D both can help reduce the risk of obesity. Get outdoors in bright sunlight for 30 minutes – ideally in the morning as this can help regulate circadian rhythm and get your vitamin D status checked. Supplement if needed to maintain optimal levels.
Eat Sufficient Protein
High-protein diets have been shown to superior when it comes to weight loss. Eating sufficient protein keeps you feeling fuller for longer, reduces appetite and increases fat burning. That does not mean to have to avoid carbs but whatever plan you follow do ensure it is sufficient in protein for your needs. Not sure how much to eat? Read this blog.
Reduce carbs esp refined carbs
Both reducing overall carbohydrate intake and refined carbs (e.g sugar, white bread, pasta etc) can lead to weight loss. Partly this is because overall you are also reducing calories but refined carbs are high glycemic foods which can disrupt blood sugar levels and cause insulin spikes. Long term this can lead to insulin resistance and weight gain. When you reduce carbs you naturally increase protein and fats – this can improve satiety. There is also research to suggest such an approach also increases metabolism without any change in calories.
Include healthy fats
Various studies show that including healthy fats can aid weight loss. Such fats include omega 3 rich foods (oily fish, walnuts, flaxseed), monounsaturated fats (olives, avocado). A more Mediterranean style of eating is not only healthy and delicious but can help support healthy weight loss too.
Include fibre rich foods
Fibre rich foods like vegetables and fruits are typically low in calories but incredibly filling. Various studies have shown including fibre rich foods like vegetables in your diet aids weight loss. Fibre also supports a diverse gut flora which in turn produce short chain fatty acids like butyrate which appears to have weight loss benefits. Other foods that are very filling include soups. Various studies have shown regular soup eating helps people feel fuller leading to less calorie consumption. One study found women eating soups twice daily led to 50% greater weight loss than consuming the same amount of energy as high energy-dense snack food. So consider including soup regularly in your diet either as lunch or snack.
Drink more water
Water helps you stay hydrated and energised through the day. Include at least 2 litres of water per day which has been shown to increase the calories you burn daily. This is known as water based thermogenesis.
Try Time Restricted Eating
Time restricted eating where you eat all your meals for the day within a 10-12 hour window has been shown to reduce the risk of obesity. This means that you go overnight of no food for at least 12-14 hours. So if you finish your evening meal at 7pm you would then not eat again until at least 7am in the morning. This helps reduce late night / evening snacking which avoids unnecessary calorie intake.