Sometimes it feels like no matter what you do, you can’t lose weight. Or perhaps you’ve lost weight but you can’t seem to get rid of those final pounds. You might exercise five times a week, even eat a relatively healthy diet and limit your alcohol – but why is it you can’t lose anymore? Or why is it as soon as you lose weight, you put it all back on (and more!)? There’s no need to be ultra-skinny, as that is dangerous in itself, but being overweight leads to a multitude of health problems such as type 2 diabetes, depression, cancer, heart disease and fertility issues. So it’s important to maintain a healthy weight.
Could it be that you’re doing it all wrong? There is science to weight-loss, and it’s important to be mindful of what it is in order to get the most out of healthy eating and a healthier lifestyle too. One thing’s for sure, crash dieting and yoyo dieting don’t work in the long-term and usually result in even more weight piling on once the diet is finished.
Everyone is Different
It is also important to remember that not everyone is the same and a diet that works for your friend might not work for you. The key is that you should maintain a healthy diet every day and include very regular exercise.
Lose Weight in a Controlled Manner
Losing weight should be done in a controlled manner. As mentioned above, crash dieting and starving your body might result in quick weight loss but it won’t keep the weight off. You need to re-teach your body how to eat healthily and how to maintain your weight once the weight is off.
You MUST Exercise
There’s also no point in dieting without exercise as exercise speeds up the metabolism. If you have a slow metabolic rate, you won’t burn off the calories so you won’t lose weight quickly. Leading a sedentary lifestyle and dieting simply won’t work in the long term. Your body needs exercise to speed up that metabolism. Just factoring in a 20 minute daily brisk walk will help to raise your metabolic rate and in turn, burn off more calories. You can do little things like take the lift instead of the stairs, walk to a bus stop further away than your regular bus stop or wear ankle weights round the house. Remember, your body gets used to exercise so you need to keep moving the goal post. Once you can do a 20 minute brisk walk with ease, add another five minutes or increase the weights you use and so on. If you never exercise, just by adding in daily exercise will help you to lose weight even without dieting!
Change your Lifestyle
The most effective way to keep weight off is changing your lifestyle habits. Here are some tips:
- You need to sleep well. If if you don’t sleep well, your body will crave sugar to boost energy and that’s why you find that when you’re tired you reach for sugary snacks.
- Eliminate refined sugar from your diet. This refers to sugar found in cakes, sweets, biscuits, carbonated drinks, ready meals etc. Natural sugar from fruit is fine but it’s refined sugar that piles on the pounds
- Try to eat carbs earlier in the day so you burn them off. Carbs are excellent for slow-release energy. As an example, porridge at breakfast is good for keeping you full for longer and helps to banish those snacking cravings at 11.00am!
- Eat three meals a day, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast should be hearty, but avoid sugary cereal and fry-ups! You can eat protein, smoked salmon or eggs for example, they are excellent breakfast foods. Smoked salmon is full of Omega 3’s and eggs are an excellent source of protein.
- Oats and seeds are also packed with goodness along with vital vitamins and nutrients to keep you going for longer.
- Avoid sugary yoghurt. Choose natural, unsweetened Greek yoghurt as a good alternative.
- Swap full milk for semi-skimmed milk.
- Lunch could be a piece of grilled chicken or fish with fresh salad without creamy dressings (balsamic and olive oil is a good choice). This is the best time to eat carbs but don’t overeat bread and avoid chips and pasta (although wholemeal pasta is fine). A jacket potato is perfect.
- Dinner should also comprise of lean meat and plenty of green vegetables but avoid carbs at this time of day as they won’t burn off. Never eat dinner late in the day, you should aim for 7.00pm to allow your body time to burn off the calories.
- There’s no need to ban snacks just make them healthy! A handful of (unsalted) nuts, a few seeds or a piece of fruit is perfectly acceptable.
- Don’t drink alcohol or limit it. It is packed with sugar and calories.
- Drink 2 litres of water a day. It helps to flush out impurities and toxins, and can even aid weight loss as it reduces water retention.
Just trying the above advice for one month will help you to lose weight healthily but you need to make lifestyle changes because reverting back to old, bad habits will increase the chances of piling the weight back on.