The dieting and weight loss industry is one of the largest and fastest growing in the world. Theories on what makes us fat and how to get thinner are being tried and tested every day. However, despite this constant demand for thinness, obesity rates are climbing. Every day, more and more people are investing precious time, money and emotions into the next diet craze. While many diets and diet products do work, many of them are damaging to the body and most of them fail on the maintenance side and we often end up gaining more weight than we lost. Making a diet work is not rocket science and success in weight loss can be achieved by following some simple rules. Outlined are 10 top tips for healthy, sustainable weight loss.
Change Your Lifestyle
Desperation for convenience brought about by stress and a busy life means that more people are seeking out convenient options when it comes to food. Processed foods and take-outs become a regular feature in the diet and sugar and refined carbohydrates provide a quick energy fix. In addition, modern day lifestyles are more sedentary and we tend towards unhealthy behaviours like excessive drinking and smoking. Changing your lifestyle demands a big priority and attitude shift, which leads to healthier choices about how you manage your life.
Identify Your Reasons for Weight Gain
Identify your causes and triggers and start to change that which is modifiable. Visiting your doctor or dietician for a series of blood tests to identify any hormonal imbalances that might be contributing to your problem is also a good idea.
Up your energy out and lower your energy in
Losing weight is about a simple equation of energy in versus energy out. If you are able to burn more energy than you consume, weight loss is the probable result. Most people eat too much. Start by reducing your usual portion sizes by 20% and up your exercise routine by 20% and then work towards a happy, maintainable medium.
Studies have consistently shown that people who eat breakfast are thinner and succeed more with weight loss. Eat as close to waking up as possible, with a maximum of three hours between waking up and eating. A good breakfast includes fruit and or wholegrain carbohydrate and some protein (yogurt, milk or eggs for example).
Eat regular meals
The act of eating itself stimulates your metabolism, which is why starvation is not the way to lose weight. The general rule is to eat a meal or snack every three to four hours and to spread food intake more evenly throughout the day. Keep meals small and wholesome.
Choose your Vices
Cut out all of your favourite things for a month, and chances are you will start wanting them more than ever! The trick is to choose your vices wisely. So if chocolate, alcohol and fried chips are your thing, you need to decide which ones you can live without and which ones you simply can’t. Then choose, and enjoy your chosen vices in moderation.
Eat Your 5 Servings of Fruit and vegetables Daily
Fruit and vegetables contain excellent micronutrient nutrition in a very low kilojoule package. In addition, the fibre contained in fruit and vegetables helps you feel fuller for longer. Vegetables in particular are very low in kilojoules and can be eaten freely in most weight loss diets (with the exception of some of the starchier vegetables). Fruit should be restricted, however, to a maximum of four servings per day, because of their high sugar content.
Choose Your Carbohydrates Wisely
Many modern diets are very low in carbohydrates, which is a reason for both their success and their failure. The body responds to carbohydrates in the blood by producing a hormone called insulin, which carries the sugar into the cells where it is burned for energy. If carbohydrates are taken in excess and insulin is not able to deal with the load, the excess sugar eventually gets stored as fat. Not all carbohydrates are created equal and studies have shown that there is great weight loss success with choosing slower releasing or low glycemic index (GI) carbohydrates over fast releasing or high GI ones. Low GI foods, like deciduous fruits, oats, barley, beans and milk have less of an effect on insulin levels, and are therefore potentially less “fattening” than high glycemic foods like sweets, white bread, most breakfast cereals, white rice and potatoes.
Don’t falter on Fats
Not all fat is bad, and certain good fats can actually assist the weight loss process by creating satiety and by reducing inflammation. Any good weight loss plan should be particularly rich in the omega-9 and omega-3 essential fatty acids, found in vegetable and seed oils, avocados, nuts and seeds and oily fish. It’s the saturated animal fats and trans-fats found in processed foods that should be limited.
Water is like the fuel for metabolism. Without water, the sugar and fat burning pathways that assist with weight loss cannot function optimally. Dehydration and low body water can also trigger feelings of hunger and lead to overeating. In addition, water helps detoxify the body, which is particularly important during the weight loss process when stored toxins are released from the fat cells.