If you want to lose weight, it’s helpful to know some simple principles rather than getting lost in the confusing and often contradictory information available on the Internet. I hope I can shed some light on the principles of weight loss with these basic tips:
Basics for weight loss:
- Avoid hunger: Being hungry at meal times is normal, but beyond that it is not good to “starve” yourself. Allowing yourself to get too hungry can actually have the opposite effect because your metabolism slows down when your brain thinks there is not enough food available. Being hungry can also tempt you to make bad decisions.
- Eat before going to the supermarket or a function: Going to either of these with an empty stomach will make it harder to make good choices about the food you buy and eat.
- Eat enough breakfast: It will boost your metabolism and give you energy for the day.
The best rule is: have a good-sized breakfast, a good-sized lunch and a small dinner. Your metabolism is slower in the evening so it is best to eat less at night. Otherwise your body will store the extra food in your body and you know where it will be stored!
- Decrease processed foods in your diet: All the artificial additives, preservatives and coloring in your food do more harm to your body than good. They can also have a negative impact on your metabolism Try and eat as much “real” food as you can.
- Serve smaller portions: Try and use a smaller size plate and eat smaller portions in general. Especially at dinner-time when your metabolism is slow.
- Have healthy snacks on hand: If you have healthy snacks available you will be less likely buy unhealthy snacks. Tip: Have healthy snacks in jars on your desk or kitchen bench, where you will more likely eat them than be tempted by a chocolate bar. Celery sticks, carrot sticks, whole grain rice crackers, probiotic sugar free yoghurt, and raw unsalted almonds are excellent healthy snacks to have on hand.
- Eat red, orange and green veggies: Different veggies give you different nutrients. Your body needs a variety of nutrients and antioxidants and you will get this from your colourful vegetables.
- Spice up meals: Certain spices and foods boost your metabolism. Use cinnamon, chilies, ginger, garlic, cloves, peppers, coconut oil, apple cider vinegar and green tea.
- Eat protein: Seafood, nuts, seeds, eggs and some meat will help your body stay lean. Sufficient protein intake will prevent your body burning muscle for fuel.
- Watch out for cravings: Cravings when the stomach is not empty are emotional hunger.
- Savor treats slowly: You will enjoy them more and you will be satisfied with a smaller amount. It’s best to only have treats occasionally otherwise they won’t be a “treat” anymore.
- Sit down to eat meals and slow down your eating: This is such important advice. You can’t digest and absorb your food if you are eating on the run, or in a stressed situation. Tip: Try mindful eating.
- Don’t overeat: It takes 20 minutes for the brain to get the message from the stomach that you are feeling full. It’s best to stop eating when you are feeling 80 per cent full. You are less likely to overeat if you concentrate on your meal only instead of eating in front to the TV or in a distracting situation.
- Reduce salt intake: This applies particularly if you are eating processed foods, which typically contain a lot of salt, which causes water retention. We do need a healthy amount of non-processed good salt in our diet e.g. pink Himalayan salt.
- Increase your intake of fibre: Fibre keeps you full for longer; you will get natural fibre from whole grains and vegetables.
- Ditch diet drinks: Lots of research now shows that artificial sweeteners are not good for us. They also make you put on weight. Read more here.
- Prep your food: Make a weekly date with the kitchen if you find it difficult to prepare healthy meals after work. Keep them in the fridge or freeze them. Of course fresh is best but maybe some of your meals can be pre-prepped.
- Stay hydrated: Your body needs water to have a healthy metabolism and to be able to function properly.
- Keep a food diary: Keep on track and take note of what you eat by writing it down. Psychologically this will also help you stick more to healthy food choices because who likes to write down that they had a piece of cake? You could make up your own or you will find different templates here.
- Set yourself a goal: Think about why you’d like to lose weight. It has to be a good reason and it’s good to have an emotional component. g. “I’d like to lose weight to be able to play with my children”. Write that reason in the front of your food diary, pin it up on your fridge or mirror or any place where you will see it, to remind you why you are doing this.
- Be kind to your liver: Your liver needs to process everything that enters your body and is very busy with all sorts of “jobs”. So look after your liver and you will notice the difference. Read more on how to look after your liver here.
- Exercise: Keeping fit will increase your metabolism and help you to burn fat. The more muscles you have, the higher your resting metabolic rate will be. It will also be very beneficial for your health, mood and overall well-being. You don’t have to over-exercise either. New research shows that short, intense bursts of exercise(high intensity interval training) are a lot more effective. That way you don’t need a lot of time to exercise and a lack of time won’t be an excuse. Here are some examples.
- Get at least seven hours of sleep: Sleeping allows the body to repair and restore itself, which is beneficial for your health, your metabolism, your weight and so much more.
- Manage your stress levels: Stress can be a part of life but it doesn’t have to affect you negatively. Remember that stress is only how we perceive or see a circumstance. There are many helpful things that can help you if stress is impacting on your body and well-being. Your body will actually not lose weight when you are constantly in a fight-and-flight stressed mode. Try Tai chi, Yoga, mindfulness or other ways of de-stressing.
- Watch your excuses: You know when it is a real reason and when it is an excuse. Take responsibility and don’t let your excuses stop you reaching your goal.
Have you tried to lose weight and found it didn’t work for you? If you would benefit from some guidance and help please contact me. I have many years of experience in helping people lose weight, and I would love to help you.