Generally we gain weight due to a few factors, in particular a high calorie diet and inactive life style. Consequently, weight loss is achievable if different strategies are put in action to combat these. The 3 main principles of weight loss are:
- Determination and a want to lose weight
- Diet, in addition the use of supplements to support weight loss.
- Physical activity
Losing weight is not an impossible goal but you must be focused. It is too easy to find excuses to quit after the first few days of dieting but you have to remember the end goal of feeling great and having better health. This article will provide you with some tips that are fundamental for you to achieve your goal.
THE ROLE OF DIET
1. Set meal times and eat at regular time intervals. Use smart snacks.
A meal routine can be very helpful as it allows you to plan your meals and control your hunger. If you work very long hours the time between the meals can be lengthy, it then becomes difficult to avoid snacking. If this sounds all too familiar you can snack up to 2 times a day. Snacking is not always a bad behaviour, nor is it a dieter’s sin. It is a good trick to calm your hunger and prevent you from overeating or choosing high calorie options when you reach a mealtime. We suggest to plan your snacks one for mid- morning and one in late afternoon. When snacking avoid, biscuits, soft drinks, and cakes because they are high-calorie options instead opt for fruits, vegetable sticks or nuts (a few walnuts/ or a handful of cashews).
Weekly meal planning allows you to organize your shop and buy only what you need, this prevents excessive calorie intakes. Working and managing your diet can be difficult but having a meal plan and food in the fridge prevents you from coming home and ordering a takeaway pizza!
2. Do not Skip Meals.
Skipping meals causes uncontrolled hunger. At first it can help to lose vast amounts of weight but as a long term solution it is not beneficial and is counter-productive to your metabolism. Skipping meals increases cravings and hunger which may be difficult to manage and can cause a relapse into bad habits.
3. Vary your diet.
Monotonous foods can lead to boredom. Try to vary your food intake and experiment, try new ingredients and recipes, and fall in love with cooking. Replace unhealthy choices with new healthy and “lean” options that will keep you satisfied.
- Swap Sweet Cakes, Biscuits and Chocolate for Dried and Fresh Fruits.
- Swap Savoury Popcorn and Crisps for Rice Cakes, Wholemeal Crackers, Vegetable Sticks and Hummus.
4. Eat Plenty of Fruits and Vegetables.
The recommendation is to eat a minimum of 5 portions of fruit and vegetables per day. Collectively they are a really good source of vitamins, minerals and fibre to keep you feeling full and energised. Moreover, vegetables have very few calories which allows you to eat them as much as you want. Finally they are a very good source of water which helps you to reach the daily recommendation of 2 litres.
A great tip is to have a bowl of fresh undressed salad before a meal, this helps fill you up before the meal and reduces the amount of calories consumed during the main meal.
5. Consume your Carbohydrates wisely.
Carbohydrates are a vital macronutrients, but are very energy dense. Eating them liberally will cause an abrupt increase in your weight. In particular refined sugars found in sweet and baked products. Not only are they high in calories but due to their composition they do not make you feel full. Moreover, “Sugar addiction” can lead you to crave and eat more and more.
When choosing carbohydrates always chose the wholemeal versions, they are a rich source of fibres and keep you satiated due to a low GI. High GI foods cause a large and rapid fluctuation in blood glucose concentration that signals to the brain you are hungry. Products with high GI values include cakes, chocolate, sugar-laden drinks. For example, white rice has a GI of 79 (high GI) whereas brown rice has a GI of 55 (low GI), see Table 1. A great supplement to manage blood glucose fluctuations is Garlic Extract. It is a herbal supplement known to regulate blood glucose, by decreasing regular fluctuations in blood glucose the brain will detect less periods of biological hunger, making mealtimes more manageable. This should be taken once a day in tablet form. It is best take before the densest carbohydrate meal of the day and never before the first meal of the day as its effects would be redundant.
Table 1: GI Classification
6. Reduce your fat intake.
Saturated fats are extremely dangerous for your health, they are abundant in snack foods, processed meats, cheeses, and dessert products. Saturated fats cause increased levels of Cholesterol which can put a person at risk of Cardiovascular diseases. Decreasing your intake of fat can lead to reduced abdominal storage of fat tissue. Storing fat centrally near the vital organs puts you at higher risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. For more information on Cardiovascular Disease please click HERE
NOT ALL FAT IS BAD! Unsaturated fats are vital for our health, particularly Omega 3 fatty acids. Foods rich in Omega 3 oils are oily fish (salmon, sardines and mackerel), flaxseed and walnuts. The recommendation is to consume at least 1 portion of oily fish per week.
Also, why not try Chitosan Powder? Chitosan Powder is an indigestible fibre (0kcal), it is used to bind to dietary fat and increase satiety. Binding to dietary fat reduces calories and health risks by disallowing fat absorption. It is best taken before a meal rich in saturated fats. Thus, the recommendation is to take up to 3g a day, 1g before every meal, unless the meal is rich in health-boosting unsaturated fats.
7. Get Lean, Eat Protein.
Protein is another Macronutrient, during your weight loss program it is very important to eat good lean sources of proteins, this will help you to maintain your lean muscle mass. The best dietary sources are poultry, veal, fish, eggs and pulses. Pulses in particular are extremely good for all-around health, they are rich in lean protein, nutrients and fibres that can increase satiety.
8. Pay attention to your portion sizes.
Be truthful with yourself, weigh your food, this way you will not overeat and you know exactly how many calories you are consuming. You don’t have to necessarily weigh your fruit and vegetables as even large quantities are not very calorie dense. However, you are advised to weigh your fats, carbohydrates and proteins. The recommended amounts for each of these macronutrients will vary greatly in every person. Even so, Table 2 includes approximate quantities as a guide. If you would like specific guidance please contact a Nutritionist.
Another great tip is to use a smaller plate. It may seem silly but studies have confirmed that eating off a small plate can help people to lose weight. Making a plate seem full is key, i.e. placing the same amount of food on a small plate that appears full compared to a large plate that appears empty. It works by tricking the mind and stomach.
|Less then 97 g/d
|Less then 78 g/d
|Less then 31 g/d
|Less then 24 g/d
Table 2: Reference macronutrient values (19-64 years)
9. Pay attention to small additions, they add up.
When cooking be careful what you add to the dish. A seemingly healthy salad can be made unhealthy by adding a fat-laden dressing. When frying use vegetable or olive oil rather then butter, spread or lard. Olive oil is a good source of unsaturated fats and polyphenols. When cooking you don’t have to add fat or salt to add flavour, try using lemon, herbs, and spices. Cayenne pepper or Capsicum is a particularly good spice to add. Capsaicin is the active ingredient of cayenne it is responsible for an increase in dietary thermogenesis (D.I.T), which is the energy required to digest food, thus burning more calories. Cayenne pepper in every meal can become a little tiresome so we suggest taking a 1-a-day Capsicum tablet for your daily thermogenesis boost.
10. Take time to enjoy your meal.
Foods should be eaten slowly, it takes approximately 20 minutes for your brain to recognise you’re full, it is also better for digestion. If you eat slowly you are more likely to recognise satiety and stop eating when you are full.
Another great tip for digestion is taking green tea alongside a meal. Brewed green tea or Green tea extract increases dietary thermogenesis utilising more energy and increasing metabolism. The hugely effective active ingredient for this is Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG). Brewed Green Tea is not to everyone’s taste and is very time consuming, we offer a one-a-day full strength Green Tea Tablet that is to be taken before one meal.
11. Drink plenty of Water.
Water is the best beverage you can choose to drink. You may also have coffee and tea, but try to minimize milk and sugar in these to reduce calories. To feel more full try drinking a full glass of water before every meal. To learn the importance of staying hydrated click HERE
If you want to lose weight you must try to avoid soft drinks and alcoholic beverages. One gram of alcohol provides 7 Kcal compared to water at 0kcal. It is very easy to consume a meal’s worth of calories in just a few alcoholic drinks.
- Prosecco is approximately 93 Kcal per glass.
- One traditional measure of Vodka contains approximately 72 Kcal.
Moreover alcohol does not give you a sense of satiety, in fact it is quite the contrary and causes cravings for calorie dense food.
THE ROLE OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
12. Do a little, Do a lot, Just get moving.
Combining exercise and diet can be hugely beneficial and lead to large weight losses. One study showed that combining exercise and a healthy diet can lead to a 10.8% decrease in body weight. Exercise is hugely beneficial in helping lose weight, inches and gain muscle.
You may be tempted to go to the gym as they offer a wide range of programmes and machinery. However, they can often be expensive, there is a cheap and easy remedy for this, exercise at home! Exercise doesn’t need to be expensive, nor does it need gadgets and gizmos to be effective. It can be as simple as:
Taking the stairs instead of the lift
Getting off one stop earlier on the bus and walking to your destination.
There are now FREE Youtube gurus dedicated to easy home workouts. If you aren’t a fan of structured fitness programmes, just walk it burns calories without the ache and sweat of a workout. To really boost your weight loss try weight-bearing activities such as weight lifting or circuits. The more muscle mass you have, the greater calories you burn. The World Health Organisation (WHO) suggest you should exercise 150 minutes every week (x5 30mins/week).
There are easy ways to to monitor your weight loss, such as:
- Weighing yourself once a week. One week you may lose 3lb, one week you may lose nothing at all, this is normal. Be considerate that if you are doing muscle gaining activities your weight may even increase.
- Measure your waist circumference every 2 weeks. Sometimes the numbers on the scale don’t reflect the inches lost. Dress size can also be very telling.
Sometimes you are just too tired to exercise, caffeine can be a great remedy for this it’s a stimulant typically found in coffee or as a pre-workout supplement. It stimulates the central nervous system, by doing so it leads people into feeling they have increased energy. We offer both tablet and powder forms. Caffeine should be taken once a day, an hour before your workout, with food to be most beneficial. Or you could try Alpha-Lipoic-Acid (ALA) which is found naturally in every cell in the human body. It’s a vital part of energy production in the mitochondria. Using ALA will force the body into becoming more efficient at producing energy. ALA comes in powder form which makes it so versatile. We recommend adding it to a pre-workout shake. It is taken in increments of 250mg, three times a day.
Finally, try to be patient and realistic, your weight loss journey awaits!
- NHS. (2015). 5 A DAY portion sizes. Available: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/5ADAY/Pages/Portionsizes.aspx.
- Foster-Schubert,KE. (2012). Effect of diet and exercise, alone or combined, on weight and body composition in overweight-to-obese post-menopausal women. Obesity. 20 (8), Pg 1628-1638.