How to lose weight is a very commonly asked question. Unfortunately, there is an enormous amount of often contradictory advice as to how to do it. Do you diet? Do you fast? Bizarre forms of exercise? Here’s some genuine, scientifically backed advice on how to lose weight effectively.
It’s like there’s a new diet plan every week that you should be following, but here’s an interesting fact: using a diet is one of the best predictors for gaining weight in the long run. That means if you’re on a diet, chances are it won’t work effectively, while potentially harming your body. Also, most diets make people really unhappy, making it much more difficult to motivate yourself to lose weight. Diets are not how to lose weight.
There are dietary things you can do that won’t do you any harm, and one of the most impactful is cutting down on snacking. While it can seem that snack opportunities are everywhere and that you couldn’t manage to get through to dinner without a little something for high tea, as the English call it, you can alter your behavior in other ways that will reduce your cravings for snacks.
If you want to cut out high calorie, high fat, salt, and sugar snacks, this is how:
Drink more water – Thirst is often mistaken for hunger, so a pint of water can fill you up much better than a bag of chips. Try a little sugar-free cordial to make it more appealing.
Have breakfast – By eating breakfast, you set your body up for more regular meals, meaning you won’t be craving by 4 pm.
Eat more regularly – Eating smaller, more regular meals can cut down on between-meal snackage.
So that’s snacking, but what else is there?
You eat with your eyes, as they say, and this has a lot of truth to it. If you have a larger plate, you’re much more likely to eat more food. The same meal on a smaller plate will be more filling and satisfying, believe it or not. So a new set of plates and bowls might be in order.
Reduce your portion sizes. This is much easier to do if you cook your own food, and all it takes is a little awareness of how much you’re preparing for yourself. If you’ve made ‘X’ amount this week, try just a little less next week, it can help.
Drink water. Staying hydrated is good for you, regardless of your weight, but by drinking a glass of water before a meal, you’re filling your stomach with calorie neutral stuff that will help you feel fuller from the meal you’ve eaten. It’s a very simple and easy habit to get into, so give it a try. It works very well if you’re reducing your portion sizes.
Pick a high fiber, low carbohydrate meal. Dietary fiber is good for the intestines and for regular bowel movements, it’ll help with constipation or loose stools, so it’s an allover good thing to have. High fiber foods make you feel fuller. That’s the main advantage when you’re trying to lose weight.
If you can fill up on the main course, you might not have room for dessert, so it’s worth that glass of water and that adequate portion size if you can cut out the highly calorific dessert.
Having a diet plan and sticking to it is a recipe for misery, but by being aware of what’s in the food you eat and what that does to you can help you make good choices when you’re in the supermarket or shopping online.
Food labels are common across most of the world, telling you the relative quantities of fats, sugars, fiber, and salt in them. By trying to avoid the foods high in fat and sugar you can help yourself lose weight. When it comes to snacking, if it’s not in the fridge or in the cupboard, you can’t eat it.
Give yourself a treat. It’s okay to indulge occasionally. Abstaining totally is a good way to ensure a binge later on, so relax and give yourself something nice now and again.
You need fats in your food, you can’t survive without them. There has been a recent turnaround in the dietary advice given by governments about fats, it turns out that a high-fat diet isn’t necessarily a bad one. The culprit in a lot of obesity is sugar.
Natural fats like unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, found in large quantities in many seeds and nuts, as well as in some meats, are easily digestible by the body and form an essential part of a healthy diet.
The problematic fats are the saturated ones, often made from (sometimes crude) oils and inserted into many processed foods. These are not digested as easily by the body and can have some strange effects. A diet high in saturated fats is very strongly related to the heart disease, attacks, and strokes, so if you can identify what foods you eat that have saturated fats and cut them out, do so.
The modern cause of obesity, sugar is hard to avoid. Try cutting out sugar in your tea or coffee: work out how much sugar you put in your coffee every day, and weigh out that amount on a scale. It’s a lot.
Processed foods such as candy and chocolate are obviously high in sugar and worth cutting down on, but many packaged meals have high quantities as well. Check the packaging and be surprised.
Regular exercise, especially weight training, is how to lose weight most successfully. Inaction is a major cause of obesity, so even by walking 20 minutes a day, you can cut your weight substantially. Just a few trips to the gym a week will help you lose weight and keep it off. Exercise also has a very positive effect on the mind, so motivation is easier when an exercise regime has been established.