For some people weight loss is a lifelong struggle but small changes to nutrition, exercise and wellbeing can make all the difference. By understanding what you should and shouldn’t eat, you will maximise your opportunity to lose weight.
Successful weight loss is about finding a diet and exercise routine that suits you. It should also be something that you can realistically stick to. Lasting weight loss is slow and steady, and you shouldn’t be aiming to drop lots of weight too fast. The likelihood if you do this is that it will affect your metabolism and make it harder to keep the weight off.
Your plan should include simple nutritional changes, lots of water and regular exercise. You can, of course, lose weight through diet alone, but becoming physically fitter will help you maintain your weight loss. Not only that, your metabolism will be boosted and you will benefit from a healthier system.
This blog gives you ideas for changing your nutrition and boost your weight loss until it is as efficient as possible. Read on for everything you need to know about losing weight, improving your diet and getting healthy.
7 things you can do right now to lose weight
1. Cut out refined carbohydrates and sugars
One of the most important diet changes you can make is cutting down carbohydrate intake. While cutting out all carbs is the fastest way to lose weight, for a more lifestyle friendly diet, try cutting down refined starches.
This is because of the way your body uses insulin to store fat. When people eat too much sugar from carbohydrates, insulin is released. So, the more sugar you ingest, the more insulin your body releases and the amount of fat stored increases. When insulin decreases, the body doesn’t have the same opportunity to store fat. Instead your body burns the fat as fuel.
Another benefit of lowering the levels of insulin in your body is increased kidney function. The job of the kidneys is to eradicate extra water and sodium from the body. Too much sodium causes your body to store extra water as weight excess. When you cut out carbs for the first time you should notice you’re losing weight faster than you would on other kinds of diets.
2. Increase your intake of complex carbs, protein, healthy fats and vegetables
Cutting out refined carbohydrates such as bread, white rice and pasta may sound like hard going. But you’re not cutting out all carbs, as you can get the recommended amount (up to 50g per day) from vegetables. Eat plenty of cabbage, sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower to get your fill of complex carbs. You can also eat sweet potato in place of normal potatoes.
For protein, include fish, lamb, eggs, beef, chicken and turkey. If you are vegan or vegetarian, you can get the same protein from vegan alternatives, coconut- based products and tofu. You also need to include plenty of healthy fats, including from avocado, peanut oil, olive oil and fish oil. These kinds of fats do not raise the risk of you developing cardiac problems or high cholesterol.
3. Incorporate strength training to lose fat
While you can lose weight without a regular exercise regime, incorporating activity will increase the speed at which it happens. You should exercise in some way every single day and include at least three sessions of strength training. This can be weight training or bodyweight exercises.
Increasing the lean muscle in your body will mean you burn more calories. This may make the scales register some weight gain, but if it’s because you’re building muscle mass then you’re losing fat. After training you must replenish your body with nutrients, liquid and rest.
4. Don’t be afraid to have a cheat meal every now and again
One of the biggest reasons people fail to lose weight is because they feel deprived. To mitigate the chances of this happening to you, include a cheat meal (or cheat day) once a week. This doesn’t mean you should eat whatever you want, or as much as you can. But it does mean you can treat yourself to something that you’ve been craving. This will help you maintain discipline for longer and to stay on track for the long term. Don’t overindulge on your cheat days as this will slow you down and get in the way of reaching your goals. Eat something you’ve been missing, but don’t overdo it.
5. Control calories and portions
Calorie counting can seem pointless and confusing, but if you understand how to balance nutrition it becomes clear. If you are sticking to a plan that includes protein, low carb vegetables and healthy fats then you don’t actually need to count calories. You’re already eating a nutritionally balanced diet, and you will lose weight.
However, if you prefer to keep track of calories then do so. It can help some people to stick to the plan because they feel that they are accountable. Use a calorie recording app or a calorie calculator if you have a smartphone. If you’d rather just stick to old school methods, keep a food journal and write down everything you eat.
6. Increase your water intake
You must keep your body hydrated to help it work efficiently. Think of your body as a machine – it needs every part of it to be balanced to work properly. And this includes drinking enough water. It’s very easy to become slightly dehydrated, and when you’re changing your habits it can be difficult to remember. Upping your water every day also helps to get rid of any excess sodium in your system, which will help to minimise bloating. Drink a small glass of water every hour or get into the habit of drinking first thing in the morning and throughout the day at semi regular intervals. It’s also very important to properly rehydrate after exercise.
7. Get enough sleep
One of the most important things you can do to help you lose weight, feel better and live a healthier lifestyle is to get enough sleep. Your body has a lot to do while you’re sleeping, including cell repair. Sleep helps your body recover from exercise and heal any injuries from training.