Weight loss, it’s all about eating less and moving more right??
My guess is that if it was that simple – no one would have weight concerns and our obesity statistics would be decreasing – not increasing!
So here is why eating less and moving more doesn’t always work. It ignores the influence of specific hormones that influence your adrenal and endocrine systems. These hormones, such as adrenalin, cortisol, progesterone, oestrogen, insulin, play a large role in weight loss and when these are out of whack, they make weight loss much harder.
Therefore whilst the trick to sustainable weight loss does require eating quality foods and moving your body, you must also work on other lifestyle factors which can hinder or even prevent your success.
Let’s look at the 5 tips for sustainable weight loss:
1) Balanced Meals
Focus on a balanced plate that includes healthy carbs, proteins, and fats. Quality of the food and balance is the key. I’ll give you an example, a balanced breakfast could be 1 piece of quality bread (carb), spread with 1-2 tsp butter (fat) and 2 scrambled eggs (protein) with a sprinkle of salt. This combination will be you satisfied and your blood sugars stable for many hours. Not only that, it tastes good and is quick to prepare.
Balance and quality are KEY. Focus less on the amount of food you are eating and more on the quality and consequences of the food. How will I feel after this feel? Does it agreed with my body? Will it help me achieve my goals? Does this meal have carbs, protein and a source of fat in it?
Whilst it goes without saying, I’ll add it in here just in case, heavily progressed foods, sugary drinks and cakes, chips and lollies, aren’t quality foods and should be avoided.
Below are some pictures of balanced meals, each one has a source of carb, protein and fat. You can see, it's not about avoiding the carbs, but rather balancing the carb with those proteins and fats.
2) Get Enough Sleep
Lack of sleep can disrupt hormones that regulate appetite and lead to weight gain. Not only that, when you are tired you are more likely to reach for sugar to keep you awake. Cooking a healthy meal becomes harder because you are tired and stress increases because everything is just so much harder without good sleep. All things which are going to make sustainable weight loss harder. Strive for 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night. Work on a good sleep routine and avoid bright lights and devices at least 60 minutes before bed.
Important to note, sleep is more important than working out! So if you are getting up early for a work out, after only 5-6 hours sleep, you must stop this. This will be detrimental to your weight loss goals, it may even cause you to gain weight. Because without enough sleep the body triggers stress hormones and these hormones put up road blocks to losing weight.
3) Move your body
Biggest tip for the day that will improve your wellness in so many ways is to get outside for a daily walk – even if it’s raining. For busy people, this is a self-enforced time out and a great way to clear your head. Ideally don’t take the kids ;-) Think of it as active mediation. Listen to music, dance your way around the block, up a hill or through a park or forest. Research shows that exercise 3 times a week is effective for reducing depression. So we all need to get out for a walk in the fresh air, and if the is sunshine out – double points to get some Vitamin D!
On top of that, lifting something heavy 1-2 times a week is excellent to increase muscle mass and strength bones. These improve weight loss results. This doesn’t have to be going to the gym, it could be pull ups at the local park, planks in TV ad breaks, squatting with your child on your back, carrying that same child on a forest walk. Kettle bells are great home equipment that are cheap, versatile and easy to use. Google some options for home strength training if you want.
4) Stay Hydrated
Drinking water can help control your appetite and support your metabolism. Sometimes, thirst can be mistaken for hunger. Water is also essential for digestion and adsorption of nutrients, energy levels and detoxication of the body. Aim to drink 6-8 glasses of water a day. Caffeinated drinks doesn’t count towards your water intake however unsweetened caffeine free herbal teas do!
5) Take time out for you
We are all busy with work and life commitments so that’s why this is important. Set aside 5-20 minutes a day for yourself. Set an alarm! This may be first thing in the morning before the family is awake – this is my personal favourite, I have a cuppa and cuddle with the dog before the kids wake up. Or it may be at lunch time or before bed, it could be reading a book or magazine. Avoid reading anything that may stress or upset you. Choose a time that works for you to chill, breath and clear your mind as best you can.
Be patient, sustainable weight loss is a gradual process. Celebrate small victories along the way and don't get discouraged by temporary setbacks. Having a support system can help you stay motivated and on track, such as the Nutrition Hub Members Support Group.
This blog was written by Nutrition Hub's Behavioural Nutritionist Sara Evans. As always, if you have any questions please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org