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Weight loss: the way forward
Although we are only a few months into the New Year, that resolution you made to lose weight may have already worn thin! So how can you take effective and sustainable steps towards your weight loss goal?
Curb the cravings
Rather than calorie-counting, concentrate on eating the right type of food. Unprocessed, sugar-free wholefoods are your friend and can provide tasty and satisfying meals.
How does a breakfast of scrambled eggs with grilled mushrooms and tomatoes sound? If time is of the essence, have a bowl of sugar-free muesli topped with fibrous flax seeds to fill you up for longer. Meals that combine fibre, protein and a little healthy fat not only nourish you but also keep blood sugar levels stable, to keep you feeling full and help you curb the cravings. Whilst sugary, refined foods may provide a quick energy boost, they spike your blood sugar levels and this is inevitably followed by a slump in both blood sugar and energy. This is when you crave your next sugar hit! Stimulants such as tea and coffee also skew blood sugar levels and it can become all too easy to get into a vicious cycle, craving a cup of tea or coffee with a sugary snack. So, substitute your morning cuppa with a refreshing herbal tea such as peppermint, fennel or green tea and consider supplementing the mineral chromiumalong with zinc, magnesium and the botanicals cinnamon and liquorice to help stabilise blood sugar.
Nuts are often believed to be off limits when trying to lose weight, however several studies now confirm that their effect on satiety, or feeling full, outweighs concerns about calorie intake. Again, it is believed that the satiety effects are probably due to the mix of high fibre and high protein. Research has shown that almonds, eaten whole and unroasted as a small snack, help to increase feelings of fullness so that we are less likely to crave high fat “forbidden” foods later on. Nuts also provide essential omega 3 and 6 fats which actually encourage fat burning. A healthy snack of a mix of almonds, seeds and a juicy apple or pear can prevent sugar cravings and keep your weight loss plans on track.
If you habitually eat more food than you need, your stomach can stretch, resulting in ongoing hunger even after eating a normal portion of food. It is therefore a good idea to eat smaller quantities at each meal and enjoy small, healthy snacks between meals if necessary. Combining healthy protein such as fish, chicken, turkey, eggs, beans and lentils, goat’s cheese and cottage cheese with vegetables and small amounts of complex carbohydrates such as brown rice or quinoa will help you to avoid hunger pangs. If you are still struggling, HCA (hydroxycitric acid) from the rind of the tamarind fruit works to support metabolism and to create a feeling of fullness and satisfaction.
Understand your motivation
Many of the reasons why we chose to over eat have nothing to do with hunger. Identifying how and why you over eat allows you to have more control over your dietary habits.
One way of doing this is to keep a food diary for one to two weeks, noting everything you consume and any important feelings or emotions. Feeling tired or stressed can boost your appetite for stodgy, fatty food and encourage a tendency to overeat. Addressing the stress is vital for successful weight loss and supplementing herbs such as rhodiola as well as B vitamins and magnesium can help to reduce anxiety and support normal adrenal function.
Regular exercise is not only crucial for sustained weight loss but can also add lighter mood and alleviated stress into the bargain! Exercise should be increased gradually and sensibly. The effects may be enhanced by supplementing conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which may help to lower body fat and increase lean body mass. The best type of exercise for fat burning is a combination of weight training and low intensity exercise such as walking uphill, swimming or cycling.
So, with these simple steps you have the tools to make your weight loss resolutions a success!