When trying to lose weight, we automatically think of “diet”. However, fad or restriction diets can cause malnutrition, fatigue, other complications and cause weight gain as soon as we stop the diet and return to our normal eating habits.
The most common restrictive “weight loss” diet is cutting out carbohydrates completely, while this may work for a short period of time because you have cut your calories, over time your body will be unable to function properly as you are not providing the body with enough energy.
Usually, as soon as you start eating carbohydrates again, you put the weight straight back on and you have not improved your diet or health.
Below are some tips to help you lose weight without taking up a restrictive diet.
1. Drink more water
Water helps to flush the bodies of unnecessary waste and build-up (1). Switching out juices or fizzy drinks for water greatly reduces the number of calories and sugar consumed, helping us lose weight. Added sugar from drinks, is a major contributor to unhealthy weight and health problems like high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease (3).
People can confuse thirst with hunger (2), if you feel hungry drink a glass of water and wait 20 minutes and see if you are still hungry. You can also drink a glass of water before and after meals to give you a “fuller” feeling, stopping you from overeating.
Drinking water can increase the number of calories you burn. Drinking cold water increases the number of calories burnt even further as the body uses its energy to warm the water to body temperature.
Cutting down on alcohol can also improve the function of the body and reduce calorie intake (2).
By getting the right amount of sleep (7-9 hours) your body can rest and renew while you sleep, it is thought that by getting the correct amount of sleep, your physique will improve twofold (1).
Sleep can help improve mental health which may reduce stress and improve motivation to exercise, cook and eat healthily.
Sleep shorter than 7 hours has been linked to a higher body mass index (BMI) and waist-to-hip circumference, which is an indicator of the accumulation of belly fat.
It is thought that not enough sleep affects hormone levels, increasing how hungry you feel and feelings of fullness. Changes in our hormones can also lead to more stress, which can be associated with overeating or comfort eating.
When you are sleep deprived, this affects your decision-making, making it harder to resist food cravings. Reward centres of the brain are more stimulated by food when you are sleep deprived (4).
Combining exercise with a healthy diet is a much more effective way to lose weight, than eating healthily alone. If you are not already active, chose something that you enjoy, even walking more will burn more calories. If you are interested in starting an exercise routine, 30 minutes of cardio and 30 minutes of strength training are the most beneficial for the body, to sweat and burn calories.
HIIT (high-intensity interval training) involves using your full energy for short periods of time, spread out with small periods of rest to boost metabolism, which in return will burn fat post-workout due to post–exercise oxygen consumption (1).
It is important to not become too fixated on the numbers when you step on the scale, especially if you are exercising. If you are weight training and eating healthier (more protein) this can increase your muscle mass but reduced your fat content, meaning you could weigh more (as muscle is heavier than fat) but you have lost fat.
You should focus on how you feel, and your body image rather than what numbers appear.
4. Eat healthily
You should aim to minimise sugar intake and processed foods. Due to our fast-paced lifestyles we usually consume processed foods that are quick and easy to make and eat, these foods are often packed with lots of sugar, salts and fats and contain “empty calories”.
This is when a certain food provides many calories but not much nutritional value to our body. This causes weight gain (1). Examples include white flour products, dairy products, processed meats and microwave or convenience meals.
Try to increase your intake of whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, meat, seafood and poultry, these contain natural nutrients, which encourage the body to run optimally and benefit heart health.
Try to swap trans fats with unsaturated fats (healthy fats) such as sweet potatoes, avocado, nuts and seeds. This encourages your body to use fat over sugar and carbohydrates as its main fuel source. Healthy fats also increase satiety (1,3).
Foods that contain more fibre can also help you feel fuller. Fibre can be found in plant foods such as fruit, vegetables, oats, wholegrain bread, brown pasts and rice, beans, peas and lentils (2).
Minimising your carbohydrate source can affect your energy levels, so they should be replaced by more protein, to increase lean body mass and whole grains to boost metabolism and energy.
A typical plate should look like:
- A protein source
- A fat source
- A small portion of whole grains
Cooking at home, rather than eating out at a restaurant or getting takeaways is much better as you can control the amount of sugar, salt and what cooking oils are used (3).
5. Cut your calories
This sounds simple, but it can be hard. To lose weight, you need to consume fewer calories than you burn each day (1).
It may be useful to use a BMR calculator (basal metabolic rate), this is the rate at which your body burns calories by simply doing nothing (sitting in a chair, breathing, pumping blood around the body etc).
Your body needs more calories than your BMR to fuel your daily activities (going to work to the gym etc). If you consume too many calories, the body stores these as fat.
The easiest way to cut calories is by using a smaller plate to ensure you eat smaller portions (2). Also, eat slowly and wait 20 minutes after each meal to decide if you are full (the stomach takes about 20 minutes to notify the brain that it is full).
Swapping big packets for small packets (of crisps, chocolates and sweets) may also help you to cut your calories as you even if you eat the whole packet in one go it is a smaller amount.
Also, don’t skip breakfast as this can boost your metabolism and stop you from snacking during the day. Eating at the same time every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner is also beneficial for metabolism.
Supplements for weight loss
Typical digestive issues such as bloating, or constipation can interfere with your weight loss journey. Increasing your intake of fibre increases the number of friendly gut bacteria and promotes healthy bowel movements.
- This can also be achieved by taking a probiotic supplement such as ColiProbio, to help boost digestive function and reduce bloating.
- Carbohydrates get broken down into glucose and if this glucose isn’t then used for energy, it gets stored as fat. Carboslim is designed to help maintain a low carbohydrate diet and help balance blood sugar levels. Carboslim contains Kidney Bean Extract, Chromium, Green Tea, etc.
- Cellusite is a great formula that contains detoxifying herbs with added vitamins selectively chosen for their positive effects on the circulatory system to help reduce the chance of cellulite formation.
- CoffeeSlim contains Raspberry Ketones which have been known to increase satiety and metabolism, it is used in many weight management formulas. It incorporates a lot of well-researched weight management ingredients.
- Psyllium Husk has appetite supressing effects, but it should always be taken with water as these fibres absorb a lot of water and can cause dehydration.
- 5 Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) can increase the production of serotonin, which may help control negative emotions and control appetite. One study found that 1-3 grams of tryptophan, taken one hour before a meal reduced appetite and calorie consumption.
- Most Effective Ways to Suppress Appetite | HealthAid
- Can Garcinia Cambogia Help Lose Weight? | HealthAid
- Summer Slimming & Weight Loss Products - HealthAid
- Obesity and Overweight | HealthAid
- 12 tips to help you lose weight - NHS (www.nhs.uk)
- The 25 Best Diet Tips to Lose Weight and Improve Health (healthline.com)
- 6 Ways Sleep May Help You Lose Weight (healthline.com)
- Images: Image by KamranAydinov on Freepik Image by Freepik
Any information or product suggested on this website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any medical condition. Never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. Consult your primary healthcare physician before using any supplements or making any changes to your regime.