Effective Ways to Shed Excess Weight

woman holding lots of healthy strawberries

Have you tried over and over to shed those excess pounds, but are struggling sticking to a plan- or keeping it off in the long term? As frustrating as it is, you're certainly not alone. Most of us would admit to wanting to losing at least a little weight. We all know there's no secret, creating a calorie deficit by eating less and moving more is the key to losing weight, but we all know it's never that easy in practice. Here are some tips that can help you throughout the process, and hopefully allow you to keep it off for good. 

Don’t skip breakfast
Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. Research has shown over and over that skipping breakfast won't help you in reducing weight. All you'll do is miss out on important nutrients and will more than likely overeat later in the day instead. Use breakfast as a chance to get in some high quality nutrition. Low sugar breakfast cereals are high in fibre and B vitamins, eat them with some fruit, milk or yoghurt and it gives you a fantastic balanced meal. Eggs are another great choice, perfect getting high quality protein into your diet and will keep you full right up til lunch. Eat them on top of some wholewheat toast, and you bump up your fibre content too. 

Include high fibre foods in your diet 
Speaking of fibre, high fibre food is key to helping you reduce your weight. This is because it helps to fill you up, making it easy to eat less over the course of the day. Fibre is good for digestion as well as your heart, this is because it reduces blood cholesterol levels which can lead to heart issues. Wholegrain cereals and whole produce such as fruits and vegetables all add to your daily intake. Instead of juicing and blending fresh foods, try eating them whole- at least some of the time. You get more benefit from the insoluable fibre in them that way. 

Be structured
Instead of waiting until you're starving to thinking about what you're going to eat, always plan in advance. Be structured, eat breakfast, lunch and dinner and similar times each day and prepare foods (or write out a menu) ahead of time. It prevents you from getting to the stage where you just want to grab something quick, easy- which is often the unhealthy option. Following a set diet can be helpful (providing it's not a crash diet) as you know exactly what you'll be having and can help you stay regimented. For example, the HCG diet has three phases in a cycle. By the time you get to hcg diet recipes phase 3 you could have lost up to fifteen kilos which is pretty significant. Diets like Slimming World and Weight Watchers also have set guidelines which you can follow while still giving you the flexibility you need, meaning they're useful for most people.  

Stay hydrated
Research shows that it's easy to mistake thirst for hunger. Instead of grabbing a snack, have a glass of water first and pay attention to your body. If you still feel hungry after twenty minutes then you're genuinely hungry. If not, you were probably a little dehydrated and have saved yourself some extra calories. 

Avoid alcohol
Depending on what you drink, one glass of alcohol can contain as many calories as a bar chocolate. Drinking too much alcohol can result in weight gain, not only are you getting unneeded calories but it can also disrupt your hunger hormones and make you crave more food (and the wrong foods at that). It's why you crave sugar, salt, carbs and fat so much when you're hungover! Limit alcohol to special occasions, enjoy it when you drink it but think twice about making it a regular habit. It's bad for more than just your waistline, and can affect everything from your skin to your liver, brain, bones and more. 

Get enough sleep
As well as alcohol, another thing that can affect your hunger hormones is lack of sleep. If you're not getting enough shut eye at night, chances are you'll feel hungrier which can make resisting temptation all the more difficult. When you're lethargic, it goes without saying that you'll also not want to exercise either. Getting enough sleep isn't a luxury, it's so important for health and wellbeing. 

Read food labels
Lots of seemingly healthy foods can be deceptively bad for you, many of them are even labelled as health foods! Thankfully, it's getting easier to crack the code of food labels. Look at the traffic lights on the front of packs, and keep mainly 'red' food items as occasional treats. Know your portion sizes too, lots of foods don't seem that bad, until you look again and realise you're not looking at the nutrition info for one portion- but two or three that the pack supposedly contains instead. Get into the habit of checking nutrition information of products before you get them, at least then you're making an informed decision and know exactly what's going into your body. 

Before making any major changes in your diet or exercise, it can be advisable to consult your doctor first. They'll be able to run tests (useful to look back on in months to come to see how you're improving) and can also recommend you to a nutritionist or dietician if you're struggling going it alone.

What are your tips for losing weight- and keeping it off?

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