Friday, 7 June 2013

Top ways to lose weight - The healthy way!

Over the next few blogs, I’ll be writing in more detail about how to lose weight in a healthy and sustainable manner. Many of the diets that are around today (and in the past) put a lot of stress on your body, and generally have no long term weight loss results as you end up piling the weight back on once you revert to your usual diet!

However, this blog will outline my top ways to lose weight, and you’ll be happy to know it’s not all about diet!

The most effective way to lose weight (bt reducing body fat, not muscle mass) is to improve your metabolism. If you have a good metabolism, your body can efficiently do all its daily functions such as repairing cells, fighting illness, burning fat and much more!

1) Eat breakfast – It really is the most important meal of the day as not only does it give you a good opportunity to eat some healthy fibre and calcium, it kick starts your metabolism meaning your body will start burning more calories than if you were to skip breakfast. It also gives your brain a boost so you’ll find you will have a much more productive morning.

2) Make sure you eat enough – It’s not uncommon for people hoping to lose weight to really reduce their daily calorie consumption to next to nothing. When you dramatically reduce your calorie intake, you may see a brief reduction in weight but you may also suffer from fatigue, weakness, hunger leading to binge eating, lack of concentration and loss of muscle mass. When you do not eat enough calories, your body is tricked into thinking you do not have enough access to food and begins to preserve calories, potentially leading to weight gain. When you eat enough calories, your body will not store these calories and will actively use them to fuel your body. Eating at regular intervals is also important for the same reason. So ensure you eat enough, but keep it as healthy as possible.

3) Lift some weights – Many women shy away from weight training as they assume they will become bulky. In reality it is very, very hard for women to bulk up using weights as they simply do not have the same hormone levels as men do. Using weights and building some lean muscle (think toned arms and nicely shaped legs), will actually help you shift fat much faster. Having a better muscle mass, will increase the rate you burn calories, even when you are asleep. So using weights as a part of your exercise regime will not only tone you up but shift the flab too!

4) Eat more protein and good fats – Your body requires healthy fat and protein to help rebuild muscle and cells and keep your body in a healthy condition. Protein will also fill you up for longer, so reducing the risk of binging on unhealthy snacks. Along with this, protein is harder for your body to digest, so uses up more calories breaking down your meal. You should aim for a diet consisting of around 10-35% protein; this includes lean meat, chicken, legumes, pulses fish and yogurt.

5) Avoid alcohol – I’ve seen so many people make this one change in their lifestyle and see so many positive results, not just weight loss but in how healthy they become. Protein and carbohydrates contain 4 calories per gram, whilst fat contains 9 grams, and whilst that may not mean much to some, think about the fact that in comparison, alcohol contains a whopping 7 grams! Further to that though, as alcohol is a poison, your body will work hard to try and eliminate any trace of alcohol from your system. Whilst your body is busy getting rid of the alcohol, studies have shown that the food you have recently eaten will not be a priority, causing the calories in the rest of the meal to be stored as fat...

6) Get sweaty – Any activity which gets you out of breath and causes you to get a sweat on is a great calorie burner. Aerobic activity could be anything from cleaning the house to going for a run. Also bear in mind that the biggest muscle in your body is in your bottom (Gluteus Maximus), and any activity which uses that will be burning more calories, so think cycling, walking, stair climbing, dancing, aerobics.

7) Avoid refined carbohydrates and sugars – Any food product such as white bread and pasta, potatoes, sweets etc will create an increase in insulin which in turn promotes the storage of fat and could reduce your metabolic rate. They are also rated high on the Glycemic Index scale, which means they will not fill you up for long. Instead, opt for wholemeal products, sweet potatoes, and fresh fruit.

8) Find a hobby you enjoy – Not everyone enjoys going to the gym, but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep fit and healthy. Think about what you’ve enjoyed in the past: walking, swimming, cycling, dancing, a fitness class, a sport? Why not look into starting up an activity as a hobby, give something new a try like climbing or kayaking? Also making sure your workouts are social will mean you are more likely to stick with it. Having a training buddy will make the workout something to look forward to, as well as having someone to push you on and vice versa.

9) Reduce stress – The stress hormone can make you pile on the pounds. So have a think about the best ways to de-stress, get more sleep, listen to music, going for a walk or run, chat to a friend. As well as the above Boxercise is a brilliant way to reduce stress, taking any aggression out on the focus pads.

10) Try out some High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). One of the best exercise methods to really boost calorie burn long after you have actually completed your session. You can do HIIT running, cycling or at a specific class. The idea is that you challenge your body with short bursts of intense exercise, with a period of lower intense exercise in between. This change in intensity is what increases your calorie burn.

Keep your eyes peeled over the next few weeks for blogs going into more detail about some of the individual ways to lose weight.

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