As we promised at the beginning of the year, we will bring you on a weekly basis, helpful health-related tips to kick-start your week in a healthy way! This week’s edition of “Healthy Monday” discusses several effective weight loss tips put together by our team of health consultants, and we hope you can use some of them in achieving your weight-loss related goals, where applicable. Enjoy!
1. Drink 8 glasses of water per day. The benefits of water for healthy living have been a widely discussed topic and its intake has also been reported to have a direct correlation with weight loss, which is most likely due to the fact that a feeling of hydration often helps in avoiding overeating. Since both hunger and dehydration signals sent by the body is very similar, it is always important to drink water first when you have a hunger pang, and if your body really needs food, the water will not satisfy you. Not only should you ensure you get enough water into your system, you should also drink a glass of water 30 minutes before your meal, which helps in giving you a feeling of fullness thereby reducing the quantity of food eaten. Also, drinking 3 glasses of water first thing in the morning, preferably hot water with a dash of lemon (for those who are not within the reproductive age bracket), proves to be a healthy benefit in your weight loss journey as it cleanses the system, revitalizes the liver and helps it to optimally perform its functions of digestion and metabolism within the body.
2. Eat Weight Loss Super Foods: As a rule of thumb, diet represents 75% of your weight loss plan with exercise being 25%, according to most studies. Eating foods which are considered natural superfoods and nutritional powerhouses as part of your diet can sure help you get a positive swing on your weight loss goals. Such foods include blueberries, black beans, avocado pear, grapefruits, oatmeal, brown rice, broccoli, pears, apple, acai, garlic, onions, spirulina and lentils, just to name a few. Blueberries for example help to reduce belly fat and improve glucose intolerance & insulin sensitivity. Garlic and Onions should also be your best friend. Minerals and oils in both garlic and onions help to break down fat, increase body metabolism and lower cholesterol. They should be a must-have in any weight loss diet plan. We can spend the whole day talking about this topic but we will revisit this in future reports.
3. Take Food that contains Essential Fatty Acids. The importance of diet cannot be overemphasized in a weight loss plan, which should include taking food rich in Essential Fatty Acids including Omega 3 contained in Fish Oil such as salmon, sardine etc., and Omega 3,6,9 contained in flaxseed. If you want to lose weight especially in the mid rib, you will benefit a lot from taking flaxseed and walnut oil which target these specific areas. You can just sprinkle two tablespoon of either walnut, flaxseed or even coconut oil on your meals.
4. Always eat Breakfast: In the past, a lot of people thought that skipping breakfast was beneficial to weight loss, but unfortunately, the opposite is the case. Breakfast means that you are literally ‘breaking the fast’ that your body was in from the previous night. Eating breakfast should be a major part of your weight loss goals. When you skip breakfast, your body goes into a famine survival mode and tends to hold on to more fat in order to ensure there is an enough energy reserve that can be used for getting all the body’s functions working. Also, breakfast helps to kick start the body’s metabolism for the day by increasing how fast your body burn calories. Also, a lack of breakfast leads to a blood sugar dip which is often injurious to those with diabetes or insulin resistance. Several medical studies have however shown that weight loss can actually be more difficult for individuals who opt out of taking morning meals. We will also discuss this topic in detail in future publications.
5. Engage in Routine Exercise: We cannot over-emphasize the benefits of adequate exercise as it relates to weight loss. Although, it can only help you in achieving a certain portion of your weight loss goals (25%) with diet being the most important, periodic exercise done at least 3 times daily which may include walking, swimming, weight lifting etc. has the potential of helping to increase oxygenation to the body organs, which helps with fat burning.
6. Have an Effective Stress Management Plan: According to widely available research studies, stress and anxiety is a powerful trigger for weight gain which can prevent you from achieving your weight loss goals despite your exercise regimen and diet plans. Also, ensure you get enough sleep, as its deprivation has often been linked to weight gain. It has also been observed that most people reach out for fattening and unhealthy foods when they are stressed, because such foods stimulate the brain to release pleasure chemicals (endorphins) that reduce tension. This soothing effect then becomes somewhat of an addiction and every time you are stressed out or anxious, you reach out for fattening foods. So, getting rid of stressors may have a positive effect on your weight loss goals.
7. Use a Healthy Dose of Probiotics. In a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, it was shown that probiotics can help with weight loss. Besides the numerous health benefits associated with Probiotics, they are also believed to be useful in weight loss because they help in restoring good bacteria in the bowels which ensures food is digested faster and excreted in a timely manner. In the process, some of the fat molecules that would have hung around the bowels for a much longer time are then excreted.
8. Eat Small-portioned Meals Throughout the Day. The key to eating smaller and well-spaced-out meals is to provide assistance to the body in ensuring it continues to get the fuel it needs to burn the calories and to prevent you from having an excess of blood sugar in the blood, which is often converted into fat in the body. In addition, it also prevents blood sugar spikes.
9. Avoid Eating Dinner After 8 p.m. For those who are not diabetic and do not have blood sugar sensitivity issues, dinner should not be eaten after 8 p.m. to give the body ample time to properly digest the food taken so that they are timely excreted with very few residues left behind. It should be noted that the body’s metabolism reduces at night hence, the food that you eat at night will be metabolized and digested at a much slower rate and potentially contribute to increase in body weight, and possibly obesity. As a result, it is advisable for those trying to lose weight to avoid eating at least two hours before they go to bed and if you need to nibble on something especially if diabetic, consider food that has a low fat and calories content.
10. Use Protein Shakes as a Meal Replacement. Protein shakes is often used by athletes to nourish their bodies after workouts. But, a protein shake that’s mainly protein with a lower amount of carbohydrates, and little bit of fat can also be included in your weight loss plan. You may use it to replace one of your meals in order to lose body fat. US research in the journal of obesity had previously found that a protein-rich intake, such as the amount in a protein shake can help in lowering the levels of the hunger-stimulating hormone ghrelin, which can effectively suppress appetite and prevent intake of too much calories – which is a contributing factor to weight loss.
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