There are countless diets and tools out there that promise to help you lose weight, but the truth is there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
Instead, focusing on small changes that you can keep up with will be the best approach to losing and keeping off weight for good. We’ve rounded up some of our favourite tips that can help you achieve your goals, and stay healthy.
1. Eat a balanced diet
A balanced diet gives your body the right amount of energy, protein, vitamins and minerals to keep you healthy. It can also help ward off disease, boost immunity, prevent chronic health conditions and reduce your risk of weight gain.
A healthy balanced diet will contain a wide variety of foods from each of the five food groups, in the recommended amounts. These include vegetables and fruits; proteins (meat, fish, eggs, dairy); carbohydrates (breads, pasta and rice – preferably wholegrain or wholewheat varieties); and a small quantity of fats like unsaturated fatty acids from olive oil.
The main part of your plate should be filled with non-starchy vegetables, such as broccoli, asparagus, squash, carrots, mushrooms and leafy greens. The other quarter of your plate should be filled with whole grains, such as wholemeal bread or pasta, quinoa or brown rice.
2. Exercise regularly
Exercising regularly helps you control your weight by using up excess calories that would otherwise be stored as fat. It also reduces your stress levels, increases your energy and can help you sleep well.
Exercise benefits everyone, regardless of age or physical ability. It can prevent many diseases, improve your mood and energy levels and even add years to your life!
To get the most out of your exercises, you should try to include a mix of aerobic and strength training activities. The recommended amount of exercise is 150 minutes a week.
3. Sleep well
Sleep is a crucial component of a well-rounded life and a good night’s sleep can have major impact on the quality of your day. Getting enough sleep is also linked to increased productivity, better performance in the office and a healthier skin and hair.
It is also well known that sleeping well is a key component of maintaining a healthy weight. In addition to the obvious snooze factor, sleep improves metabolism by raising levels of the hormones that regulate calorie burn, particularly the fat-burning enzyme adiponectin. Several studies have shown that sleep deprivation also triggers the production of other appetite-regulating hormones like ghrelin.
4. Drink plenty of water
Keeping your body well-hydrated is important for weight loss and overall health. It helps boost your metabolism, suppresses your appetite, and reduces your intake of sugary drinks.
It can also help your body burn fat and flush out harmful bacteria from your intestines. Getting enough water is particularly important for women, who should consume at least 2.7 liters of water daily.
Several studies have linked drinking water with weight loss. In one study, for example, participants who drank 500 milliliters (about 16 ounces) of water before meals lost more weight than those who did not.
5. Don’t snack
When you snack, you don’t give your body time to digest food. Instead, you consume too many calories, causing you to gain weight.
Snacking can also cause you to miss out on important nutrients. For instance, protein-rich foods like meat, fish and eggs can provide you with vital nutrients that you need to maintain healthy muscle mass.
The key to eating well is to eat nutrient-dense, whole foods that will keep you full until the next meal. Rather than grazing on junk food, choose high-protein snacks that contain no more than 100 to 200 calories. It’s also best to eat them mindfully, so you can enjoy their flavors and textures. Lastly, don’t snack on foods that are too high in fat or sugar, because these will pass quickly through your system and leave you feeling hungry again soon afterward.