Weight loss is always such a huge topic of debate and whilst diets always seem to be the way everyone jumps into it, have you ever wondered what simple changes you can make to your lifestyle to begin your weight-loss journey.
Let's look at 5 simple things you can implement into your lifestyle either straight away, or gradually if this suits your lifestyle better.
Step 1: Are you drinking enough water?
The NHS guidelines for water intake, is 8 glasses per day (2 litres) for women and 10 glasses per day for men. Generally most people spend their day drinking tea and coffee and forget how important water is for the body. A study demonstrated that if people are dehydrated then they are likely to consume more calories (1) as they mistake thirst for hunger. Dehydration has also shown to affect our cognitive function and can make the brain feel foggy. Therefore, step 1 is all about making sure you are not dehydrated.
Step 2: What are you eating for Breakfast?
Now this is an interesting one and may need you to play around a bit. If I don't get this right then the rest of my day is screwed. Breakfast should consist of real food! If you walk down the breakfast isle at the supermarket you will notice that most of the food is what I like to call fake food. It IS massively processed and claims it is good for you. However, it is generally missing heaps of nutrients. A good breakfast should consist of natural ingredients and a source of protein. It should be something that is going to keep your energy sustained through the morning.
Step 3: Move often
We have become a nation that seems to spend most of our lives in a seated position. We wake up and drive to work. Generally most of us sit at work. We then travel home in a seated position before crashing out on the sofa and as you can guess we are seated again. We can laugh about it, but it is a serious issue. The more sedentary we become the more likely we are to get injured or develop health issues. The best thing we can do is every hour at work set an alarm and complete a quick walk around the office. We should all try and get at least 20mins walking in every day. This will help boost our metabolism plus burn a few calories.
Step 4: Ditch sugar
Whilst over the years the main focus has been on eating low fat diets, it is actually becoming more apparent in research that sugar is the real daemon! Many food manufacturers hide sugars in their processing methods. It can, therefore be hard for us to decipher how much sugar we are eating on a daily basis. The WHO (world health organisation) recommends that sugar make up no more than 10% of our total daily energy intake (2). Surveys have demonstrated that sugar can form up to 17% of a person’s daily intake (3). This is quite astounding and demonstrates why we need to have a look at the amount we are eating. Sugar is like a drug, it is addictive and when we come off of it withdrawal symptoms do seem to present themselves. Sugar plays havoc with our blood sugar levels and causes our hormone insulin to be released at greater levels. Insulin’s role is to transport the sugar out of the bloodstream into our muscles, cells, etc. to be utilised as energy. It can also be converted into fat, if there is too much in the body and we don’t need it for energy. So reducing sugar intake or ditching it entirely is important in your weight-loss journey.
Step 5: Sleep
Now this may sound very silly, but getting enough sleep is really important for weight-loss. Lack of sleep and sleep disturbances, can cause interruptions in physical and mental health (4). Getting less than 7 hours has demonstrated a 6% increase in the probability of obesity in the United States (5). But why is this so? Sleep plays an important role in neuroendocrine function (nervous system and hormones) as well as glucose (sugar) metabolism. By not getting enough sleep these aspects get disrupted and alterations can occur. Loss of sleep has demonstrated to contribute to a decrease in glucose tolerance and reduced sensitivity to insulin (4). These are both risks of type 2 diabetes and obesity. So I would suggest beauty sleep is extremely important and making a rule to be in bed before 11pm at least five nights a week is a good starting point if you tend to be a night owl!
So I hope you have enjoyed this post. For more information on how you personally can lose weight please get in touch for a consultation by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1: NHS (2013) Water and drinks. Accessed: 15th May 2015, Available from: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/water-drinks.aspx.
2: World Health Organisation (2015) WHO calls on countries to reduce sugars intake among adults and children. Accessed: 15th May 2015, Available from: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2015/sugar-guideline/en/
3: Public Health England (2014) New National Diet and Nutrition Survey shows UK population is eating too much sugar, saturated fat and salt. Accessed: 15th May 2015, Available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-national-diet-and-nutrition-survey-shows-uk-population-is-eating-too-much-sugar-saturated-fat-and-salt
4: Guglielmo B, Pannain S (2011) Sleep and Obesity. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care, 14(4):402-412.
5: Buxton O, Marcelli E (2010) Short and long sleep are positively associated with obesity, diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease among adults in the United States. Soc Sci Med, 71:1027-1036.