There is no denying that obesity is now a pandemic. The number of overweight or obese adults has more than doubled since 1980, to a massive 1.4 billion! But even more frightening is the news that 40 million children under 5 years of age are also classified as overweight. In the UK 65% of adults are overweight, which puts their health at serious risk to diseases such as type 2 diabetes, hearts disease, breast, colon and prostate cancer.
Rather than bury your head in food, make a change. Though right now the idea of losing or maintaining your weight seems like a battle that you will inevitably lose, the mountain can be conquered step by step and before you know it you’ll reach the summit of success.
Our top tips for reaching/maintain your ideal weight:
1-Make a Meal of It
Staying in shape is not about starving yourself. You should eat 3 meals a day. Yes, that includes breakfast, and no grabbing a coffee and a doughnut does not count. Eating regularly throughout the day keeps your metabolism going meaning calories are continuously being burnt.
To keep your body in optimum condition exercise is essential. “Regular exercise keeps you sensitive to insulin, which means you burn fat instead of sugar, are less hungry and stay slimmer. It also helps you feel good.” says Susan E. Schenck a nutrition expert and author. Even a few shorts bursts of exercise a day could make a real difference to your health.
Sometimes thirst can be mistaken for hunger. To ensure you are fully hydrated aim to drink 2 litres of water a day, that’s 8 250ml glasses. If the idea of drinking water all day long bores you, you can drink other beverages as long as they are low in sugar and calories (so it’s time to give up the coke addiction).
4-Know your Nutrition
In short protein and fibre are your friends and excess carbohydrate is your foe. Fruit, vegetables and whole grains are all high in fibre and maintain healthy digestion. Meat, poultry, fish and eggs are all sources of protein; they encourage the development of lean muscle and reduce cravings. Too many carbohydrates can make the body produce more of the hormone insulin, which causes the body to store more fat.
Over the years our plates have increased in size by 20%, because people tend to fill their plates with food that means we are eating 20% more. A simple solution? Use smaller plates (and don’t go back for seconds). A meal should consist of a fist sized amount of protein, twice the amount of vegetables (2 fists full) and any remaining space on the plate is for wholegrain carbohydrates. For men the portions can be a little larger.
6-Write It Down
Forget strict calorie counting, it is not sustainable and often not practical (imagine asking a waiter to list the calorie contents of every menu item). Instead, keep a daily diary. Write down everything you ate, the amount of exercise you did and your weekly goal. Be honest about with what you write, you’re only lying to yourself.
7-Be Trigger Happy
Know what sets you into eating mode and conquer it. If you are an emotional eater substitute comforting food for a personal treat; take a relaxing bath, go on a shopping trip or take a walk. If you are a situational eater the key is to plan ahead; instead of munching on popcorn at the cinema take some healthier snacks of your own like fresh fruit, a few nuts or some seeds.
8- Sweet Nothings
If you make a mistake don’t beat yourself up. A little indulgence is allowed; just make sure it doesn’t become the norm. If you ban yourself from everything entirely, you will brake under the pressure of your cravings and end up overindulging. So if you feel like a bar of chocolate, a portion of chips or slice of pizza that’s fine, just eat clean the rest of the week and make sure you workout.
Don’t give up; anything worth doing is worth fighting for. Remember to acknowledge your achievements when you reach a goal, because you have taken a step closer to your final destination, so be brave and begin your ascent to peak health.