Losing Weight: Our Top Tips

Losing Weight: Our Top Tips

Weight loss advice can be found all over the internet, but not all of it is good advice. We aim to provide you with some of our favourite tips, which have been backed up by science, to aid your attempts to lose weight naturally.

If you are attempting to lose weight you should consider talking to your doctor beforehand, especially if you have a medical condition or take medication.

Eat more fruit and vegetables

You will rarely find a successful weight loss diet that doesn’t tell you to include plenty of fruit and vegetables. [140]

Rich in fibre and nutrients, as well as containing water, fruit and veg are often low in calories. Whether you add them to your meals or have them as healthy snacks throughout the day, they will certainly fill you up sufficiently.

It means you can eat a significant amount of these foods without gaining weight, and by feeling full from these, you are then less likely to overeat on less healthy foods, as you are not hungry.

Ditch unhealthy processed foods for whole foods

Whole foods are much more beneficial for you than processed foods, as they have not been stripped of their nutrients or had substances such as salt and sugar added to them.

Examples of whole foods include apples, bananas, grapes, kale, carrots, tomatoes, chickpeas, kidney beans, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, peanuts, almonds and walnuts (unsalted), but there are many more. Meanwhile, examples of whole grains are brown rice, whole wheat, corn, rolled oats and popcorn.

Unhealthy processed foods include ice cream, pizza, chocolate bars, sweets, biscuits, crisps, pastries and chips. They are almost always high in calories while carrying little nutritional benefit, and sometimes even have chemicals and preservatives added which may be harmful. Processed foods are often high in trans fats, which have been heavily linked to numerous health problems. [158]

If you must treat yourself to such foods every now and then, try and go for homemade versions. For example, homemade ice cream is often much lower in sugar than store-bought ice cream, so it is not as unhealthy.

Ensure you eat plenty of protein

Not only is protein highly important for muscle and tissue repair, it can also cause your body to burn more calories digesting it. [154]

Protein is also great at filling you up and reducing your appetite, helping you eat fewer calories each day without feeling hungry. [149]

In one study, increasing the amount of calories that came from protein from 15 per cent to 30 per cent saw participants eat 441 fewer calories each day. This helped lead to 11lbs of weight loss over 12 weeks, and did not require specific restrictions on foods. [152]

Drink water rather than soft drinks and alcohol

Fizzy drinks, milkshakes and juices are often loaded with sugar, making them high in calories and devoid of nutrients. Not only can they lead to weight gain, they are also bad for your teeth. While juice can sometimes contribute one of your five a day, it is not as satiating as if you were to eat the fruit, so you may overconsume it.

On the other hand, water is an essential nutrient which contains zero calories. Regularly drinking water helps to prevent weight gain, as it fills you up and therefore makes you less likely to overeat. One study found that drinking half a litre of water 30 minutes before meals led to a reduced calorie intake and reduced hunger. [142]

With regards to alcohol, you can of course still enjoy the occasional drink in moderation, but heavy drinking is linked to weight gain. [156]

Stop being too generous with portion sizes

For many people, their portion sizes for each meal are too big. Large portion sizes have been heavily linked to obesity, [143] [144], because consuming too many calories leads to weight gain, and therefore it is imperative that you learn to control your portion sizes.

One of the easiest ways to do this is to use smaller plates and bowls, so you can’t fill them up with as much food. In many cases, you barely notice the reduced portion size, making it one of the easiest ways to stop overeating and lose weight.

Stop adding sugar to your tea and coffee

Many of us enjoy our tea or coffee with sugar in them, but cutting it out is a very simple way to cut out empty calories.

One teaspoon of sugar (4g) contains 16 calories. If you were to have 2tbsp of sugar in each hot drink, and have three hot drinks each day, that equates to almost 100 calories every day. Not only do you then have more calories to burn in order to lose weight, but you also increase your sugar consumption when we should be restricting our sugar intake.

Sugar has been heavily associated with obesity, heart disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes, and doing your best to avoid added sugar could reduce your risk of developing these health conditions. [160] [161]

Additionally, consider drinking unsweetened green tea instead of normal tea and coffee. It’s full of antioxidants and has been linked with increased weight loss and fat burning. [162]

Exercise regularly, ideally with weight-training

While you can lose weight through diet alone, it is more effective when combined with regular exercise. Not only will you boost your physical capabilities and health, but you will speed up the weight loss process.

Currently, for adults aged 19 to 64 years, the NHS recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate activity each week (such as cycling or brisk walking) and strength exercises on at least two days of the week. Remember, this is the minimum recommendation; you can do plenty more exercise than this.

Children are advised by the NHS to do at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day, with strength-related exercises on at least three days a week.

Get a good night’s sleep and avoid stress

We all get stressed at some point in our lives, whether it’s due to exams, work, illness or financial reasons.

Studies have linked stress with weight gain and other medical conditions such as type 2 diabetes [147], so it’s important to identify what is causing you to be stressed and to try and address it.

Consider yoga or meditation to help you relax, or even just do some deep breathing exercises each day. Exercise is also a great stress-buster, in addition to being a great way to lose weight.

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