Weight loss can often be associated with crash diets, intense exercise regimes or even invasive medical procedures. However, studies have shown that the challenge is not weight loss itself, but rather maintaining this weight loss long term.
More than half of adults in the UK are considered to be overweight and 1 in 4 adults clinically obese. These statistics suggest that there is still much to be done in terms of educating the population about how to live an active and healthy life.
Not all steps towards weight loss need to be daunting. And even small steps can make a significant difference. Here are just a few habits that can be easily incorporated into your daily routine.
Slower eating: Take your time with meals
Slowing the rate at which you eat your meals can make a profound difference to your appetite. The brain requires approximately 20 minutes to fully gauge feelings of fullness in the stomach. This is because it takes time for the hormones released during meals and the stretch receptors in the stomach to send signals of ’fullness’ to the brain.
By savouring flavours and making a meal last for around 20 minutes, the brain is given ample time to react to chemical changes in the body and establish a healthy stopping-point. This mindful eating technique is one simple way to curb over-eating. It is also offers the added benefit of making the mealtime more enjoyable, too.
Smaller plates; smaller portions
Another very easy trick to maintaining a healthy weight is switching your dinner plate for a smaller one. This is a great way to substantially lower food portions without feeling like you are eating less.
It is important not to underestimate the psychological factors in your eating habits. Simply seeing a smaller plate filled with food may psychologically convince you that the food you have served is adequate for your needs. A number of studies from around the world have shown that smaller plates and even smaller cutlery can succeed in cutting calories.
One study in the USA which compared those using a ‘diet plate’ with those following their usual routines found that over a six month period those using the smaller plates lost significantly more weight.
Breakfast: The most important meal of the day
This might seem like an obvious one, but you’d be surprised by the amount of people that skip breakfast in the morning; with 45% of Brits skip breakfast at least once a week.
Breakfast has been proven to be a key factor towards maintaining a healthy body weight. Eating a balanced breakfast every morning provides you with the nutrients and energy needed to help wake you up and eliminate cravings before lunch.
Snacking typically falls into two categories. The first consists of cakes, biscuits, crisps and other processed foods that are undoubtedly responsible for many people’s weight gain during office hours. However snacking on health foods can keep cravings at bay and help maintain steady blood sugar levels throughout the day.
Popular healthy snacks include vegetables, nuts and seeds, which have a high nutritional value but also release energy slowly and consistently.
Maintaining a healthy pattern of blood sugar can play an important role in weight management and also prevent dips in energy and concentration during the day. Spiking blood sugar levels caused by sugary snacks is a well-documented contributing factor to Type 2 diabetes.
Drink water and water alone
Doctors and nutrition experts often warn patients about the dangers of ‘drinking your calories’. While there is nothing wrong with the odd soft drink, tea or coffee during the day, the majority of a person’s liquid consumption should be pure water. Water not only promotes weight loss by increasing the metabolic rate, it can also help prevent cravings. Dehydration can often be misread as hunger pangs. Simply drinking 1.5 – 2 litres of water a day can aid both digestion and prevent overeating.
If you are finding that exercise and dietary changes alone are not bringing you closer to your weight loss goals, find out more about our weight loss medication.