As a nutritionist, one of the most popular questions I get asked is…” How can I lose weight?” Having worked with many weight loss clients, I can tell you that quick fixes and faddy diets do not work in the long term. Instead here are five simple habit changes that you can implement today.
1. Keep A Food Diary
The only way to really know what you’re eating is keep an honest record. Studies show that dieters who keep food records lose more weight than those who don’t (sometimes twice as much) Most of us will have trouble remembering what we ate yesterday, let alone remember what we ate last week.
Keeping a food diary to track what you eat can be an effective way to keep yourself accountable, but can also uncover habits you may need to address such as eating when stressed, grazing, skipping meals or eating when rushed.
2. Move Regularly
Moving your body is one of the best tools you have when it comes to weight loss. You don’t have to spend hours in the gym, a brisk walk or resistance-based training can positively influence your metabolic rate. The more muscle you have, the more energy you burn (even whilst resting). Studies show that exercise also has a positive impact on blood sugars promotes feelings of satiety.
When exercising it is important to find an activity that you enjoy and that you will stick with! I encourage you to try a few different activities and see which is your favourite. I love running, yoga and weight training, but you might like dance, trampolining, or hiking.
3. Eat More Protein
Protein is nature’s appetite suppressant – it switches of hunger and helps keep you satisfied for longer, which is a plus if you are trying to lose weight. Protein also helps to protect lean muscle mass, which helps regulate blood glucose and burns more calories.
Try to include protein with every meal or snack for example breakfast could be eggs, snack on Greek yogurt, add chickpeas and lentils to your salad, include fish or tofu with your dinner.
4. Mindfully Eat
Studies show that those who do other things whilst eating be it watching TV, replying to emails, or eating on the go, will consume more calories than those who focus on what they are eating with no distraction. Distracted eating doesn’t just lead to more consumption in the moment, but can actually lead to over eating later on in the day too.
Mindfully eating may also help you tune into your body’s hunger
signals, stopping when you are full and avoiding accidently taking in more than
5. Drink More Water
Many of us forget to drink enough water throughout the day, and often we can mistake hunger for thirst. Our bodies need water to function optimally, including regulating metabolism and digestion. The amount of water you should drink will vary depending on size, activity and composition, but on average 2-3litres per day is recommended. I always carry a water bottle round with me, to encourage me to drink more. Add some lemon, mint or cucumber for a fruity twist.
6. Downsize Your Meal Plate
Reducing the size of your plate can be a valuable tool in decreasing the amount of food you consume in one meal. Evidence suggests that food consumed per meal is influenced by the size of your plate, with 40% more food being consumed on larger plates. Not only does this help to reduce your portion size, but your mind views it as a plate that is filled with more food.
7. Prioritise Sleep
Lack of sleep can affect the hormones controlling appetite, Leptin and Ghrelin. Ghrelin is your hunger hormone and leptin is your satiety hormone. Studies show that when you are sleep deprived your levels of ghrelin increase causing you to feel hungrier and crave more energy-dense foods. Long term sleep deprivation along can have many negative health outcomes, but one is an imbalance in hormones that can lead to obesity and poor food choices.
If you are struggling with losing weight, then please drop me an email to see how I can support you.