If you’re unhappy with your weight, now is the time to take action. To start, you must change the way you think about food. For many people, it is not simply about aesthetics, it’s not even a choice, it’s a necessity. There’s an obvious problem.
THE OBVIOUS PROBLEM
We can blame tv advertising, time constraints and the price of groceries, but we can all choose what to eat and how much. The reason we have an overweight population is simply that we eat far too much and do way too little. Not only that, what we do eat, is usually the wrong kind of food, the fattening kind.
Why is it we eat foods we know are bad for us? Well, no food is bad if it’s consumed in moderation, but with enticing deals like 2 for 1 pizza and all you can eat, the concept of moderation is quickly forgotten.
Instead, poor quality (junk food) is eaten on a regular basis and rarely in moderate amounts. We know eating foods, loaded sugar and fat, isn’t great, but when it is done day after day, on a regular basis, then it’s a real problem.
It is this type of eating habit, which results in an increase in body fat, particularly when activity levels are low and exercise is just something on TV. But this is exactly what it is, a habit and habits are not easily broken, unless replaced by something equally nice.
WHY WE FAIL AT WEIGHT-LOSS
We know healthy eating is a good idea, but it doesn’t stop us wanting to eat the bad stuff. Junk food is tasty and convenient. The more we have, the harder it is to give it up. In order to lose weight we must get used to eating differently.
Telling people to put down the junk food, eat less and do more is rather pointless. Correct as it may be, stating the obvious isn’t always helpful. Most people know all too well that lowering energy input (food consumption) and raising energy output (activity or exercise) creates the calorie deficit needed to lose weight.
What is really needed is helpful tips and advice on how to accomplish this, after all, reducing calories requires a fair amount of self control while increasing output requires discipline and effort.
One of the biggest problems people have in trying to lose weight is cravings. It is these cravings which lead to the consumption of unhealthy snacks. One has to learn ways to control these cravings and to avoid eating the wrong kind of foods. These are usually the convenient kind, tasty and ready to eat, but ultimately fattening.
CRAVINGS AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT THEM
TIP. One of the best ways to avoid eating the wrong foods, is to always have the right ones (healthy yet tasty snacks) lined up. If you know the things you can eat indiscriminately and what to generally avoid, it’ll be easier. The trick is to always have tasty, non-fattening snacks ready to go. That way, you’re less likely to stumble.
We’re always trying to come up with new, exciting snack ideas that will fit the bill, but we also encourage members to share their ideas with other members of the group. We continually add tips, recipes and advice to our community group page, but you can also learn from our ebooks to. Why not start with our ‘how to lose weight’ ebook.
With regards to increasing energy output (activity), we have lots of helpful ideas for that too. At 180 we believe exercise should never be considered difficult, strenuous or a bore. If it is, you’re choosing the wrong thing for you.
TIP. We recommend improving output by taking part in activities you enjoy. A day of activity should be fun, not a chore. There are lots of things you can do to juice up your activity levels and use up those calories, but just about all of them are an improvement on sitting.
11 Essential tips for losing weight
1. Think long term The word diet suggests something short. If you want to rid your body of excess fat for good, you need to make changes to your eating habits as part of a long term lifestyle change. It’s not something you do for a few short weeks. Only then will you see real benefits to your weight and your health.
2. Eat healthily Learn to eat a healthy well balanced diet (lots of variety and colour) and you’ll be well on the way to losing weight the right way. The weight-loss will be more gradual, but it’s a healthier solution that’s longer lasting. Aim for a health gain, rather than weight loss.
Try to focus on providing your body with everything it needs (which means eating plenty NOT zero). If you eat more of the right foods and less of the wrong ones, the weight will drop off naturally. Spread your meals evenly throughout the day to improve metabolism, skipping meals will have the opposite affect.
3. Enjoy your food Make sure your healthy food choices taste great, choose foods you know you’ll enjoy. If you chose meals low in fat, but lacking in flavour or you buy foods you just don’t like, you’ll soon go back to your old ways. If you want great food, you must learn to cook.
Take time to eat and enjoy your food, chew slowly and for longer. This will help with digestion. It also gives the body time to signal to the brain, the stomach is full, thereby preventing you from snacking. If you can’t eat slow, wait 20 mins after food, before considering whether or not you are still hungry.
4. Learn to cook We’ve established that eating tasty nutritious meals with lots of variety is paramount to your success, but if you want to eat healthily and you want the food you eat to taste good, it’s essential you learn to cook. There is no need to become a kitchen expert, but you should learn the basics and have a few simple recipes up your sleeve.
5. Control portion size (eat less) Often the problem is not what you eat, but how much. A slight change to the size of your portions (particularly at dinner time) can make a huge impact with regards to daily calorie intake. Controlling portion size can help control your weight.
No need for nouvelle-cuisine, but you could use a smaller plate or stay within the inner circle of the dish or refrain from piling high. Sometimes just controlling the amount of carbs on the plate can have a huge impact. There are plenty of tools which can help you measure one portion.They make it much easier to serve the correct amount for one.
6/ Be careful with sweet stuff Lowering portion size can increase the temptation to snack. Try to keep snacking in check (particularly sugary items like cakes and biscuits). Snacking on sweet stuff can easily get out of control and become a daily need for something sweet. Avoid regular snacking. Try to limit snacks to just 1 or 2 times per day and make at least one, a healthy option such as fruit e.g. an apple or banana mid morning. Read..
7/ Get active A Less active lifestyle requires less energy and fewer calories. Increase activity and you increase the need for energy (calories). Just 20 to 30 mins of daily exercise will help to burn off some of those excess calories that can cause weight gain. Activity does not need to be long and strenuous, light exercise can still produce results. Like most things, the key is little and often. Make it fun, something you will find enjoyable and will want to do more of.
8/ Avoid sugary drinks One of the worst things you can do is consume drinks laced with sugar. Fizzy pop and so called energy drinks are dangerously high in sugar, but drinking tea and coffee with added sugar can be just as bad. Even fruit juice which is considered a healthy option is surprisingly high in sugar.
A high intake of sugar (energy) is bad news for anyone trying to lose weight, for the simple reason, energy not used up turns to fat. If you take in a lot of sugar, but you aren’t very active, the situation is worst.
9/ Alcohol consumption Another way to pile on calories and increase weight gain (or prevent weight loss) is with the consumption of alcohol. A cheeky glass of wine or spritzer is ok on a Friday after work, but don’t do it every day. Try to limit your alcohol intake when trying to lose weight or better still cut it out completely. Your liver will thank you.
10/ Drink more H20 Sometimes hunger can be mistaken for dehydration. Keep yourself hydrated throughout the day and if you have a main meal, but still feel hungry, rather than snacking, try drinking a glass of water, which will trick you into feeling fuller.
11/ Ignore the myths There are lot’s of weight-loss myths out there. Every year, more and more of them appear. Some tips are quite sensible, but there are some which are complete nonsense. This misinformation only adds to the confusion and makes losing weight harder. One such tip involves sweating the weight off. Here’s why you should ignore it.
Spending time in the sauna or wearing extra layers in an attempt to sweat the weight off is not going to help. You may lose some weight temporarily, but a glass of water will put the weight straight back on again. You’re not looking to lose water, you want to lose excess fat.
If you ignore the myths and focus on the things which work, you’ll do much better. Remember, it’s not a race, slow and steady wins the game. You’ll find more useful tips in our ebook, how to lose weight for good.
Use the above tips to lower your energy input and increase your energy output. Your goal is to create a calorie deficit. This is the way you lose weight. You can get there with small adjustments to diet and exercise. It is possible to lose weight without exercising, but results are often better if you do.
If you can curb cravings, eat regular meals and exercise, weight-loss can be achieved quickly and easily. With the right food and exercise, you can also ensure the bulk of your weight-loss comes from body fat, not muscle.
Take the hassle out of weigh-loss with a meal plan.
Not sure what to eat, how much or when? If you’re confused about diet, you may find the path to weight-loss easier with a well designed meal plan. With a meal plan all the food balancing and calorie counting is done for you. Our diet plan was designed for the inactive lifestyle, so no need to worry about exercise. No more hassle or stress, just follow the diet and monitor your results.
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