We hear it all the time – if you want to be healthier and/or lose weight you have to stop eating X (carbs, fat, meat, sugar, desserts). But what if you have don’t want to give these things up or you only have them in moderation and giving them up seems a step further then you are willing to go. Plus is health and weigh loss just about calories in and calories out?? (I’m not a big fan of this ethos – read here for my reason why).
In this blog post I thought I would share the things you could DO to make your health journey a positive experience. These tips are not about changing your diet they are about changing the way you do thing to help you achieve your health goals.
- Stop snacking (or at least snack carefully) – the clinical research into this one isn’t completely clear. Some research has shown that snacking can actually lead to weight-loss but this was based on people snacking on fruits, vegetables and other high fibre foods. But not many people in reality do not snack on these foods, more frequently people snack on high carbohydrate foods which are linked to elevated fasting blood glucose levels – elevated glucose levels are linked to increased weight gain, systemic inflammation which is also linked to cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Elevated glucose and systemic inflammation are associated with weight gain. Furthermore, if we avoid snacking our insulin levels will go down and our fat cells can then release their stored sugar, to be used as energy so although the research isn’t unanimous if you are looking to lose weight this is the exact situation you are trying to create.
- Time restricted feeding (TRF)– if you haven’t heard of TRF you may have heard of intermittent fasting (IF). IF has been shown to assist in weight loss. Recent research has shown that the time when you fast is actually extremely important. The aim of any kind of fasting is to go longer between meals, without snacking allowing our insulin levels to go down. We lose weight if we let our insulin levels go down. The entire idea of IF is to allow the insulin levels to go down far enough and for long enough that we burn off our fat. In addition to this it is important to be aware of our body’s natural rhythm. Our bodies have evolved to follow the natural circadian rhythm of the day – eating during the night or late into the evening impacts on our ability to lower our insulin levels overnight leading to increased fat storage (as I was saying above).TRF comes in a number of forms – 12:12, 10:14 8:16 the longer the period of fast (16hours in the 8:16) appears to have the biggest impact on satiety, insulin levels and weigh but it can be more difficult to stick too. 10:14 (14 hour fasting) usually done between 8am – 6pm or 10am -8pm appears to have beneficial effects and is a little easier to follow.
- Reduce your plate size – research by Peng 2017 showed that by reducing your plate size this can increase the feeling of satiation, so you feel fuller sooner. Furthermore, by reducing your plate from a 12 inch plate to a 10inch plate you will reduce your calorie intake by 20% at major meals – this could be the equivalent of 10lbs over a year.
- Drink more water – drinking more water is linked to increased weight loss and improved health. Water helps us to feel full, removes toxins and it increases your metabolism helping you to burn more calories – this blog explain more.
- Mindful eating – mindfulness has been a buzz word for a little while now; but did you know in a systematic review of 19 studies in 2018 (read more here) showed that mindfulness intervention lead to a reduction in weight of 6.8-7.5ib. Eating mindful can be quite simple don’t eat with distractions such as the TV or your laptop, think about your food as you eat it – How does it taste? What is the texture like? Is it hot? Is it cold? In order to notice these things you need to slow down when you are eating this can help you to notice when you are satisfied and stop before you are stuffed!
As with any planned health changes aim to do it in bite size (pardon the pun) chunks. Why not look at these 5 tips and see which one would fit into your life the easiest – could you stop your evening snacking? Could you move to the dining table for meals? That water bottle you bought that’s sat at the back of the cupboard can you start using it?
You don’t need to have a massive overhaul of your diet and lifestyle to have an effect – why not just make some simple changes and get them to stick before moving on to adding something else in. These step will take you in the right direction and get you the end result you are looking for.