Losing weight doesn’t have to be a painful affair – these 8 tips from Anna Ma – nutrition specialist from Newscience Laboratories in South Korea – will help you do it healthily.
1. Keep a “Food & Stress” diary
Taking note of what you eat helps you recognise if you’re an “emotional eater”. Anna Ma, nutrition specialist from Newscience Laboratories in South Korea, explains: “We tend to turn to comfort food, such as chocolate or processed snacks, when we’re feeling emotionally vulnerable or under stress. But these are usually unhealthy, full of calories, and contain preservatives, sweeteners and artificial flavouring.” Once you’re aware of your mood and food patterns, you can think of healthier food substitutes, says Anna.
2. Eat more fibre richfoods
“High-fibre foods are great for staving off hunger pangs by keeping you feeling full for longer,” says Anna. Sneak these into your diet every day:
- Add a teaspoon of flaxseed or nuts into your breakfast cereal.
- Snack on unsweetened dried fruit like apricots, green apples and peaches, or fresh slices of pears and papayas.
- Opt for wholegrain bread and unpolished rice for your main meals.
3. Drink more water
Thirst is often confused with hunger, so a simple way to lose weight is to stay well hydrated. “Most importantly, dehydration slows down your body’s metabolic rate –drinking plenty of water helps to maintain the fat-burning process,” Anna points out. An average adult needs about two litres of water a day. If you don’t like plain water, flavour it with freshly cut fruit like oranges, strawberries or lemons. Avoid fruit juices and soda, which add unnecessary calories.
4. Don’t skip meals
It’s one of the worst weight-loss mistakes to make, notes Anna. “When your body goes through a stage of prolonged hunger, it increases fat-storing enzymes as a means of ‘preservation’ and this causes your metabolism to drop.” She recommends portion control instead. “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper. Start your day with a well-balanced breakfast to kick-start your body’s metabolic functions. Cut portion sizes progressively as you move towards the end of the day to ensure that your body won’t store excess calories as fat.”
5. Try a short term meal replacement shake
Studies have shown that meal replacement shakes can help with short-term weight loss, as they replace meals with a controlled amount of calories, and are formulated with nutritional ingredients to support gradual weight loss. “Meal replacement shakes like Ulti Trim, for example, have less than 120 calories per sachet. It uses natural ingredients such as rice, oats, chia seeds, milk and soya protein, as well as trace minerals and other nutrients. It also does not contain drugs to suppress appetite or increase metabolism,” explains Anna. She says Ulti Trim can replace 2 meals a day, so you can still have one well-balanced solid meal. But it’s best to consult a doctor before trying it.
6. Be patient, don’t stress yourself out
“Know that your body needs time to adjust to change. Healthy weight loss is a journey of controlling your diet and exercising to keep fit,” says Anna. That said, it’s fine to have a cheat day – go ahead and reward yourself for meeting your diet goals for the week, but do it moderately. So enjoy a scoop of ice cream, but don’t eat the entire pint.
7. Exercise daily for at least 30 minutes
This might sound intimidating if you haven’t been exercising regularly, but fret not. Anna says you can start by making easy lifestyle tweaks like these:
- Park at the lot farthest from your block, or from the entrance to your office, and walk.
- When watching TV, sneak in some leg lifts, lunges or squats.
- Power walk instead of strolling.
8. Get sufficient sleep
Sleep plays a big part in regulating metabolism, thanks to two sleep-related hunger hormones called ghrelin and leptin. “According to Michael Breus, author of Beauty Sleep, ghrelin tells you when to eat, while leptin tells you when to stop. When you’re sleep-deprived, ghrelin levels go up and leptin levels come down – which results in weight gain,” says Anna. Ideally, you should be getting 7-8 hours of sleep every night, and the best window to achieve deep and restorative sleep is from 10pm to 2am.
Are you constantly tired? Read http://www.thefinder.com.sg/body-soul/healthy-living/constantly-tired-it-could-be-thyroid-trouble
By Cheryl Leong, Simply Her, November 2014