Have you been trying to lose weight but no matter how hard you try, you just can’t lose those stubborn kilos? As I’m sure you’ve heard before, the best way to lose weight really is by changing your lifestyle for long term results, rather than overnight faddy diets. Slow really is better when it comes to permanent weight loss and preventing yoyo dieting, which is a trap many battle with. However, if you have made lots of lifestyle adjustments and still can’t shift the weight, here are a few things you could try to speed up the process to achieve that dream body you’ve been hoping for.
Exercise! It may sound obvious but exercise, in particular, high intensity interval training (HIIT), will increase the amount of mitochondria in your muscle cells. These little power houses convert the energy from your food or broken down fat stores into a form your body can use for energy. The more of these you have, the quicker you will lose weight.
Exercise doesn’t just create more mitochondria; it also burns more energy during the workout and for a couple of days afterwards, while the body is repairing itself. This means that exercise will have the lasting benefit of increasing your metabolism and speeding up your weight loss. Make it a regular part of your routine and you’ll soon start to see the benefits.
If you don’t like exercise, why not clean your house! Ok, so this sounds silly but believe it or not, you can burn more calories throughout the day by doing household chores like cleaning, washing the car, doing the gardening or redecorating than you can in one hour at the gym. So why not use this as an excuse to finally get your home in tip top condition this year.
Exercising before you eat in the morning can burn up to 2 calories more per minute due to the rise in the hormone cortisol. Talk about efficiency! This could mean burning an extra 120 calories over the course of a one hour workout, for the same exercise. Make sure you eat soon afterwards though, as exercising fasted and the increase in cortisol can put your body and your immune system under stress. Eating a small amount of protein and carbohydrate soon afterwards will reduce this immune response.
There is mounting evidence that our gut bacteria and the chemicals they release have a greater affect on our bodies and our hormones than we once thought. The gut bacteria found in slim people are difference to those found in people who are overweight or obese. This is likely due to the diets these people eat, for example certain bacteria like high fat and sugar diets and other bacteria thrive on fruits, vegetables and high fibre diets. A study at Harvard Medical School showed that by introducing the gut bacteria from “skinny” people into rats, they lost weight. When they added the bacteria from the “fat” people into the rats, they gained weight.
Taking a probiotic can be beneficial for both weight loss and your overall health, as a good gut flora is also associated with a strong immune system. You will need to take it daily for 4-6 months to allow the new bacteria to establish itself before you will start to feel the effects. If you don’t like the idea of taking a tablet, you could try introducing foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut and miso which contain plenty of healthy bacteria and act like fertilizer in your gut to support and maintain current healthy bacteria.
Eat more fibre
Fibre can support your gut microbes, helping them to flourish and keep you going to the toilet regularly. It can also slow the digestion of your meal and keep you feeling fuller for longer. If you like eating larger portions, fibre could be your friend, as it will leave you feeling full but without too many calories. Fibre doesn’t just have to be from whole grains either; why not try fruits like apples, bananas, mangos, raspberries or veggies like potatoes, carrots, beets, broccoli or artichoke to add more to your diet.
It doesn’t matter how healthy or nutritious your food is, it will still contain calories. Try to recognise when you are full and stop eating when your body tells you to. It is really easy to overeat, especially if it’s your favourite food. Try to plate up your food away from the dining table and once you finish your plate, stop eating. If you bring the dish to the table, you will increase the chances of serving yourself a second serving.
It can take 20 minutes before you body fully recognises that your are full and releases the hormes to tell you to stop eating. Try to eat slowly and allow yourself a break before you eat another plate, chances are, you may not need it.
When you are tired due to lack of sleep, it upsets your body’s natural hormone balance and circadian rhythm. Your body will start to crave instant energy from food, even though it’s sleep that it really needs. This tends to result unhealthy food choices which supply a quick form of energy, such as; sweets, chocolate or high calorie take away meals. Regularly being tired can make losing weight very difficult and even result in weight gain. The only answer for replacing energy when you’re tired is sleep.
Drink plenty of water
Unfortunately, the sensation of thirst and hunger are very similar. This is more notable in some people, than in others. So if you are someone who often struggles to identify the difference between these two feelings, try to have a glass of water half an hour before your meal to see if you are actually hungry or just thirsty.
Sticking to the diet and exercise regime is the most important part. So if you have a tendency to want to lose weight too quickly and hit it too hard, you may be setting yourself up for a fall. The greater the calorie deficit, the greater the chance of failing, as your body will think it’s starving and will release lots of hormones to encourage you to eat. In this case, slow and steady really is the quickest and easiest option. Aim for a steady weight loss of between ½ a pound and 2 pounds per week.
Stay positive and see if you can hit your targets in 2019!