It’s wonderful to indulge. Not so wonderful to deal with the consequences. The rules are simple with regards to weight loss. Calorie restriction and more activity. Scientifically, the evidence points towards this as the only way to lose weight. Eat less and move more. But before you beat yourself up, ask yourself if you actually do need to lose weight, or you just think you do. Healthy weights don’t necessarily mean half a stone lighter than you are already.
However, over 60% of the population in England is overweight so perhaps this post may apply to you if you’re in the majority.
To give you some motivation, here are some interesting facts I’ve learned along the way in my MSc in Nutrition and Health.
- Having a mirror in your kitchen and eating meals from a smaller plate are proven to work in weight loss strategy (Food Matters Live 2015).
- Fat is over double the calories of carbohydrate per gram (carbs is 4 calories/gram and fat is 9 calories/gram). Alcohol is 7 calories/gram. Dry January may be a good idea after all!
- Intermittent fasting is the most effective way of losing weight over a long period. The 5:2 diet is an excellent example. Ensure you supplement with a multivitamin on the days of fasting to maintain your micro nutrient requirements.
- If, like me, you love food too much to consider fasting, try having your last meal before 6 o clock and breakfast the next day after 6am. That way, you’ll fast for 12 hours without even trying.
- Regular exercise is proven to be associated with lowering risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Combined with a healthy diet – which means less processed foods, refined sugar and alcohol – you’ll feel slimmer and (more importantly) full of vitality within days. Have a look at the Eat Well Plate. It may give you an idea of how little ‘crap’ to eat per day.
- Our genes have an important role to play in our body shape, how we respond to fat, our cravings and the amount of exercise we do. In fact, some people were born to love exercise – particularly the naturally lean – and others weren’t. Check out The Diet Myth by Tim Spector. It’s a fabulous book giving the latest in nutrition research about what makes us who we are.
- Consider your surroundings, the amount of sleep you have and your daily habits. They could all have an effect on how your body processes the food you eat. Epigenetics is the study of external influences on our genes and it is such a crucial part of whether we are healthy or not. It’s suggested that our genes (the things that make us who we are) can be switched on or off if exposed to certain conditions over time. This could have an effect on how we metabolise food, what we crave and whether or not we get a disease. My personal advice is to try and put yourself in the most loving environment, eat healthy food and get lots of sleep. I love the fact there’s a spiritual side to science.
- Try the free Park Run. It’s on every Saturday at a local park near you. Masses of people turn up to run, jog or walk 5k. There’s a great atmosphere and I guarantee you will be pleased with yourself once you do it. It’s for people of any ability – under 11’s need an adult to run with them. It’s always the same route every week so you become familiar with it and you’re amongst other runners and spectators (who clap you along!) so it will keep you motivated.
- Above all, remember that we feel what we think. It’s not a case of controlling your thoughts though, it’s just a case of knowing that they come and go and not to take it all too seriously. Michael Neill is brilliant at explaining this.
Try this healthy ginger shot recipe in the morning to kick you out of the house with a smile.