Tired of trying different diets? While you may have lost a few kilos, but at what cost? Not only are you low on energy, but are nutrient deprived as well. And the sad reality of following fad diets is that whatever little weight you do lose comes right back!
That’s the thing about unhealthy weight loss diets – they unsustainable. Boo-hoo!
But you knew that from the get-go! Let’s try doing the right way, shall we?
1. Eat healthy
You’ve heard this one a dozen times (may be more!). But one of the main reasons of an unhealthy lifestyle is our love of bad carbs1. You know them, right? The usual candies, cookies, white bread, and chips.
If you can’t give them up altogether, make a subtle switch, balance it out by ensuring you have the good stuff (boring/bland) too like vegetables, whole grains, and protein. Also add foods like eggs, leafy greens, fish, and fruits to your diet as well.
Healthy carbs a.ka. whole carbs. They are unprocessed and contain fiber in their natural state. They are found in whole wheat breads, potatoes, and whole grains. So, don’t avoid carbs completely.
Shift your focus on noursihing your body, not on losing weight. When you make the shift, you’ll see the harm fad/crash diets can cause to your body.
Starting a food journal can help you get into a routine. Write down what you ate, how it made you feel (lethargic or energetic, bloated or light, etc). This will help you identify what agrees with your body and what doesn’t. This is the best way to eliminate unagreeable foods from your diet!
Meal prepping is ideal for those working tight deadlines! Start with prepping for a day and move towards weekly meal preps. It’s good for the body and the wallet!
2. Eat healthy fats to lose fat
You don’t have to lay off all fats from your diet. Eliminate or avoid saturated fats and trans fats. Saturated fats are found in fatty meat, full-fat dairy, and in processed foods. Trans fats are found in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. Unsaturated fats (think omega 3 fatty acids) are the good guys and are largely present in mackerel, salmon, sardines, olive oil, and walnuts.
Remember, all fats contain traces of different types of fats. But the secret is to look for foods where the percentage of unsaturated fats is larger than saturated fats.2
So, consume fat-burning healthy fats like avocados and unsalted nuts. Make the switch to extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil.
3. Get those muscles into action
While watching portion size and eating cautiously is all good, but only doing that won’t cut it. Remember, you need to take care of what’s piled on already. And to burn fat, you need to get your body into motion. Pick an exercise routine that works for you (comfort zone wise!), there’s Pilates, yoga, and aerobics to choose from. All that’s needed is to take up an activity and just get going!
4. Tweak your lifestyle
Your lifestyle determines how well you burn fat. If you lead a desk life, you will tend to burn less fat. A study discovered that being inactive for more than 4 hours takes a toll on an enzyme that helps with fat burning.3
Make minor changes to your life.
- Take the stairs rather than the elevator.
- Ride a cycle or if possible, walk back home.
- Stand up while you’re on the phone.
- Snack (healthy!) in between meal times. Munch on a bowl of mixed nuts or berries.
- Switch to green tea from coffee. Green tea is rich in antioxidants, and it’s also proven to help with burning fat.
5. Hydration is the key
Drink the recommended eight 8-oz glasses daily. This helps you to reduce hunger pangs and gives you a boost of energy. Keeping yourself hydrated helps to push yourself during workouts. You could make it interesting by infusing it with lemon, ginger, cucumber, or orange.
6. Make time for a healthy breakfast
Invest time and effort in a healthy breakfast. It should rev up your metabolism and give you energy throughout the day. A perfect breakfast would have oatmeal, whole grain cereals, eggs, or whole grain bread. Skipping breakfast increases your chance of binge eating later in the day.
7. Get a support group
An interesting research tells social support plays an important role in weight loss.4 You tend to stay motivated when people around you are also focused on eating healthy. Friendly competition, recognition of success, non-judgmental interactions, and encouragement are major boosters.
The healthy way of burning fat takes time and persistence. Don’t get disheartened if you don’t see immediate results.
Just keep at it! And remember, everything worth keeping takes time.
|↑1||Hu, Frank B. “Are refined carbohydrates worse than saturated fat?.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 91, no. 6 (2010): 1541-1542.|
|↑2||Siri-Tarino, Patty W., Qi Sun, Frank B. Hu, and Ronald M. Krauss. “Saturated fat, carbohydrate, and cardiovascular disease.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 91, no. 3 (2010): 502-509.|
|↑3||Dunstan, David W., and Neville Owen. “New exercise prescription: don’t just sit there: stand up and move more, more often: comment on “sitting time and all-cause mortality risk in 222 497 Australian adults”.” Archives of internal medicine 172, no. 6 (2012): 500-501.|
|↑4||Hwang, Kevin O., Allison J. Ottenbacher, Angela P. Green, M. Roseann Cannon-Diehl, Oneka Richardson, Elmer V. Bernstam, and Eric J. Thomas. “Social support in an Internet weight loss community.” International journal of medical informatics 79, no. 1 (2010): 5-13.|