“At the age of thirty-seven, I was fat, and since the age of thirty-eight, I have never been fat again. That’s the whole idea of effective weight loss – it’s permanent because it’s part of your lifestyle and the way you think about yourself, with pride and a sense of accomplishment. The goal you achieve is your own – you own it.”
Jean Nidetch, American businesswoman
For as long as anyone can remember, people have been wanting to lose weight. The media shows images of sexy and svelte men and women who have toned abs and not an ounce of fat on them. This has prompted the growth of a diet industry and people trying ‘get thin quick’ – without putting in the hard work.
These methods of losing weight may work in the short term, however, they don’t lead to people losing weight and keeping it off. The only way to do this is by adopting good nutrition principles and a regular and sustained exercise programme. In this article, we’ll take a look at what these nutrition principles are that will help you to lose weight.
Carbohydrates give us the energy that we need in order to perform our everyday activities such as working, exercising and playing with your children. However, all carbohydrates aren’t created equal. There are refined carbohydrates – such as white bread, pastries and cake – which give you a rush of energy just after you’ve eaten them. However, very soon you’ll be left feeling tired and listless. In order to counteract this feeling of tiredness, you’ll eat more refined carbs to keep your energy up. Because you’re eating increased amounts of calories, you’ll put on weight should you not use this energy.
In order to keep your weight levels down, you need to eat slow-release carbohydrates (also called low GI carbohydrates) such as wholewheat bread. These carbohydrates release consistent amounts of energy into your bloodstream throughout the day. They also keep you feeling more fuller for longer periods which means that you’ll curb the urge to keep on snacking to keep your energy levels up.
Small, more frequent meals
One of the ways that you will burn fat and lose weight is to step up your metabolism. The way that you do this is by eating smaller, more frequent meals. The recommended frequency of meals is:
- Mid-morning snack
- Late afternoon snack
You should not be eating after 8 pm in the evening. This is because you don’t want to go to sleep with a stomach full of food. As you’re not using large amounts of energy while you sleep this will turn into fat – something that you’re trying to avoid! So unless you’re going dancing after dinner, make sure that you eat your dinner early.
6 – 8 glasses of water a day
Many people don’t drink enough water and prefer to drink fizzy drinks in addition to tea and copious amounts of coffee. 70% of our bodies consist of water and many processes in our bodies need water to function optimally. This means that if you want to lose weight, you need to make sure that you drink 6 – 8 glasses of water a day. (This equates to two litres, more or less.)
What is very critical is that you don’t drink more water than this. (However, if you’re exercising and/or perspiring a lot, you need to drink more water to replace what you’ve lost.) If you drink more water than your allotted two litres a day you’ll flush out the minerals that your body needs.
Together with good nutrition principles, to be effective at losing weight you need to engage in an exercise routine. We’re not saying that you need to become a professional bodybuilder but you need to engage in activities that get your heart rate up. If you’re stuck, why not visit your local gym to see how a personal trainer can help you.