Changing your life sounds dramatic but really, it can be a series of seemingly small and insignificant tweaks to your lifestyle that when added up, make an almighty difference.
Start your new path to a healthier and happier you with these TLL-approved tips.
- Eat to feel full, not to clear your plate
“Pay attention to how your stomach is feeling and eat slowly, don’t get sucked into the pressure of clearing every scrap of food on your plate. Eat to feel satisfied, not stuffed,” advises Nutritionist Cassandra Barns.
- Read food labels
Make time to read food labels, so you know what you’re putting into your body, and avoid being persuaded by the likes of ‘sugar free’ or ‘low fat’ products in the hope that these can help shift those stubborn pounds.
‘If a food or drink is described as ‘low sugar’, ‘slim line’ or ‘diet’, it will usually contain an artificial sweetener. These sweeteners have been linked to mood swings and depression, and it has been found that people who regularly use artificial sweeteners tend to gain weight because they can slow down the digestive process and increase appetite,’ explains Dr Marilyn Glenville, the UK’s leading Nutritionist, author of Natural Alternatives to Sugar (www.marilynglenville.com).
- Add more salmon to your diet
‘Salmon is a great superfood to help with weight management. Salmon is an oily fish and is therefore packed full of Omega 3 essential fatty acids – one benefit of that is assisting with weight loss. Studies link weight loss to omega 3 fatty acids.
“The oils from the oily fish, such as salmon, appear to enhance weight loss by increasing fat metabolism. Salmon also has the great benefit of being a lean source of protein. The protein content will help with your appetite by making you feel fuller for longer,’ explains Shona Wilkinson, Nutritionist at SuperfoodUK.com the online shopping destination for health & wellbeing.
- Take time to eat
Instead of eating on the run, give yourself – and your body – time to appreciate your food. If you rush your meal, your body gets the message that you’re stressed and under pressure, meaning a less effective digestive system.
- Go vegan once a week
“Veganism wouldn’t be my first protocol for weight loss. This is because vegan diets tend to be lower protein and higher starchy carbohydrates, which is less successful for those trying to lose weight. However, if a diet has been previously rich in unhealthy processed foods and, veganism stimulates a change to incorporate more fresh vegetables, whole grains and pulses then weight loss will be inevitable,” explains Shona.
- Find a fitness buddy
Working out with a friend is a double dose of brilliance – not only are you less likely to cancel, but you’ll feel even more bursts of endorphins having a laugh with your BFF. “Working out with others means you can have a laugh, spend quality time with friends or meet likeminded people, but instead of sharing a drink at the pub you can be getting fitter and healthier,” adds Katie Booth, CEO and Co-Founder of Fitssi the new social fitness app (www.fitssi.com).
- Don’t use your period as an excuse to overindulge
“The chemicals in our body- dopamine, serotonin and cortisol all play a role in appetite regulation. These are affected by hormones in your body, including sex hormones. This is why when you have hormonal fluctuations, such as just before menstruation, you may find yourself with a bigger appetite and in search or sweet or fatty foods.
“To help beat the fatty cravings try a snack including protein and complex carbohydrates. Try eating a boiled egg with some vegetable sticks or some oat cakes with nut butters,” says Shona.
- See the benefits with broccoli
The green veg is extremely low in calories, and thanks to it being high in fibre and water, adds bulk to a meal without the calories.
It helps you feel full, slowing down your digestion and means you’ll snack less. To top it all off, it’s packed of micronutrients that are known to support weight loss.
“One of the main ones is chromium, which helps balance your blood sugar levels and prevents those pangs of hunger. Broccoli also contains phytochemicals, which have the ability to help breakdown fats,” says Shona.
- Stop your sweet tooth
Not only will you be healthier, but happier if you can cut your 3pm chocolate cravings.
“Make sure you eat a healthy breakfast, which contains protein as well as carbohydrates (scrambled eggs with rye bread) and continue later during the day with vegetables; this helps to maintain a steady flow of blood sugar. This means, that by the time you get to 4pm, your blood sugar should not have dropped so much that you need that quick sweet fix,” says Marilyn.
“As you eat, your blood sugar goes up and insulin is released. If you are eating refined sugar and carbs they will hit your bloodstream fast and cause an imbalance in blood sugar. Your body will release more insulin to deal with this rapid rise in blood sugar. Once dealt with, the blood sugar levels will drop, but because you’ve generated the release of so much insulin, the levels will drop too low and you will soon feel like snacking on a bar of chocolate. The more sweets you eat, the more you will crave them – it is a catch 22,” adds Marilyn.
- Have more sex
Exercise helps you release that much-needed rush of endorphins – and so does sex. So you’re essentially working out, making your relationship stronger and it’ll help you sleep better too. “Sex or masturbation can help to relieve tension and help you go off to sleep faster,” says Marilyn.
- Spend an extra hour in bed
When you get the chance to have a lie in, do; an extra hour of sleep each night can increase leptin, the hormone that suppresses appetite. Any excuse to hit the snooze button…