Weight Loss Guide
People gain weight when they consume more calories than they need. Without an exercise regime to work off the excess energy, the body stores it as fat, for future use.
Published: Wednesday 14 December 2016
You can lose weight if you set your mind to it. It is boiled down to three main elements.
First, a healthy diet. This includes each food group - protein (meat, dairy, pulses, fish, poultry), minerals (vegetables, salt), vitamins (vegetables, fruit), water and carbohydrates (grains, vegetables, fruit) - represented on your plate. Keep your snacks to a minimum and when you find yourself reaching for that Mars bar, go for a piece of fruit instead as it also contains fibre for digestion. The key to having and maintaining a healthy diet is to eat the number of calories relative to how active you are. If you are not active, but eat and drink a lot you are more likely to gain weight and vice versa. The recommended number of calories per day should be around 2000 for women and 2500 for men.
The second key to weight loss is activity. The human body was engineered in such a way that it is able to function remarkably on minimal energy. For our hunting and foraging ancestors, utilising this energy to its maximum potential was key to survival. But in the 21st century, with a cornucopia of cheap high-energy food available in mammoth proportions around every street corner, the energy piles up and we find ourselves with excess body mass.
Exercising has several benefits including weight loss, increase in muscle mass, boosting energy levels and overall benefits to your mental and physical well-being. If equipment-training at the gym is not your thing, try some functional workout such as gardening, zumba, biking and trekking.
Third, you will need titanic willpower to continue to resist those finger-licking doughnut holes, cajun fries and freakshakes. This might be a large barrier to overcome if you have fallen into a vicious cycle of a poor diet which leads to constantly feeling tired so your body lacks the energy to exercise regularly. We’ve gathered a few tips to help you boost your willpower:
- Control your portions
- Replace any sweets and high-fat goodies with fruit and vegetables
- Make small changes to your day to include more exercise - climbing the stairs, biking to work, walking to the station.
- Plan your meals and snacks to avoid temptation
- Don’t shop hungry to avoid impulsive purchases
- Drink water! It’s excellent for just about everything from metabolism to improving skin blemishes and losing weight.
Other ways to help you lose weight are:
- Staying motivated
Setting goals, getting enough sleep (around 8 hours is recommended), using apps and taking pictures of yourself to track your progress will help you stay motivated on your weight loss journey. Just remember, slow and steady wins the race because losing weight too quickly can take a toll on your mind and body and you may end up feeling more tired and sluggish and lose muscle mass instead.
- Don’t stock junk food
This will reduce any temptation to reach for chocolates, sweets or crisps. Instead, fill your home with fruit, oat cakes or unsalted popcorn when you need a healthy snack.
- Cut down on alcohol
Alcohol is high in calories than what most people realise and a glass of wine may contain the same number of calories as a piece of chocolate. See more information about the calories in alcohol.
- Meal plan
On the weekends, try to create a meal plan for the upcoming week so you can learn how to portion control, eat healthy and change your food buying habits. If you meal plan you are more likely to buy, plan and prepare healthier foods and add variety into your diet.
Authored by Iris Barbier
Born in France, Iris moved to the UK to study Biological Sciences at London Metropolitan University. Upon graduating, Iris moved up north, where she completed an MA in Science Journalism at the University of Lincoln.
As a qualified science journalist, Iris uses her expertise to write content for Pharmica’s online Health Centre. She ensures our patients get specialist knowledge on medical conditions and how to treat them.