05 Apr The Season of Weight Loss
With the arrival of spring comes warmer weather, reminding us of the summer season looming closely behind. Of course, when summer comes, losing weight is one of the first things that comes to mind.
Like all women (and a sizeable amount of men) who feel the panic of summer approaching, maybe you are looking for a miracle that will help you lose weight. Juice detoxes, detox programs, slimming teas, slimming pills, Herbalife, shake programs and more… Are you determined to find the miracle you haven’t found in the past? If so, please read on… 🙂
Why don’t you ask yourself, how will I find the miraculous weight loss secret that I haven’t found in all these years? Or, if there was a miracle like a tea or a pill, would there be this many people around the world struggling to manage their weight?
It is hard to admit that there is no miracle cure, but if you look back on your past experiences over the years, you may realize and come to accept the truth that there is no such thing as a miracle.
This year, we would like to give you a few suggestions that will hopefully guide you to do some things differently compared to the previous years … First of all, you will need to accept that there is no miracle in weight loss 🙂
Stop thinking in black and white:
There is no such thing as “perfect” or “ideal” way of eating in nutrition. Nutrition consists of many shades of gray, not extremes like black or white. Avoid diets and “forbidden” food lists that make you think in extremes.
It’s important to realise that by taking an extra bite, nothing is “ruined”…. An “all or nothing” mindset is an unsustainable approach to nutrition.
If you are reading these lines, I assume that you now know that in order to lose weight you need to get less energy (calories) from food than your body burns daily – If this is new information to you please have a look here.
However, to lose weight, the “calories you need to consume per day” are not an exact number like 1000, 1200 or 1500. The number of calories you need to eat per day depends solely on your daily activity and how fast you want to lose weight.
Let’s say you still set a daily calorie target in line with your goals, you don’t “ruin” anything by eating less or more than that in a day.
Remember, this is a journey, and it’s not that one perfect day that will get you where you want to be, but it will be your long-term consistency.
Try not to think too strictly in terms of having to do certain exercises or having to eat a certain way. You need to find a way of eating that you enjoy and an exercise that you like and can maintain over a long period of time.
Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts to losing weight. On the day you can’t exercise, go for a walk, if you can’t find time to go for a walk, tidy up your house and stay active. Every time you are not sitting on the sofa, you get one step closer to your goal. Anything is better than nothing.
There are many non-nutritional factors that make it difficult to focus on your nutrition, think about these too…
There are many scientific studies that have been showing the importance of sleep for overall human health and optimal function in recent years. It is extremely important to have 7-9 hours of good quality sleep a night, in order to feel energised and to better manage your appetite.
Not getting enough of good quality sleep causes changes in leptin and ghrelin hormone levels, making you feel hungrier during the day (1,2) . It has been shown again and again in different studies (3,4,5).
Having finished eating 2-3 hours before going to sleep, not consuming alcohol, and having a break from electronic devices such as phones, tablets, computers, and televisions that emit blue light preferably 2 hours before, if not possible, 1 hour before going to sleep will improve your sleep quality. Apart from this, it will also be beneficial to air your room for 5-10 minutes before going to sleep.
Remember, the quality of your sleep is as important as the total duration of your sleep, and you can increase your sleep quality by paying attention to these points.
A good quality of 7-9 hours of sleep is perhaps the easiest thing to do that will help you manage your appetite and reduce your cravings in the afternoon.
You work at a busy job; you never know what the week will bring, and you may be working on weekends most of the time…
If having a snack in front of the TV when you come home in the evening is your favourite part of the day, sorry, I have bad news. This may mean that you are an emotional eater… The way you inadvertently choose to relax at the end of the day seems to be through eating. Thus, it looks like you may have a problem with stress management.
Due to living in a busy city life and a stressful lifestyle, the first strategy most people use to relax is eating, but this is not a very productive behaviour for your long-term health and weight management.
It is very important to spend time often on activities that will allow you to relax and relieve stress in your life. If you want to nail weight management, I believe finding an alternative to this behaviour is mandatory. If your preferred way to de-stress is eating, even if you lose weight, gaining it back after some time is almost guaranteed.
Improve your food quality and pay attention to your portions:
Although calories are the most important factor for weight loss, not everything is about calories. Focus on natural and unprocessed foods in your diet. Eat more vegetables. If you are not moving too much, try to reduce carbohydrate-dense foods like rice, pasta, and bread. Good fats are beneficial but pay attention to the amount you consume, especially nuts. Try to opt for plant-based protein sources, low-fat poultry or fish for protein.
Increasing your food quality will help you create more satiating meals which in turn will help you lose weight without realising it (6).
As human beings we want to achieve everything as quickly as possible, however, as cheesy as it sounds things worth having often take time. Especially when it comes to losing weight… Please remember that this is a journey and the most important thing is consistency. Give yourself some time to reach your goals and be realistic.
Let this be the year where you completely change things and do not expect to “drop 2 sizes in 2 weeks” but instead focus on changing your behaviours and improving your eating and lifestyle habits.
1) Spiegel K. Brief Communication: Sleep Curtailment in Healthy Young Men Is Associated with Decreased Leptin Levels, Elevated Ghrelin Levels, and Increased Hunger and Appetite. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2004;141(11).
2) Schmid S, Hallschmid M, Jauch-Chara K, Born J, Schultes B. A single night of sleep deprivation increases ghrelin levels and feelings of hunger in normal-weight healthy men. Journal of Sleep Research. 2008;17(3).
3) Brondel L, Romer M, Nougues P, Touyarou P, Davenne D. Acute partial sleep deprivation increases food intake in healthy men. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2010;91(6).
4) Markwald R, Melanson E, Smith M, Higgins J, Perreault L, Eckel R et al. Impact of insufficient sleep on total daily energy expenditure, food intake, and weight gain. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2013;110(14).
5) Nedeltcheva A, Kilkus J, Imperial J, Kasza K, Schoeller D, Penev P. Sleep curtailment is accompanied by increased intake of calories from snacks. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2008;89(1).
6) O’Brien K, Hutchesson M, Jensen M, Morgan P, Callister R, Collins C. Participants in an online weight loss program can improve diet quality during weight loss: a randomized controlled trial. Nutrition Journal. 2014;13(1).