Implement these easy tips to improve your health and drop the kilos
You’ve probably read your fair share (or more) of what to do and what not to do if you’re trying to cut the kilos, but there is no magic pill or formula to losing weight.
First and foremost, you need to create an environment in your body that is conducive to letting the weight come off. This means consistently doing things that support your bodily systems to function at an optimum level. For healthy and sustainable weight loss, it is vital that the endocrine (hormones) and digestive systems are in balance and working properly, blood glucose levels need to be stable throughout the day, the body needs to move and also have adequate rest, and so on.
Here are 10 easy rules that you can start implementing into your lifestyle immediately to help weight loss and increase your overall health.
- Detox the Liver Daily
You often hear of going on a “detox” but what we actually need to do is be “detoxing” on an ongoing basis, every day. By supporting your liver to detoxify regularly, your body will be much more readily able to lose weight. The toxins that the liver cannot deal with are often stored in your fatty tissue, making it harder to get rid of. Start your day with a glass of warm water plus the juice of half a lemon or a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (to help your liver move the sludge. Herbal teas designed for detoxification are also great too. You may also like to add a quality greens supplement to your routine.
- Eat a Good Breakfast
Breakfast is crucial to healthy and sustainable weight loss. Studies have shown that those who eat it are more successful at losing weight and also more likely to keep it off. Chowing down on a wholesome morning meal will start the metabolism and set the tone for stable blood sugar levels throughout the day. Breakfast sends the message to your body to start burning the metabolic furnace. If you eat a low glycemic breakfast this will provide you with a slow release of energy, reducing sugar cravings later on and helping prevent overeating at night. Chose a meal that combines complex carbohydrates, fibre, protein and healthy fats, which is free from processed sugar. Good options include oatmeal with berries and nuts, eggs with spinach and avocado on rye/spelt/sprouted toast, or a low sugar smoothie with protein powder.
- Stay Hydrated
It’s important to keep the body hydrated and doing so will benefit your weight loss efforts. Aim for 2-3 litres of pure water a day, depending on your activity level. A good tip is to carry a 1 litre bottle with you and make sure you consume its contents twice throughout the day. Add sliced lemon, ginger and mint to jazz it up! Coconut water is also an excellent choice following heavy exercise as it contains natural electrolytes to replenish stores lost through sweating.
- Balance Your Hormones
Hormones are very tricky and when they are out of whack it can make it seemingly impossible to lose weight. They can also be responsible for making you store fat in certain areas, such as around the stomach or on the hips and butt. Thyroid problems are a huge contributor to being unable to shift stubborn fat. Nutritionist Jessica Sepel recommends including iodine in your diet to help balance this thyroid gland. Choose sea vegetables such as nori, wakame and dulse, or supplement with kelp tablet. Maca is another great natural aid for hormone health.
- Stress Less
This one relates to the point above. You know stress is bad for you, but do you realise that it is actually impacting your weight? When the human body is under stress, it stops functioning properly. We feel tired and run down, which is not conducive to weight loss. In fact excessive cortisol (the stress hormone) has been shown to be a contributing factor to weight gain, making your body more likely to store fat and less likely to burn it. Please try not to let stress get the better of you! Practice daily stress relief methods such as yoga, meditation and deep breathing. Intimacy is also a fabulous anecdote to the negative effects of stress… just saying!
- 30 Minutes of Movement
You have to move it to lose it. Make sure you fit in at least 30 minutes of exercise a day and try to incorporate a mix of cardio and weight training into your routine. Exercise burns calories, releases endorphins that relax you and make you feel good, increases the metabolism, strengthens the muscles and is a key component to weight loss. If you’re new to exercise, start off by adding a brisk 30 minute walk in each day and build it from there. Above all, find what you like and what works for you, that way it will be something you can maintain in the long run.
- Protein at Every Meal
Protein is the building block for our bodies. It has the highest thermogenic effect of the three macronutrients, meaning it uses the most internal energy to break it down, absorb and use once consumed. It is key to providing satiety (fullness) and a slow release of energy into the blood stream, not to mention its central role in muscle repair and recovery. Aim to include a good quality source of protein with every meal and snack to balance blood sugar levels, keep ghrelin (hunger hormone) in check, and help prevent junk food/ sugar cravings. Good options include raw nuts/seeds, tempe, organic poultry and meats, organic eggs, organic sheep/goat/cow dairy (if tolerated well) and beans.
- Get into Probiotics
Probiotics are the beneficial bacteria that we want to fill our digestive tracts. They are vital for maintaining healthy gut flora which recent studies have shown is key to achieving your body’s optimal weight. When your bacteria is imbalanced, you may be more likely to crave and eat the foods which feed the bad bacteria, such as processed carbohydrates, sugary foods and other junk. Having lots of the good guys will help you digest your food properly, minimise gastrointestinal upsets (such as gas and constipation), and make healthful food choices. Make sure you are including probiotics everyday with a high quality probiotic supplement capsule (available to purchase from FIT).
- Embrace Healthy Fats
Forget any of the low fat diet myths you may have heard; fat is good and it’s here to stay. And no, if you consume the right kinds, it certainly won’t make you fat. Having healthy fats in your diet is vital for immunity, vitamin absorption, mood, satiety, lowering bad cholesterol, beautiful hair, skin and nail, among other benefits. Make sure you include a variety of unsaturated fats, such as from nuts, avocado, olive oil and salmon. Saturated fats can also be consumed healthily in moderation in the form of organic dairy (cultured butter is fantastic source of vitamins and minerals), organic meat and poultry, coconut oil and coconut products.
- 8 Hours Sleep a Night
Good quality sleep is important for regulating our appetite hormones, feeling good, having energy, bodily repair, and detoxification. Get at least 8 hours a night and refrain from staying up late as this can mess with our body’s circadian rhythms (natural body clock). If you have trouble falling asleep, try not to watch TV or go on the computer right before bed, as the brightness stimulates receptors in our eyes that wake us up.
Don’t eat too close to bedtime either. If your meal is still being digested it can make it difficult to sleep properly. Still struggling? Have a relaxing bath with lavender oil or a calming herbal tea (chamomile or “sleepy time” varieties are great), to relax the mind and body before hopping into bed.