Weight loss is a difficult challenge. There is no one method that is effective for everyone and there are multiple factors to take into consideration. And often these factors are subtle or nuanced.
However there are some evidence based traits that are healthy and should help you to achieve weight loss and sustain that loss.
Small calorie reduction – if you don’t eat enough calories over an extended period then you will lose weight. However not only is this not healthy, it is not sustainable. For a calorie reduction to play an effect part in weight management and weight loss, aim for a small daily reduction in overall calories (500 kcal or less) for a sustained period. Not only will this be achievable without making you miserable, it won’t trick your body into starvation mode and therefore become more efficient in utilising calories.
10% or less of your daily calorie intake from added or refined sugar – the words sugar, glucose, starch and carbs are often used interchangeably and can be confusing. There are better carbohydrate sources and worse. Better sources are complex carbohydrates such as wholemeal bread or pasta and simple carbohydrates such as fruit. A not so healthy carbohydrate is refined simple sugar or sucrose. This is found in food as an added ingredient and in drinks such as sweet fizzy drinks and smoothies. Ingesting some calories from added or refined sugars is okay but this should be 10% or less of your total calorie intake. For most people, a 250 ml bottle of cola would be all of that daily amount.
Less blood glucose spikes a day – the more times you eat the more times you make your pancreas work to regulate your blood glucose. The interactions of your body mechanisms work to maintain a stable internal environment. When new glucose enters the blood stream, the body will moderate the amount. This could be by using it such as during exercise or by storing it as glycogen or fat. The more times you spike your blood glucose a day, unless you are going to use that glucose for exercise/movement then the more of that glucose is likely to be stored as fat.
Periods of fasting – there are different protocols to fasting that all purport to be useful for weight loss and weight management. It is hard to be conclusive to how long and how regularly to do this according to the literature. However, it seems as though short periods of fasting, for example from eating the night before to lunch the next day, on a periodic basis is a healthy habit and can assist weight loss & weight management.
Eating at least 30 different plant based food a week – most of the processing of food in the intestines is performed by gut bacteria. This bacteria flourishes with the ingestion of a range of plants. The recommendation is at least 30 different plant based foods a week to assist weight loss and weight management. This can include vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, beans, pulses, grains and food produced from gain such as bread.
Exercise regularly – exercise is the junior partner to dietary regulation when it comes to weight loss but it can assist and can certainly play a significant role in maintaining a healthy weight when the weight is lost.
This is not an exhaustive list nor will it work for everyone but adopting these traits should, for most people, enable healthy weight loss and help weight maintenance.
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