Weight Loss Tips For The New Year

Our overindulgence at Christmas always inspires us to make New Year’s resolutions relating to weight loss. Every year we aim to be lean mean fitness machines and approach weight loss with dedication and determination.  Sadly our attempts often fail because we can’t maintain the intense regime we place upon ourselves.

losing weight involves a whole life change and maintaining your desired weight can be as challenging as losing it.  There are so many plans available that finding the right one can be difficult.  Some diets are dangerous to follow because they restrict our intake of food too much and are impossible to sustain.

Losing weight involves a greater understanding of how our mind and body works because hunger is not the only reason we eat.  We eat larger portion sizes and are less active than our ancestors. Convenience food and takeaways make it very easy to pile on the pounds so we need to make wise food choices.

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Keep It Simple

We gain weight because we eat more calories than we burn off.  This is the simple reason that the majority of us put on weight.  According to the NHS, men should be consuming 2,500 calories a day and women 2,000 to maintain the correct weight.  This figure doesn’t take age, how active you are, your height and any medical conditions into consideration.  Some people are likely to gain weight by eating the recommended calories.

Our Body Mass Index BMI informs us how overweight we are and how much we need to lose to achieve our ideal weight.  It doesn’t tell us what our daily calorie intake should be.  If you decide to follow a slimming plan such as Weight Watchers or Slimming World your calorie intake will be calculated.  

The internet is a fantastic resource if you want to organise your own eating plan.  Calorie calculators like this one from Calculator.net tells you how many calories you need to consume to lose weight.  NHS Live Well has a huge database of foods and calorific values to look at as well as a free diet plan to follow.

By just keeping an eye on calorie intake we can develop a weight loss plan that is realistic and successful.

Write Everything Down

Sometimes we eat without thinking and seem to mysteriously put on weight.  Totting up the number of calories we think we have eaten in our head fails because we underestimate our food intake.  Weight Watchers and Slimming World work because followers have to record the food they eat and any activity they participate in.

Writing down what we eat also gives us an insight into our bad eating habits and can help us to choose food more wisely.

Do The Right Exercise

Walking the dog is not really going to burn that many calories unless you go on a five-mile hike.  You need to walk for 117 minutes to burn off a mince pie and eight hours for a modest Christmas dinner.  Exercising often results in overeating because we don’t have a realistic idea of how much weight we lose by doing it.

There are two main types of exercise weights and cardio and they have a different impact on weight loss.  Cardio is running, cycling, rowing and walking while weights build up muscle.  Weight training involves damaging the muscle fibres which grow bigger when they recover.  Muscle building requires a lot of energy and burns more calories than cardio which is good for our heart and circulation.

Building up muscle as well as cardio improves our fitness and helps to promote weight loss.  Most of us make the mistake of paying hundreds of pounds to join a gym and over face ourselves wasting our membership.  Exercise should be done on the principle that any exercise is better than none.  Just be realistic and don’t overestimate the number of calories you have lost.

Sleep Well

Sleeping plays a major role in balancing our metabolism so that losing weight is possible.  Studies have found links between a good night’s sleep and successful weight reduction.  If you have less than seven hours sleep a night you are likely to crave more calorific food and find exercising more difficult.

A correlation has also been found between obesity and sleep deprivation.  Although scientists are uncertain why we sleep our bodies seem to balance themselves out while we are dreaming.  Sleep allows our bodies to balance out hormones which can have a negative effect on losing weight.

One cause of sleep deprivation is stress so making changes to your life may help you to lose weight effectively.

Don’t Deprive Yourself

Following a diet is challenging and it is easy to slip up sometimes.  Don’t punish yourself by giving up or eating a whole packet of biscuits because you had one.  Not allowing for treats in your is a recipe for disaster.  Humans generally crave what they are not allowed to eat and slip up if food is banned.

Allow yourself treats and write them down as you would other food but don’t give yourself a hard time if you indulge too much.  Life's for living and making a conscious effort to lose weight means that you are already looking after yourself. The odd treat is not going to stop you losing weight as long as you have them in moderation.

Weight Loss Treatment

Whichever diet plan you decide to choose determination, dedication and nerves of steel are a necessary part of weight loss.  Sometimes we reach a plateau where weight doesn’t seem to be reducing and the usual techniques no longer seem to work.  

If you have a BMI over 30 Orlistat or Alli can help remove those stubborn pounds.  They work by binding fat and releasing in out of your body.  You must follow a low-fat diet when taking these tablets or you are likely to have unpleasant side effects.  They are not a magic pill and only give a helping hand but can increase the rate at which you lose weight.

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By Parv Sagoo (January 2018)