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Weight loss tips for 2024

So we all most likely went a bit MAD on the ‘Snaccidents’ over Christmas and here we are, regretting all those extra calories in January!! Most of you will have seen the info on ‘intermittent fasting’ , ‘paleo diets’ , ‘keto diet’ , ‘Low GI’ but there are some simple changes to your daily routine that can aid weight loss. 

See below some easy tips to help shift those extra pounds for New Year!

Are you drinking enough water!?

Did you know that approximately 55 to 60% of our bodies are water and dehydration can make the body hold on to extra water to make up for lack of incoming water (the camel effect!!) 

Drinking water also improves kidney function, allowing excess water and sodium to be flushed out of the system. Remember, the body will hold on to water if too much salt is consumed!

Adults should drink around 2 liters of water a day; this is just over 4 pints of water. Replacing sugary drinks with pure water is the best way to keep up with the body’s daily water needs. 

Don’t forget that caffeine is a diuretic, which means it will cause your body to make more urine than usual, which makes you lose more water! So for every cup of tea or coffee you are drinking, you are losing about 15 to 20% of the water intake from it! So herbal teas (not green tea), and plain water are best! 

Reduce your carbohydrate/ sugar intake

Carbohydrates, or carbs, also cause the body to store extra water. Carbohydrate foods are the likes of bread, cereals, rice, pasta, biscuits, pastries, potaoes/ chips/ crisps.

When we eat carbs, the energy that we do not use right away is stored as glycogen molecules. Each gram (g) of glycogen comes with 3 g of water attached. Cutting down on carbs is a quick way to use up the glycogen stores, which means that the water weight will also be reduced and this will reduce bloating/ fluid retention. Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose (sugar), an immediate source of energy. Excess glucose or sugar gets stored in the liver as glycogen or, with the help of insulin, converted into fatty acids, circulated to other parts of the body and stored as fat in adipose tissue. So the higher your carbohydrate intake and the less active you are, the more fluid retention you will retain and the more weight you will gain !

Remember, in a teaspoon of sugar there are 4.2g of sugar … look at what you are eating! Sugar adds up very quickly and sugar = fat! 

Eat more protein and less carbohydrate

With sugar, minced pies, crackers, breads, cakes etc flying around at Christmas, if you pull back your carbohydrate/ sugar intake in January and increase your protein intake, this is a good way to stabilise your blood sugar and use up some of those fat stores your body has accumulated!

Did you know, that all of your hormones including your sleep and feel good hormones are made from proteins?! They are the building blocks of life! Protein foods include: meat, fish, eggs, cheese/ dairy, oats, broccoli, spinach, lentils (hummus), beans, nuts & seeds ! I don’t recommend a lot of dairy if you are prone to a loose bowel, bloating, excess gas or have skin issues as many of us cannot digest dairy properly! So how will increasing your protein help you lose weight? 

You may have heard of the Keto diet which is a high protein diet… while I am not a fan of long term extreme dieting and believe we should be eating everything in moderation, eating high protein low carb for a short period can really help aid weight loss. 

Ketosis is a normal body response that occurs when you eat a high fat/ protein and low carb diet;  the body begins to burn stored fats for energy, and this results in the build-up of acids, known as ketones, in your blood. A person following the keto diet aims to burn unwanted fat by actually pushing the body to rely on fat, not carbohydrates, for energy. This process occurs when there isn’t enough glucose available to burn, so the body turns to stored fats instead. Be careful with your salt (sodium) intake and I would focus on vegetarian protein sources rather than fatty meats and dairy… choose lean cuts of meat, fish and high protein vegetable sources. For maximum benefit, you need to be well hydrated and also moving more to shed those extra Christmas pounds! 

Get up and get moving!

Exercise lets the body sweat out extra water. This causes water weight to drop immediately after exercise. A workout also stimulates blood flow and improves circulation, which can reduce fluid buildup throughout the body, especially in the legs and feet. Exercise reduces water weight even more by burning through glycogen energy stores. Again, replacing lost fluids is vital after any physical activity to avoid dehydration, so water water water! 

Don’t skip breakfast!

Many people believe starving themselves will help them lost weight quickly! This is not the case as 7-9am is the time of the Stomach in chinese medicine, so it is important to eat the biggest meal of the day here to optimize digestion and absorption. Warm meals that are high in nutrition are best in the morning and will kick start your metabolism. Not having breakfast not only register a dip in your metabolism and blood sugar, but also leave you lethargic right at the start of the day and craving for ANY kind of food(fattening or sugar laden) available later in the day.

Skipping breakfast can disrupt the body’s internal clock and cause weight gain, even if one does not overeat for the rest of the day. 

A high protein, complex carbohydrate breakfast will stabilise your blood sugar levels and sustain you through the morning. Foods such as granola (preferably home made so no added sugars or sweeteners), porridge with seeds & berries or banana (not too ripe!), omlette with feta, spinach, mushroom, ham/ smoked salmon are all good choices! Millet porridge (kelkin), or buckwheat flakes are another good option if you like cereal. High sugar cereals like corn flakes/ rice krispies/ wheetabix are not good choices…. If you really want bread, stick to whole grain brown bread or porridge bread and pair it with some good protein… 

Get your sugar cravings under control

Craving sugar can be a sign that your feel good hormones are low or that your blood sugar is yo-yoing ! Chromium is a mineral that helps to stabilise blood sugar and it can be really beneficial in helping cravings! Apple cider vinegar in the evening is also an excellent natural remedy .. two teaspoons before or after your dinner can help prevent blood sugar spikes. Remember that it is acidic for teeth so brush your teeth after taking it or take it through a straw. 

Healthy, low carb snack ideas:

Veg sticks- carrot, celery, cucumber with cheese dips and meat slices 

Energy balls made with oats, nut butter, date syrup/ agave/ honey and dark chocolate

Mashed avocado/ homemade guacamole and salsa with oat crackers or corn tortillas

Popcorn – although it’s a carb, it causes blood sugar to rise slowly and it’s actually a wholegrain! Just make it yourself though, don’t buy the ones laced with sugar and butter

Hummus- if you havent tried it ever, the Happy Pear do 3 small pots in one package and they are SO yummy! Don’t knock it til you’ve tried it!! Have it with cucumber, carrot or apple sticks! 

Fruits that are lower in sugar are ok: cherries, orange , dried apricot, pears, apples, peaches or cantaloupe melon

 

Happy Weight Loss Everyone!!  

 

Maeve 

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