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How to adjust your diet to lose weight?

The key to achieving successful weight loss

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You only need to go on the internet to realise that there is a vast sea of information out there about losing weight, conflicting advice, crazy diets, eating plans etc.

Most of these faddy diets will lead to some kind of short term weight loss but if we feel hungry and deprived we are unlikely to stick to the diet for very long and in no time will regain the weight.

In terms of finding the right diet to lose weight, everyone is different and what is really needed is a long term, sustainable approach to weight loss. The key to this is making some ‘tweaks’ to our lifestyle and adopting a more sustainable and healthy approach to weight loss.

We are going to examine a number of different ‘tweaks’ that we can apply to our lifestyle that will enable us to lose weight and maintain weight loss in a healthy way.

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Eat breakfast every day

Many people will skip breakfast as a way of keeping their calorie intake down. This will just lead to them being more hungry and consuming more calories during the day. A better approach is to ensure that you eat a breakfast filled with protein every day. Eating Protein satiates the appetite for a longer period of time and you will be less likely to snack during the day.

Eat protein with every meal and snack

For the reasons mentioned above, it is advisable to eat protein on a regular basis throughout the day. This will mean you will feel fuller and be less likely to succumb to unhealthy snacking.

Take up some new hobbies

Fill in the void and avoid boredom by starting new hobbies. Many people eat unnecessarily as a result of being bored so find a hobby that you enjoy, maybe something that keeps your hands busy which will keep them out of the fridge!

Drink plenty of water

Staying hydrated is vital for maintaining a healthy body so it is important that you don’t mistake thirst for hunger. Water also has the added advantage of helping to stave off hunger pangs by filling the stomach before meals and it may also lead to your eating less during the meal.

Watch the calories in drinks!

While most of us know that alcoholic drinks carry a lot of calories, we can forget that other fluids can also be fattening. Avoiding sugary drinks and milkshakes and even flavoured water, high energy fitness drinks and fruit juice is a must when trying to lose weight. Water is always the best bet!

Eat plenty of fibre - it fills you up!

Fibre can be found in a variety of foodstuffs including fruit, vegetable, wholegrains and pulses. Filling up on fibre makes you less hungry and slows the passage of food through the body making you feel fuller for longer.

Soluble fibre can be found in foods such as pulses, avocado and broccoli. This type of fibre can help to reduce the appetite and there are several theories about how this may happen. Firstly. Soluble fibre helps to regulate the hormones involved in suppressing the appetite and some studies have suggested that soluble fibre can reduce the levels of hunger hormones produced in the body. Other studies suggest that soluble fibre reduce the levels of hunger hormones produced in the body.

Avoid added sugar

Consuming too much sugar can result in unhealthy weight gain and serious health problems such as heart disease and diabetes. For this reason, it is important to avoid sugary foods and drinks such as fizzy drinks, biscuits and cakes.

Do not be conned by the labelling on some processed foods such as ‘reduced sugar’. Check the label because it is likely that the product still contains very high levels of sugar.

Cut back on some carbs

It is particularly important to cut back on refined carbohydrates. These are carbs that have had the ‘good stuff’ taken out and include white flour, pasta and bread. This type of carbohydrate is digested quickly because it is low in fibre. Replace them with complex carbohydrates such as oats, carrots, potatoes and ancient types of grains like quinoa and barley.

Don’t forget to eat fat!

We have all been made aware that fat in the diet is bad for us but there are some types of fat which are positively good for us and are an important part of a healthy diet.

Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are known as “good fats” because they are good for your heart, your cholesterol, and your overall health. These fats can help to:

  • Lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • Lower bad LDL cholesterol levels, while increasing good HDL.
  • Prevent abnormal heart rhythms.
  • Lower triglycerides associated with heart disease and fight inflammation.
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Prevent atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing of the arteries).

Foods that contain ‘good fats’ include:

Monounsaturated fat – good sources include:

  • Olive, canola, peanut, and sesame oils
  • Avocados
  • Olives
  • Nuts (almonds, peanuts, macadamia, hazelnuts, pecans, cashews)
  • Peanut butter

Polyunsaturated fat – good sources include:

  • Sunflower, sesame, and pumpkin seeds
  • Flaxseed
  • Walnuts
  • Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, trout, sardines) and fish oil
  • Soybean and safflower oil
  • Soymilk
  • Tofu

Snack healthy

It is easy to snack on unhealthy foods such as chocolate bars and cakes but this inevitably leads to weight gain. Healthy snacks like mixed nuts of vegetables and houmous are great to keep in the fridge, in the car or at work. They are then easily on hand when a craving hits!

Don’t eat at night!

Try not to let boredom get the better of you at night leaving you to eat empty calories in front of the telly.

Avoid quick fix diets

This type of diet tends to involve sticking to a strict and restrictive diet in order to shed weight quickly. It is not easy to maintain this sort of diet and the weight is likely to be regained very quickly. This can lead to a cycle of ‘yoyo’ dieting. There are studies to suggest that this kind of dieting can lead to an increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.

Make your goals attainable

It is unrealistic to compare yourself to models in a magazine or other ‘beautiful people’ that are ever present on our screens. A healthy role model however can help to keep you motivated. Do not be over critical with yourself as this may lead you to give up!

Take regular exercise

Taking regular exercise is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle and is a material part of losing weight. There are different types of exercise that can be undertaken and the best types of exercise are those that you enjoy. This is because if you enjoy something you are far more likely to stick at it. If something is not enjoyable or you find it boring it is unlikely that you will continue to do it. 

A tip to help you maintain a pattern of regular exercise is to pair up and exercise with a friend. It will act as a motivation as you will not want to let a friend down and it will also make the exercise more enjoyable.

Walking

Walking is a cheap and convenient form of exercise which a person can undertake at any time and the only form of equipment required is a good pair of comfortable shoes for walking in. It is a low impact form or exercise which is kind to joints.

It is easy to fit into a daily routine and can include extra walks for the dog and using the stairs instead of the lift.

Jogging and running

Jogging and running are great forms of exercise with running being the faster version of jogging. As with walking it is easy to fit it into a daily routine and the only equipment which is really required is a good pair of running shoes.

In addition, studies have found that jogging and running can help to burn visceral fat, also known as belly fat. This type of fat wraps around the internal organs and has been linked to various chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.

Cycling

This is a very popular form of exercise which traditionally happens outside although there is always the option to use an exercise bike indoors. Cycling will improve fitness levels and help to lose weight whilst being non load bearing and so is also kind to joints.

Weight training

This is a popular form of exercise for people who want to lose weight; as well as helping with weight loss, it builds strength, promotes muscle growth and increases resting metabolic rate. This is an added bonus when losing weight as it increases the resting metabolic rate which means that the body burns more calories when at rest.

Interval training

Interval training is a broad term that describes short bursts of intensive exercise which alternate with recovery periods. Interval training typically burns a lot of calories in a relatively short period of time.

Interval training can also be particularly effective when burning belly fat which is linked to some chronic diseases.

Swimming

Swimming is a very popular form of exercise and the only real disadvantage associated with swimming is that you need to visit a pool! The advantages however are that it is low impact and good for joints and it is a great option for anyone who has injuries or joint pain.

Yoga

Yoga is a very popular form of exercise and there are several types, some more aerobic than others and some more about strength building than others.

Not the usual form of exercise people think about when losing weight but it can burn calories and increase strength as well as incorporating other things which are beneficial to health such as relaxation and mental well being.

Pilates

Taking a pilates class regularly can burn calories but also tone muscle and improve posture which makes a person appear slimmer. It has benefits which include improving flexibility and endurance as well as being of great value if a person suffers from back problems.

Conclusion

You don’t need to put all these suggestions into operation, just begin with a few that are easily fitted into your routine and this will set the ball rolling.

Over time you will be able to work out a plan that works for you and so is sustainable. Remember that after the weight is lost this is a lifestyle change which will enable you to keep the weight off keeping you slim and healthy for life.

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