When it comes to weight loss advice, there’s a lot of varying, yet conflicting opinions. And while a calorie deficit is important (to some degree), there’s more to weight loss than “eat less, move more”. Here are top five proven ways that you can count on to work.
Whether it’s a banana, a muffin or a carrot – a calorie is still a calorie, right? The problem is, not all calories are created equal, hence why the ‘calorie in vs calorie out’ approach often fails. Why? Food is not just a collection of calories because calories tell you nothing about how nutritious, or satisfying a food is. Counting calories also disregard how food affects our hormones and metabolism. For instance, if you compare two a breakfast meals: a plain croissant with jam and large coffee to a small bowl of muesli with milk, fruit, and a dollop of yoghurt, served with two slices of toast with peanut butter and a cup of tea, it’s hard to believe that they are equal in calories — roughly 600 (2500 kJ. Clearly the muesli meal will have greater effects on satiety (feeling full) thanks to its higher protein and fibre count. When you feel full, chances are you eat less later in the day. Case in point: focus on food quality instead.
This isn’t a dream. Getting enough sleep is the most overlooked cause of belly fat. Countless studies have indicated a link between sleep deprivation and weight problems, however the science is not so clear cut. Yet, most experts would argue that too little slumber affects appetite-controlling hormones, so a pulling an all nighter to finish that report may give you the night time munchies – and it’s not exactly carrot sticks you’re craving or getting up at the crack of dawn to pound the pavement. Go figure! According to the Sleep Health Foundation, adults should be getting between seven and nine hours’ sleep every night.
According to latest Aussie Health Survey, Australia is suffering from a national fibre deficiency, with an astonishing one in two Australians not meeting the advised daily fibre intake (25-30 grams per day) as part of their diet. Regular consumption of fibre and in particular, cereal fibre (e.g. oats and bran flakes) and whole grains (e.g. brown rice) has been associated with reduced risk of weight gain, by feeling more satisfied with fewer calories. To ensure you reach your daily fibre quota, aim for 2 serves of whole fruit, (preferably with skin), 5 serves of vegetables, 4-6 serves of grains, preferably high fibre or whole grain and 1 serve of nuts and legumes.
“When people use smaller dinnerware, their portions are smaller, so ‘cleaning your plate’ actually results in eating less food” says researcher and food psychologist Brian Wansink from Cornell university. It all boils down to optical illusion causing us to eat more than we think . In other words, you can “trick” your brain into thinking that you’ve eaten more food.
Combining exercise with a balanced diet is a more effective way to lose weight than depending on diet alone. Regular physical activity can bolster metabolism and preserve muscle which helps increase the number of calories you burn each day. To prevent unhealthy weight gain, the national guidelines recommend adults increase to 300 minutes (five hours) or 60 minutes of moderate intensity activity on most days of the week. Get started with a free trial at Fitness First.