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  • Johnny Roberts

Extra ways to lose weight

Here is my simple list of some of the extra things you could be doing to enhance your weight loss.

1. Intermittent fasting - is a pattern of eating that involves regular short-term fasts and consuming meals within a shorter time period during the day.

Several studies have indicated that short-term intermittent fasting, which is up to 24 weeks in duration, leads to weight loss in overweight individuals.

The most common intermittent fasting methods include the following:

  • Alternate day fasting - Fast every other day and eat normally on non-fasting days. The modified version involves eating just 25–30 percent of the body’s energy needs on fasting days.

  • The 5:2 Diet - Fast on 2 out of every 7 days. On fasting days eat 500–600 calories.

  • The 16/8 method - Fast for 16 hours and eat only during an 8-hour window. For most people, the 8-hour window would be around noon to 8 p.m. A study on this method found that eating during a restricted period resulted in the participants consuming fewer calories and losing weight.

2. Eat protein at breakfast time - protein is an essential macro-nutrient that help's build muscle, burn fat, encourage hormone optimisation and support brain health.

Protein can regulate appetite hormones to help you feel full. This is mostly due to a decrease in the hunger hormone 'ghrelin' and a rise in the satiety hormone cholecystokinin.

Good choices for a high-protein breakfast include eggs, oats, nut and seed butters, protein shakes, quinoa porridge, sardines, and chia seed's, chickpeas, beans, amaranth and hemp.

3. Cutting back on sugar and other 'refined carbohydrates' - carbohydrates are generally speaking the sugars, starches and fibre's found in fruits, grains, vegetables and milk products.

The western diet is increasingly high in added sugars, and this has definite links to obesity, even when the sugar occurs in beverages rather than food.

Refined carbohydrates are heavily processed foods that no longer contain fibre and other nutrients. These include white rice, bread, and pasta.

These foods are quick to digest, and they convert to glucose rapidly.

Excess glucose enters the blood and provokes the hormone insulin, which promotes fat storage in the adipose tissue. This contributes to weight gain.

Where possible, you should swap processed and sugary foods for more healthful options. Good food swaps include:

  • whole-grain rice, bread, and pasta instead of the white versions

  • fruit, nuts, and seeds instead of high-sugar snacks

  • herb teas and fruit-infused water instead of high-sugar sodas

  • smoothies with water or milk instead of fruit juice

4. Eat plenty of fibre - dietary fibre describes plant-based carbohydrates that are not possible to digest in the small intestine, unlike sugar and starch. Including plenty of fibre in the diet can increase the feeling of fullness, potentially leading to weight loss.

Fibre-rich foods include:

  • whole-grain breakfast cereals, whole-wheat pasta, whole-grain bread, oats, barley, and rye

  • fruit and vegetables

  • peas, beans, and pulses

  • nuts and seeds

5. Balance your gut bacteria - there are around 40 trillion bacteria in your body, most of which are in your intestines. Collectively, they are known as your gut microbiota.

The human gut hosts a vast number and variety of microorganisms, including around 37 trillion bacteria.

Every individual has different varieties and amounts of bacteria in their gut. Some types can increase the amount of energy that the person harvests from food, leading to fat deposition and weight gain.

Some foods can increase the number of good bacteria in the gut, including:

  • A wide variety of plants - Increasing the number of fruits, vegetables, and grains in the diet will result in an increased fibre uptake and a more diverse set of gut bacteria.

  • Fermented foods - these enhance the function of good bacteria while inhibiting the growth of bad bacteria. Sources of good bacteria would be sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, yoghurt, tempeh, and miso.

  • Prebiotic foods - these stimulate the growth and activity of some of the good bacteria that aid weight control. Prebiotic fibre - occurs in many fruits and vegetables, especially chicory root, artichoke, onion, garlic, asparagus, leeks, banana, and avocado. It is also in grains, such as oats and barley.

6. Manage your stress levels - stress can cause high level's of the hormone 'cortisol' to circulate through your body which in turn has many negative effect's if left unchecked.

Stress triggers the release of hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, which initially decrease the appetite as part of the body’s fight or flight response. However, when people are under constant stress, cortisol can remain in the bloodstream for longer, which will increase their appetite and potentially lead to them eating more. Cortisol signals the need to replenish the body’s nutritional stores from the preferred source of fuel, which is carbohydrate. Insulin then transports the sugar from carbohydrates from the blood to the muscles and brain. If the individual does not use this sugar in fight or flight, the body will store it as fat. Some methods of managing stress include:

  • yoga, meditation, or tai chi

  • breathing and relaxation techniques

  • spending some time outdoors, for example walking or gardening

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