We all know that a healthy diet and a good exercise regime is essential for weight loss, but often there is so much more involved than this alone. Below I have outlined some of the things to think about for anyone wanting to get on top of their health and lose a few kilos that goes above and beyond the normal diet and exercise advice.
1. Exercise First Thing In The Morning
There are a few reasons as to why you should exercise first thing in the morning. Firstly, it gets the exercise over and done with for the day (so you don’t have the whole day to think of reasons why you shouldn’t do it!). Secondly, exercising on waking increases your metabolic rate for the rest of the day to help your burn energy more efficiently. It improves your energy levels and is more effective at helping those stress levels when done first thing.
2. Don’t Eat Before Exercising
This helps to ensure that you burn stored fat, and not just burn your last meal. If you have not eaten then your body will use stored energy in the form of glycogen (stored in your liver and muscle) and then fat rather than burning glucose and fats from your bloodstream. This is also another reason why exercising first thing in the morning, before breakfast is best for weight loss. If you are exercising later in the day, do not eat for at least 1.5 hrs beforehand. However, for those doing endurance training or exercising for longer than 2 hours you will need to top up on glucose during and/or before your session.
3. Always Eat Within 30 mins Of Exercise
This ensures that you replace the glycogen stores after exercise. It also means that you will suppresses hunger and appetite and keep yourself from feeling hungrier later in the day. For those on a low carbohydrate regime, this is also the best time to have your carbohydrate based meal. You can include lots of veggies, starchy root vegetables and a small portion of whole grains (such as brown rice, quinoa, oats, whole grain bread) at this meal.
4. Exercise For A Minimum Of 35 mins To Get Fat Burning Started
Research shows that it takes about 30-35 mins of exercise before you will start to burn into your fat stores. Therefore, aim to exercise for a minimum of 35 mins. A 45 min to 60 hour exercise session is a great aiming point.
5. Cut Out The Coffee
It’s not the caffeine itself that is the issue but the milk and sugar that is added. For example, if you are having two large latte’s a day that is around 800mls of milk a day! That is pretty much a meal in itself, without taking into account the added sugar. Switch to an expresso or a long black with a dash of milk if you are desperate for the caffeine, or cut out the coffee altogether for much faster weight loss results.
6. Keep A Food Diary
The research shows time and time again that those people who are keeping a food diary consistently get better weight loss results than those who do not keep a record. A diet diary helps to keep us more accountable for what we have eaten and reflect better on the bad (and good) choices we have made. There is also more chance of sticking to your health eating if you can see how good the rest of your week has been.
7. Include A Small Snack Only If You Need It (and don’t turn your snack into another meal!)
A snack should be just that- something small, light and protein based to keep your blood sugar levels stable and appetite at bay. My rule on snacking is that you should eat if you are physically hungry, but not need to snack for the sake of it! If you are not genuinely hungry and are snacking due to habit, tiredness or boredom then cut the unnecessary foods.
8. Include Some Protein With Each Meal And Snack
Protein stimulates metabolism, helps to build muscle, reduces sugar cravings and stabilizes appetite and keeps your feeling fuller for longer. As a guide aim for a palm sized portion of protein with main meals and half of this with snacks. Good protein sources include anything from an animal product (such as fish, chicken, meat, dairy, eggs) and vegetarian proteins (lentils, beans, nuts, seeds, tofu)
9. Allow An 11-12 Hours Of Fasting Overnight
Aim to finish dinner by 8pm at night and don’t have anything after this time. Our body is designed for periods of fasting, and eating late into the night means that we are missing this overnight fasting. It is much easier (and more enjoyable) to include your fasting while you are asleep rather than trying to fast during the daytime when we will naturally need to eat more regularly.
10. Get Your Hormones Levels Tested
Our hormones have a huge role to play in weight maintenance. Hormones such as leptin, thyroid hormones, oestrogen, progesterone and our stress hormones cortisol and DHEA all play a role in how easily our body will be able to store and/or burn fat. Sometimes you can do all the right things but your hormone balance just won’t allow the results you need.
Need assistance with losing weight in a healthy and responsible way? Hayley can provide you with tips and tricks and personalised information to reach your goal. Please contact our Naturopath Hayley if you would like more information – firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also book in by calling 0420 644 852 book here. (Hayley is available on Wednesday Mornings).