Summer is finally here and with that comes the terrifying thought of having to be seen in swimwear with our winter weight gain in full view. Crash dieting and calorie counting will damage your metabolism and health in the long run, so the best thing to do is to change your lifestyle by incorporating daily exercise and adapting a new way of eating.
Alcohol: Alcohol is high in refined, concentrated sugar which encourages weight gain by increasing cortisol levels. Cortisol, a stress hormone, is linked to fat storage, especially around the belly area. When we consume alcohol the liver must convert it into a compound called acetate. The body then uses acetate as its main energy source, meaning that you no longer burn fat for energy. Consuming alcohol frequently will thwart all efforts to lose weight.
Processed Foods: Refined foods made with processed grains of any kind, such as bread, pasta, white rice, cookies, donuts, cakes and bagels have had nutrients removed and provide us only with empty calories. These foods act in a similar way to sugar by causing blood sugar levels to spike, which in turn causes the body to produce insulin. Insulin is our fat-storing hormone and it is triggered whenever we eat foods high in carbohydrates.
Soft Drinks: These high sugar drinks can lead to rapid weight gain. Since they are not a food, many people drink soft drinks on a daily basis and don’t think about the impact it could have on their weight. Soft drinks can contain up to 16 teaspoons of sugar, contributing to obesity, insulin resistance and type-2 diabetes.
The best way to lose weight is to eat more foods which encourage satiety, provide you with vitamins, minerals and fiber, and keep you hydrated.
Protein:High quality protein, in the form of grass-fed, free range lamb, beef, chicken and ostrich meat and eggs, plays a huge role in maintaining a healthy weight. Protein levels us feeling satiated so we are less likely to overeat or snack on junk food. Protein also helps to slow the release of carbohydrates therefore reducing pressure on the pancreas to produce large amounts of insulin.
Green vegetables: Green vegetables should make up about 50% of your plate. They provide fiber, water, vitamins and minerals and a very low in calories. They also provide chlorophyll, calcium and protein which can be easily utilized by the body. Use broccoli, cabbage, green beans, kale, Brussels sprouts and spinach.
Healthy fats: Fats are digested slowly which means they make us feel fuller for longer. Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA help to balance the hormones cortisol and insulin which are known to be involved with weight gain. Avocados and olive oil contain monounsaturated fats which have been shown to encourage weight loss. Encourage healthy weight loss by including a good portion of healthy fats, such as avocado, nuts, seeds, coconut oil and oily fish, with each meal.
Water: One study showed that people who drank 2 glasses of water half an hour before breakfast consumed less calories than those who did not drink water. Water consumption might help us lose weight by making us feel fuller or it might cause the body to produce more heat, therefore boosting metabolism. Drinking more water might also make us less likely to drink calorie-rich soft drinks and juice.