17 November 2018

How to lose weight: five eating tips to help you lose half a stone

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Want to lose up to 7lb? Think more carefully about what you eat – and when and how you eat it

How to lose weight is a real concern for many of us; weight-loss tips are everywhere, but knowing which ones to follow can be difficult. Being overweight or obese can have a serious impact on our health and longevity. It’s a risk factor for potentially life-threatening conditions such as type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, breast cancer, bowel cancer and stroke.

“Being overweight can put us at higher risk of developing chronic degenerative diseases,” says nutritionist Kim Pearson. “It can also have a negative impact on how we feel about ourselves, our happiness and self-confidence.

“Even those who don’t look particularly obese may be storing up ‘intra-abdominal fat’ – which is fat surrounding our vital organs. This puts us at higher risk of certain diseases such as type 2 diabetes.”

So what to eat to lose weight? Pearson says: “When we look at inhabitants of areas with an unusually high number of 100-year-olds, most of them do not overeat. They enjoy home-cooked meals with friends and family and don’t rely on processed and convenience foods." 

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Here are five eating tips to help you lose weight:

1. Avoid constant eating

Many of us start eating not long after we wake, says Pearson, and continue grazing throughout the day until we head to bed. Contrary to outdated beliefs, research shows that we can benefit from extended periods of time not eating. “Aim to eat satisfying, balanced meals and avoid snacking.”

2. Eat foods in their natural state

Fresh, natural, whole foods should form the basis of any healthy diet. This ensures that your diet is rich in beneficial nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and fibre. Avoid processed, packaged convenience foods that often contain refined sugars, carbohydrates and bad fats. This will help you avoid weight gain.

3. Less carbs, more veggies

Refined carbohydrates such as many breakfast cereals, white rice, white bread and other white flour-based foods can dominate our diets. These foods break down quickly into simple sugars and if they aren’t used for energy will be carried away and stored – some of it as fat. The more you can avoid them, the better. Try swapping the starchy carbs on your plate for low-carb veggies. An easy way to think about it is this: low-carb veggies grow above the ground, for example spinach, broccoli or courgettes. High-carb veggies grow in the ground, for example potatoes and beetroot. 

4. Avoid sugar (including hidden sugars)

Did you know that high levels of sugar can be found hidden in seemingly healthy foods? Fruit juices, stir-fry sauces, cereal bars… there are many examples of healthy-looking foods that are secretly loaded with sugar. Make sure you always check the nutrition information on the packet for the true sugar content of foods.

5. Eat thoughtfully

When eating, focus on your food (not on a screen) and make sure you chew every mouthful thoroughly before swallowing. This gives your body time to communicate feelings of fullness, preventing overeating and encouraging weight loss. Spending a period of time keeping a food diary can also help you become more aware of exactly what you're eating. 

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