Losing weight takes motivation. To lose a few pounds or more, you will need to be determined to stay on the right track and make some sacrifices along the way. With a bit of information, it doesn’t have to be too difficult. Whether you want to get back in shape after having a baby, have fallen off the wagon or are new to weight loss, here are ten natural ways to lose weight.
- Processed foods are the enemy
There is quite some truth in the phrase ‘you are what you eat,’ in that if you eat lots of processed food, sugar and refined carbohydrates, you will put on weight and your metabolism will get sluggish. Processed foods are high in sugars, additives and added calories. Not only that, but you can actually get addicted to processed foods. Ever wondered why you crave a treat from your local fast food restaurant or take away? Chances are you’ve become hooked on all those preservatives and sugars. Cooking with fresh ingredients is much better for you … and the meals taste great!
- H2O is your friend
Drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated can aid weight loss results. Guidelines say to drink at least a litre of water every dayto increase calorie burn, aid digestion and basically ensure your body is functioning as best it can. Drink some water before, during and after exercise and before, during and after eating a meal. What’s more, opting for water as your drink of choice will help you stay away from unwanted liquid calories (think alcohol, fizzy drinks and sugary juices). If you fancy hydrating with another type of drink to switch things up, try green tea. Green tea is a natural antioxidant and has been shown to aid fat burn.
- Get moving!
If you want to lose weight, nutrition alone won’t cut it. There’s no other way around it, you need to combine a nutritious, healthy diet with exercise to see any results on the scales and measurements. Not only will you lose weight, but you will look and feel amazing too! There are many benefits of exercise, including fighting off disease and illness, better heart and lung function and longer life span. If you are new to fitness, the key is to start slow and find an exercise that you enjoy, for example bike riding. Getting on a bicycle, outdoors or in the gym is an ideal low impact exercise for all fitness levels and all ages. Don’t forget to mix up your cardio (such as cycling or running) with some resistance / weight training. When you lose weight, you want to ensure this is fat loss and not muscle loss. Lifting weights regularly can help speed up and maintain calorie burn long after you finish your exercise session. Aim for 30 minutes’ exercise a day to see results – or 10,000 steps as a minimum guideline.
- Avoid temptation
Plan in advance, stock your cupboards with healthy snack options, fill up your fruit bowl and never go food shopping on an empty stomach. The key to losing weight is to avoid temptation. This is easier said than done, as temptation is everywhere … but a few tweaks inside your home and small changes such as making a packed lunch for work, will avoid you slipping up on your weight loss journey.
- Sleep your way thin
Well, not quite … but getting enough good quality rest aids natural weight loss. Good sleep allows your body to repair after exercise. Deep, slow breathing during your slumber is a chance for your digestive system to catch up and for your hormones to regulate.
- Spice up your life
A cheap, easy and natural additive to your food to help kickstart fat burn and aid weight loss is to add some spice to your recipes. Chili peppers, for example, contain capsaicin, which is said to increase the metabolism rate and reduce appetite.
- Bulk up with natural protein
Many fat loss programmes will tell you to avoid carbohydrates or fat. But good fats and carbs are fine and it is worth educating yourself on what food groups constitute a healthy diet. What you can definitely do is ADD more protein to your diet. A high protein diet can help you feel fuller for longer, especially if you have a protein-based breakfast to start your diet (think eggs, nuts and red meats). It also aids muscle repair and helps boost your metabolism. If you enjoy a sport like running or getting on a bicycle, plenty of protein as part of your pre and post-workout meal is a good idea.
- Portion control
A simple way to eat less and lose weight naturally is by using smaller plates to serve up your food. We all have an urge to fill up our plate when serving food, but if the plate is smaller, you are likely to serve and therefore, eat, less. Simple! We often don’t stop eating when we are full, we usually stop when we are finished – so this is an effective way to alter your eating habits.
- Digestion is key
Eat plenty of fibre-rich foods as part of your diet to aid digestion and ultimately, help your weight loss. Viscous – or soluble – fibres such as asparagus, sweet potatoes and oat bran can also help reduce the risk of some diseases such as diabetes or high cholesterol / heart disease. If you do introduce more fibre to your diet, do it slowly and combine with plenty of water (see point 2).
- Slow it down
Many people eat their food too quickly. Try to eat more mindfully. In other words, chew your food more thoroughly, cut it up into smaller chunks and take your time. The more you slow down the activity of eating and think about the texture, tastes and flavours of your meal the more enjoyable it can become … but more importantly for weight loss, eating slower will allow your brain to tell your stomach when it is full and you can stop eating.
There are lots of natural ways to lose weight, without taking any supplements or trying any fad diets. Sensible eating, increased activity and being a little more organised will help you shed weight in no time!
Johnny Anderson is the founder of Cyclistblog.net, where you can find all the articles about cycling such as the guides to help you identify the best bike from the market, the essential features, tips for you to use the bike in the most effective way.