With changing lifestyle and dietary patterns, weight gain and obesity have become a growing public health concern. Low physical activity, sedentary lifestyles, more ready-to-eat and processed foods being picked from the market shelves, less cooking and preparation time, increased incidences of skipping meals and consumption of more refined flour, sugar and fat based foods, have all collectively caused disturbances to metabolism and added several pounds to the present generations.
With weight gain, elevated blood sugar and blood pressure levels, atherosclerosis, diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular diseases are as well gaining foothold into our lives. Metabolic syndromes have also become common. As per the National Center of Health Statistics in 2009, the incidence of obesity has doubled since the 1970s. Even though Ogden and co-authors reported through their 2014 study that the prevalence of obesity has plateaued since then, obesity continues to be a leading public health concern in the United States. Hence, incorporating practical and simple habits and diet and lifestyle alterations into one’s daily routine can prove beneficial in reducing one’s weight and decreasing the risk for several other potential disorders.
10 simple tips to lose weight:
- Have sufficient sleep: Sufficient sleep (7-9 hours at a stretch) helps keep you sufficiently energized throughout the day and thus, burning calories by performing exercises and other physical work becomes easier. Sleeping also reduces the generalized weakness and the need to consume excess food through the day. Low sleeping hours can also increase stress levels. A study conducted by the National Sleep Foundation in 2005 revealed that reduced sleep hours on a daily basis increased the incidence of weight gain.
- Consume small, frequent meals: Large meals reduce the feeling of hunger for an extended time and result in large meal gaps. This reduces the rate of digestion and rate at which calories are burnt. By consuming frequent meals at intervals of every two hours or so, the metabolic rate increases and the meal size becomes automatically smaller.
- Start smart: Major meals such as lunch and dinner can be begun with a bowl of salad (vegetables/fruits/sprouts/beans) or buttermilk or a soup. This increases the satiety value with low caloric consumption and lower intake of the main course that may be more calorie-dense.
- Snack wisely: Consuming snacks is not a bad idea; the right choices matter though. Substitute refined flour with unrefined or multigrain based options (for example whole wheat or multigrain choices in place of refined wheat flour breads and cookies). High sugar and salt foods must be avoided. Try a whole fruit in place of a fruit juice to avoid that added sugar the juice may contain. Fat must be kept off the snacks. Baked products are better than fried foods.
- Give yourself enough time on the table: Spend some time at the dining table and chew the food well, so that it eases and enhances digestion, as compared to having food in a rush or on-the-go.
- Drink plenty of water: Water fuels the breakdown and metabolism of fat. Drinking plenty of water or other low sugar and salt fluids, such as buttermilk/coconut water/soups (without cream), can all benefit weight loss.
- Chewing gum: Chewing gum aids in reducing unwanted cravings and the need to munch on some food every now and then. It stimulates the salivary glands and pacifies hunger for a while. Sugar-free gums are preferable to the normal chewing gums, as the sugar intake may be reduced.
- Get high on antioxidants: Antioxidant rich foods, such as dark chocolate, green tea, fruits and vegetables, are all beneficial in scavenging free radicals and preventing the accumulation of fats in the body.
- The right fats and the wrong fats: Identifying the right kind of fats that must make place in your diet for whatever little fat that is being consumed is important. Fats rich in mono unsaturated fatty acids, such as olive oil, canola oil, rice bran oil is far better that poly-unsaturated fatty acids and saturated fats, such as butter and cheese. Also vegetable oils contain no cholesterol. Fish oil contains omega-3-fatty acids which are also good contributors to weight loss and a healthy heart.
- Exercise: Physical activity needs to accompany diet changes to achieve the healthiest way of losing weight and accelerating the weight change. A 45-minute daily brisk walk is ideal. To lose weight, added exercise such as abs and arm work outs can help tone the body and prevent sagging of the skin.
Regular weight monitoring is very important. A food diary or a daily diet recall can help analyze the changes in caloric intake one must make to lose weight. Carefully reading the food label is important to understand the right food options for each individual and so that the consumer does not get carried away with misleading marketing claims. Consulting a nutritionist can help analyze the daily caloric intake that is recommended and the methods that can be adopted to adhere to the particular caloric framework so as to promote a healthy and speedy weight loss.