NHS: Better Health users discuss the weight loss plan
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All you need to do to lose weight is to eat in a calorie deficit, but there are hundreds of weight loss myths that distract you from this simple truth. Restrictive diets and strict workout plans are not necessary to lose weight and neither are a number of things you’re trying to do to lose weight. Express.co.uk chatted with Signe Svanfeldt, nutritionist at Lifesum (www.lifesum.com), the world’s number one nutrition app to find out the 5 things you’re doing wrong on your mission to lose weight.
Eating too little
Weight loss is about eating only what your body needs for energy – it isn’t about trying to eat as little as possible.
Signe said: “A common mistake when losing weight is to eat as little as possible. This will most likely make it way more difficult for you on your health journey.
“People tend to think that if they just eat a minimal amount of calories, they’ll reach their goal sooner. It’s really not that simple.”
You need to be in an energy deficit to lose weight but too large an energy deficit can result in fatigue, nutrient deficiencies and osteoporosis, Signe noted.
Instead, Signe recommends you keep “a steady, stable and healthy weight loss pace, where you ensure you get enough energy and nutrients.”
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Excluding your favourite foods
You don’t need to cut out all of the foods you enjoy in a bid to lose weight.
Signe said: “You can lose weight but still eat your favourite foods, it’s all about moderation.
“When it comes to weight loss, it’s usually beneficial to include foods that have larger volumes but are less energy-dense.
“These foods tend to be rich in dietary fibre, minerals and vitamins. Dietary fibres make you full for longer, and have many health benefits, including preventing constipation and decreasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases and bowel cancer.”
Instead of swearing off all of your favourite foods, you should try some alternatives that are better for your weight loss journey and richer in dietary fibre.
Try the following food swaps:
- whole-grain options instead of refined grains
- water instead of sweetened beverages
- whole fruits instead of jam & marmalade
- vegetables sticks with dip instead of crisps
- roasted potatoes instead of fries
- low-fat dairy instead of full-fat dairy
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Physical activity is important because it has major health benefits and reduces your risk of a number of deadly diseases, but lots of exercise isn’t essential for weight loss.
Signe explained: “Many tend to think that in order to lose weight you need to be on the treadmill for two hours daily.
“Regular physical activity is great, but there’s no point in overdoing it in order to lose weight.
“Nutrition is number one when it comes to losing weight. Muscles are built in the gym, but weight is lost in the kitchen!”
Focus on doing exercise that you enjoy rather than punishing yourself with hundreds of burpees, as this will help to promote a healthy attachment with exercise.
Exercise should not be seen as a way to burn calories in order to be ‘allowed’ to eat certain foods.
Hopping on trendy strict diets
Not all diets are suitable for everyone, so if you don’t actually want to follow a Vegan, Keto or Raw diet you don’t have to.
Signe said: “A trendy strict diet that worked miraculously for other people might not work perfectly for you.
“Weight loss is highly individual, and just because something worked for one person, it doesn’t mean that it will be suitable for all.
“Additionally, being on a strict diet will most likely not last for a long period of time – and can generally cause more harm than good.”
Short term focus
Mindset plays a huge role in losing weight and it’s important to be able to see the bigger picture.
Signe said: “Many people just want to reach their goal as soon as possible and don’t pay attention to a sustainable long-term solution, which often results in extreme diets, followed by old routines appearing again.
“It’s better to find a long-term solution that you can incorporate into your daily lifestyle.”
To help you stick with this long-term attitude, you should focus on why you want to lose weight and not only the actual weight loss and the number on the scale.
Are you in need of weight loss in order to become healthier, to feel better, get more energised, being able to play with your kids or because you want to live a longer life?
Signe said: “Shifting your focus from the weight loss itself to the reason behind it will make it easier for you to achieve your goal – and doing it in a healthy way.”
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