At this time of year, it can seem as if everyone is trying to lose weight. The Internet and magazines are awash with articles about the best exercises for losing weight and special gym offers (for example, see the cheap gym membership deals with Pay As U Gym) seem to be everywhere. What a lot of people won’t tell you however is that whilst exercise is of course very important for weight loss, it is actually only half the story. In fact, it’s less than half, because diet has more of an impact on your weight than anything else. Notice we said there – diet, not being on a diet. Yes, you need a calorie deficit if you are to lose weight, but there is a lot more to it than that!
Break down the word breakfast into its consentient parts, and it actually becomes easy to see why it is so important. The words are “break” and “fast” – literally, this meal is to break the fast of sleep – i.e. you’ve been sleeping and haven’t eaten for 6 or 7 hours! By skipping breakfast you are just prolonging this period where your body is not being fuelled properly. This is going to set up problems for later in the day, and studies have shown you are more likely to snack and graze if you skip breakfast.
Set Meal Times
You don’t need to be totally rigid, but broadly speaking you should be aiming to eat your main meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner – at roughly the same time every day. This helps your body and your metabolism get used to a routine, which will also help you to cut down on snacks.
Have you noticed that the two tips so far have specifically mentioned that they are designed to help you cut down on snacks? That’s because as far as weight loss goes, snacks can be bad news. Like we mentioned up top, to lose weight you need to be in a healthy calorie deficit. This means depending on your activity levels, you only have so many calories to consume per day.
Try not to waste those calories on snacks. Even a little treat size chocolate bar (even the ones sold by, ahem, certain weight loss companies) are packing a calorific punch and won’t leave you sated. Try to have healthy snacks instead – fruit is great, peanut butter, olives, radishes sprinkled with salt. They fill you up more, at a fraction of the calories.
It is of course always a good idea to stay hydrated, but especially during weight loss attempts. A lot of what may seem like hunger is actually thirst, because your brain can have a tough old time telling the two impulses apart.
So next time you’re suffering hunger pains, try drinking a big glass of water or making yourself a hot drink like a cup of green tea. Just remember though – if you are going to have a hot drink, don’t undo all that good work by pouring in sugar!