If you want to lose weight, you’d better avoid special “low-carb” products that are full of carbs. This should be obvious, but creative marketers are doing all they can to fool you (and get your money). They will tell you that you can eat cookies, pasta, ice cream, bread and plenty of chocolate on a low-carb diet, as long as you buy their brand. They’re full of carbohydrates. Don’t be fooled.
Whether you’re dreaming up your own bestseller, or figuring out a challenge at work or home, walking gives you time to reflect. ‘I try to walk home from the office once or twice a week,’ says Katie, 26, from north London. ‘It helps me escape my computer and emails, and gives me space to think through new projects.’ For children, the words ‘let’s go for a walk’ might trigger groans of protest, but with a little imagination you can turn a trial into a treat. ‘Children need paths to explore… paths down the garden, the way to school, corridors through the bracken or long grass,’ wrote the late travel writer Bruce Chatwin.
Dairy products such as cream and cheeses. They work well in cooking as they satisfy. The problem is if you’re munching a lot of cheese in front of the TV in the evening… without being hungry. Be careful with that. Or lots of cream with dessert, when you’re actually already full and just keep eating because it tastes good. Or another common culprit: loads of heavy cream in the coffee, many times per day.
Refined white breads are simple carbohydrates that your body processes as sugar, and can really hinder your weight-loss efforts. Whole grain bread, on the other hand, is chock-full of slimming fiber and can help you feel fuller, longer. Just be sure to read your labels. “If the ingredients at the top of the ingredient list read sugar, sucrose, fructose, corn syrup, white or wheat flour, these foods contain mostly simple carbs and should be limited,” Rebecca Lewis, RD, told us. “A food is only considered a whole grain if the first ingredient on the packaging says, ‘whole grain’ or ‘whole wheat.’”
Raise your hand if you’re stressed out. OK, OK, put both your hands back down. Most of us swim in a pool of stress every day and that takes a serious toll on our mental and physical health. But science says one of the benefits of walking is it’s one of the fastest, most effective ways to calm down. Moving clears cortisol, the “stress hormone”, out of your system and also helps stop the never-ending stream of worries going through your mind, according to a study published in The American Journal of Cardiology. Here are tricks for getting the most happiness out of your walk.
Stumped for an idea? Take a quick stroll around the block. Whether you need a solution to a problem at work or you’re looking for inspiration for your novel, walking gets your creative juices flowing in all areas. A recent study published in Frontiers in Neuroscience found that walking improved both convergent and divergent thinking, the two types associated with enhanced creativity.
Jessica Sepel is a qualified Sydney nutritionist, author, health blogger, and wellness coach. You may recognize her from her beautiful recipes—she is the beloved voice of very active Facebook and Instagram profiles featuring daily food inspiration and health mantras. As a regular contributor to Vogue Australia, mindbodygreen, and a variety of international publications, Jess continues to expand the JSHealth brand to savvy women who want to prioritize wellness in their busy lives. Her second eBook, The Clean Life, was massively successful worldwide, and Pan Macmillan Australia is publishing The Healthy Life later this year as a culmination of the wisdom Jess has gained through healthy living. For more easy and delicious recipes, check out the JSHealth Program: an eight-week plan to help you quit diets forever, find a balanced weight, and live a healthy life. For more information, visit www.jessicasepel.com.
Testing your limits brings about than just bragging rights. Lifting a heavier weight for fewer reps burns nearly twice as many calories during the two hours after your workout than lifting a lighter weight for more reps, according to research published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. Feel smug in the knowledge you’re still torching calories in that 10am meeting.
"What we want to avoid is people thinking they can control their weight simply by dieting," adds Jebb, who points out that this is the very scenario that encourages anorexia in teenage girls. "Just restricting your diet is not going to be the healthiest way to live." Traditional dieting clubs like Weightwatchers and Slimming World promote exercise as a key part of a weight-loss strategy: scientific studies show that exercise is an important factor in maintaining weight loss and, Jebb adds, some studies suggest it can help in preventing weight gain.
Being active has been shown to have a positive effect on the way our brains work, and with the latest figures showing dementia affects one in 14 people over 65 and one in six over 80 it’s worth bearing in mind that regular exercise reduces that risk by up to 40 per cent. What’s more, older people who walk six miles (9.65 kilometres) or more per week can avoid brain shrinkage, preserving the memory for longer.
It might help to politely ask family and friends not to buy you food as gifts. And to understand if you want to change your regular meet-up at the local burger joint to a restaurant with healthier options. You'll be making changes to your whole lifestyle, so it's good to get your family and friends on board so they can support you every step of the way.
Chances are if you’ve landed here, you’re on a journey to lose weight. Now let’s clarify one thing before we get going, weight loss is a term most people use when, actually, they’re looking to lose fat. Though weight is lost when you shift towards a healthier lifestyle, the number on the scale isn’t the most reliable indicator of fat-loss success (we’ll explain in more detail in a bit).
Most of us have a grasp of the rudiments of weight gain and loss: you put energy (calories) into your body through food, you expend them through movement, and any that don't get burned off are stored in your body as fat. Unfortunately, the maths isn't in our favour. "In theory, of course, it's possible that you can burn more calories than you eat," says Dr Susan Jebb, head of nutrition and health research at the Medical Research Council, and one of the government's go-to academics for advice on nutrition. "But you have to do an awful lot more exercise than most people realise. To burn off an extra 500 calories is typically an extra two hours of cycling. And that's about two doughnuts."
“The 10,000 steps goal is thought to be a realistic minimum, and it’s good, but for complete risk reduction, people should aim for more,” says William Tigbe, M.D., Ph.D., a physician and public health researcher at University of Warwick and lead author of the study showing that 15,000 steps per day can lead to greater benefits. “In our study, those who took 5,000 extra steps had no metabolic syndrome risk factors at all.”
Well, science has some bad news for you. More and more research in both the UK and the US is emerging to show that exercise has a negligible impact on weight loss. That tri-weekly commitment to aerobics class? Almost worthless, as far as fitting into your bikini is concerned. The Mayo Clinic, a not-for-profit medical research establishment in the US, reports that, in general, studies "have demonstrated no or modest weight loss with exercise alone" and that "an exercise regimen… is unlikely to result in short-term weight loss beyond what is achieved with dietary change."
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Wilkin argues that the environmental factors we tend to obsess about in the fight against obesity – playing fields, PE time in school, extracurricular activities, parental encouragement – are actually less of a factor in determining what exercise we do than our own bodies. "An evolutionary biologist would say physical activity is the only voluntary means you have of varying or regulating your energy expenditure. In other words, what physical activity you do is not going to be left to the city council to decide. It's going to be controlled, fundamentally, from within."
Having support is very important with weight loss. If everyone can get on board, it will be easier to achieve your goals. Talk to your family (or friends, roommates, etc) before starting your diet and let them know your plan. Explain why you are making this decision and ways they can help you succeed. Even if they do not change with you, that's okay! Go forward with your plan! They may decide to join you once they see you succeed with weight loss.
Dairy products contain varying amounts of lactose (milk sugar), which slows down weight loss. What’s more, part of the protein in milk generates a significant insulin response, which can have the same effect. Consequently, cutting back on dairy products may accelerate weight loss. This applies especially to dairy products typically lacking in fat, such as regular milk and various yogurts, but be careful with full-fat dairy such as cream and cheese all the same. And don’t forget whey protein powder, which is pure milk protein.
Work indulgence foods into your calorie plan. If you do want to have something that is a little higher in calories, then make sure that you work it into your overall calorie goal for the day. For example, if you are following an 1,800 calorie plan, and you want to have a brownie that is 300 calories, then you would only have 1,500 calories left for the day.
One easy trick if you're a pasta fan is to swap out white pasta for the wonderfully named courgetti (spaghetti made from spiralizing courgette). You’ll hardly notice the difference when you’re eating it, but you’ll be fuller for longer despite consuming fewer calories. When you consume fewer calories, your body can go to your fat reserves for energy, rather than just burning off the food you’ve eaten.
“I want to start working out but I hate running.” I can’t tell you how many times I have heard this from friends, former clients and family. It seems that running is the first thing that comes to mind for a lot of people who are looking to lose weight. While our success stories prove that running is a great tool to get in shape, it’s not the only option.
Your body stores up fat for later, but if you eat a balanced amount of healthy fats your body will stop storing it because it knows you will be having it everyday. Kind of like that age old diet tip, don’t put yourself into starvation mode, it will make your body hold onto fat for later, same is true here. Feed your body healthy fats and it will release excess fat from your body.
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Running shoes are the worst invention – read about minimalist (barefoot) running and switch (slowly, as you’ll be using muscles you’ve never engaged). You get stronger and faster with the less material on your feet. your feet and legs need to get strong by being used, NOT covered with leather and foam. Regular running shoes teach you terrible form – heel striking, which destroys your joints, even with the padding. Minimalist running promotes good form by giving you feedback to the ground and lets you land on your forefoot, with much less impact. Off-the-cuff articles like this are truly dangerous.
Your body’s immune system should function properly at all times to prevent infections, diseases, and death. Walking is a great way to boost your immunity. Walking at least 30 minutes a day can help bolster the activities of the immune cells, namely, the B-cells, T-cells, and the natural killer cells (13). It helps release the WBCs at a faster rate, thereby allowing your body to heal quickly (14).