Fad diets, such as juice cleanses or the keto diet, may seem appealing given that some people achieve rapid weight loss results. However, results are rarely long-term, meaning many people regain the weight they lost and maybe even more.
Sustaining long-term weight loss may seem impossible but this isn't true. In this blog, you'll explore 5 key elements in managing long-term weight loss.
1. Balance is key
The best diet for sustainable weight loss is one that's balanced with all the essential nutrients your body needs to thrive, even whilst you're eating in an energy deficit. Far too many diets eliminate food groups in order to cut calories - but this puts you at risk of missing out on crucial nutrients.
Focus on ensuring that your diet includes the following:
Proteins: Not only does protein help to build and maintain muscles, but they're a crucial part of many metabolic processes in the body, as well as helping you to feel full.
Carbohydrates: These are essential to help fuel your brain and body. Focus on fibre-rich carbohydrates to help better control blood glucose (sugar) levels and provide slow release energy.
Fats: Focus on including healthy unsaturated fats which help to offer satiety, as well as supporting the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.
Fruits and vegetables: These foods are bursting with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to support good health. Not only this, but fruits and vegetables are often low in energy. This means you can eat more to feel full, without consuming excessive amounts of energy.
2. Eat sensible portion sizes slowly
It's not only quality of food that matters, but also the quantity of food and how you eat that food.
In clinic, it's common for people to mention that they're eating larger than necessary portion sizes. Not only this, but they're speed-eating their way through their meal and before they know it, their meal is over.
By slowing down the speed at which you eat and removing distractions, such as screens, you can focus on the food that you're eating. It's likely that you'll find when you start eating slower, that you recognise that you're getting fuller sooner than you thought. As a result, you'll start to eat smaller portion sizes, but still feel satisfied.
3.Move your body regularly
Find movement that you enjoy and want to take part in regularly. Even movement as simple as walking can be beneficial for increasing your energy expenditure and aiding weight loss.
No matter your choice of movement and exercise, ensure that you take part in it regularly. The NHS recommendations for exercise are:
Take part in strengthening activities that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms) at least twice each week
Take part in at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity each week or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity each week
Spread exercise evenly over 4 to 5 days a week or even every day
Break up long periods of not moving with some activity
4. Get a good night's sleep
It might be a surprise that sleep can affect weight loss efforts. Research suggests that those with poor sleep are more likely to have a higher energy intake due to behaviours such as increased snacking (1). Good sleep hygiene may help better prepare you for sleep. Alternatively, if you've been struggling with sleep for a prolonged time, it may be worthwhile visiting your GP.
5. Explore stress management
It's suggested that chronic stress can increase levels of the hormone cortisol, which may increase appetite and lead to emotional eating (2).
Everyone manages stress differently so there's no one stress management method. Explore activities such as yoga, meditation, walking, reading or anything else that brings you joy.
The best evidence-based approach towards weight loss involves taking an entire lifestyle approach. Ensure that you focus on eating a balanced diet with sensible portion sizes and that you eat slowly. Remember to regularly move your body and to get a good night's sleep and ensure that you're managing your stress levels as best as you can. By embracing these habits, you'll be on your way to sustainable, long-term weight loss.
If you would like personalised and individualised nutrition and lifestyle advice to support your weight management journey, book your FREE 15 minute discovery session today to find out how Lucy Jones ANutr can support you.