August 11 2021
There exists an obsession with maintaining a slim body in today’s world which is taken advantage of by endless advertisements about various diets, nutritional supplements, and meal replacement products that ensure quick weight loss mostly without any concrete scientific evidence. But some natural methods have been found to have a profound effect on weight loss enabling a healthier lifestyle. Some of these strategies include maintaining a daily chart of calorie intake, regular exercise, intermittent fasting, and limiting the carbohydrate intake in the diet. A few scientifically proven methods of weight loss are:
Intermittent fasting is a norm for food consumption which is a combination of well maintained short term fasting along with the intake of nutritious meals within a shorter period during the day. Research shows that short-term intermittent fasting which is usually 24 weeks in total is extremely beneficial in achieving weight loss in obese individuals. The most commonly applied intermittent fasting methodologies include:
- Alternate day fasting (ADF) - This technique involves fasting every alternate day and eating as usual on days when fasting is not done. A newer modification of this method puts into effect consumption of only 25 to 30 % of the body’s total energy requirements on even the days when fasting is observed.
- 5:2 diet - This method involves fasting every two out of the total seven days in the week. The daily consumption limit on fasting days should be contained up to 500 to 600 calories only.
- 16/8 method - This technique involves fasting for about 16 hours and eating only during the stipulated 8-hour window. This method shows that eating during a limited time frame caused a decrease in calorie intake and thereby promoting weight loss. It is highly recommended to follow a healthy diet even on non-fasting days to prevent overeating.
Keeping a track of diet and exercise
To lose weight successfully, everything that an individual on a diet eats and drinks should be tracked regularly to know the number of calories consumed each day. Online food trackers are effective in helping to maintain a log of all the items an individual consumes in a day. In addition to intake monitoring, regular tracking of physical activities is also essential in the effective management of weight loss. Studies show a definite relationship between noting food intake and physical exercise is done to implement a strict weight loss regimen.
Individuals keen on achieving effective weight loss must be aware of how much and how often they eat food. This constant monitoring helps in streamlining any deviation from the required weight loss program and enables the individual in maintaining the desired weight control. Extremely hectic life schedules lead to people having quick bites of unhealthy foods often on the move. Some of the techniques to be implemented to keep a watch on what and how to be eaten include:
- Sitting down for eating food preferably at designated timings and if possible at the same place daily.
- Distractions while eating food should be completely avoided such as the accompaniment of television, mobiles, or laptops.
- Food should be eaten slowly. Enough time should be taken to chew food thoroughly as it prevents overeating.
- Foods that should be included in the diet must be nutritious and a balanced diet to avoid feeling hungry quickly and indulging in junk foods to satisfy intermittent hunger.
Consumption of protein for breakfast
Protein consumption plays a vital role in regulating the hormones responsible for promoting appetite and helps in feeling full which occurs due to a reduction in the products of the hunger hormone ghrelin and an increase in the satiety hormone peptide YY and cholecystokinin. Studies show that intake of a diet rich in protein helps in sustaining hunger for a longer amount of time. Some of the most important sources of protein include eggs, oats, nuts, sardines, and chia seeds.
Reducing sugar and refined carbohydrates
Heavily processed foods that have no fibre content and other essential nutrients are known as refined carbohydrates. Some of them include white rice, bread, and pasta which get digested quickly and get converted into glucose at a faster rate which enters the bloodstream and stimulates insulin which in turn enables the storage of fat in the adipose tissues which causes weight gain. Thus these types of foods should be avoided and substituted with healthier foods such as whole grain rice, bread, fruits and vegetables, herbal teas, and fruit-infused water.
Increasing fibre intake
Plant-based carbohydrates are not easily digested in the small intestine and are known as dietary fibre. Intake of adequate amounts of fibre in the diet may play a major role in increasing the feeling of fullness thereby contributing to the desired weight loss. Foods that are good sources of fibre are whole-grain breakfast cereals, oats, barley, rye, fruits, vegetables like peas, beans and pulses, nuts, and seeds.
Balancing the gut bacteria
Research shows that gut bacteria play an important role in weight management. A few varieties of gut bacteria can increase the amount of energy that can be derived from the food that is consumed which in turn contributes to weight gain by causing fat deposits. A few foods that can increase such type of bacteria in the gut are plant varieties such as fruits, vegetables and grains will promote fibre uptake; fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, yogurt, tempeh, and miso; prebiotic foods in fruits and vegetables like chicory root, artichoke, onion, garlic, asparagus, leeks, banana, avocado and grains such as oats and barley.
Getting adequate sleep
Getting sleep less than 6 hours every night is often linked to developing obesity. Inadequate sleep leads to inhibiting the conversion of calories to energy in the body leading to the accumulation of this unused energy in the body in the form of fat. Poor sleep may also enhance the formation of insulin and cortisol which in turn lead to more fat accumulation. Intake of Alvizia flaxseed oil and milk thistle capsules help in achieving weight loss goals and promote a healthy lifestyle.