Do you mindlessly sprinkle salt on your food without even tasting it first? Stop it! Seriously. Extra sodium can lead to water weight gain and bloating, which will make your pants fit tighter (and the number on the scale tick up). Be sure to read your labels, too; sodium is typically lurking in in processed foods, even “healthy” ones like frozen dinners and canned soups.
To encourage ketone production, the amount of insulin in your bloodstream must be low. The lower your insulin, the higher your ketone production. And when you have a well-controlled, sufficiently large amount of ketones in your blood, it’s basically proof that your insulin is very low – and therefore, that you’re enjoying the maximum effect of your low-carbohydrate diet. That’s what’s called optimal ketosis.
However, the type of fat you eat can determine whether you’ll gain or lose weight. For example, coconut oil contains fatty acids called medium-chain triglycerides, which the body metabolises much faster than the long-chain triglycerides contained in other fats. Use it in roasting, frying or just a few teaspoons on a salad. However, it’s still a saturated fat – ie. high in calories – so don’t go overboard. And try to grill, poach and steam food wherever possible.
Remember deprivation hardly works? When you get the urge for a sweet treat, turn to dark chocolate. It will help curb your craving thanks to its insulin-resistance lowering flavonoids. The healthy fats in dark chocolate can also slow the absorption of sugar into your blood stream, preventing “insulin spikes.” Studies have shown that eating some can help put a stop to cravings for sugar, salt, and fat. However, the chocolate must be 70% cocoa, otherwise it has too much milk or sugar added to be beneficial.
Support from family or friends is essential when you’re trying to lose weight. Arrange activities with them, such as walking or cycling. After all, it's much more fun to exercise while socialising. Or swap recipe ideas for healthy meals with colleagues at work who are also trying to lose weight. You can build a support network around yourself to motivate you.
Drinking a selection of fresh fruit and vegetable juices in your day, your body will certainly feel the benefit. Fresh juices are a powerful way to increase your intake of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and enzymes. You can juice most fruits and vegetables. I try to choose the greenest, water-rich and most alkalizing ones for my own juices, using some (or all!) of the following: spinach or cucumber, celery, pears, apples, ginger and lemon.
If you’ve been eating fast food for years, get real about your approach: You’re probably not going to stick to an organic, gluten-free, paleo overhaul for very long. "You want to change as little as possible to create calorie deficit," says Dr. Seltzer, who insists the best way to support sustainable weight loss is to incorporate small changes into existing habits. So instead of giving up your daily BLT bagels in favor of an egg-white wrap, try ordering your sandwich on a lighter English muffin. Or say you eat a snack bar every afternoon: Swap your 300-calorie bar for a 150-calorie alternative. "Your brain will feel the same way about it, so you won’t feel deprived," he says.
Do the Mediterranean diet if you like fish and veggies. A plan like the Mediterranean diet may be able to help you sustain weight loss. It is based on the traditional ingredients and cooking styles of people living near the Mediterranean sea. Research has shown that people adhering to this diet have reduced risk of heart disease - plus it helps you shed pounds and look lean and trim. If you want to try the Mediterranean diet, avoid bread, dairy and processed foods. Instead, build your meals around the following foods:
If you’re not sure if you need to lose weight, calculating your BMI can be a good starting point and help you work out whether you are at an appropriate weight for your height. Check your waist circumference too as your body shape is also important. Carrying too much weight around our middle increases risk, even if your BMI is within the healthy range.
No matter how good the fitness plan, sticking with the exact same routine day after day is hard and discouraging. Try a different workout for every day of the week, each focusing on a different body part, recommends celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak, who has worked with stars such as Halle Berry, Katherine Heigel and Britney Spears. (This is exactly how the pop star works out.)
Switch to Lighter Alternatives. Whenever you can, use the low-fat versions of salad dressings, mayonnaise, dairy products, and other products. "You can trim calories effortlessly if you use low-fat and lighter products, and if the product is mixed in with other ingredients, no one will ever notice," says Magee. More smart substitutions: Use salsa or hummus as a dip; spread sandwiches with mustard instead of mayo; eat plain roasted sweet potatoes instead of loaded white potatoes; use skim milk instead of cream in your coffee; hold the cheese on sandwiches; and use a little vinaigrette on your salad instead of piling on the creamy dressing.
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Your body needs a certain amount of essential vitamins and minerals to function properly. What happens when you don’t get enough of them? What happens when you eat too little food, or when the food you eat isn’t sufficiently nutritious? Perhaps our bodies catch on and reply by increasing hunger levels. After all – if we eat more, we increase the chances of consuming enough of whatever nutrient we are lacking.