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Even nutritious foods can make you gain weight
Even nutritious foods can make you gain weight
MARILYN BARBONE/SHUTTERSTOCK

“Many people think if it’s healthy, you can eat as much as you want, but it’s important to limit ‘recreational’ eating, no matter how healthy the snack.”

– Dr Fiola Sowemimo, internal and bariatric medicine

Check out these tips on how to keep your portions under control.

When you eat is just as important as what you eat
When you eat is just as important as what you eat
GEORGE RUDY/SHUTTERSTOCK

“When you eat is important for weight loss. Starving all day and eating a big meal at the end of the day is counterproductive. No matter how nutritious a meal is, if eaten too late in the day, one does not have the time to burn it off and use it for fuel for the day. It ends up being stored in a body fuel tank (the fat cells) you can’t readily access.”

– Dr Sowemimo

Here are some smart things healthy people do before 10 am.

Check your medications
Check your medications
RAWPIXEL.COM/SHUTTERSTOCK

“Some common medications prescribed for chronic conditions like hypertension, diabetes, and depression are weight positive – as in, they make you gain weight or make it difficult for you to lose the excess weight you already have. If one needs to be on chronic medications, it’s best to be on weight neutral or weight negative alternatives. Talk to your doctor about your medications.”

– Dr Sowemimo

Reaching your goal weight isn’t the end
Reaching your goal weight isn’t the end
ARTEM OLESHKO/SHUTTERSTOCK

“It takes fewer kilojoules and more energy expenditure to maintain weight loss than it takes to initiate weight loss. The good news is that when you start losing weight, it becomes easier to do more things like spending extra time on the treadmill or doing more resistance training reps. The idea is to continuously challenge yourself.”

– Dr Sowemimo

You need to get your thyroid checked, the right way
You need to get your thyroid checked, the right way
ALBINA GLISIC/SHUTTERSTOCK

“If you’re having a hard time losing weight, get a proper thyroid assessment. Most people need a test that goes above the standard medical thyroid profile. A standard thyroid test reads as ‘normal’ in 80% of overweight individuals, which is incorrect. A proper thyroid assessment includes checking 8 different parameters of thyroid function and comparing them to optimal, not normal, values. Evaluated this way, over 80% of overweight individuals will actually be properly identified as being hypothyroid. This is a key contributor to overweight.”

– Dr Kyrin Dunston

Worried about your thyroid? Here are 9 silent signs of a thyroid problem you may be ignoring.

Alcohol can interfere with weight loss
Alcohol can interfere with weight loss
AFRICA STUDIO/SHUTTERSTOCK

“Alcohol is not only empty kilojoules but also has a huge effect on the weight loss process. It can interrupt and inhibit fat metabolism, making it harder to lose weight. Alcoholic drinks also contain a lot of added kilojoules and carbs that will make it harder to lose weight even when you’re reducing your caloric intake. At the very least, order something you sip slowly, such as wine, rather than something you may drink larger amounts of such as beer.”

– Gabriella Vetere, dietitian nutritionist

 

 

Not all kilojoules are created equal
Not all kilojoules are created equal
DRAGON IMAGES/SHUTTERSTOCK

“Kilojoules are not just kilojoules. There are foods that will nourish the body, preserve and protect lean muscle mass, and foster a healthy metabolism – such as lean proteins, fresh produce, and whole grains. And there are foods that will contribute kilojoules but very little else nutritionally – such as refined grains, processed foods, and added sugars. Having a kilojoule limit is a good idea, but it’s critical to meet that goal with as many healthy choices as possible.”

– Dr Caroline Apovian, director of the Nutrition and Weight Management Center, Boston University

You should exercise too
You should exercise too
IAKOV FILIMONOV/SHUTTERSTOCK

“Exercise is important for so many reasons, with metabolic health and weight loss being only one. While it is true that focusing on diet makes more of a difference in terms of weight loss, the two disciplines work together to maintain a healthy body and metabolism, especially as you age. I advise my patients to do strength train twice per week and cardio most days of the week.”

– Dr Apovian

Why not give these 7 fast fat burning exercises a try?

Sleep can be the missing link in weight loss
Sleep can be the missing link in weight loss
NENAD AKSIC/SHUTTERSTOCK

“I refer to sleep as the third pillar of weight loss. Getting less than 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night ramps up the hunger hormone ghrelin and decreases the satiety hormone leptin. Lack of sleep also interferes with impulse control, making it less likely that you will stick to healthy food choices and portion sizes the following day. Getting less sleep than needed also heightens cortisol, which prompts the body to overeat to refuel after fighting off a stressor.”

– Dr Apovian

Finding it difficult to doze off? Here are 16 bedtime snacks that will help you sleep.

Muscle may weigh more, but it works in your favour
Muscle may weigh more, but it works in your favour
BOJAN MILINKOV/SHUTTERSTOCK

“The amount of lean muscle mass we have is the primary determinant of metabolic rate. In other words, the more muscle mass we have, the more kilojoules we will burn. Our muscle mass naturally begins to decline around age 30, and that process, called sarcopenia, accelerates around age 40. Lift weights and eat a protein-rich diet to preserve your muscle strength as you age.”

– Dr Apovian

It’s about progress, not perfection
It’s about progress, not perfection
ANDRII KOBRYN/SHUTTERSTOCK

“Attitude is everything. When shedding weight, progress is more important than perfection. Small steps lead to big changes. And, if you fall off the wagon, jump back on. Each day is a new day to eat and be well.”

– Jared Koch, health coach and nutritional consultant

It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle
It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle
LZF/SHUTTERSTOCK

“I wish clients understood that losing weight is about more than the number on the scale. Following fad diets may promote quick weight loss but typically results are fleeting and may lead to even greater weight gain once you resume your usual eating patterns. To lose weight for good, you need to adopt an all-around lifestyle change that includes what you eat, how you prepare food, and how often you move your body.”

– Chanté Wiegand, naturopathic doctor

There is no perfect diet
There is no perfect diet
SASCHANTI17/SHUTTERSTOCK

“There is no one-size-fits-all weight loss diet for everyone. Ketogenic, Paleo, low fat, vegan – the options are numerous. But you must take into account the individual’s overall health concerns in the context of their weight loss strategy. What works for one person may make someone else ill or may simply not be effective.”

–Dr Wiegand

Diet is more important than exercise
Diet is more important than exercise
SIRIKUNKRITTAPHUK/SHUTTERSTOCK

“You cannot outrun a bad diet. So many clients think because they sweat it out in the gym they can eat whatever they want. While fitness is essential for heart health and functionality, it is important to note that 80% of weight loss is diet.”

– Suzanne Fisher,  dietitian and  nutritionist

Stressing about losing weight makes it harder to lose weight
Stressing about losing weight makes it harder to lose weight
SYDA PRODUCTIONS/SHUTTERSTOCK

“Watch your stress level. Stress elevates the hormone cortisol, and when elevated, cortisol can interfere with memory, promote weight gain, and lower immune function. Cortisol can also induce overeating and cravings, usually for high-fat, high-sugar foods. In addition, ghrelin, the hunger or appetite hormone, has been found to increase during times of extreme stress. Make sure you’re taking time to de-stress every day.”

– Suzanne Fisher

Manage your stress levels with these 36 helpful tips.

Snacks can cut cravings
Snacks can cut cravings
ELENA VESELOVA/SHUTTERSTOCK

“Ghrelin, the hunger hormone, will increase during periods of hunger, so a mid-afternoon snack may prevent late-day overeating. Pack a snack or have some emergency rations stored in your desk to avoid temptations. I recommend  nuts, seeds, fruit, yoghurt, cheese sticks, air popped popcorn, and low sugar granola bars. Consuming a snack that contains protein will promote satiety and help to reduce cravings.”

– Suzanne Fisher

Get your hormone levels checked
Get your hormone levels checked
FARLAND2456/SHUTTERSTOCK

“If you’re trying everything and still not losing weight, I always recommend digging deeper into hormones. Imbalances in cortisol, thyroid and other stress hormones may be blocking success. Diet and exercise are often not enough.”

– Chanté Wiegand

Your microbiome is one key to weight loss
Your microbiome is one key to weight loss
ANATOMY INSIDER/SHUTTERSTOCK

“Tweaking the gut microbiome – the balance of good bacteria in your digestive system – can help your body shed kilos. Certain healthy bacteria in the gut predispose you to a faster metabolism. You can actually sequence the gut microbiome and look for imbalances and then work on rebalancing.”

– Chanté Wiegand

These useful tips help protect our good gut bacteria.

Weight loss is not a straight line
Weight loss is not a straight line
ALEXKICH/SHUTTERSTOCK

“Losing weight is not linear. Your body weight will fluctuate as you go through different phases, especially for women at certain times of the month. From a psychological point of view, if your body weight goes up for a few days in a row, do not panic. Look at the overall trends instead.”

– Rob Jackson, personal trainer

Don’t beat yourself up for eating a treat
 Don’t beat yourself up for eating a treat
KIKOVIC/SHUTTERSTOCK

“One treat will not ruin a pattern of successful clean eating. If you’ve been training hard in the gym, it might even be beneficial. Don’t beat yourself up over it, as this mindset can really knock you back. Instead, draw a line under the experience and continue with the clean eating that you were doing before the treat.”

– Rob Jackson

Weight loss is about the journey, not the destination
Weight loss is about the journey, not the destination
HALFPOINT/SHUTTERSTOCK

“I wish people understood that weight loss and weight maintenance behaviours are two sides of the same coin. Too many people seem to want to shed kilos quickly as possible without really trying to change their eating and lifestyle behaviours for the long term; they figure they’ll deal with the weight maintenance later on. When people say they are ‘going on’ a diet, it implies that – at some point – they’ll be ‘going off’ their diet. I always tell people that when you are changing your habits in order to lose weight, you’re just practicing for weight maintenance. I want them to focus on the behavioural changes much more than their goal weight.”

– Susan Bowerman, dietitian

You should probably keep a food journal
You should probably keep a food journal
HAVE A NICE DAY PHOTO/SHUTTERSTOCK

“I wish people understood the value of keeping really accurate food diaries. I encourage my patients to not only keep a diary, but to also write down ahead of time what they plan to eat and when they plan to exercise. This encourages them to stick to the plan. I also encourage people to use the diary as a tool to record their hunger level before and after eating, as well as their mood. The feedback from a well-kept food diary is invaluable. People learn if they are eating for emotional reasons rather than hunger, and they can also see how often they eat until they are more than comfortably full.”

– Susan Bowerman

Fix underlying emotional issues without food
Fix underlying emotional issues without food
SYDA PRODUCTIONS/SHUTTERSTOCK

“When you manage your emotions instead of pushing them down and following them with a food chaser, you save a whole bunch of kilojoules. Figure out what’s really eating you, so to speak, and deal with that rather than depending on a sugar bomb to soothe your soul. When you face your issues, you no longer need to stuff your face. This gives you back the control you desire.”

– Renée Jones, counsellor and author of  What’s Really Eating You?: Overcome the Triggers of Comfort Eating   

Lack of sleep can make you eat more – a lot more
Lack of sleep can make you eat more – a lot more
STOKKETE/SHUTTERSTOCK

“Research published in the European Journal of Nutrition shows that people consume more net kilojoules the day after they don’t get enough sleep – about 1600 more kilojoules. With roughly 7000 kj in a kilo, an individual could theoretically gain over 2 kg in 10 days if they’re not getting enough sleep.”

–  Dr Joseph Ojile, CEO and medical director of the Clayton Sleep Institute

Lack of sleep may also make you crave junk food
Lack of sleep may also make you crave junk food
SYDA PRODUCTIONS/SHUTTERSTOCK

“As if eating nearly 1600 more kilojoules a day wasn’t enough, research published in Sleep shows that sleep restriction amplifies and extends the blood levels of a chemical signal that ‘enhance the joy of eating, particularly the guilty pleasures gained from sweet or salty, high-fat snacks.’ This made people crave and eat more of these unhealthy snacks. Over time that can cause significant weight gain.”

– Dr Joseph Ojile

Cravings do affect some people more than others
Cravings do affect some people more than others
VOYAGERIX/SHUTTERSTOCK

“Thanks to new research, we now know when people are most vulnerable to cravings (early evening) and which age groups crave more (young females crave more than older males, and younger female dieters crave more than older male dieters). Knowing your personal ‘risk factors’ can help you manage your cravings.”

– Dr Frank Greenway

Liposuction isn’t a weight loss shortcut
Liposuction isn’t a weight loss shortcut
SIBFILM/SHUTTERSTOCK

“One of the biggest misconceptions about weight loss some of my patients have is the belief that cosmetic plastic surgery, especially liposuction, is a way to lose weight. Liposuction may remove up to a few kilos from the midsection during surgery, but it is a sculpturing tool, not a weight loss tool. If a patient is overweight, I actually ask them to lose weight by other means first before I will perform liposuction.”

– Dr  Joshua D. Zuckerman, plastic surgeon

You’re not fat because you love food
 You’re not fat because you love food
DUSAN PETKOVIC/SHUTTERSTOCK

“Shedding kilos shouldn’t be your focus. Your main focus should be figuring out what caused the weight gain in the first place. Without knowing that, you’ll likely see the weight creep back on because the underlying issue hasn’t been solved. The issue(s) could be anything from hormone imbalances to cravings, but in most cases, it is solvable.”

– Leah de Souza-Thomas, epidemiologist

You’re not a slave to your cravings
You’re not a slave to your cravings
KSENIIA PERMINOVA/SHUTTERSTOCK

“The average food craving lasts for about 15 minutes, so if you’re craving something that isn’t the best fit for you that day, distract yourself for 15 minutes. Chances are good that the craving will pass, and even if it doesn’t, you will likely have more insight into why you’re having that particular craving.”

– Dr Kelly Morrow-Baez, counsellor and private weight loss coach

Eating fat will not make you fat
Eating fat will not make you fat
FOODPICTURES/SHUTTERSTOCK

“Many clients come to me and are terrified of eating avocados, nuts, hummus, and other healthy fats as they claim that the foods are ‘too fattening and high in kilojoules.’ I explain that fat is digested slower than carbs and protein and will also help promote satiety. Full-fat dairy products, nuts, and plant-based fats promote weight loss, not inhibit it.”

– Dr Eliza Savage, dietician nutritionist

This type of thinking is counter-productive. Here are 14 ‘bad’ foods you can stop demonising.

Allergy meds can cause weight gain
Allergy meds can cause weight gain
PUHHHA/SHUTTERSTOCK

“Some common over-the-counter medications can hurt weight loss. I advise people trying to lose weight to use antihistamines sparingly. Try spot-treating the symptoms instead. If you have nasal symptoms, consider only nasal sprays rather than a pill.”

– Dr Chandler Park, founder of CancerVisit.com

Fast weight loss isn’t fat loss
Fast weight loss isn’t fat loss
LITHIAN/SHUTTERSTOCK

“Fast weight loss, such as 4.5 kg in two weeks, that results from extreme food restriction, juice cleanses, or cutting out carbohydrates completely is mostly due to loss of water weight and muscle mass, and can be very unhealthy. This weight loss is not sustainable and is usually regained back fast and results in a cycle of yo-yo dieting, which messes up your metabolism. The actual kilograms you want to lose and keep off – kilos of fat – require a meal plan that includes all food groups and is not overly restrictive so that you can fuel your body to burn fat efficiently.”

– Rachel Goodman, dietitian

Your tech is making you overeat
Your tech is making you overeat
SYDA PRODUCTIONS/SHUTTERSTOCK

“People have become completely disconnected from what satiety is and what it should feel like. We eat in the car, while working, while on our phones, or while watching television – we have become mechanical eaters. Mindful eating is a fundamental part of losing weight and keeping it off. You should eat when your body is asking you for fuel and stop eating when you are full. Keeping away from distractions can help learn this behaviour.”

– Gisela Bouvier, dietitian nutritionist

Skipping meals doesn’t help
Skipping meals doesn’t help
VITA SUN/SHUTTERSTOCK

“I wish people would know that skipping meals, especially skipping breakfast, is not the answer. Many people think if they just cut kilojoules by not eating certain meals they will lose weight, but it actually does not help them lose weight and instead sets them up to overeat later and/or to make unhealthy choices later.”

– Dr Rachel Goldman

These delicious blueberry and oat breakfast muffins are healthy snack at any time of the day.

You eat too fast
You eat too fast
DEDMITYAY/SHUTTERSTOCK

“People need to slow down when they eat! Most people eat too fast and when we eat too fast, we overeat. By simply slowing down the meal – try putting your utensil down between bites, or eating with your non-dominant hand – your stomach and brain will have time to connect. When you slow down your eating, you will be able to eat less food and feel full faster.”

– Dr Goldman

Starving yourself doesn’t work
Starving yourself doesn’t work
VGSTOCKSTUDIO/SHUTTERSTOCK

“You need to eat to lose weight. What I mean here is that you can’t skimp too much on kilojoules to lose weight. Don’t think eating just a low-joule microwave dinner is a good thing. You’ll have better weight-loss results if you’re eating enough. If you eat too little, you could end up slowing your metabolism, which is not going to be helpful to weight loss.”

– Amy Gorin, dietitian nutritionist

Fibre is a dieter’s best friend
Fibre is a dieter’s best friend
BRIAN A JACKSON/SHUTTERSTOCK

“Having a diet high in fibre is an incredible way to lose weight. Fibre helps keeps you fuller longer, which can help control weight. It also keeps your digestive system regular, preventing constipation. The average woman requires 25 grams, and the average man requires 38 grams of fibre per day – but most do not get even half that. When adding fibre to your diet, it is very important to drink water throughout the day to prevent bloating. It is also encouraged to eat protein with fibre, which promotes satiety.”

–  Brooke Zigler, dietitian

Start reading nutrition labels
Start reading nutrition labels
NESTOR RIZHNIAK/SHUTTERSTOCK

“Pay attention to nutrition labels. Focus on the ingredients, not the numbers. Make sure you’re eating good, clean food. Even better, choose foods that don’t need a label, like fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats. Look for organic, grass-fed, pasture-raised, and humane meats.”

– Tanuja Paruchuri, holistic health coach

Learn more about how your food is produced, some of these facts are alarming.

Sugar is the worst
Sugar is the worst
HANDMADE PICTURES/SHUTTERSTOCK

“The main ingredient you need to watch out for is sugar. Remember that sugar wears lots of disguises – there are more than 61 names for sugar on food packaging these days. Some common monikers include evaporated cane juice, fructose, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, sucrose, dextrose, maltodextrin, and  more. Sugar, particularly hidden sugar, is responsible for weight gain and health issues in most people.”

– Paruchuri

Read on to find out how to kick a sugar addiction without missing the sweet stuff.

You can’t do this alone
You can’t do this alone
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“It is nearly impossible to shed weight all on your own. Most people need a supportive community, coach, therapist, accountability partner, and/or group to stay on track.”

– Sandee S. Nebel, mental health counsellor and eating disorder specialist

Fail to plan, plan to fail
Fail to plan, plan to fail
FIZKES/SHUTTERSTOCK

“Structure is so important to reaching and maintaining a healthy weight. For instance, I recommend using a template food plan, scheduling time for movement, preparing food in advance, and seeing a therapist to help with the emotional side, particularly body image issues.”

– Sandee S. Nebel

Weigh every day
Weigh every day
TMCPHOTOS/SHUTTERSTOCK

“Weigh yourself every day and keep a food tracking journal. These will help you be more accountable. If you know you’re going to have to write it all down and weigh yourself, you may be less apt to eat that extra helping or have that chocolate cake after dinner.”

– Nicole Palacios,  personal trainer, weight loss specialist, and kinesiologist

The more you talk, the more you lose
 The more you talk, the more you lose
PRESSMASTER/SHUTTERSTOCK

“Tell everyone you know about your weight loss goals. The more public it is, the more you’re likely to stick with it, because people are going to ask you how it’s going and what you’re doing. Tell your colleagues, your spouse, your friends – they can also help you be more accountable and maybe won’t offer you all the treats at the next party if they know you’re trying to lose weight.”

– Nicole Palacios

It’s easier not to eat something than it is to burn it off later
It’s easier not to eat something than it is to burn it off later
GOLF BRESS/SHUTTERSTOCK

“I wish my clients truly understood how quickly you can consume kilojoules and how slowly your body burns them off with exercise. That bottle of soft drink you just had with lunch? It took you a few minutes to drink it, but it’ll take you an hour on the treadmill at moderate to high intensity to burn it off. That little snack-size chocolate bar? Another hour on the treadmill. That old saying, ‘a minute on the lips, a lifetime on the hips’, couldn’t be truer.”

– Dr Eamonn Leaver, organisational psychologist, sport and exercise scientist, and author of  The Home Fit Freak

Portion control is everything
Portion control is everything
OLEKSANDRA NAUMENKO/SHUTTERSTOCK

“Many of my clients are eating foods that are absolutely fine for them. The reason they’re either gaining weight or not losing weight is simply because they’re eating too much of it. I recommend swapping your regular sized dinner plate for a smaller plate. Portion control is so underrated in weight loss.”

– Dr Eamonn Leaver

Ever wondered what the ‘right’ portions are? Find out here.

Weight loss is about the future, not the past
Weight loss is about the future, not the past
MITA STOCK IMAGES/SHUTTERSTOCK

“I recommend that clients visualise how they are going to feel when their goals are achieved. Imagine the day, where you are, how your body feels, how good you feel to be healthier, what the air smells like, etc. Spending a few minutes each day putting yourself in your own shoes and connecting to that sense of accomplishment can be very motivating, and a great mental strategy to use during the tougher times when you are tempted to break your lifestyle change commitments.”

– Dr Kris Boksman, clinical psychologist

Deprivation leads to bingeing
Deprivation leads to bingeing
YURIY MAKSYMIV/SHUTTERSTOCK

“A very important thing that can sometimes really mess up someone adopting a new diet-related lifestyle is a sense of deprivation. Deprivation can be physical and psychological. If you have a physical craving and are also feeling psychologically deprived, you’re much more likely to cheat. The more deprived you feel, the more likely a food binge will result. Allowing yourself a ‘cheat day’ or to eat desserts or some other kind of treat a few times a week, in sensible moderation, can keep massive slip-ups from happening.”

– Dr Karl Boksman

Your chair is your worst enemy
Your chair is your worst enemy
Your chair is your worst enemy

“People simply need to stand more during the day. We often have time when we are idle or resting and spend that time sitting while watching TV, playing on our phones, or even working. But simply standing to do these things burns twice the kilojoules.”

– Jeremy Kring, exercise scientist

Find out how standing up can stop you ageing prematurely.

Eat more plants. Seriously.
Eat more plants. Seriously.
BRENT HOFACKER/SHUTTERSTOCK

“One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to lose weight for the long term is to build your meals around plants, aiming for eight or more servings per day. Plant fibre will keep you satiated and also build a healthy gut by creating more diversity in your microbiome, which can play a huge role in weight loss. You can select any plant, from raw Brussels sprouts served with pecorino Romano cheese and olive oil, to sautéed mushrooms and zucchini. The goal is to have plant foods – in excess – raw, steamed, or lightly cooked.”

– Stella Metsovas, author of Wild Mediterranean

 

Positive thinking and self-love are key
Positive thinking and self-love are key
GAUDILAB/SHUTTERSTOCK

“You can’t hate your way through weight loss. It’s easy to get fixated on a number on the scale and rest your happiness on that number, hating your body during the entire journey. Positive thinking and self-love have a big part in improving your health, so love the body that you’re changing and be gentle on yourself. The process of losing weight will teach you a lot about yourself. Don’t miss out on that lesson by focusing on only one goal.”

– Maya Rams Murthy, dietitian

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Source: RD.com

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