Easy access to convenient food without the hassle of preparation may well be the reason of the rising obesity trend. The ubiquity of fast food restaurants offering instant tasty meals with sweetened carbonated drinks and other high calorie snacks have encouraged abnormal eating patterns for all hours of the day. Processed food rich in chemical additives plus sedentary lifestyles has made the Western lifestyle the unhealthiest in the world.
In an EU report backed by Britain’s own National Health Service (NHS), it was shown that 24 percent of British women were found to be overweight compared to only 15.6 percent in Germany, 12.7 percent in France and just 9.3 percent in Italy. This report raised concerns regarding the obesity trend among younger women in the UK which has almost doubled over the last decade.
Time-tested weight loss methods
The best way to lose weight is not necessarily the fastest one. With all the diet trends, accessories and supplements on the market, we are bombarded by testimonials of people sporting flat abs and six packs endorsing the latest fad diet. They swear by how effective it has been for them and how they are having the time of their lives.
Truth be told, who wouldn’t want flat abs or a six pack? Unfortunately, short-term gains are difficult to sustain unless the individual actually decides to make the personal decision to want to live a healthy life.
The best approach to losing weight is to choose a system that, once initiated, can be sustained in the long run. Below are some tips that you can slowly incorporate into your everyday activities. If you have been practicing them already, congratulations! If not, it’s not yet too late to give it a try:
1. Practice Mindful Eating– Recently, the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior revealed that individuals can still lose weight even if they eat out.
Researchers from the University of Texas observed 35 healthy pre-menopausal women who ate out frequently. Test subjects took part in a six-week program called “Mindful Restaurant Eating.” The focus of this program was on preventing weight gain and not weight loss. Test findings revealed that participants in the intervention group lost more weight, had a lower percentage of fat and a lower average daily caloric intake, and experienced increased self-efficacy in managing diet when eating out.
The message here may simply be to eat in moderation, or, not eating in excess. Depriving yourself of your favorite food may no longer be necessary if you reduce your normal serving to a smaller portion so your body can burn it faster and avoid weight gain.
2. Learn to handle stress – Stress, especially stress related to work, is found to increase the chances of obesity. Researchers from the University of Rochester studied the causes of and solutions to obesity in employees from a manufacturing facility in New York. The study looked at 2800 professional male employees and discovered that those in more stressful positions had a BMI unit of weight more than those in less demanding jobs.
The same finding also holds true for women. In 2000, a study conducted by Yale University showed that non-overweight women vulnerable to the effects of stress were more likely to have excess abdominal fat with higher levels of cortisol, a hormone related to stress. Studies have shown that cortisol can affect fat distribution by causing it to be stored in the abdomen around the organs.
3. Drink plenty of water – Recent studies have now shown that drinking water is an effective weight loss strategy. In a study, it was discovered that dieters who drank water before eating three times a day over the course of roughly three months lost five pounds more than those who did not have increased water consumption. Water has no calories and consuming it before meals makes less space for food in the stomach.
Researchers also noted that consuming water was better than soda and other sweetened drinks, which are packed with sugar or artificial sweeteners, additives that have found to contribute heavily to weight gain.
Moreover, it is suggested that six to eight glasses of water be taken daily to maintain the water content of the bile, according to Michael Murray, N.D., and Joseph Pizzorno, N.D., in their book “The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods.” Fresh fruit, pure water and vegetable juices are the preferred methods of meeting the body’s water requirements.
4. Get a sufficient amount of sleep – Not getting enough sleep may increase your chances of becoming overweight in the long run. A recent study from Uppsala University revealed that the brain’s response to food is more active after one night of sleep loss.
Researchers from Uppsala University together with researchers from other European universities studied the brain of 12 males with normal weights while the subjects viewed images of food. They examined regions in the brain involved with appetite sensation using magnetic imaging and compared results after a night with normal sleep and one obtained after one night without sleep. According to Christian Benedict, the lead researcher in the study, “After a night of total sleep loss, these males showed a high level of activation in an area of the brain that is involved in a desire to eat.”
Insufficient sleep appears to be a problem that plagues modern society. Being able to get at least eight hours a night may be crucial in maintaining health and avoiding cardiovascular and weight-related conditions.
5. Exercise your way to health – In a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, maintaining weight and fitness levels as we grow older may be enough to see significant benefits.
According to Duck-chul Lee, a lead researcher in the study, if you’re overweight, losing weight and improving your fitness may be the best combination for health maintenance. The study discovered that people who kept up or improved their fitness levels lowered their risk of high cholesterol, high blood pressure and their risk to metabolic syndrome (a term used to refer to a group of risk factors for heart disease such as unhealthy cholesterol level, abdominal obesity and high blood sugar.)
At the onset, people who are overweight often fail to notice their weight loss because they get hungrier and start eating more. This shouldn’t discourage them, according to Dr. Lee. What is essential is to use exercise to get fit, and one way to decipher progress is to see how you feel when going through your exercise routine. If it’s getting easier, you are getting fitter.
Don’t settle for the quick fix
The best way to lose weight is not necessarily the fastest way. Resorting to fad diets may not be feasible in the long run, especially if no exercise is incorporated into the program. Furthermore, if moderation in food intake is not learned, the subject may be subject to binging episodes, leading to the regaining of more weight than what was originally lost.
What then is the best strategy for those earnestly looking for an authentic weight loss program?
The best strategy should be something that can be sustained in the long run. The five tips offered above can be incorporated into any lifestyle with no cost to the individual. These can produce incremental changes that eventually add up to the desired result: a better option for weight loss than quick fixes that only provide temporary relief.
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