We all know how frustrating it can be ditching those last few stubborn kilos or pounds but there are ways of going about it that work. Like everything in life, success in this respect means commitment and discipline. You have to be mindful about your food choices, your lifestyle choices and you have to have some knowledge about how weight loss occurs.
Okay. You’ve been making healthy choices, exercising regularly and you are tantalisingly close to your dream weight but those last few kilos or pounds seem to be stuck to your body like gum to your shoes.
Here’s what’s happening. Calorie or kilojoule restriction triggers powerful compensatory responses in your body’s metabolism. Your body is smart. It senses the changes and decreasing fat stories and brings out the artillery to defend your energy. This has been called the ‘famine reaction’ and was originally designed so that we can store excess energy.
Here are some helpful tips:
Take a break
If you’ve been seriously restricting your calories be warned – when your body doesn’t get enough food it goes into starvation mode, preventing further weight loss. There is evidence to suggest that the solution lies in alternating between weeks when you eat less with weeks when you don’t ‘diet’. Our bodies work hard to find ways to slow weight loss when we are continually dieting. This alternating diet approach minimises these biological defences to being on a diet.
Over the past few decades we are eating more than ever and it isn’t all our fault. The average slice of bread has increased as has the size of some protein, for instance, chickens and chicken pieces. Despite nutritional advice, many people continue to consume large portions of food groups such as meat, breads and cereals but not enough of others such as vegetables. In fact, it’s been found that less than10% of the population meets their vegetable requirements of 5 serves a day. Cut down on portion sizes and increase your intake of plant-based foods which are low in calories and high in nutrients and fibre.
Research shows that when people lose weight on a low-kilojoule diet that includes adequate low-fat dairy foods, they lose more fat and less muscle. This means that they are helped to maintain a fast metabolism in the long-term. So the good news is: low fat dairy foods rich in protein help to promote adequate muscle mass and produces long-term weight loss as opposed to a quick fix. It’s good to know that they are great at satisfying hunger as they are low GI. Milk and yoghurt contain the least number of calories and are the most nutritious.
Take a stand
Did you know that standing for an hour burns 400 kilojoules or 100 more calories than sitting? It’s good information to have. Take every opportunity to move about and it can make a big difference to the amount of kilojoules you burn. Mayo Clinic research found that slimmer people burned up to 1465 more kilojoules a day through pacing, toe-tapping and muscle clenching.
You’ve heard it before – cut out some meat from your diet. Vegetarians, on average, weigh 20% less than non-vegetarians. In some studies it’s been found that women you followed a vegetarian diet for 14 weeks lost two and a half times as much weight as those who limited their fat intake. Try cutting out meat three nights a week.
The last word
No-one said it’s easy. But by becoming more aware of how your body works and what works well for your body, you can make choices that are healthy as well as helpful in helping you shift those final few pounds.
To learn more about how to be mindful about weight loss see: Think Yourself Thin.