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Top Tips for Healthy and Safe Weight Loss

Why is it important to maintain a healthy weight, and how can we lose weight in a healthy and safe way?

Maintaining a healthy weight is very important for overall health. Whilst some people might feel stressed or uncomfortable with excess weight, the more important issue is asking what it’s doing to our bodies. Let’s talk about the benefits of weight management.

Excess weight, whether it’s 20 or 200 pounds, puts a strain on our bodies. This added stress may lead to a higher risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, and even certain types of cancer. (1.)

But don’t worry, we’re here for you!

On this page, we’ll get you started on your weight loss journey, and we’ll help you achieve it in a safe, and healthy, manner. As a bonus, we’re sharing a little secret with you that we’ve discovered over the years of helping others… 

Weight loss can be fun! Don’t believe us? Then please read on…

Our Philosophy

We know that it can be hard to lose weight, to commit to healthy eating, eating less, and to stay on track. We get it! We’re here to support you through all of it. We have tips and tricks which will leave you satisfied, motivated and not craving empty calories. 

Fad diets and quick-fixes are all very well and can lead to great results in a short amount of time. But once you return to your normal eating pattern, you’ll likely find that you gain back much of the body weight you’ve lost. This can lead to a frustrating cycle of yo-yo dieting, which may make you prone to future weight gain (2.) 

Rather than go on a drastic, restrictive, short-term diet, how about making changes to your lifestyle, step by step? In the long run, this will be a much healthier, more effective and sustainable way to lose weight(3.), than finding a short term solution that will make you miserable!

Here at bodyhappiness.com, we have a way to help you achieve your weight loss goals, and help you keep it off. Here’s our philosophy:

Balance

Find a balance that works for you. We recommend you find the ‘sweet spot’ between eating well to nourish your body, and allowing yourself a few treats along the way. We’re only human, after all!

By cutting out certain foods and completely depriving yourself of the occasional treat, you will find it much harder to stick to a weight loss plan. We will help you navigate this, as well as help you find healthier options for your favorite meals.

Think about what you eat - choose mindfully!
Photo by Diana Polekhina via @unsplash

Learn to control your appetite

By eating the right foods, and thereby controlling your blood sugar levels, you may find it helps to suppress your cravings (4.). Well-balanced meals will nourish you, fill you, and satisfy you! Remember that it’s ok to be a little hungry, especially at first, learn to listen to your body’s signals.

When you’re eyeing that bag of pretzels ask yourself first – are you really hungry? Or, are you just bored? If you’re hungry, then try to find a healthier option, such as a small serving of nuts or carrot sticks with hummus. If you’re bored, then grab a sugar free drink and continue doing what you were doing. 

Dietary changes are easier to maintain than an increase in physical activity. Most people we coach find that it’s easier to focus on healthy eating, than is it to increase their exercise routine to increase caloric output. It takes less energy to eat 500 calories less, than it does to walk 5 miles to burn the same amount.

How to get started

In order for weight loss to happen, you need to consume fewer calories than you use over a period of multiple days or weeks  (5.). Here are some steps to help you:

Step 1: Cut out refined carbs and processed foods and replace them with single ingredient foods. 

Refined carbs are foods such as white bread, pasta, white rice, sodas, sugary foods and breakfast cereals. These foods are low in fiber and are digested quickly, leaving you feeling hungry sooner.(6.)

Processed foods include anything that comes in a box or package, from a factory. These foods are stripped of their nutritional value and have a ton of additives and preservatives in them in order to make them more tasty and have a longer shelf-life.(7.)

One easy way to know the difference, is to shop the perimeter of a grocery store. Have you ever noticed how the produce, dairy and meat departments are usually on the perimeter of the store? What’s in the middle? All the boxed, packaged stuff that’s made in factories!

Step 2: Increase your caloric output 

To burn excess calories, we need to MOVE. The average female burns around 1,400 calories a day doing nothing at all. In order to burn more calories than we take in (calorie deficit), we need to increase our physical activity and get our heart rates up.(8.) (9.) 

By achieving a calorie deficit, you may experience a rather large initial drop in your weight during the first week. A weight loss of anywhere between 2-8 pounds is normal at the beginning of a new diet routine as you lose excess water that your body was holding on to  (10.). This is particularly true after following Step 1 above – cutting out refined carbs and processed foods.

Choose a type exercise that you'll enjoy!
Photo by Elena Kloppenburg via @unsplash

Ways to increase your heart rate can be anything from taking a walk, dancing in your living room or going for a run. An active lifestyle has shown to have both physical and mental benefits, and it may even help you live a longer life(11.) .

If gyms aren’t your thing, there are many free resources available on YouTube for exercise classes of all types, including yoga, barre, Zumba and HIIT (High  Intensity Interval Training), just to name a few. Try going for a hike, walking the stairs instead of the elevator, or looping around the park in your lunch break instead of looking at your phone.  Aim for at least 20  minutes of extra movement a day (12.).

As always, check with your doctor before starting any new exercise.

Step 3: Stop eating when 80% full.

This is a really useful tip that will also help you to eat more mindfully. When you sit down for a meal, you’re probably going to be really hungry and you’ll be ready to devour what’s on your plate.

Start eating mindfully. By mindfully, we mean, think about what you’re eating, enjoy the flavors, chew properly, and eat slowly. (13.)

When you’re 20% full, you’re probably still hungry, the ‘food’ signal has not yet reached your brain.

At 40% you may still feel a little hungry so it’s fine to keep eating.

At 60% the ravenous hunger will start to subside and you’ll start to feel better.

At 80%, when you start to feel a little bit of pressure on your stomach, you’re no longer hungry, but you feel you could eat more just for pleasure…that’s when you stop. 

You don’t want to reach 100% where you will have over eaten and you will feel very uncomfortable.

Step 4: Increase the time between your meals and snacks 

This is a great tip and one that you may struggle with on Day 1, but it will come easy once you’ve gotten the hang of it! 

Try pushing back your breakfast by an hour, if that seems too long, start with half an hour. Once you’re comfortable with that change, push back your lunch another hour. This should be easier, as you will have had a late breakfast. 

You will probably find that you can soon skip that afternoon snack! Each delayed meal has a knock on effect. Soon, you will be able to omit your snacks, and you will be one step closer to your goal of having 2-3 meals a day. 

By cutting out 2-3 meals or snacks, you will automatically reduce the amount of calories you take in. Which leads to? You’ve got it! Weight loss! (14.)

Do I need to start all these steps at once? 

Nope! That’s why they’re called Steps 😃. 

Step 1 and 2 go hand in hand. Exercise is a good idea whether you’re trying to lose weight or not. The combination of Step 1 and 2 should come naturally when you’re making a change towards better health.

The reduction of refined carbs and processed foods (Step 1) will lead to a consumption of fewer calories, and the increase in activity (Step 2) will lead to burning more calories, leading to a calorie deficit! (15.) Here you will start to burn excess body fat if you keep a sustained calorie deficit over a period of time.(16.) 

Steps 3 and 4 (stop eating at 80% full and to reduce the number of meals per day) will further facilitate a reduction in your calorie intake. All of these steps will help you to get to a calorie deficit where you will start losing weight.

A healthy, and safe, way to achieve weight loss, is to lose 1-2 pounds per week. (17.) However, if you’re losing more, that’s great too, and nothing to worry about! If you think that 1 pound is not a lot, go to the fridge and hold 4 sticks of butter, that’s a pound! 

It is important to follow these steps at your own pace. If you have questions about this, or would like some further help to reach your goal, please email me kirsty@bodyhappiness.com. I’m here to help!

The great thing about our method of achieving your weight loss goal is that there is no calorie counting involved! By cutting out refined carbs and other nutritionally empty foods, you are automatically eating less calories without even having to keep track.

By eating more nutritionally dense foods (whole, non factory foods) you are nourishing your body with valuable nutrients and vitamins, and you may notice that you have much more energy, vitality, and improved overall health.(18.) 

So, what are the best foods for weight loss?

We thought that might be your next question! We are currently working on an extensive list of foods that are best for achieving a healthy and safe weight loss. 

Please check back here in a couple of weeks, or sign up for our newsletter, so we can let you know when it’s ready!

For now, we’ve compiled our TOP 7 Tips below to guide you in the right direction.

Some evidence based weight loss tips.

In addition to our 4 key steps mentioned above, there is more you can do to help you with losing weight. Here are some tips that you can incorporate into your everyday life to help you reach your weight loss goals.

Tip 1: Eat more fiber.

As we mentioned earlier, you need to be in a calorie deficit in order to lose weight.  That means you need to take in fewer calories than you use. Fiber, specifically soluble fiber, makes you feel more full  (19.), which means it will reduce your appetite which, in turn, means you will eat less! It’s really quite simple isn’t it? 

Clockwise from top right: Chia seeds, almonds, ground flax, pistachios
Clockwise from top right: Chia seeds, almonds, ground flax, pistachios | Photo by @kirstyboch

Some high fiber foods which are easily incorporated into your diet are:

  • Flax & chia seeds – add to salads, yogurt and smoothies
  • Blackberries & raspberries – add to your breakfast or enjoy for dessert 
  • Almonds & pistachios – make a great snack
  • Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage – make sure to have a healthy serving at least twice a day.

Notice that the above suggestions are single ingredient foods, not processed factory foods with promises of “High Fiber” written on the box. 

Tip 2: Eat more protein.

Studies show that a diet high in protein can increase calorie burn by boosting your metabolic rate thereby reducing your appetite.  An intake of 25-30% of your daily calories from protein, may boost your metabolism by up to 100 calories per day, compared to diets with a lower protein intake.(20.) 

Protein is more effective in keeping hunger at bay, than fat or carbs are, so make sure to include protein with every meal.(21.)

Good sources of protein are:

  • Meats, fish, eggs & dairy;
  • Plant based options include nuts, legumes and protein-rich grains such as quinoa.

Tip 3: Get a dog.

Get a dog, borrow a dog, or just go out for a walk! Use every opportunity to be outside and get at least 20 minutes of movement a day. Not only does walking burn calories (around 100 calories per mile!) but you’ll get your daily dose of natural vitamin D too.

Tip 4: Use smaller plates.

Choose a smaller dish than your usual dinner plate. This may help you with portion control as your brain will be tricked into thinking you have a bigger portion in front of you than you really do. One study showed that participants who ate from a smaller plate ate less, and felt more full than those who used a regular dinner plate.(22.)

Tip 5: Chew more and eat slower.

You’ve heard it time and time again – “chew properly”. Chewing your food is the very first step of the digestion process. Proper chewing (around 30-40 chews per bite) breaks down food particles making them easier to digest, and it also helps extract the maximum amount of nutrients from the food you are eating. Both of these actions will also help you feel fuller quicker, which will help you stop overeating.

Tip 6: Get used to drinking water.

Some say that drinking water is boring, and that there is no way they can drink the recommended eight 8-oz. glasses of water a day. Studies have also shown that drinking a glass of water before a meal can reduce the number of calories consumed by around 13%, thereby increasing weight loss!(23.) Easy, right? 

If you think water is unappealing, try adding slices of apple, pear, cucumber, or mint to your glass or ice cubes! These add a wonderful flavor to your drink and you will hopefully have far less trouble reaching your daily quota. 

Add sliced fruit or cucumber to your water for great flavor! Photo by @madeleineboch

Here’s another tip – fill a large jug with water, and mark it with a piece of tape at 64-oz.  Drink it during the day and aim to finish it. If you’re REALLY hard pressed to remember, set a little timer on your phone every hour to remind you to drink a glass. You’ll soon be drinking water AND enjoying it!

Tip 7: Find a sport that you like (and have fun with it!)

If you’re like me and find working out a bit of a chore, look around to find an activity that you enjoy. Perhaps you played tennis when you were younger, try picking up your racquet again! Or have you always wanted to complete a 5k? Why not train for one? 

If you’re more of an exercise class person, try joining a barre or pilates studio, or check out the hundreds of great trainers on YouTube. There, you can find fun, free classes in every single type of exercise. My personal favorites are HIIT, Tabata, and Cardio Barre. The bonus with this is that you can do it in the comfort of your own home, whenever you like! 

Getting a friend, or partner, to join you on your health journey is also a GREAT way to stay motivated.(24.)  It will help keep you accountable, you’re more likely to show up if you’ve made plans with a friend, and you’ll have someone else to celebrate your success with!

And last but not least… 

Don’t be too hard on yourself. The fact that you are reading this and have an intention to improve your health is already a great step forward! Give yourself a pat on the back for that. Seriously!

We know that changing your eating habits isn’t easy. You will fall off the wagon sometimes, it’s to be expected. Just climb on it again as soon as you can, don’t wait until tomorrow or the next Monday. Start again at the next meal, and you’ll be doing better than 95% of people out there. You can do this!

Remember that we’re here to help you along the way. Just send me an email kirsty@bodyhappiness.com if you have any questions at all! 

For inspiration, check out our FREE 28-Day Holistic Meal Plan, which has great guidelines for healthy, nutritious meals and some simple and delicious recipes too!

If you’re looking to move more, have a peek at our 30-Day Push-Ups Challenge, and keep on the lookout for more recipes, fun tips and general exciting news over @bodyhappinesscom on Instagram and Facebook!