There are some key foods that individuals should minimize or eliminate from their regular meals in order to shed pounds quickly and safely.
Overeating and poor habits are hard to change but easy to develop. Changing habits is hard, especially at first, requiring determination, discipline and dedication (the three D’s) to make long lasting permanent changes.
One of the basic problems regarding weight loss is a fatal mix of dietary confusion with an increasingly inactive yet stressed lifestyle. Our diets and eating habits are highly imbalanced. Our level of physical exercise is generally not enough to keep pace with what we eat and with the stresses we bear.
The key to weight loss success is to develop healthy eating and healthy lifestyle habits and attitudes for life !
We are what we eat.
The first steps that you can take is to avoid eating refined foods, processed carbohydrates, sugar, excess fatty rich foods, fried foods and foods with additives or synthetic colouring. Avoid genetically engineered foods. You may also take it a step further and opt for organic foods versus conventional ones.
Examples of foods to avoid are:
A simple rule to keep in mind when supermarket shopping is: “The brighter and more colourful the packaging of a product is, the more you should stay away from it !”
Boosting Metabolism Naturally…
The top four foods that I like to recommend which boost your metabolism, improve the digestive process and speed up the weight loss process are:
Spirulina: This superfood is amazing, it is rich in vitamins E, B12, C, B1, B5, and B6 as well as beta-carotene, and the minerals zinc, copper, manganese and selenium. All these substances play a part and are critical to being able to perform exercise and burn a maximum amount of calories. The reason it assists with weight loss is due to the fact that it is approximately 60% protein.
Protein slows down how fast food moves through the digestive system and stabilizes blood sugar levels, which, for most people, means feeling full longer, as well as not reaching for additional snacks or eating huge amounts at subsequent meals.
Seaweeds: Seaweed helps you lose weight by inhibiting the action of an enzyme that controls the digestion of fat. Seaweed fiber also blocks the absorption of fat by the body as it contains a substance called alginate. Research has shown that among a variety of foods tested, seaweed fiber was the most effective in helping people lose weight. Seaweed also curbs your appetite and makes you feel full thereby decreasing your intake of food. It controls levels of blood sugar and this in turn decreases your food cravings. This also can also assist you in weight loss.
Lemons: Start your day with lemon water. Add juice of half lemon to a large glass of water. Lemons strengthen your immune system, aids digestion, is a diuretic, clears the skin and helps with weight loss.
Carob Powder: Carob inhibits digestive enzymes because it contains chemicals known as tannins. It has also been reported to help with weight loss, diabetes and manage cholesterol levels. Carob may assist with weight loss by helping to burn fat and calories in the body and also increasing the metabolism. Add 1 teaspoon of carob powder to hot water. Enjoy as a mid-morning or mid-afternoon beverage. Beware as it has mild laxative qualities so don't overdo it ! You are now on your way to flat tummy kingdom
There are some meal-planning strategies and dietary tips that individuals can use to maintain an active metabolism. These are:
Exercise in the Morning: Studies show that an early-morning workout will boost your metabolism and help you burn more calories than if you exercise later on in the day.
Breakfast: Without an ounce of a doubt, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It gives your body essential nutrients, jump starts your brain, gives your metabolism what it needs to get working for the day and keeps you slim.
Studies have found that what you eat for breakfast tends to influence what you eat the rest of the day.
Also, people who eat breakfast are significantly less likely to be obese and have diabetes than those who don’t.
People can enhance the weight-burning potential of their diet that go beyond making nutritional food choices by adding in fat burning herbs, spices and exercise.
Fat burning supplements can be added to your weight loss regime although I do not recommend them as most of them are high uric acid-forming and damage the kidneys and liver.
You could add thermogenic herbs to your diet. Most of these mentioned are found in pill form or drink them as teas – have at least 3 mugs a day to get an effect !
Thermogenic herbs help the body generate heat that burns fat. They help reactivate the metabolic rate thereby promoting weight loss. They also increase the energy and boost athletic performance. Apart from burning excess fat in the body, some thermogenic herbs also may help improve digestion
Herbs and Spices
Spicy foods, especially the ones that contain capsaicin, are especially thermogenic and can raise your metabolic rate for up to three hours after eating. Hot peppers including, the more common cayenne peppers, all contain capsaicin. Other thermogenic herbs and spices are: cinnamon, green tea, fennel seed, garlic, ginger, ginseng, guarana, horseradish, kola nut, ma huang, mustard seed, parsley, and turmeric.
Few weight-loss programs are effective without increasing physical activity. To lose weight or mass, we need to reduce intake and increase output.
Reducing fat stores and adding muscle improves energy utilization by using more calories for active metabolic tissues. Exercise also improves general metabolism and vitality and lowers that important “set point” allowing us to maintain lower weight and body fat with the same food intake.
At a good level of exercise, the body will burn more calories than usual, even 12 hours afterward. Regular exercise is clearly needed to keep fat off.
Based on a chart taken from the Mayo Clinic, running clearly comes in first. Exercise should be fun and enjoyable so it would be best to choose an activity that you like.
Calories burned per hour*
Based on a 72kg person
The best exercises over the summer season are the ones that you can do by the beach such as swimming, walking, cycling, light jog or run and definitely some kettle bells in an air-conditioned room !
There are many more watersports that you can take advantage of such as peddle boats, SUP, windsurfing and for the adventurous some water skiing.
The mountains also offer a "cooler" version where you can enjoy some hiking, cycling and swimming in lakes or pools.
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Barbara is a qualified nutritionist offering Health, Nutrition & Lifestyle Counseling. She gives Healthy weight loss advice and promotes the Mediterranean diet. She is the author of the Med Life Diet - creating healthy lifestyle habits and attitudes for life !