Weight loss is often associated with following diets and having to cut certain foods out of your diet. However losing weight is about much more than exercising and dieting and it comes with following a healthy lifestyle including getting enough sleep that your body needs. Second Nature, a NHS online weight loss programme has shared their ultimate guide to losing weight from the comfort of your home.
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The UK lockdown has meant that exercise facilities including gyms have been closed for a number of months.
This means that Brits have been spending more time in their home, resulting in weight gain.
While it is often recommended to follow a calorie deficit diet and intense exercise regime, Second Nature who are an NHS backed programme, have shared their top tips on managing weight while at home to try and build healthy habits.
Their recent survey suggested that over 65 percent of the 1200 participants found that weight gain may be as a result of being at home for long periods of time.
1) Keep to set meal times
Second Nature suggests sticking to three main meals each day and sticking to set meal times. They say that this can be really helpful in preventing you from gaining weight.
They said: “It’s much easier to get into the habit of snacking regularly if we aren’t eating three balanced meals. Whether it’s driven by physical hunger or emotional hunger, blurring the lines between meal and snack times can lead us to eating more overall.”
Second Nature recommends aiming to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at the same time each day and to get into a routine of doing this. Planning meals of the week is also a lot easier and will prevent last minute ready meals or takeaways which can also result in weight gain.
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Their website says: “Try to pick some time before your food shop, such as a Sunday morning, to sit down and plan your meals for the coming week. You could write down a plan and stick it on your fridge to remind yourself and your family of the upcoming meals.”
2) Focus on good quality sleep
If your body doesn’t get enough sleep, Second Nature says that this results in stronger food cravings and less willpower to resist the unhealthy snacks.
They said: “A recent scientific publication showed that, when people had at least 8.5 hours of sleep, the part of their brain that controls feeding and appetite had very low level of activation. They were less hungry, had a lower energy intake, and a lower activation of their reward and addiction systems in their brain.”
Sleep deprivation can have a huge effect on your desire and cravings for food and overeating due to not enough sleep will in turn make you gain weight.
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On top of this, Second Nature suggests that sleep deprivation also decreases energy expenditure, by decreasing your metabolic rate which will reduce the amount of physical activity you can do. You should focus on reducing your caffeine intake, limiting screen time before bed and try to relax in order to improve the quality of your sleep.
3) Avoid binge drinking
Excessive alcohol intake can lead to weight gain and trying to reduce this is one of the most effective steps in order to lose weight.
Second Nature recommends trying to limit yourself to a couple of drinks at a time and their advice is more focused on being mindful and aware of how much you are consuming rather than cutting it out completely.
4) Try short bursts of intense exercise
Second Nature says: “Research suggests that short, intense bursts of exercise (anaerobic exercise) are more effective for weight loss than less intense, longer periods of exercise, such as running.”
Being at home means this can be harder to complete but there are lots of online classes you can follow from the comfort of your own home. Fitting in short bursts into your daily routine is a great weight to kickstart the weight loss process.
5) Avoid ultra-processed foods
Second Nature says: “Ultra-processed foods can promote weight gain, or prevent weight loss, in a number of different ways. Generally, ultra-processed foods are defined as in any industrial formulation of five or more ingredients, such as sweet/savoury packaged snacks (ice cream, crisps, biscuits), ready-meals, cooking sauces, and fizzy drinks.”
The combination of salt and sugar will make your body crave these types of food more, which will result in weight gain.
The NHS backed programme advised swapping shop-bought snacks and goods for homemade, whole food alternatives can prevent this.
6) Practise mindful eating
In order to lose weight, it is much more than following a diet. Your mindset has to be in a state where you can truly want to embark on a journey that you know will take time and commitment.
Second Nature recommends eating at a table and focusing on the food you are eating and savouring every bite. You should remove distractions to focus on your senses, and also eating slowly can help you eat more mindfully.
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