What does it mean to lose weight well?
For us at Balance Box HQ, losing weight well means a healthy, sustained and effective decrease in stored fat that doesn’t leave you feeling deprived, lethargic or frustrated. Your diet should be balanced and nutrient rich – full of fruit and vegetables, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates and lean protein.
Here’s our top ten tips for losing weight well:
1. Lose weight at a safe rate
Crash dieting simply doesn’t work in the long term. Not only is starving your body potentially dangerous, but it can also leave you miserable, tired and fed-up. Most weight lost in this way is actually the result of fluid loss, which will come straight back once you start eating carbohydrates again. And if you deprive yourself for too long, the chances are your cravings for sugary, carbohydrate rich foods will win out as your body desperately tries to refuel. Instead, think of healthy weight loss as a marathon, not a sprint.
The NHS advises losing 0.5kg – 1kg (1lb – 2lbs) of weight per week which roughly equates to an intake of 1900 calories for men and 1400 calories for women a day. However, at Balance Box, our nutritionists have devised delicious menu plans that can help you lost up to 2kg a week safely by creating balanced meals that are rich in nutrients but low in calories.
2. Eat regular meals
While there is evidence to suggest that controlled intermittent fasting can aid weight loss, unless your will power is rock solid, it’s better to eat healthy, regular meals throughout the day. This reduces hanger pangs which can result in cravings and giving in to tempting snacks. Eating regularly will help keep your digestive system ticking over and raise your basal metabolic rate (BMR) as it burns more calories to function.
3. Choose a balanced diet full of whole foods
A balanced diet is key to helping you lose weight well. This means choosing foods that cover the three main macronutrients – complex carbohydrates, lean proteins and good fats, as well plenty of fresh, colourful fruit and vegetables to ensure your micronutrient needs are covered too. Look for wholefoods – foods that are not processed – so you’re eating as naturally as you can. Not only should you start seeing the pounds drop off, but your skin will glow and you’ll be full of energy.
4. Eat high fibre foods
Fibre is your friend. Big time. It helps your digestive system function optimally, it maintains good gut health, it reduces the risk of heart disease and strokes and helps you lose weight well by filling you up and stabilising your blood sugar levels. Load your shopping basket with fresh fruit and vegetables, beans, lentils and whole grains such as oatmeal, brown rice and quinoa.
5. Control your portion size
Weight loss is theoretically a simple equation – if you burn more calories than you take in, you’ll lose weight. But beware – if you only focus on improving what you eat, but not how much you eat, you might not see the weight loss results you’re hoping for.
Fortunately, there are some simple hacks to make portion control easier. Try using a small plate to get used to eating smaller portions. And the rule of palm is a nifty way to ensure you only eat what you need. Aim to fill your plate with:
- 1 palm-size portion of protein
- 1 palm-size portion of complex carbohydrates
- 2 palm-size portions of fruit or vegetables
6. Slow it down
Ever wondered how speed eaters can wolf down eye-watering amounts of food so quickly? It’s because their brains haven’t caught up with their stomachs.
It takes around twenty minutes for your brain to register that you’re full and put the brakes on. So if you take your time to eat, chew your food well and pause between mouthfuls, you’ll not only help your gut (guts love well chewed food), but you’ll also help your stomach recognise that it’s full, minimise over-eating and hit those weight loss goals quicker.
7. Choose healthy snacks
In an ideal world, we wouldn’t snack. We’d stick to three healthy meals a day, and not have a single hunger pang or desire to eat between meals. However, we know that snacking is tempting. Especially in the current climate where we’re mainly working from home, in or near a kitchen.
At Balance Box, we say if you’re going to snack, snack well. Often, boredom can drive us to snack so make sure you get fresh flavours and crunchy textures involved to keep your taste buds tickled. Try raw carrot batons, celery with humous and fresh fruit. We’ve created a range of healthy snacks which complement our meal plans, all of which are calorie counted, heathy and delicious.
8. Exercise for better results
Done correctly, changing your diet will have a major impact on your weight. But it’s important to make sure you’re exercising too. Are you getting enough cardio as well as strength training? If not, it’s time to mix things up. Cardio is great for keeping your heart and lungs healthy as well burning fat, and strength training will improve your muscle tone and ensure your BMR is increased (muscle burns more calories than fat).
There’s a wealth of affordable online fitness platforms offering excellent at home workouts. But they’re not essential. A brisk walk or jog a few times a week for 30 minutes, combined with squats, press ups and abdominal crunches in your living room will work wonders and help get your body spring and summer ready. Not only will regular exercise help keep your waist trim, but it’ll also do wonders for your mental health by releasing endorphins – one of the feel good hormones and a natural pain reliever. The so called ‘runners’ high’ is not a myth – it’s real and it’s yours for the taking.
The benefits of a decent night’s sleep are plenty. Not only will it leave you bright eyed and bushy tailed, it will directly support weight loss. Matthew Walker, author of Why we Sleep says: “The less you sleep, the more you are likely to eat. Sleeping less than seven hours a night increases your probability of gaining weight, being overweight or obese, and significantly increases your likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes.”
This is because sleep plays a vital role in the regulation of the hunger and appetite hormones – leptin and ghrelin. Leptin tells you when you’re satiated or full, and ghrelin drives feelings of hunger. A lack of sleep has been found to decrease levels of leptin and increase levels of ghrelin meaning you spend the day feeling hungry and prone to overeating.
Prioritise good sleep by creating a nightly ritual. Perhaps a long soak with Epsom bath salts will relax you, or try a few calming stretches or deep breath work. There are plenty of free tutorials online. Dim the lights and light some candles which will send a signal to your brain that it’s nearly slumber time and help produce melatonin – the sleep hormone.
Stay away from alcohol as it really is a sleep saboteur and make sure your bedroom is cool, but not cold. Lastly, a few drops of lavender oil on your pillow and a silk eye mask should help you drift off into a dreamy bliss and wake feeling restored and balanced.
10. Plan your meals
It’s all very well having the knowledge but in reality life is busy. Work, children, chores and to-do lists can get in the way of meal planning, shopping and cooking. You might have all the ingredients you need for a healthy family meal, but when you’re backed into a time-squeezed corner, it’s easy to reach for the take-away menu. We all do it.
However, with a little time and preparation, you can make life easier. Can you sit down for twenty minutes once a week with pen and paper and make a list? Find some healthy recipes on- line and print out the ingredient list or save it to your phone so you have it to hand when you’re shopping. Rope in your partner and children, don’t let them leave it all to you.
Alternatively, why not let Balance Box do the hard work? We’re constantly creating and improving delicious, balanced meals which can be delivered straight to your door. Our team of experienced chefs and expert nutritionists have devised an array of menus to suit different needs. If weight loss is your target, our calorie counted meal plans are just the ticket to reach your goals.