Top Ten Tips for Weight Loss

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By : Ibrahim Masoodi

All over the world, obesity is on the increase. It is a major risk factor for heart, liver, and nervous system diseases, as well as musculo-skeletal disorders. The best ways to control obesity are simple and effective: eat less and take moderate but regular exercise. The old saying “Eat food like medicine, otherwise you may end up eating medicine like food” holds true even in modern times. Here are some tips for weight loss.

1. The will to lose weight: Focus on nourishing your body, instead of depriving it. Weight loss should follow as a natural side effect. The first step towards weight loss is to have “the will” to do it, and an understanding of how to set about it.

One has to have enough determination and it must become a life style habit. Embarking on a “diet” is not always the answer.

One of the biggest problems with “diets” is that they almost never work in the long term, and finally people end up heavier than they were previously.

2. Keep healthier food choices close can help prevent you from eating something unhealthy once you become excessively hungry. In fact, allowing yourself to become ravenously hungry is a mistake! A few snacks that are easily portable and simple to prepare which you could have on hand to satisfy sudden pangs of hunger include whole fruits, a handful of nuts, baby carrots, plain yogurt and even a hardboiled

egg (or two).

3. Eat on small plates Some studies have shown that eating off a smaller plate could help people to eat less and thus automatically reduce their calorie intake. It sounds like a weird trick, but it seems to work .

4. Chew slowly. It can take a while for the brain to register that you’ve had enough to eat. Some studies show that chewing more slowly can help you eat fewer calories and increase the production of hormones linked to weight loss.

5. Have a good breakfast. Eating a good breakfast will help reduce the temptation to eat more later in the day. Studies show that replacing grain-based breakfast with eggs can help you eat fewer calories for the next 36 hours, and lose more weight and more body fat. If you can’t eat eggs for some reason, then that’s fine. Any source of quality protein for breakfast should do the trick. Protein is the single most important nutrient when it comes to losing weight. Eating a high protein diet has been shown to boost metabolism by 80 to 100 calories per day, while helping you feel so satiated that you eat up to 441 fewer calories per day. Protein reduces obsessive thoughts about food.

6. Drink plenty of water. A high enough intake of water prevents dehydration and removes waste from your body.

Dehydration is one of the primary causes of fatigue. It is often claimed that drinking water can help with weight loss, and this is true, because it makes you feel full and stomach sends signals of satiety to brain leading to reduced hunger. Drinking water can boost your metabolism by 24-30% over a period of

1-1.5 hours, helping you burn off a few more calories. One study showed that drinking a half liter of water about a half an hour before meals helped dieters eat fewer calories and lose 44% more weight.

7. Eat lots of fruit and vegetables. These have several properties that make them effective for weight loss. They contain few calories, but a lot of fiber. They are also rich in water, which gives them a low energy density. They also take a while to chew, and are very filling. Studies show that people who eat plenty of vegetables and fruits tend to weigh less. These foods are also super healthy and nutritious. Fiber is often recommended for the purpose of weight loss. Although the evidence is mixed, some studies show that fiber can increase satiety and help you control your weight over the long term 8. Avoid eating too much carbohydrate. Refined carbohydrates are usually sugar, or grains that have been stripped of their fibrous, nutritious parts (and this includes white bread and pasta). Studies show that refined carbs can spike blood sugar rapidly, leading to hunger, cravings and increased food intake only a few hours later. Eating refined carbs is strongly linked to obesity. If you’re going to eat carbs, make sure to eat them with their natural fiber. Avoid excess of sugar, fruit juice, soda etc. Green tea is considered to promote weight loss. The best cooking oil has been found to be coconut oil which has large amounts of medium chain triglycerides and has been found to be better than vegetable or mustard oils.

9. Take regular exercise. Doing aerobic exercise (cardio) is an excellent way to burn calories and improve your physical and mental health. It appears to be particularly effective to lose belly fat, the unhealthy fat that tends to build up around your organs and cause metabolic disease. One of the worst side effects of dieting, is that it tends to cause muscle loss and metabolic slowdown, often referred to as starvation mode. The best way to prevent this from happening is to do some sort of resistance exercise, like lifting weights. Studies show that weight lifting can help keep your metabolism high, and prevent you from losing precious muscle mass. Sedentary life predisposes to lot of complications. Exercise should be regular, and can also include brisk walking, cycling, running or any outdoor game. One must exercise five times a week at least. In a work place, use the stairs rather than the lift. If you can, walk, or cycle short distances for local shopping, etc. rather than take the car.

10. Get enough sleep and learn to relax. Sleep is as important as eating healthy and exercising. Studies show that poor sleep is one of the strongest risk factors for obesity, being linked to an 89% increased risk of obesity in children, and 55% in adults. An average of 6-8 hours’ sleep is enough for an adult. Create a good sleeping environment for yourself. Sleep may be disturbed by a poor sleeping environment, anxiety or any chronic pain. Analyze your needs and consult your doctor if you think you are suffering from anxiety which is disturbing your sleep. Try to sleep well, as the exhausted brain cannot think and concentrate properly.

Learn to relax: It is very important to relax your nerves.

Have positive approach towards problems in life! An attitude like this is full of benefits when you have to face any difficulty, and it energizes a person to face the day to day hardships of life. When there is a problem, analyze the given situation and chalk out a plausible solution, and work according to those lines calmly. Good relaxation helps you to concentrate better and consequently your quality of life improves. If you’re wondering how to relax, try the following:

a) Prayers: Prayers keep your mind calm and cool and help you relax your nerves resulting in a much better productive life. Our universe has not come about by mere coincidence; consider that the simple parts of a watch do not assemble themselves without some effort on the part of someone. Surrender yourself to the Almighty and do good wherever you can, taking virtue as its own reward. By doing good, you end up helping yourself. The most as positive thoughts fill your mind and your own work capacity increases dramatically.

b) Go for exercise, join a gym or go for cycling or brisk walking.

c) Read a good book.

d) Meet a good inspiring friend. Share your problems with a wise person whom you trust and follow his advice.

Lastly weight loss is a continuous process and needs extreme motivation and self-control and it is worth to maintain an ideal weight.

11. Use spices in your diet on regular basis: Spices have lot of health benefits as these agents’ boost metabolism. We must use these agents on regular basis. Some commonly used spices and their medicinal values are outlined as under: a) Cinnamon: Cinnamon contains large amounts of highly potent polyphenol antioxidants. It reduces total cholesterol, LDL and triglyceride levels, making it an excellent spice for protection against heart disease. Two compounds found in cinnamon appear to inhibit the buildup of a protein called tau in the brain, which is one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease. It has antibacterial and antifungal properties and can help fight tooth decay and bad breath.

b) Ginger: Ginger is high in gingerol, a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Ginger appears to be effective at reducing the day-to- day progression of muscle pain, and may reduce exercise-induced muscle soreness. It also helps to reduce symptoms of osteoarthritis, which is a very common health problem. Ginger has been shown to lower blood sugar levels and to improve various heart disease risk factors in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Ginger appears to be very effective against menstrual pain when taken at the beginning of the menstrual period. Studies suggest that ginger can protect against age-related damage to the brain. It can also improve brain function in elderly women. It is very effective against the oral bacteria linked to inflammatory diseases in the gums, such as gingivitis and periodontitis.

c) Turmeric: The curcumin present in Turmeric is known to have powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It not only neutralizes free radicals but induces antioxidant enzymes in the body. This makes it very useful in combatting arthritis. There is also some evidence that curcumin can boost the brain neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, Improved levels of these neurotransmitters have been shown tohelp for depression. Studies have shown that curcumin present in Turmeric helps in aging Garlic: Garlic is a plant of the onion family, grown for its cooking properties and health effects. It is high in a sulfur compound called Allicin, which is believed to bring most of the health benefits. Garlic is low in calories and very rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin B and Manganese. It also contains trace amounts of various other nutrients. Garlic supplementation help to prevent and reduce the severity of common illnesses like flu and the common cold. High doses of garlic appear to improve blood pressure in those with known high blood pressure (hypertension). In some instances, supplementation can be as effective as regular medication. Garlic supplementation seems to reduce total and LDL cholesterol, particularly in those who have high cholesterol. HDL cholesterol and triglycerides do not seem to be affected. This makes garlic excellent for prevention of heart disease

e) Lemons: They are an excellent source of vitamin C, soluble fibers and plant compounds, all of which can provide health benefits. Intake of fruits high in vitamin C is linked to reduction in cardiovascular disease. Low levels of vitamin C in the blood are also linked to increased risk of stroke, especially among those who are overweight or have high blood pressure.

The citric acid in lemons can increase urine volume, which may help prevent the formation of kidney stones. Keep lemon juice cubes ready to use in your refrigerator. Crush 8- 10 lemons and put that lemon juice in the cubes without water, store in the freezer of your refrigerator to make lemon tea or take lemon water and just chill it. Please avoid adding sugar. And of course, avoid the commercial lemon preparations and soft drinks, etc.

Lemon juice prepared at home from fresh lemons is far superior.

Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth,

faithfulness the best relationship.”

– Lord Buddha

Note : Excerpt from the book “Bumpy Roads”

Author is a MD. DM (Gastroenterology) FACP, FACG Consultant Gastroenterologist &Associate Professor at School of Medicine, Taif University, KSA .

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