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Fitness & Health

23rd Jul 2019

Healthy lifestyle habits that are proven to help you lose weight

To lose weight, most people know you need to be in a calorie deficit. But how do you make that a reality? By implementing healthy lifestyle habits

Alex Roberts

What works for weight loss is no secret

By now, virtually everyone realises that to lose weight, you need to be in a calorie deficit.

Put simply, calories in must be fewer than calories out. Most people know this, yet we’re still in the midst of an obesity epidemic, so it’s clear more needs to be done.

Take one scroll through Instagram and you’ll be met with a litany fitness influencers claiming all you need to lose weight and get in shape is a calorie deficit.

In a nutshell, this may be true, but the majority of these fitpros have never been out of shape in their entire lives. Getting into a calorie deficit is a very easy concept.

For people who don’t come from a particularly athletic background or who may have previous psychological issues around food, getting into that calorie deficit requires an overhaul of lifestyle habits.

If losing weight is a door, a calorie deficit is the key which opens it.

Here are the healthy lifestyle habits which will help you lose weight and get into that calorie deficit.

Hunger and appetite control

In an ideal world, you’d eat only when you’re hungry and drink only when thirsty. But that’s not how it works, is it?

Sit in front of the TV for five minutes. All of a sudden, you might find yourself deep in a packet of popcorn and a two litre bottle of cola.

We all know this isn’t going to help weight loss efforts. The key is to practice mindful eating. That is, to eat away from distractions such as the TV or computer, and to actually think about what you’re eating.

You won’t be surprised to learn that you consume far fewer calories this way.

Eating slowly will also help you fend off fat gain. If you wolf down your food, your body hasn’t had a chance to process that food and to tell you when you’ve had enough.

In countries of the Pacific Islands such as Samoa, where food is eaten in this way, levels of BMI are among the highest on the planet. Type 2 diabetes is also extremely prevalent.

Contrast this to Spain, where the average BMI is much lower. Meals are eaten tapas-style, in small courses that people take a while to get through.

Fresh food first

No one’s saying you can’t enjoy a treat when the time’s right, but the bulk of your diet should come from whole, fresh foods.

Junk food is very calorie dense, meaning you don’t have to eat a lot of it before you’ve put away a crazy amount of calories. It’s also been linked to higher incidences of depression, in recent studies.

When you’re looking to lose weight, junk food will leave you craving more not long after consuming it. This is why most of your meals should be made up of real, whole foods.

  • Eat a lean protein source with each meal
  • Alongside two handfuls of green veg

Planning makes perfect

“Fail to prepare; prepare to fail”. Literally every school had that quote posted on the wall somewhere. My R.E. class attributed it to Roy Keane, but Jean-Paul Sartre may take issue with that.

Either way, it’s true.

In the context of losing weight, planning your meals in advance and taking time out to prep food always works. You’re in total control of your meals then, and can craft them to the calorie and macro targets you need.

If you don’t prep your meals, you may be caught short and left having to grab something from the shop. You can never guarantee a healthy option.

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