Words by Mariyan Voykov, a third-year student studying Bsc Biomedical Science.
According to science…
What you should be doing:
- Research shows that dietary fibre helps manage weight by promoting satiation, decreasing absorption of macronutrients and altering secretion of gut hormones [Slavin 2005]. However, counting calories is still imperative in maintaining caloric deficit for weight loss.
- DON’T reduce your sleep- sleeping5.5 hours instead of 7.5 hours a night makes you lose up to 60% less fat [Nedeltcheva 2010].
- Consuming a high volume of vegetables are always the way to go when looking to lose weight as they are filling, boost fibre intake and do not make you feel sluggish all day.
- Consuming tea, coffee and other low-calorie drinks helps to keep the hunger away. Artificial sweeteners are safe for consumption and can make dieting easier on the taste buds.
- Stay hydrated – drinking plenty of water boosts metabolism by 24-30% over a period of 1-1.5 hours, helping you burn off a few more calories [Boschmann 2003].
What you shouldn’t be doing:
- Scale weight changes daily depending on what meals you had the previous day. For example, if you had a very high carbohydrate meal, the next day you might have gained 1 pound of body weight, but that weight gain isn’t necessarily all fat. Hormones, salt intake, your stool, sleep, stress levels, etc. also influence scale weight. Even excessive exercise can influence your daily scale weight as a result of high-stress levels, so avoid checking your scale weight on a daily basis and instead opt to check it once every few days if you must.
- Eat too many calories on your cheat day’- your fat loss will simply come to a halt for a day or two until you balance it out the next couple of days.
- Eating too few calories– this will cause your metabolism to go into the so-called ‘survival mode’ where every calorie is deposited as a fat or even lead to metabolic adaptation where with consuming even as little as 1200 calories you could find it hard to lose weight.
- Consume more protein – research has shown that high protein diets lead to the retention of lean mass and loss of fat mass in older individuals [Kim 2016].
- Incorporate more healthy fats into your diet – avocado and almonds are very good sources of these healthy fats, but keep in mind that adding them to your breakfast will increase overall meal calories almost two-fold. In order to lose calories, you must eat fewer calories than you expend.