Trying to lose weight is not easy at all and most of the time requires a lot of will-power to keep at it. If you are on a weight reduction journey and are trying to further understand how to maintain your weight-loss plan by reading this article, or are someone completely new to trying to live a healthy and balanced life you deserve to be commended. Weight loss is often attached to unhealthy, quick fix diets or unrealistic and strenuous exercise regimes. At OSU, we believe in healthy ways to reduce your weight, at a pace and with a strategy that suits you. This article goes into detail on a few ways you can achieve your weight loss target in a healthy and safe manner.
How Stress & Weight Correlate
Unhealthy habits and stress go hand in hand. It’s important to understand this because many people get focussed on numbers and if the scales aren’t tipping in your favour it might lead to impatience and de-motivation. If you are experiencing stress in other aspects of your life it may lead to eating more, or binge-eating to counter the effects of stress on your body. The data also suggests that there is a definite correlation between stress and eating.
Our ancestors needed to stay alert all the time. The feeling of danger produced chemicals in the brain that would guide them on how to behave. E.g. a snake in the grass or an approaching thunderstorm would cause the brain to produce hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. Adrenaline would cause the body to be ready to spring into action to avoid the danger. Blood would be re-directed away from the digestive system, as a result, you would not feel hungry. The effects of cortisol last for longer. It makes the body want to eat more, hold onto the fat, slow down digestion so that the body can survive through limited food supply while the threat passes.
Now, this worked for our ancestors but most of us hopefully don’t have a problem with limited food supply. Actually, we are blessed with plenty of tempting food but our brain can’t seem to understand that since snakes and thunderstorms produce the same chemicals as pending bills, stressful situations and worrying about your body. We recommend staying on top of your weight loss journey by being confident in your approach, and being healthy in mind and spirit. We have an article focusing on self care tactics you can integrate into your life - read more here. Staying stress-free will fend off hunger encouraging chemicals, and building healthy habits will promote further weight-loss.
The Key to Success
We’ve covered in our building healthy habits article how important it is to maintain healthy habits and we believe it is one of the keys to success for maintaining a healthy weight loss journey. The other important factors that can aid in this process are setting realistic goals, and staying away from quick fixes.
Speaking of quick fixes: did you know UCLA once looked at 31 different food and diet studies to understand the effects of different kinds of diets over a 2 to 5-year period. In 2007, they concluded that 30% to 60% of dieters regain all the weight they lost and some even put on more weight. This is because fad diets and quick fixes mostly work on depriving you of a particular food. Sometimes it’s carbs, sometimes starch, it changes depending on the diet in fashion at the time.
Here’s the truth: it’s very probable you’ll lose some weight in the short-term. But this has very little implications on maintaining a healthy weight because diets that vilify a particular food group might be causing you to lose starch, lean muscle, or it might just be water weight. What’s definite is that it isn’t healthy. We have a few suggestions:
Keep a food journal: Be conscious of everything that’s going in your body and be meticulous in recording the details. Self-monitoring is so important when trying to lose weight so be aware of how many calories are going in and how many you’re burning through exercise. If you don’t see yourself as someone that can note down all the food they’re eating, focus on times where you know you are most at risk of over-indulging. For example, start taking notes before bed if you know you snack then. Or in the evening when energy levels are low. Give it a shot because it really works!
Set specific goals and realistic goals: Remember this is a marathon, not a sprint. Slow and steady is the way to go, rather than expending all your efforts by setting unrealistic goals. Be very specific in your goals too. For example, “I will make myself the OSU cucumber & apple salad for lunch instead of ordering a pizza.” From this small swap, you can start increasing the gravity of the swaps you wish to make at a pace that suits you. e.g. you swap what you eat for lunch, then integrate breakfast, and finally dinner. Food swaps such as this will give you great results in your weight loss journey and specific goals leave no room for straying from your path.
Make a Plan
Do you know about the National Weight Loss Registry (NWLR)? It’s a study that comprises over 10,000 people that have lost at least 13.6 kgs and have kept it off for a year minimum. This is the minimum criteria to be part of the study. On average, registry members have lost 30 kgs and have kept it off for five and a half years. It’s probably the biggest weight loss study ever conducted and there are many important findings we are able to gauge from it.
One of the most important findings from the study is the power of making a plan and sticking to it.
Here are a few key findings from the NWLR study:
Wake up early and have breakfast: Most of the participants in this study reported waking up early and not skipping breakfast. Now it’s important to know that clinical studies haven’t found a direct link between eating breakfast and losing weight, however many observational studies support this. And overwhelmingly 8 out of 10 participants in the NWCR study don’t skip on breakfast. This might be a reciprocal pattern, meaning someone that wakes early and has breakfast on a daily basis and is also losing weight, might be someone that is sticking to routine, is sleeping better, eats when they should, and control what they eat, resulting in a causation of feeling good about yourself via sticking to your plan.
Change your diet and increase your exercise: 98% of people modified their food intake and 94% of participants increased their exercise. Controlling your diet and exercising need to work in harmony for the best results. Plan your week out. Cook some healthy meals for yourself, you can find lots of healthy OSU infused recipes that you can try here. Also, establish an exercise routine that works for you e.g. Pilates for 30 minutes on Mondays and HIIT sessions on Fridays. Make a plan so that you have a clear understanding of what you need to do to stay on your path.
Another key finding from the NWCR study is that most participants eat four to five times a day. This might seem counterproductive but if the meals are kept small and healthy this practice encourages appetite control, stable blood sugar levels, and increased post-meal thermogenesis i.e. burning calories.
Creating a balanced and nutritional meal plan and meal prep can help you stick to eating regularly. Pre making breakfast smoothies of your choice and overnight oats will mean breakfast is done for 3-5 days. Making, in bulk, a range of healthy pasta and rice dishes mean dinner and lunch is organised and planned. Alongside this, pre making healthy snacks and desserts add the finishing touch to your weekly food plans. For example, on Mondays you can make our tasty Apple Cider Vinegar Smoothie for breakfast, our Pickled Cucumber & Apple Salad for lunch and our Apple, Ginger & Matcha Sorbet for dessert. You can find more healthy (yet delicious) food inspiration here and more drink inspiration here.
There are lots of reasons why eating meals regularly can help in weight loss:
It Prevents overindulging: you don’t need a scientist to tell you that if you are feeling really hungry, you might eat a lot at your next meal. This is a common problem faced by people who choose to skip meals and practice intermittent fasting. Eating a little bit throughout the day can keep the hunger pains at bay and will keep you energised and on track the entire day.
It Encourages self-control: How difficult is it to remind yourself of your weight-loss journey when you’re craving that sweet treat? It’s not easy. But if you are already well fed, and have already had a meal to remind yourself of your daily process it gets a little bit easier.
It Boosts metabolism: if your body feels like it’s not being given enough food it will slow your metabolism down in preparation of survival mode. Metabolism is simply the rate at which your body burns the calories you give it. When you don’t eat regular meals your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) slows down, making it that much harder to lose weight. Skipping breakfast is particularly bad. A study carried out by the University of Hohenheim in Germany revealed that skipping meals not only made weight loss difficult and encouraged weight gain, but skipping breakfast has also been linked to chronic inflammation, and could raise the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
We cannot stress the importance of physical exercise, not only for weight loss but for overall health as well.
People who exercise are shown to have:
Up to 30% lower risk of early death
Up to 30% lower risk of depression
Up to 30% lower risk of dementia
Up to 50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes
Our ancestors were always on the move. Lifting things, hunting things, walking from place to place. Even our parents’ generation had much more physical activities in their day to day. Research suggests that nowadays people spend more than 7 hours a day sitting down at work, during their commute, or while consuming media. People over 65 years spend 10 hours or more sitting or lying down. Inactivity is described as a ‘silent killer’ by the Department of Health.
In the NWCR study 90% of participants exercised about one hour per day on average. 62% of participants watched fewer than 10 hours of TV per week. An hour of exercise is much higher than what’s usually recommended by most weight loss programs, but data suggests similar levels might be needed to aid weight loss and to maintain that weight loss. A number of observational studies have found it difficult not to link the time spent watching TV from dietary habits, physical activity habits and socio-economic status.
To stay healthy, it is important to get in at least 150 minutes of physical activity throughout the week, and this can be from a range of activities like a 45 minute yoga session or 30 minutes of walking. What’s important is to be moving quick enough to raise your heart rate, breathe faster and feel warmer. This is known as moderate intensity activity, and a good way to check if you are on this level is to try singing the words to a song. It should be difficult to get the words out.
Exercise can be as creative and practical as you need it to be. Influencers like Stef Fit and Joe Wick have created free, live work-outs that are perfect for all levels of fitness and practicality. The work outs they offer on their platforms are designed to inspire and get you moving in the comfort of your own home with little to no equipment. At OSU, we’re working closely with fitness influencer Belinda Burwell to bring to you a series of yoga and meditation videos, making exercise something easy we can bring to you. Follow our Instagram to get the latest agenda and updates.
Start your weight loss journey with OSU
At OSU, we know how hard losing weight can be. That is why we suggest that you strive for trying to achieve a healthy weight and maintaining it. If you try to apply the methods that we have suggested, you could see some really positive results. If you enjoyed reading this, take a look at our OSU 30 Day Challenge, it is designed to help you create sustainable habits, which can prove to be helpful if you’re trying to lose weight. Better yet, purchase your personal bottle of OSU Apple Cider Vinegar so you can start to make some of the healthy and nutritious recipes we mentioned above.
We use 200 years of Japanese craft to blend 100% natural apple juice with apple cider vinegar for a smoother taste. Our apple cider vinegar is always raw, unpasteurised and with the Mother.
Concentrated Apple Juice (56%), Apple Cider Vinegar (44%), All Natural!
Typical Values per 100g- Energy: 774 kJ/182 kcals, Fat: <0.5g, of which Saturates: 0.1g, Carbohydrates: 39.9g, of which Sugars: 36.4g, Fibre: 0.6, Protein: <0.5g, Salt: <0.01g
Make like the Japanese and drink in the traditional fashion through diluting 1 part (20ml) OSU with 9 parts of still, sparkling or hot water. New to drinking apple cider vinegar? Why not try one of our fruity drinks recipes to acclimatise you to the taste?
We believe OSU should be every foodie's kitchen staple! Need inspiration for how to add plant based flavour to your salad dressings, marinades and dips? Experiment with our quick and easy recipes for mid week meals.
Want more advice on the best times and methods to consume apple cider vinegar? We've assembled best practice in a series of articles and have answered your questions in our FAQs.
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