Simple Tips to Lose Weight Without Fad Diets
Instead of relying on a restrictive and potentially dangerous fad diet, it’s healthier to cut out processed foods, eat smaller portions and get plenty of rest and regular light exercise.
Plenty of fad diets promise fast results for little effort, but many of these plans promote unhealthy eating patterns which can harm the body and will not necessarily deliver wholly positive weight loss effects. Instead of relying on such a diet, there are simple changes which can be made to the dieter’s lifestyle to promote better health and lose weight – these include getting regular light exercise, avoiding processed foods, eating a balanced diet and getting plenty of sleep. Following these simple steps are clinically proven to aid weight loss efforts and promote a better level of general body health.
The Problem with Fad Diets
Many diet plans promise fast-acting or near-instant results – dieters who stick to the regime are promised that they’ll see weight falling away without any additional effort. In reality, many of these plans are simply too good to be true. Through severely restricting their food intake, dieters run the risk of leaving themselves malnourished and unwell. Even if the diet’s promise of rapid weight loss is achieved, losing weight too quickly can damage the body.
What’s more, a significantly reduced diet and a rapid loss of weight will often cause the body to assume that food is scarce, meaning that the body will deliberately store all the spare calories it can, meaning that weight loss will slow down again after a brief period of rapid loss, and the body will build back up its fat reserves as soon as the user’s diet normalises again.
Dieters should ensure that their food plan is balanced and healthy – it’s safer to lose weight slowly over an extended period rather than run the risk of experiencing the adverse effects of starvation which comes from cutting down on certain types of food too drastically.
Changing Simple Behaviours
While many dieters would like for there to be a magic solution to excess body fat, there is no single, healthy step that will instantly cause the body to lose large amounts of weight.
However, it often doesn’t take too much effort to overcome negative habits and introduce small steps that can be taken each day to help reduce weight in a safe, sustainable way. Many of these behavioral changes are easy to implement, but can make a big difference to the body’s health and fat stores.
Walk for Thirty Minutes per Day
Large periods of exercise may work for some weight loss enthusiasts, but it can often be difficult to find the time or the motivation to perform significant amounts of aerobic exercise on a regular basis. Faced with the daunting task of exercising more, many dieters end up skipping exercise periods entirely. In truth, though, there’s a benefit to any small exercise that can be undertaken.
A study in 2002 looked at the effects of walking on weight loss when combined with a low calorie diet. The participants were all assigned a prescribed diet that lowered their calorie intake, and were split into three groups – one group was instructed to walk for thirty minutes a day five days a week, while another group was instructed to walk for sixty minutes per day instead. The final group was not given exercise instruction so as to act as a control group. At the end of the twelve-week study, all groups showed a significant reduction in weight, but in was found that those who had walked regularly had experienced ‘significantly greater’ weight loss than the group who were solely eating a low calorie diet.
Interestingly, though, there was not a significant difference between the weight loss results for the group who walked thirty minutes a day and the group who walked sixty minutes a day, leading the study to conclude that a brisk daily thirty-minute walk is all that is necessary to encourage a significant degree of weight loss when combined with a low calorie diet, and further walking does not further increase weight loss effects.
This means that dieters who are looking to lose weight shouldn’t worry too much about the amount of exercise that they do, nor its intensity – when combined with a healthy, low calorie diet, it’s enough to have thirty minutes of walking per day to stimulate weight loss.
Eat Filling Meals
Fad diets typically force dieters to cut out specific types of foods, whether it be carbohydrates, protein, or other types of food which restrict the dieter to only eating certain, healthier food groups. Even those dieters who aren’t using fad diets will often switch their regular meals for lighter alternatives including salads.
In reality, though, eating only certain food groups will prevent the body from gaining the balanced variety of vitamins and minerals that are needed to function healthily. What’s more, a restrictive diet which does not provide enough filling food can leave the body feeling unsatisfied with meals, making it more difficult to avoid hunger pangs and the temptation to indulge in less healthy foods.
There are several scientifically proven methods for changing diet habits which provide more long-lasting health benefits and weight loss effects. Scientists typically don’t recommend restricting necessary food groups – instead, it’s better to simply eat smaller portions. This ensures that the body gets enough of a varied diet to still get all relevant nutrients and for the stomach to be filled, while also reducing the calorie intake that the body receives.
That said, some foods are more filling than others. Foods which are rich in protein and fiber will help the body to feel satiated after eating and will prevent the user from feeling tempted to break their diet.
In 2013 a study examined the effects of low calorie diets and high protein diets on overweight females. Participants were either assigned a low calorie diet, or a high protein diet, in order to determine the various effects of making these changes to the participants’ diets. At the end of the study it was found that a low calorie diet led to lower levels of blood sugar, while a high protein diet reduced cholesterol and blood pressure. The study concluded that combining the effects of both diets – reducing calories while still eating substantial amounts of protein – was the key to experiencing the most notable health benefits and losing weight successfully.
Cut Out Processed Foods
If there is one form of food that dieters ought to cut out entirely in order to improve both their general health and their weight, it’s processed food. Fast food, convenience meals, and pre-prepared food typically features high levels of salt and sugar, as well as a variety of additives in order to maintain the product’s shelf life – these are not healthy for the body and can lead to excessive and unnecessary weight gain.
A study in 2015 looked at statistical data from the UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey to determine the extent to which processed foods and ingredients affect body health and weight. In analyzing the data from the survey, the study found that high levels of ultra-processed foods were associated with a far less healthy profile, and that those who primarily ate minimally-processed foods generally were healthier. That said, the only group who enjoyed a significantly lower average body weight were those who also avoided minimally processed foods, instead electing to cook from scratch, using processed ingredients (extracts from fresh foods without any additives) instead of relying even on meals that involved a small amount of preprocessing.
If this data is to be believed, the most beneficial way to aid weight loss through changes in diet involve cooking from scratch without adding artificial ingredients, and avoiding processed, pre-prepared foods. Read more in our ‘How to Snack Healthy‘ article.
Get Plenty of Rest
It’s easy to overlook the importance of sleep on body weight, but not getting enough sleep can make it very difficult to follow a diet. When the body is tired, its natural reaction is to take in more food in order to give it the energy to continue functioning without sleep – this means that it’s a lot more difficult to stick to a reduced calorie diet and avoid junk food if the body isn’t getting enough rest.
Not getting enough sleep increases the levels of the hormone ghrelin within the body, which is responsible for telling the brain when it is time to eat – therefore, the more tired the body is, the hungrier it will become. What’s more, as rest levels drop, so too does the brain’s willpower, which can lead to indulging in unhealthy food.
In 2012 a study analysed the effects of acute sleep deprivation to determine how the body’s reactions to unhealthy foods changes when it is tired. Participants were analysed in two separate situations: one where the participants had enjoyed a full night sleep, and a second instance of study when they had been subjected to a night of sleep deprivation. The participants were shown pictures of a variety of foods, and their brain signals were monitored. It was found that the participants’ brains were more responsive to pictures of unhealthy foods when they were tired than when they were fully rested. This led the study to conclude that the body is less capable of resisting the temptation of unhealthy foods when it is suffering from a lack of adequate sleep.
Dieters who are looking to lose weight through a healthy diet and regular light exercise ought to make sure that they get plenty of regular rest – the best level of weight loss will be achieved with at least seven hours of sleep a night, and dropping even as little as an hour’s sleep can have dramatic effects to the way the body relates to food. For more information, read our article on sleep and weight loss.
There are plenty of simple techniques which can be undertaken in order to promote better general body health and weight loss, without relying on a fad diet that can potentially harm the body and produce mixed weight loss results. Ideally, the dieter should be looking to get a small amount of light exercise, should avoid processed convenience foods, and should ensure that they eat smaller portions of a variety of foods in order to fight off hunger while lowering calorie intake. It’s beneficial to get plenty of rest to help the body fight the urge to indulge in unhealthy eating habits.
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