Following my discussion with BBC Radio breakfast presenter Nick Wallis this morning, I’ve continued the theme by listing below 10 tips to reduce or get your BMI down!
- Ensure you eat breakfast, and that it is nutritionally balanced. Your body needs to kickstart it’s metabolism in the morning after a night’s sleep. What you eat will determine your energy levels for the next few hours, and also how your body will function. Miss breakfast and you will be sluggish, and will set your body further into fat storing mode. Eat a high sugar breakfast like a pastry, or sugar added cereal (honey nut, coco- xxx, frosties etc) and you will get a massive blood sugar spike, resulting in the release of insulin, which can be a fat storage hormone. You will also feel hungry sooner , and energy levels will crash. Aim for porridge, low sugar museli, fruit with mixed nuts and live bio yoghurt, eggs, grilled bacon, tomatoes.
- Water! Our bodies are made from over 65% water, and it has many jobs, including the delivery of nutrients around the body, but also the removal of toxins and fat cells. Being dehydrated can often lead to over-eating, fatigue, and headaches. Keep a bottle with you throughout the day and refill each morning. Aim to drink at least 1 ½ litres a day.
- Leave out carbohydrates from mid afternoon. Carbs aren’t bad, it’s just that we tend to eat too many! Their primary job is to be broken down into glucose, stored, and used for energy. But if you aren’t expending energy, possibly through a sedentary job, these carbs have to go somewhere, and so get stored as fat. By carbs I’m talking pasta, bread, potatoes etc.
- Aim to leave no more than 4 hours between eating. This can take the form of a snack like an apple and a 3-4 nuts, chopped raw veg, or some oat cakes. By leaving longer, your body will go into starvation mode, releasing hormones which will store the next food consumed as fat. Prepare your snacks the night before so that they are ready, and planned. NOT sugary snacks.
- Try not to eat after 8pm at night. Your metabolism slows down during the afternoon to evening time and so it will take longer to break down food from here. Evening meals should consist of protein and vegetables. Definitely stay away from potatoes, breads and pastas at this time. Where possible, have your larger meal at lunch time which will assist this process. If you feel ‘snackish’ in the evening aim to eat some chopped carrot or celery which is low in calories, high in fibre and will make you feel fuller. Also drink more water!
- Cut out added sugar! Everything that ends in an xxxxOSE is sugar! This is cakes, biscuits, sweets, in hot drinks or cereals. It is refined and causes high levels of insulin to be released, as described in point 1. The whole key to fat loss is keeping a high metabolism and balanced blood sugar levels. Sugar will not help!
- Aim to limit/swap/cut out cow’s milk and cheese. Many people, without knowing it are lactose intolerant. In our stomach we have masses of different enzymes which assist in breaking down the various food groups. The sugar in cows milk is lactose, and the enzyme responsible for breaking this down is called lactase. Some people produce less of this enzyme and so therefore the lactose is not broken down properly, and turns into a toxin, which in turn causes bloat or stomach cramps. Switch to soya or goats milk which is easier on the stomach. I have, and can vouch that it has given me more energy, and easier going on the stomach.
- Cut back on wheat based products. This includes bread, cakes, pies, pasta. The gluten contained within these products again causes toxic issues in the body, resulting in bloat, and stomach issues similar to lactose intolerant people. When you do have these foods, aim to have wholemeal versions which are better nutritionally and not bleached or devoid of nutrients like their white versions. Try to limit to 2-3 times a week.
- Cut out the packaged/processed and take away food. This stuff is often high in calories, and specifically the packaged meals, are pretty empty on vitamins and minerals. Food needs to be natural and fresh to contain vitamins and minerals. If stuff has been pasteurised, processed etc, it has been altered. Be it for storage or looking after that best before date, it isn’t fresh!
- Eat for your day! Food is our energy source – If you have a sedentary job, or day ahead, look to reduce the number of calories you consume. Food, in particular carbohydrates, are your main source of energy, and if you are not expending the calories, they will be stored as fat! So if you will be taking the train or car to work, then sitting at a desk most of the day, eat small, graze, every 3-4 hours, and don’t digest large, calorific meals. Your body will not burn these calories, and you will gain weight! If this is the case, really look to cut back on carbohydrates from lunchtime, and consume protein and vegetables (raw carrots, cucumber etc at work) for the rest of the day. TRUST ME – if you don’t burn the calories, your WILL gain weight!
Combine the above points with some regular exercise and you will be feeling and seeing the benefits. A qualified Personal Trainer or outdoor exercise sessions like BodyFit Bootcamps will ensure you are doing the right exercises, with the right intensity, coupled with qualified nutrition advice. This will ensure that the 2 main areas for continued fat loss and health are covered.