11 Ways To Lose Weight Sensibly

11 Ways To Lose Weight Sensibly

According to a recent survey, 48% of people reckon they’ve put on weight during lockdown. Whether you’ve been comfort eating or struggled with exercise, we went to nutritionist and weight loss expert Kim Pearson for some words of wisdom. From cutting back on sugar to the benefits of fasting, here’s what she said…

Try Fasting

“Studies have found various approaches to fasting can promote weight loss. The key is finding the approach that works for you. While intermittent fasting and time restricted eating do have proven health benefits, experts point out you need to fast for longer than a few hours to experience more profound benefits such as upregulated autophagy and stem cell generation. I often put my clients on a fast mimicking diet called ProLon, a five-day fast that has the same benefits of water only fasting, while allowing you to eat specially designed, nutrient-dense, plant-based mini meals. The reduction in body fat and improvement in health markers, such as blood sugar levels and markers of inflammation, can be dramatic. While results do vary from one individual to the next, it’s not uncommon to see a loss of between 3-5lbs over the five-day period, although some of this will be water. It’s important that any sort of fast is approached in the right way and for the right reasons and not seen as a crash diet. We ensure clients who fast have a plan for transitioning back onto food gradually, using easy to digest, nutrient-dense foods like smoothies and soups.”


Prioritise Sleep

“Getting my clients into good sleeping habits is key to weight loss success. When we don’t get enough good quality sleep it can cause us to eat more, and feel less satisfied with the food we eat. This is down to the impact sleep has on our hormones. Lack of sleep causes our body to produce more ghrelin (our ‘hunger hormone’) and less leptin (our ‘satiety hormone’). If you’re constantly tired you’re likely to be fighting a losing battle. If you struggle with your sleep, ensure you’re not drinking caffeine too late in the day (switch to caffeine-free drinks by midday at the latest) and turn off screens at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Identify how much sleep your body needs to feel good and set a regular bedtime. Many of my clients find it helpful to set an alarm in the evening to remind them to finish up what they are doing and head to bed.”


Eat Protein First Thing

“Studies have shown a protein-based breakfast promotes weight loss by regulating your appetite hormones. If you tend to start your day with cereal or toast at 8am, chances are you won’t make it through to lunch without a mid-morning snack. While eggs can make for a great protein breakfast, not everyone likes a savoury breakfast. If you prefer to start your day on a sweeter note, protein powder can be particularly helpful here. My personal go-to is a berry smoothie made using a good quality dairy-free berry protein powder (I like FreeSoul), mixed frozen berries, a chunk of courgette, half an avocado and some unsweetened almond milk. The World Health Organization states that 0.8g of protein per kg of body weight per day should meet most people’s basic needs, but I’ll often increase this to around 1.2g of protein per kg of body weight (based on ideal body weight) per day.”


Be Prepared

“By planning and preparing your meals in advance you can ensure you always have healthy food on hand. Ratatouille and curries are great dishes to batch cook as their flavours intensify over time and you can mix up the protein you serve them with. If you’re working from home, stock up on tinned tuna in olive oil – this can be thrown together with some rocket leaves, grated carrot and courgette for an ultra-speedy, low carb lunch. If you’re out and about, there are plenty of healthy options available on the high street. At Pret, choose a salad containing protein, such as their Crayfish and Avocado Salad or Tuna Nicoise Salad; and if you’re at M&S, combine a pack of protein such as cooked prawns or cooked organic meat with a ready-made salad pot – just avoid those with rice, pasta or couscous. Japanese high street chains are also great for low-carb dishes like sashimi, edamame beans and seaweed salad. Itsu in particular offers a wide range of good options including miso salmon with zero noodles and poached egg pots.”


Be Wary Of Alcohol

“Alcohol can affect our weight in a number of ways. Not only can alcoholic drinks contain a lot of hidden sugar, but they can also spike hunger and reduce our willpower. Alcohol also increases levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which encourages weight gain around the middle. Keep a record of how much you’re drinking and make sure you’re not regularly exceeding the government’s recommended 14 units a week – equivalent to seven standard glasses (175ml) of wine (roughly 12%) or seven pints of weak (3.6%) beer. Also bear sugar content in mind – cocktails can often contain several teaspoons of sugar per serving, while dry wine contains less than 5g of sugar per litre, which is equivalent to less than one teaspoon of sugar per bottle of dry wine. At the moment, manufacturers are not required to state calorie and nutrition information on alcohol labels, but this is now under review and may change as the government implements new plans to tackle obesity in the UK.”


Avoid Sugar

“Eating too much sugar is one of the fastest ways to gain weight. If it’s not used for energy, the body can convert sugar into fat to store for future use. It’s worth bearing in mind the body can’t tell the difference between natural and added sugars – i.e the body uses the sugars from a piece of a cake in the same way as sugars from fruit. I recommend sticking to a maximum of two portions of fruit per day and opting for lower sugar fruits like berries and rhubarb over higher sugar fruits like bananas and dried fruit. I put some of my clients on ketogenic diets, which can be particularly effective for promoting rapid fat loss. While on a ketogenic protocol, we temporarily eliminate all fruit aside from rhubarb, which is very low in carbohydrates and sugar. The current guidelines say free sugars should account for no more than 5% of our daily energy intake which equates to around 30g, or seven teaspoons a day. However, this is still fairly high and the less you can consume, the more it will help you lose weight.”


Address Non-Hunger Eating

“Many of us eat for reasons other than genuine hunger – boredom, stress and loneliness are all common. You can ask yourself, what is driving your desire to eat? Is it genuine hunger, or something more? Try keeping a food diary noting down how you’re feeling as well as what and how much you’re eating. If you notice you’re eating for reasons other than genuine hunger, find healthier ways to address these needs. Bored? Take a break with a cup of tea and a magazine, or pick up on a hobby. Stressed? Listen to a ten-minute guided meditation, or do a deep breathing exercise. Feeling lonely? Call a friend or arrange to meet up for a walk.”


Schedule Self-Care

“I can’t emphasise how important self-care is in the weight loss equation. When we don’t make time for self-care we can quickly become depleted and reach for foods to ‘top up the tank’. Self-care is all about what feels right for you, whether it’s spending half an hour reading before bed, taking a bubble bath, doing a creative course or working on self-development. Scheduling some type of self-care activity into your daily life is more important than ever right now.”



Swap Pasta and Rice For Veg

“When we consume large amounts of starchy carbs – think bread, pasta, rice and potatoes – we experience a spike in our blood sugar level, stimulating insulin to be released which ‘carries’ the sugar into cells. The body will first use what it needs for energy, and if there is additional glucose, it will either be stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles or as fat. Some people are more sensitive to carbohydrates than others, and are therefore more likely to covert sugars and carbohydrates to stored body fat. But starchy and refined carbohydrates, which have been stripped of their beneficial micronutrients, are of little nutritional value to anyone. I encourage my clients to eat plenty of veg and salad, swapping out those starchy carbs and replacing them with tasty, easy-to-make veg dishes like ratatouille, roasted Mediterranean vegetables, veg stews and spiced cauliflower steaks. Like protein, how many grams of carbohydrates you should eat per day varies depending on your individual needs and goals.”


Don't Fear Fat

“In the past we were told eating fat leads to weight gain, but that’s not the case. Fat is essential for health and numerous studies have shown moderate amounts of healthy fats can actually support weight loss. Healthy fats can be found in oily fish, nuts such as walnuts, and seeds like flaxseeds and chia seeds. Aim to include one or two servings of healthy fats with each meal. A portion is equivalent to a tablespoon of olive or coconut oil, half a medium avocado or a palm-sized portion of unroasted nuts or seeds.”


Create Accountability

“Weight loss is a journey. There can be challenges on that journey and having an individual or network to support you hugely increases your chance of success. The American Society of Training and Development carried out a study on accountability and found that we have a 65% chance of completing a goal if we commit to someone. Furthermore, if we have a specific accountability appointment with someone we’re accountable to, we increase our chances of success by up to 95%. Working with a nutritionist, you not only benefit from a tailored nutrition plan, you are also supported with implementing this on a practical level and having a professional to hold you accountable. But if you’re not working with a practitioner you can create accountability in other ways. You might choose recruit a friend or family member who understands your situation and supports you achieving your goals. Share with them your plans and set up a ‘check in’ routine with them in the form of a weekly call or daily text update.”

For more information visit Kim-Pearson.com
*Features published by SheerLuxe are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of your GP or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programmes.

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