According to the World Health Organization, there are three times more obese people today than there were in 1975. Unfortunately, being overweight or obese greatly increases the risk of conditions such as sleep apnea, stroke, and high blood pressure.
Again, most overweight people have low self-esteem.
But losing weight isn’t as easy as we would love it to be, and there’s no magic pill. Of course, the internet is awash with purported miracle products that will melt your fat in record time. Don’t fall for it. But who said that you must spend long, painful hours in the gym. Here are four natural and painless ways to slim down.
1. Eat Whole, Single-Ingredient Foods
By eating whole foods, you avoid a lot of sugars and fats common in processed foods. Refined foods also come with lots of additives to keep them fresher for longer. Some of these ingredients can be toxic. The body responds by storing them in fat cells, which in the long run, translates to weight gain.
Whole foods also tend to be very filling. This means that you get full before eating too much, which will help lower your calorie count. Examples of these foods include boiled potatoes, eggs, oatmeal, fish, lean meat, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and almost all fruits and vegetables.
2. Reduce Added Sugar Intake
Added sugar is linked to some of the world’s most prevalent lifestyle diseases. These include heart disease, cancer, and type II diabetes. Because sugar goes by many different names in ingredient lists, it can be very difficult to know how much sugar you’re eating.
For this reason, one of the most effective ways of reducing your sugar intake is by minimizing, or if possible, entirely avoiding processed foods.
Many of these foods and drinks contain a type of sugar called fructose. As opposed to satiating you, this sugar increases your hunger, causing you to ingest more calories. In excessive amounts, it has also been linked to leptin resistance. Leptin regulates hunger and is responsible for signaling to the brain that you are full.
3. Eat Healthily
Contrary to popular belief, healthy food doesn’t necessarily equate to processed low fat and fat-free foods, commercially sold fruit juices, salad dressings, vegan diets, processed organic foods, or vegetable oils. Think about eating a balanced diet while reducing unhealthy oils and sugar as much as possible.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with a snack here and there, but you must get it right. Salty snacks and sugared beverages have been linked to most chronic illnesses we are battling today.
Berries, carrots, yogurt, and hard-boiled eggs are good examples of healthy snacks that won’t prove too hard to carry around when you’re on the go.
4. Get Enough Sleep
The best-known health benefits of getting a good night’s sleep revolve around mental health. Research has shown that good sleep also carries physical benefits. Believe it or not, one of these benefits revolves around maintaining a healthy weight.
It has been observed that sleep-deprived people are more likely to grow obese compared to their well-rested counterparts. This is attributable to a few reasons.
First, sleep deprivation can lead to a bigger appetite. This is because the body makes more ghrelin –a hormone that causes hunger- than leptin –a hormone that suppresses hunger.
Secondly, poor sleep encourages weight gain. This is because it worsens insulin resistance, leading to more conversion of glucose to glycogen (fat).
Weight Loss Takes Time
No weight loss regime will yield immediate results. If you’re trying to lose weight, speak to a nutritionist first and find out how much weight you can safely lose without becoming underweight.
Discuss what weight loss regime works best for you and do your best to stick to it. Be patient and cut yourself some slack because it may take time, but the results will be well worth it.