In the U.S., over 32% of adults are considered obese and over 66% are overweight. Carrying excess weight not only puts extra strain on your joints and ligaments, but also puts more pressure on many internal organs. Excess weight increases your risk of certain cancers, diabetes, heart disease and more. It's important to take control of your weight and take the first step towards a healthier lifestyle. In this NATUREAL article, we will be taking a look at 4 steps to take that will have you on the way to a healthier you.
1) Cut Down Your Sugar Intake
On average, we consume more than 42.5 teaspoons of sugar every day. The problem with this is that sugar contains absolutely no nutritional value for our bodies, however, this amount of sugar does contribute around 700 calories. At this rate, you can gain 1 pound every 5 days from this amount of sugar intake alone. When eating foods consisting of high amounts of sugar, your body begins to produce insulin whilst preparing your body to transform the sugar into fat for future use. This process can also result in your body developing a resistance to leptin, which may block the feeling you get when you are ‘full’. Essentially, this ensures that you will eat more than you actually need. This is why cutting down on your sugar intake is crucial to losing weight effectively and healthily.
Cutting down on your sugar intake can also reduce your blood pressure and bad cholesterol, decrease your risk of heart disease, improve cognitive function, lower your risk of diabetes and fatty liver disease, improve your energy levels and even help keep your skin healthy. Try cutting out those sugary treats and junk food and replace them with tasty healthy snacks. You can find the perfect recipes to replace them with by following us on social media for recipes and more health tips.
2) Exercise more than 2-3 times per week
Exercising every day of the week can be extremely difficult for many, especially with the pain of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and immediate muscle soreness (IMS). The good news is that you do not need to exercise every single day to achieve your weight loss goals. Exercising at least 3 times per week can be equally effective. Naturally, the most effective forms of exercise for weight loss are activities that burn the most amount of calories. These activities are typically cardio workouts. There are many types of cardio workouts that you can do to increase weight loss, with the most intense burning the most amount of calories. For example, walking can burn between 300-400 calories for each hour of exercise, whereas running up stairs will burn 1,000 calories every hour. It's important to identify the most appropriate exercise for your body when undergoing cardio workouts.
As well as endurance training, like running, jogging and walking, it is also important to practice resistance training. Resistance training, like lifting weights, may not burn as many calories as a cardio workout but it will add more muscle to your body whilst burning fat. Also, resistance training has been found to be one of the most effective anti-aging activities.
To exercise your body properly and efficiently, try adding both cardio and resistance training exercises to your workout routine.
3) Increase your protein intake at breakfast
Protein is known to help regulate the hormones within our bodies that make us feel ‘full’. Eating protein-rich foods like oats, eggs and chia seed pudding can extend this feeling for several hours past the morning, counteracting the effects of sugar. Protein, more specifically whey protein, is perfect for your weight loss journey. This is because it helps you lose weight whilst promoting protein synthesis and muscle repair. Whey protein is full of essential amino acids as well, making it great for recovery after a workout. This means that it will help you fight the nasty delayed onset muscle soreness or immediate muscle soreness you may get after your workouts.
Try incorporating whey protein into your daily routine to promote your weight loss and improve your overall health.
4) Sleep well
Not many of us think of sleep when deciding how we can lose weight. Not only can lack of sleep negatively affect your brain in terms of decision making, it can also increase comfort food cravings for high-carb and sugary snacks. Essentially, when your brain is running low on sleep, you are much more likely to eat unhealthy foods.
Lack of sleep also leads to a spike of cortisol in your body. This is a stress hormone that, in this case, can cause your body to store more fat and slow your metabolism. Even just four days of less than 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night can reduce your bodies insulin sensitivity by as much as 30%. This means, even if you are exercising and eating the right food, your body will be working against you unless you get the right amount of z’s.
Try keeping a track of your sleep cycle to make sure you are getting the right amount of sleep. Using electronic entertainment devices such as smartphones, tablets and TV screens before you sleep can damage the quality of your sleep, so be sure to avoid these up to 1 hour before you are ready to sleep if possible.
These are our four tips to becoming a healthier you. When beginning a weight loss journey, it can become daunting sorting through the many different tips, tricks and methods are out there to assist you on your weight loss journey. Follow NATUREAL on social media for free health tips, delicious recipes, workouts and more.