Most of us struggle with at least a few extra pounds and for some us we never can seem to lose weight no matter how hard we try. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2014, 68.8% of Adults over the age of 18 were either overweight or obese with a BMI greater than 25. Becoming a global problem in need of increased resources and attention, obesity was recently classified as a disease by the World Health Organization (WHO). Obesity is associated with poorer outcomes for numerous diseases including heart disease, many forms of cancer and diabetes. As research continues to build on our understanding of obesity and how it can be effectively treated, there are a few simple things that we can all do now to help shed those extra unneeded pounds.
1. Eat breakfast. We have all heard of the adage citing breakfast as the most important meal of the day. In fact, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Breakfast provides the initial fuel that begins the fire of our metabolism to burn away fat and excess energy stores throughout the day. A complete breakfast with whole real foods that combines protein, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates with fiber goes a long way to shifting your body toward a losing rather than gaining weight.
2. Eat most of your calories early and do not eat any meals after 7pm. Following your complete healthy whole real food based breakfast, you should have a similar sizable lunch. You can even snack in between breakfast and lunch with some healthy snack choices such as whole fruit and nuts, an excellent combination to avoid increases in blood sugar that can lead to diabetes. After eating the majority of your calories for breakfast and lunch including mid morning and afternoon healthy snacks, you should have a relatively smaller portion size dinner and avoid eating anything after 7pm or roughly 3-4 hours prior to your bedtime. You can have a piece of whole fruit or another healthy snack but in general you should not eat before bedtime.
3. Walk or do some exercise every day. Another metabolism booster is to move your body, even walking for 30 to 45 minutes at a moderate pace can go a long way toward increasing your metabolism and helping you to lose weight. If you are able to do more and reach your cardiovascular health goals, even better, but remember walking alone is better than just sitting there and playing with your phone!
4. Add Good Fats to make you thin. Good fats can actually make you thin?! Yes, it’s true, foods rich in monounsaturated fat like avocados and almonds and olive oil, the staple of the Mediterranean Diet, actually inhibit fatty acid synthase, an enzyme required to form fat in our bodies. In particular, even without changing caloric intake, increasing the percentage of these fats can decrease your belly fat. Also omega 3 fatty acids, a form of polysaturated fat can also help with weight as it increases the body’s sensitivity to insulin and helps to prevent diabetes and the fat storing effect of high insulin levels over time.
5. Avoid liquid calories and refined excess sugar. The only liquid calorie any of us should be eating is water. Any juice, even home made juice decreases our fiber intake and leads to increased sugar consumption. Any and all excess sugars in our diet that are not burned away through exercise are converted straight to fat! That's right, extra sugar makes you fat. And with the average American consuming over 100 pounds of sugar every year, it is no wonder why so many of us have problems with weight!