Dr Chris discusses fasting diets combatting diabetes
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Losing weight is hard, but losing weight from one specific area is even tougher. Belly fat is one area many people look to improve, and while some achieve weight loss by sticking to a healthy diet and exercising regularly, others don’t feel the belly fat is budging. To see results, there are a few areas that you need to pay attention to.
1. Get enough sleep
Stress can lead to weight gain, anxiety, headaches, trouble sleeping and more.
If you can manage the stress hormone – cortisol – then you’re on your way to losing weight.
One important factor is getting enough sleep – or prioritising eight hours of rest each night and that way, you start the day feeling refreshed.
A study by Columbia University found that when people are sleep-deprived they eat almost 300 calories more a day than when they have had an adequate night’s rest.
It is thought that this is because lack of sleep stimulates the production of the hunger hormone, ghrelin, while also lowering levels of leptin – the hormone that makes you feel full.
2. Reduce sugar intake
Everyone loves a biscuit or two, but belly fat is largely linked to sugar.
Zana Morris, author of The High Fat Diet: How to lose 10lb in 14 days explained: “Sugar causes the release of insulin, which in turn encourages the body to store fat, particularly around the middle.”
Sugar is also very addictive, with many finding the need to consume it daily.
So what’s the solution? Zana said: “Cutting sugar and foods that break down quickly into sugars (e.g. fruit/bread/pasta/wine), will reduce and stabilise levels of insulin as well as help your body to look to fat for fuel.”
While weight loss is mainly a result of diet, exercise plays an important part in shaping your figure.
A calorie controlled diet as well as exercising regularly is “the best way to reduce body fat”.
“For the ultimate fat-burning boost, a combo of aerobic and strengthening exercises is far more effective,” dietitian Helen Bond said.
Aerobic exercises such as running, cycling, swimming and group classes increase the number of calories that are burnt both during and after the exercise.
Strength training, such as lifting weights or using body weight, on the other hand, can increase muscle, which in turn helps metabolism.
Bigger muscles can see more calories burnt, even when resting.
It is advised to get 150 minutes of exercise in a week, with two strength-training sessions.
4. Increase fibre
Fibre is a nutrient that British adults don’t get enough of.
The NHS explains how fibre can help with digestion and prevent constipation – which can help with bloating.
Fibre has also been shown to promote weight loss.
The NHS said: “Choosing foods with fibre also makes us feel fuller.”
One way to increase your fibre intake is by choosing wholewheat or wholegrain alternatives to cereal, bread and pasta.
Fruit and vegetables are also high in fibre, as are beans, lentils and pulses.
5. Be careful with snacks and alcohol
Snacking is something people eradiated from their diet to lose weight.
The odd snack here and there can see a few more calories consumed every day.
Experts suggest choosing snacks wisely as “healthy snacks like reduced-fat biscuits, cereal bars, yoghurt, cereals etc. might seem like virtuous choices, but not all are created equal”.
In terms of alcohol – they provide liquid calories – and when mixers are added the number of calories consumed can skyrocket.
Alcohol can also lead to unhealthy foods being consumed, a lack of energy to exercise and sleep being impacted.
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