Health & Diet

Weight loss: The real reason your diet plan stops working and how to fix it

Tamara Willner, nutritionist at NHS-backed healthy eating plan Second Nature, revealed why you shouldn’t give up if you hit a plateau. In fact, these stints are important for overall weight loss.

Tamara said: “The weight-loss plateaus are important to allow time for our body to ‘reset’ before we can continue losing weight again. This is explained through the ‘set-point theory’.

“Everyone has a natural ‘set point’ which is the weight range that our body hovers at when we’re eating healthily. Our set point is determined by our DNA and our environment.

“Slow, gradual weight gain over many years can cause our body to resettle at a new, higher weight.

“However, going below our set-point range can be extremely challenging. Our body will do everything to maintain it.

“Everyone is unique, so some of us will naturally have a higher weight set point, and some of us will have a lower one.”

How can you kick-start weight loss again?

Tamara detailed her tips to get out of a plateau.

1) Check your portions

Aim to build balanced meals with a portion of protein, healthy fats, and plenty of non starchy vegetables. If you’re adding some carbohydrate, opt for complex carbs (e.g. oats, rye bread, or brown pasta) over refined carbs (e.g. white bread, white rice, or sugary cereals)

2) Manage your carb intake

Evidence suggests that the best diet for weight loss is a lower-carbohydrate approach.

Reducing our intake of refined carbohydrates can help kickstart weight loss.

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3) Stay hydrated

Our body often mistakes thirst signals for hunger. Consider setting a reminder on your phone every hour to have a glass of water, or having a glass of water before each meal.

4) Consider when you’re eating

Early research suggests time-restricted feeding (TRF) (keeping our eating window to 10 hours or less, e.g. 9am-7pm, or 8am-6pm) could promote weight loss.

Larger, well-controlled studies are needed to draw solid conclusions, but it may help some of us feel better and kickstart our weight loss.

5) Vary your exercise routine

To get the benefits of exercise we don’t necessarily need to be exercising ‘harder’. Instead, it’s about looking at the type and frequency of our exercise.

Changing up the exercise we do is a good way to build up different types of muscles in our body and optimise the amount of fat we burn.

Consider trying some new exercises at home or fitting in small bursts of exercise into your daily routine.

6) Manage stress and sleep

If we’re determined to lose weight, keep it off in the long term, and improve our overall health, managing our stress and sleep is vital.

Poor sleep and high stress can, directly and indirectly, impact our weight and health.

Consider practising two minutes of deep breathing or meditation each day. Improving our bedtime routine can increase the quality of our sleep, for example reducing screen time before bed, keeping our bedrooms dark and cool, and avoiding alcohol in the evening.

Second Nature is an NHS-backed healthy eating plan that also aims to ‘reverse’ type 2 diabetes. See for more info.

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