Simple science-backed things you can do to lose naturally
1. Give glucomannan a go
Approved by the European Food Standards Agency (EFSA) glucomannan is a natural fibre that expands in the stomach and makes you feel full, so you’re less likely to graze throughout the day.
It’s also said to reduce fat absorption from the stomach and small intestines. It can really help stave off hunger pangs and help you reach your ideal weight quicker when taken as part of a calorie-controlled diet.
2. Pop some friendly bacteria
Your gut contains millions of bacteria, of which the “good” kind help to ensure our digestive system is working properly. Studies suggest there is a crucial link between taking bacterial cultures such as acidophilus – which promote this good bacteria – and weight loss1, with factors including how much fat is absorbed from food, not to mention indirect effects such as regulating mood and energy levels, so you’re less likely to stress eat or binge due to a sugar crash.
Boost your friendly bacteria by eating fermented veg such as sauerkraut and kimchi, fermented dairy such as kefir and yoghurt, or taking one to two acidophilus capsules each day
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3. Stock up on slow-release carbs
Certain foods – especially refined sugar, starch and white flour – can cause an immediate spike in energy levels, followed by a massive dip, so you tend to pig out more. Switching to slow-release carbs will ensure your energy levels are maintained for longer – and is far more manageable than a punishing diet.
Porridge or eggs are great breakfast options. For lunch or dinner swap your white pasta for quinoa and French fries for sweet potato wedges.
4. Sip green tea
Evidence suggests that green tea increases your metabolic rate2, helping you burn calories a lot faster. Plus, it’s packed full of nutrients and antioxidants to boost your immune system and improve your overall health.
Try matcha green tea, where the entire leaf is dried and ground into the formula – so you’re getting maximum benefits. Drinking as little as two-and-a-half cups a day can make a difference.
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5. Cook with good fats
Fat is necessary for your body to function properly, delivering essential fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins that it needs – so you needn’t cut it out of your diet altogether.
However, the type of fat you eat can determine whether you’ll gain or lose weight. For example, coconut oil contains fatty acids called medium-chain triglycerides, which the body metabolises much faster than the long-chain triglycerides contained in other fats. Use it in roasting, frying or just a few teaspoons on a salad. However, it’s still a saturated fat – ie. high in calories – so don’t go overboard. And try to grill, poach and steam food wherever possible.
6. Whey protein is the way forward
Not just for bodybuilders, whey protein can also be great for battling the bulge. That’s because it’s thought to boost your metabolism and leave you feeling fuller for longer. So it’s perfect to blend into a shake after a workout – as you’re less likely to end up binging and undoing all the good work.
It also helps maintain muscle mass (something that often gets affected when slimming down), which is crucial when it comes to calorie burning.
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7. Get that all-important 40 winks
Although you might think being active is an essential part of how to lose weight, getting enough sleep is a big factor, too. Not only does it leave you feeling more energised the next day, but studies have shown well-rested people burn more calories while asleep than those who are tired.
Research showed people who slept eight-and-a-half hours a night were losing weight more quickly than those who got only five-and-a-half3, despite both groups consuming the same number of calories.
Taking natural sleep aids such as magnesium supplements may help with muscle relaxation at bedtime. Another tip is to forgo your early morning workout (leaving you more time in bed) and switch to early evening workouts instead – exercising at this time can help your body go into “sleep mode” much more quickly.
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Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP before trying any remedies.