Health & Well Being

If the thought of slugging away for hours on the treadmill terrifies you, take a deep breath. Losing weight doesn’t have to be such hard work. You don’t need to starve yourself or adopt a punishing exercise routine just to shed a few pounds. There are simple but effective habits you can incorporate into your everyday life that will keep you in good shape.

All it takes a desire for change and a commitment to make it happen.

Always Eat Breakfast
Skipping breakfast is not a good way to start your day. Firstly, you’re likely to eat more during the day because you will be hungrier, and secondly your metabolism will be slower.

Research shows that people who eat breakfast lose more weight than those who don’t. Your metabolism slows down at night while you are asleep. Eating breakfast will automatically kick start and raise your metabolism, making weight loss easier.
Start your day with whole grains such as porridge oats and muesli, or lean proteins like eggs, turkey and fish. They will keep you fuller for longer.

Eat Often
A big mistake a lot of people make in a bid to lose weight is restricting their calorie intake. Unfortunately starving yourself, skipping meals and overly restricting your calories will make you add not lose weight. The body needs a certain amount of calories to function. If the need is not met, it goes into survival mode, slowing down the metabolism and storing energy (in the form of fat) to shield itself from starvation.
To keep an active metabolism, eat smaller portions at regular intervals rather than large portions once or twice a day.
Eat three small meals a day with healthy snacks in between like nuts, fruits and vegetables.

Eat More During the Day
The idea is to eat your biggest meals during the day when you are more active and eat less as the day progresses and your level of activity tails off.
Some dieticians advise eating a big breakfast made up of protein and carbs, a medium low-carb meal for lunch and a very light meal for dinner.
If your job is of a sedentary nature, consider going for a walk during your break period to rev up your metabolism.

Eat Complex Carbohydrates
Carbs often get a bad reputation for wreaking havoc on our waistlines. But carbs are good for our bodies – they provide us with much needed energy we need to function. But you need to be able to distinguish between the bad carbs and good carbs. Bad carbohydrates are often processed and have been stripped of all their fibre – white bread, white rice for instance. While complex carbohydrates are packed with fibre vitamins and nutrients.
In one study, it was found that adults of normal weight ate about 43 per cent more complex carbohydrates daily than overweight people. Here are some of the health benefits of eating carbohydrates:

  • They are high in fibre. Fibre keeps you full for longer, provides energy, and lowers cholesterol
  • You feel full on fewer calories
  • Carbs are packed with vitamins, minerals and enzymes
  • They naturally stimulate metabolism and promote weight loss

Complex carbs include foods like Vegetables, Fruits, Beans, Legumes, Nuts, Seeds and Whole grains like brown rice, whole wheat pasta and oats.

Have Protein at Every Meal
Adding a lean or low-fat protein to each meal and snack will help keep you feeling full longer so you're less likely to overeat. Try low-fat yogurt, small portion of nuts, peanut butter, eggs, beans, or lean meats.

Eat Light Meals after 7pm
Conventional diet advice says don’t eat after 7pm. Reality is, it won’t work for most of us. If you must eat at night, opt for a light meal like grilled fish and salad.
Also, if possible, avoid fruits. Although fruits are essential for our five-a-day, they are high in sugar, which can cause a spike in insulin. Also avoid dairy products including milk and yoghurt.

Avoid Sugary Drinks
Food for thought: high energy drinks, fruit juice, fizzy drinks have no nutritional value; they contain high fructose. They do not reduce hunger like solids and pile on the pounds. Soft drinks as well as energy or sports drinks, sweetened teas, fruit juices and other high-calorie beverages, can lead to increased body mass index as well. Obesity and a high body mass index are risk factors for many chronic health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and some forms of cancer.

Choose Healthy Alternatives
Let’s face it; it’s not worth it depriving ourselves of simple pleasures like a bar of chocolate and a bag of crisps. Instead of depriving yourself of the things you like then binge eating later, try substituting them with a healthier alternative. For instance, try a low-fat mayonnaise; spread sandwiches with mustard instead of mayo; eat plain roasted sweet potatoes instead of loaded white potatoes; use skim milk instead of cream in your coffee; hold the cheese on sandwiches; and use a little vinaigrette on your salad instead of piling on the creamy dressing.
For snacks, go for almonds, peanuts, cashew nuts, oat snacks, cream crackers, digestives...

Stay Active
You may not like exercise, but keeping active is essential if you want to lose weight. Simple alterations to your lifestyle can make a world of difference.
If you usually drive, take the bus sometimes that will create more opportunity to walk.
If you take the bus, make a habit of stopping two bus stops before your destination and walking.
If you take your kids to the park, don’t just sit on the bench and watch them. Join in the fun; you’ll burn calories as you do so.
Household chores are also a good way to burn fat.
Thirty minutes of ironing will burn 76.5 calories.
Thirty minutes of folding clothes will burn 72 calories.
Moving a broom back and forth for ten minutes will burn 28 calories.
Twenty minutes of vacuuming will burn 56 calories.
Twenty minutes of washing the car will burn 102 calories.
Even when you're sleeping you're burning calories. Eight hours of good shut-eye will erase 360 calories.

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