January is the annual time when people assess their weight-loss goals following the indulgence of the Christmas period.
Maintaining a healthy weight is important for many reasons, not least because it helps lower your chances of being diagnosed with diabetes.
The combination of losing weight and increasing the amount of exercise you do has been shown to lower HbA1c levels by one or two percentage points (if you don’t know your HbA1c levels, you can check them with DocHQ’s simple at-home Diabetes Check).
If you do have type 2 diabetes, or are worried you may be prediabetic, losing 5-10% of your bodyweight will help you manage the disease by reducing your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
The National Weight Control Registry in the US tracked 6,000 people who were looking to lose weight – here were some of its findings from those who were in successful in losing weight and keeping it off:
1. Make physical activity a priority
The research found that the average person should aim to burn an average of around 2,500 calories a week via 60 minutes’ exercise a day. You may find that the weight comes off easily for the first six months, but after that point many people’s weight plateaus and it becomes harder to lose further weight. This is when it’s important to maintain daily exercise and movement and continue to keep moving to ensure that the weight doesn’t creep back on.
2. Reduce your screen time
The results showed that reducing the amount of time you watch television a week can help with weight loss, with the people who lost most weight watching 10 hours of television or less a week.
3. Eat breakfast daily
Skipping breakfast may seem like an easy way to eradicate calories from your diet, but the reality is your appetite grows as the morning goes on, resulting in increased levels of snacking throughout the day, and even eating more at lunch and/or dinner as you feel more hungry. Eating a filling breakfast of oats means carbs are released slowly throughout the morning, keeping you fuller for longer.
4. Consume more fibre and less fat
Following on from this, increasing your fibre intake also helps you stay fuller for longer, and reducing fat reduces your calorie intake due to the fact it contains 9 calories per gram compared to carbs’ and protein’s 4 calories per gram.
5. Sleep more
Something that will no doubt come as good news to most – research has shown that not getting enough sleep can interfere with the hormones that control hunger. It also means that you’re less inclined to exercise during the day as you feel tired, and you will also experience increased cravings for high-calorie fast food. The aim is to get between seven and eight hours a night to help maintain optimal weight levels.