It’s important to remember that lifestyle change is not just about weight loss. If it were, cutting calories would be the only requirement. My goal is to improve my overall health, which means looking at the types of calories and nutrients I’m eating. That’s why, two months into my lifestyle change, I decided it was time to incorporate some additional rules from the Dietary Guidelines:
Healthy eating works best when combined with regular physical activity and active living. The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines recommend that all adults aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every week, in periods of 10 minutes or longer. Physical activity can mean joining a gym, jogging or bicycling. Active living also includes walking the dog, mowing the lawn, taking the stairs, parking further from the mall or walking to the bus stop. To make exercise more enjoyable, choose activities you like to do, and plan activities with friends and family. Being active burns calories, and it helps you feel better and have more energy.
Eat the right type of carbohydrates. It’s been the war on carbs in dieting for almost a decade, but your body needs some carbohydrates for energy! The trick here is choosing the complex carbohydrates like veggies – dark leafy greens, cauliflower, broccoli, bok choy. Including root veggies (carrots, yams, squash, parsnips, artichokes) instead of simple carbohydrates may also be beneficial for adequate fibre, antioxidants and curbing those sugar cravings. Grains such as brown rice, quinoa, and oats may be beneficial for some as well. The refined, processed breads and pastas - they convert to sugar too quickly in our bodies and leave us feeling hungry & depleted not long after we’ve eaten.
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Dairy products contain varying amounts of lactose (milk sugar), which slows down weight loss. What’s more, part of the protein in milk generates a significant insulin response, which can have the same effect. Consequently, cutting back on dairy products may accelerate weight loss. This applies especially to dairy products typically lacking in fat, such as regular milk and various yogurts, but be careful with full-fat dairy such as cream and cheese all the same. And don’t forget whey protein powder, which is pure milk protein.
A Cochrane meta-anylsis including 14 studied involving use of green tea found that its consumption was associated with mild but significant weight loss results compared to controls or placebo. (2) One study that tested the effects of green tea extract on a group of adults compared to a control group not taking green tea found that after 12 weeks, those taking 857 milligrams of green tea had significantly lower levels of ghrelin (known as the hunger hormone).
Yes, but probably not as much as you might hope. A review of studies on five major FDA-approved prescription medications for obesity, including orlistat, shows that any of them work better than a placebo for helping people lose at least 5% of their body weight over the course of a year. Phentermine-topiramate and liraglutide had the highest odds of making that happen.