A healthier lifestyle and diet has been scientifically proven to provide numerous health benefits, such as reducing your risk of several chronic diseases (high blood pressure, diabetes etc) and keeping your mind & body healthy.
However, making major changes to your diet can sometimes seem very overwhelming. Instead of making big changes, it may be better to start with a few smaller ones.
That is why we advocate the jab as a kickstarter, to help get you onto the right track so that you can takeover your weight loss journey without the need for the jab.
Here is a list of some small changes that can make a regular diet a little bit healthier, either whilst you're using the jab or to maintain your weight loss after the jab.
1. Slow Down
The pace at which you eat influences how much you eat, as well as how likely you are to gain weight. In fact, studies comparing different eating speeds show that fast eaters are up to 115% more likely to be obese than slow eaters.
Your appetite, how much you eat and how full you get is all controlled by hormones. These hormones signal your brain whether you’re hungry or full.
However, it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to receive these messages, so eating more slowly should give your brain the time it needs to perceive that you are full. Studies have confirmed this, showing that eating slowly may reduce the number of calories you consume at meals and help you lose weight.
Eating slowly is also linked to more thorough chewing, which has also been linked to better weight maintenance.
Therefore, simply by eating slower and chewing more often, you can reduce your risk of eating too much and gaining excess weight.
2. Choose Whole-Grain Bread — Not Refined
You can easily make your diet a bit healthier by choosing whole grain bread in place of traditional refined-grain bread.
As opposed to refined grains, which have been linked to many health issues, whole grains have been linked to a variety of health benefits, including a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
They are also a good source of fibre, B vitamins and several minerals, such as zinc, iron, magnesium and manganese. There are many varieties of whole-grain bread available, and many of them even taste better than refined bread.
Just make sure to read the label to ensure that your bread is made with whole grains only, not a mixture of whole and refined grains. It’s also preferable that the bread contains whole seeds or grains.
3. Add Greek Yogurt to Your Diet
Greek yoghurt or Greek-style yogurt is thicker and creamier than regular yogurt. It has been strained to remove its excess whey, which is the watery part of milk. The end result is a yogurt that is higher in fat and protein than regular yogurt.
In fact, it contains up to three times the amount of protein found in the same amount of regular yogurt, or up to 9 grams per 100 grams. Eating a good source of protein helps you feel fuller for longer, helping you manage your appetite and eat fewer calories overall - so that extra bit of natural fat is better in the long run.
Furthermore, since Greek yogurt has been strained, it contains fewer carbs and lactose than regular yogurt, making it suitable for those who follow a low-carb diet (hello Slim Transformers!) or are lactose intolerant.
Simply replace some snacks or regular yogurt varieties with Greek yogurt for a hefty dose of protein and nutrients. Just make sure to pick the non-flavoured varieties, as flavoured ones may be packed with added sugar and other unhealthy ingredients e.g. Onken flavours.
4. Don’t Shop When You're Hungry
There are two important strategies to employ when you go grocery shopping: make your shopping list ahead of time and don’t go to the store hungry. Not knowing exactly what you need makes room for impulse buying, while hunger can further exacerbate your impulses, meaning you buy foods you don't need.
To make sure you don’t give in to your impulses, plan ahead and write down what you need beforehand. By doing this and sticking to your list, you will not only buy healthier items but also save money and have healthier foods around the house.
5. Eat Eggs (preferably for breakfast!)
Eggs are incredibly healthy, especially if you eat them in the morning. They are rich in high-quality protein and many essential nutrients that people often don’t get enough of, such as choline. When looking at studies comparing various types of calorie-matched breakfasts, eggs come out on top.
Eating eggs in the morning increases feelings of fullness. This has been shown to cause people to consume fewer calories over the next 36 hours, which can be quite helpful for weight loss (Slim Transformers!).
One study in healthy and fit young men showed that eggs caused significantly more fullness, less hunger and a lower desire to eat, compared to a breakfast consisting of cereal or croissants. In fact, the men who had eggs for breakfast automatically ate 270–470 fewer calories at lunch and dinner, compared to those who ate other breakfasts.
Therefore, simply replacing your current breakfast with eggs may result in major benefits for your health.
6. Increase Your Protein Intake
Protein is often referred to as the King of Nutrients, and it does seem to have some superpowers. Due to its ability to affect your hunger and satiety hormones, it’s the most filling of the macronutrients. One study showed that simply increasing protein intake from 15% to 30% of your daily intake made people eat 450 fewer calories per day, without actively restricting their intake.
What’s more, protein helps you retain muscle mass, which determines the rate of your metabolism. A high protein intake may increase the number of calories you burn by 80–100 per day. This is especially important for preventing the loss of muscle mass that can occur during weight loss and as you age.
Aim to add a source of protein to each meal and snack. It will help you feel fuller for longer, curb cravings and make you less likely to overeat - nuts, peanut butter, eggs, beans and lean meat.
7. Drink Enough Water
Drinking water is important for your health. Many studies have shown that drinking water may benefit weight loss, weight maintenance and even increase the number of calories you burn daily.
Studies also show that drinking water before meals can reduce appetite and calorie intake during the subsequent meal. Furthermore, the most important thing is to drink water instead of other beverages. This may drastically reduce your sugar and calorie intake.
8. Bake or Roast Instead of Grilling or Frying
The way we prepare our food can drastically change its effects on your health. Grilling, broiling, frying and deep-frying are all popular methods of preparing meat and fish. However, during these types of cooking methods, several potentially toxic compounds are formed, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), advanced glycation end products (AGEs) and heterocyclic amines (HCAs).
All of these compounds have been linked to several diseases, including cancer and heart disease. Healthier cooking methods include baking, broiling, simmering, slow-cooking, poaching, pressure cooking, stewing and sous-vide.
These methods do not promote the formation of these harmful compounds and thus make your food healthier. It also helps keep your fat & calorie intake to a minimum if food is cooked n the healthiest way.
9. Eat Your Fruits Instead of Buying Them as Drinks
Fruits are very healthy. They are loaded with water, fibre, vitamins and antioxidants. Studies have repeatedly linked eating fruit to a reduced risk of several diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Because fruits contain fibre and various plant compounds, their sugars are generally digested very slowly and do not cause major spikes in blood sugar levels.
However, the same does not apply for pre-packed fruit juices. Many fruit juices aren’t even made from real fruit, but rather concentrate and sugar. They may even contain as much sugar as a sugary soft drink. Even real fruit juices lack the fibre and chewing resistance provided by whole fruits. This makes fruit juice much more likely to spike your blood sugar levels.
10. Become More Active
Good nutrition and exercise often go hand in hand. Exercise has been shown to improve your mood, as well as decrease feelings of depression, anxiety and stress. These are the exact feelings that are most likely to contribute to emotional and binge eating.
Aside from strengthening your muscles and bones, exercise may help you to burn calories, lose weight, increase your energy levels, reduce your risk of chronic diseases and improve your sleep.
How much you say? We suggest aiming to do about 30 minutes of moderate to high-intensity exercise each day, or simply take the stairs and go on short walks whenever possible.
11. Replace Your Sugary Beverages With Sugar-Free or Sparkling Water
Sugary beverages might possibly be the unhealthiest thing you can drink. They are loaded with liquid sugar, which has been linked to numerous diseases, including heart disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes, not to mention weight gain.
Also, your brain doesn’t register liquid calories the same way it registers solid calories. This means you don’t compensate for the calories you drink by eating any less, so you end up consuming far more calories than what you think.A generic 500ml sugary fizzy drink can contain 200+ calories.
Try replacing your sugary beverage with either a sugar-free alternative or simply choose still or sparkling water. Doing so will shave off the extra calories and reduce your excess sugar and calorie intakes.
12. Stay Away From “Diet” Foods
So-called “diet foods” can be very deceiving. They‘ve usually had their fat content reduced dramatically and are often labelled “fat-free,” “low-fat,” “fat-reduced” or “low-calorie.” However, to compensate for the lost flavour and texture that the fat provided, sugar and other ingredients are often added. Therefore, many diet foods end up containing more sugar and sometimes even more calories than their full-fat counterparts.
So what can you do? Opt for raw whole foods - fruits, vegetables, plain lean meats and fish - this way you know exactly what you are eating and what's going on with the food e.g. how it's cooked, what seasoning has been added etc.
13. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
A good night's sleep is essential for good mental health and maintaining a healthy eating plan. Sleep deprivation disrupts appetite regulation, often leading to increased appetite for sugary foods to give us that energy boost. This results in increased calorie intake and weight gain. It also affects our glucose metabolism, meaning that any healthy carbs/sugars we do get from fruit & veg will be burnt a lot slower and may end up being stored in the body as unnecessary sugar.
In fact, people who sleep too little tend to weigh significantly more than those who get enough sleep. Being sleep deprived also negatively affects concentration, productivity, athletic performance and immune function.
14. Choose Healthy Oils
Unfortunately, highly processed seed and vegetable oils have become a household staple over the past 10 years or so. Examples include soybean, cottonseed, sunflower and canola oils. These oils are highly processed and high in omega-6 fatty acids, but deficient in the good omega-3s.
Swap these unhealthy oils for healthier alternatives, such as avocado oil, coconut oil or (if you're not cooking with it), extra virgin olive oil.
15. Eat From Smaller Plates
It has been proven that the size of your dinnerware can affect how much you eat.
Eating from a large plate can make your portion look smaller, while eating from a small plate can make it look bigger.
Studies have supported this and shown that people tend to eat as much as 30% more when their food is served in a large bowl or on a large plate.
Also, if you don’t realise that you’re eating more than usual, you will not compensate by eating less at the next meal. By eating from smaller dinnerware, you can trick your brain into thinking that you’re eating more, making yourself less likely to overeat.
If you have any questions about these tips, feel free to get in touch. Keep up the good work guys!
The Slim Transformation Team