Friday, September 27, 2013

Struggling To Lose Weight?

Struggling To Lose Weight?
You exercise, you watch what you eat, yet that needle on the scale won’t budge. We discover five surprising culprits.

1. You’re not sleeping enough

It’s a case of snooze and lose – weight, that is. According to a study at the Laval University in Quebec, Canada, both too much and too little sleep can make you pile on the weight. The study found people who slept for less than seven hours a night gained two kilos in six years, while those who slept for more gained one and a half kilos over the same period. “Low levels of sleep and sleep disruption affect the hormones leptin and ghrelin, which in turn affect your appetite and how you lay down your fat stores,” says Nicholas Glozier, Associate Professor, Disciplines of Psychiatry and Sleep Medicine at the University of Sydney. “Keeping a healthy weight comes down to maintaining a regular routine. When you’re in a routine, your body will balance itself out,” he says. Aim for seven to nine hours every night. If you’re having trouble getting to sleep, then follow a wind-down program: run a warm bath, add some lavender oil and drink chamomile tea. Avoid caffeine after 3 p.m. and remove all electronic gadgets from your bedroom. On rising, drink a glass of water to which you’ve added the juice of a lemon and a dash of cayenne to stimulate metabolism and fat-burning.

2. You’re eating the wrong breakfast

You know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day – but did you know that what you eat at breakfast is also critical to a weight loss plan? A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found people who ate more protein at breakfast (versus lunch or dinner) reported both greater initial and sustained feelings of fullness throughout the day. Protein-rich foods, such as yoghurt, eggs, nuts and seeds, help keep you feeling full. If you don’t like to eat first thing, try a protein smoothie. Combine 250 ml low-fat milk or rice milk, one banana, a handful of strawberries and another of almonds, a teaspoon of LSA powder, and rolled oats. Blend until smooth.

3. You’re pumping iron

Weight-training is a great way to build up your muscle mass, but it does your weight few favours. “When you perform a single move with a weight, such as a bicep curl, you’re isolating that muscle while the rest of your body remains static. This means that your body is actually in ‘sleep’ mode – so you’ll not only see very little toning occur, but your body won’t be burning fat either,” says Tracy Anderson, personal trainer to Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow ( Tracy suggests ditching the weights and participating in exercises that involve the entire body, whether it’s doing the grapevine in your aerobics class, skipping or boxing, as long as your entire body is moving. Aim to exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, five times a week, and increase your exercise time by 10 minutes each week until you’re working out for an hour. Don’t have time? Fit exercise in when and where you can. In a Preventive Medicine study, researchers found that multiple workout sessions as short as six minutes could help sedentary adults reach fitness goals similar to those achieved by working out for 30 minutes at a time.

4. You’re not eating carbs

If you’ve been denying yourself potatoes, then good news! Carbohydrates are a necessary part of a balanced eating plan. “Potatoes are only fattening if you cook them in a fatty way,” says nutritionist Natalie Savona ( “A baked potato is a great lunch option - just ditch the butter and add a natural yoghurt topping instead. Plus, one fresh potato will give you nearly half the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C, and help to improve mood by boosting production of the brain chemical serotonin.” Eat fruit, vegetables, and whole grains every day. Ideally, get your grains intact from whole wheat bread, brown rice, whole grain pasta, quinoa, oats, and bulghur. Aim to fill half of your plate with fresh vegetables, a quarter with protein and the rest with carbs such as potatoes, rice or pasta.

5. You sit still

Scientists working in Germany and the US have found a "fidget" code in human DNA and if you have it you are less likely to be overweight. Lead researcher Professor Mathias Treier says people who fidget are getting valuable daily exercise even without knowing it. But what if you’re not a natural fidgeter? Take up knitting! It burns as many kilojoules in an hour as a 3 kilometre walk. And moving as often as possible can literally save your life. A University of Sydney study has found that adults who sat 11 or more hours per day had a 40 percent increased risk of dying in the next three years compared with those who sat for fewer than four hours a day.

Source : Nature and Health



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