Healthspan October 06, 2017

A healthy balanced diet and exercise go hand-in-hand when it comes to weight loss and your chances of a success are greatly improved if you can balance these two elements.  

Your weight is controlled by the energy (calories) that you take in through food and drink and the energy that you expend, through activity and exercise. This is what nutritionists called the ‘energy balance equation’ and whatever your weight loss goals you need to keep this equation in mind.

Balancing your energy intake with energy expenditure is the not just the most effective way to manage your weight it is also the healthiest. Overly strict diets can be hard to stick with long-term and increase the risk of nutritional deficiencies, over exercising increases the risk of problems with joints and injury, which is another reason why a combination of diet and exercise is way forward is you want to lose weight.

Why you need to personalise your diet goals

One-size-fits-all rarely works when it comes to clothing and it doesn’t work with dieting either. We are all different people and have different goals, so personalising your diet goals improves your chances of success. Knowing how many calories you consume each day and how many you use put you in control of the energy balance equation.

Wearing a fitness tracker to monitor your activity will give you detailed information about how many calories you burn each day and when this information is combined with that from a food tracking app like the Healthspan app you can tailor you weight loss program to your personal needs. This will make your diet flexible and easier to stick with long term, which will help you not just lose the weight your need but more importantly, to keep the weight off. Using a fitness app gives you a detailed breakdown of the macronutrients, like protein, fat and carbohydrate, that you are eating which means that you can check your diet is healthy and well-balanced diet which is important for your long-term health.

Why exercise is a key factor in weight loss

As well as burning calories; exercise, especially resistance exercise like weights, will help to build muscle and tone your body. Your metabolic rate, which is the rate at which your body burns calories, is related to your muscle mass and the more muscle you have the more calories your body burns.

As you progress with your diet and exercise regimen you will start to convert body fat into muscle, this means that when you step on the scale it may not change that much. For this reason it’s useful to invest in a smart scale, which will measure your percentage body fat and muscle mass as well as your weight – this way you get a much clear picture of what’s happening inside your body.

5 tips for successful weight loss

  1. Set realistic goals - experts recommend you should aim to lose between 0.5-1 kg/week – you might find you lose more in the first couple of weeks but after that aim for a more modest weigh loss. Eating around 500 calories/day less than you use eat day should be sufficient to give a slow steady weight loss.
  2. Avoid crash and fad diets - they don’t work and increase the risk of nutritional deficiencies which could increase the risk of health problems later in life.
  3. Eat regularly – although it may be tempting to skip meals as a well of cutting back on calories if you allow yourself to get over hungry you are more likely to over eat and make poor food choices.
  4. Plan for success – make sure you have plenty of healthy food and snacks at hand and spring clean your kitchen to get rid of any unhealthy foods that are likely to tempt you. Invest a little time at the weekend in planning a menu for the week ahead so when you arrive home in the evening tired and hungry you know exactly what you are going to eat.
  5. Drink plenty of water – it’s easy to confuse thirst and hunger so make sure you drink plenty of water to keep hunger pangs at bay.

Nothing beats a healthy, balanced diet to provide all the nutrients we need. But when this isn’t possible supplements can help. This article isn’t intended to replace medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying supplements or herbal medicines.

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