THERE is no doubt that regular exercise is important for heart health and keeps your metabolism pumping, but there are also many of us for whom exercise is way down the list of life priorities.
So if your preference would be to drop a few kilos with as little physical effort as possible, here is the key to weight loss when you have no interest or plans to add exercise into the equation.
1. FOCUS ON MACROS
We often hear about calorie control when it comes to weight loss but less frequently are macros mentioned. The term macros refers to the relative proportions of carbs, fats and proteins that combine to give our overall calorie intake. A diet that is calorie controlled but remains relatively high in carbohydrate relative to the amount of exercise being done will often fail to result in weight loss on the scales. On the other hand, diets with fewer carbohydrates, (just 30-45 per cent of total calories) will support sustainable fat loss. To determine the overall proportion of carbohydrates in your diet, download a calorie monitoring app, such as MyFitnessPal, which will be able to give you that breakdown.
2. GET STRICT WITH EATING TIMES
The later you consume your calories in the day, the less likely you will be to burn body fat. For this reason, shifting your intake forward so you have breakfast and lunch early and your final meal by 6 or 7pm will give you a good 12-14 hours overnight without food which will naturally support weight loss. Or you can take it a step further and limit your eating times to just eight hours of the day, or eating only between 12-8pm each day. This will see the benefits of fasting kick, which has also been shown to support a 1-2kg weight loss per month.
3. DRINK MORE WATER
Many of us are dehydrated on a daily basis, and a lack of fluid is associated with a reduction in cellular efficiency, constipation, fatigue and low energy levels. When we do not drink enough water we also tend to eat more, and we do not respond to stress as efficiently as we do when we are hydrated. The other downside of not drinking enough fluid is that we also tend to be over-relying on coffee, tea and sweet beverages which often also contain extra calories. The moral of the story? Drink at least 2 litres of water each day to support weight control.
4. SLEEP MORE
There are two main reasons that sleeping more supports weight loss. Firstly, the more we sleep the less time there is to eat, especially when we go to bed early and avoid the late night munchies and snacks altogether. The other key reason is that getting adequate sleep also supports optimal hormonal control. When we do not get enough sleep, the stress hormones in our body can be elevated which, in turn, acts to prevent fat being metabolised. The average person will need a minimum of six hoursâ€™ sleep each night to avoid this, but more likely seven to nine hours as an optimal amount of shut-eye to aim for each night.
5. FOCUS ON INCIDENTAL
While you will not necessarily need to smash it at the gym to drop a few kilos, if you choose to sit down for most of your day it will be very difficult to actually lose weight. On the other hand if you simply make a concerted effort to move more and get at least 10000 steps in each day, with the right macro balance and eating times, weight loss will be supported. This means that you need to get out at lunchtime, walk as part of your commute or invest in a standing desk in order to avoid a day in which you spend 14-16 hours sitting down.