12 Top Tips for Weight Loss
Want some tips for weight loss? The NHS (National Health Service in the UK) gives its 12 top tips for weight loss. If you search weight loss tips this is probably one of the first results so we thought it crucial to fully dive in and see if these tips are genuine. Each point came with its own little written summary and the language used is really important. Down below you can listen to the team and I explore these tips fully. For a written summary continue!
Top Tip 1: Do not skip breakfast
Skipping breakfast will not help you lose weight. You could miss out on essential nutrients and you may end up snacking more throughout the day because you feel hungry.
Now, straight away comment has got to be made about the concrete way that it's written. "will not help you lose weight". Now, this isn't technically true as they've made no comment on the reality of weight loss that is being in a calorie deficit is crucial and eating breakfast does not magically put you into one. Intermittent fasting is a thing and is successful for some and that is essentially missing breakfast.
We did establish however that this aimed at the general population and by skipping breakfast you may be more likely to snack from morning to lunchtime on foods that are perhaps not as wholesome/nutritious. This, however, is irrelevant for weight loss as being in that calorie deficit is crucial. In reality, if you skipped breakfast and didn't snack you are more likely to be in a deficit.
We do however have some data on the thermogenesis effect of eating breakfast.
Background: The question of whether there is daytime time variation in diet-induced thermogenesis (DIT) has not been clearly answered. Moreover, it is unclear whether a potential diurnal variation in DIT is preserved during hypocaloric nutrition. Objective: We hypothesized that DIT varies depending on the time of day and explored whether this physiological regulation is preserved after low-calorie compared with high-calorie intake. Design: Under blinded conditions, 16 normal-weight men twice underwent a 3-day in-laboratory, randomized, crossover study. Volunteers consumed a predetermined low-calorie breakfast (11% of individual daily kilocalorie requirement) and high-calorie dinner (69%) in one condition and vice versa in the other. DIT was measured by indirect calorimetry, parameters of glucose metabolism were determined, and hunger and appetite for sweets were rated on a scale. Results: Identical calorie consumption led to a 2.5-times higher DIT increase in the morning than in the evening after high-calorie and low-calorie meals (P < .001). The food-induced increase of blood glucose and insulin concentrations was diminished after breakfast compared with dinner (P < .001). Low-calorie breakfast increased feelings of hunger (P < .001), specifically appetite for sweets (P = .007), in the course of the day. Conclusions: DIT is clearly higher in the morning than in the evening, irrespective of the consumed calorie amount; that is, this physiological rhythmicity is preserved during hypocaloric nutrition. Extensive breakfasting should therefore be preferred over large dinner meals to prevent obesity and high blood glucose peaks even under conditions of a hypocaloric diet.
Richter J, Herzog N, Janka S, Baumann T, Kistenmacher A, Oltmanns KM. Twice as High Diet-Induced Thermogenesis After Breakfast vs Dinner On High-Calorie as Well as Low-Calorie Meals. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2020 Mar 1;105(3):dgz311. doi: 10.1210/clinem/dgz311. PMID: 32073608.
Although promising we can't look at this data and categorically say oh yes breakfast is a must. This increase could be the result of multiple factors. As Eric Helms said after reviewing this study they could perhaps have heightened energy levels due to food consumption which increased activity, therefore, burning more.
"Miss out on essential nutrients"
We can see where they are coming from here as if you look at the bog-standard breakfast for most it's some form of cereal and these are fortified with loads of vitamins and minerals. Or even fruit and toast etc. This could be the only time that you actually get in some essential vits and minerals. Lunch could be a basic sandwich and dinner could be something like sausage and mash. You, of course, don't need breakfast for these vitamins and minerals so if you do need to skip it make sure your other meals are packed with fruit and vegetables or at least take a multivitamin worst-case scenario!
To summarise if you feel like you need to skip breakfast (Not hungry in the morning, no time, not convenient then don't fear! You can still lose weight! Just make sure your other meals are meeting your calorific goals and that you're getting enough macro and micronutrients for your goals/energy levels.
Top Tip 2: Eat Regular Meals
Eating at regular times during the day helps burn calories at a faster rate. It also reduces the temptation to snack on foods high in fat and sugar.
Let's tackle that first statement with some data straight away as ones again it's concrete.
Effects of meal frequency on weight loss and body composition: a meta-analysis
It has been hypothesized that eating small, frequent meals enhances fat loss and helps to achieve better weight maintenance. Several observational studies lend support to this hypothesis, with an inverse relationship noted between the frequency of eating and adiposity. The purpose of this narrative review is to present and discuss a meta-analysis with regression that evaluated experimental research on meal frequency with respect to changes in fat mass and lean mass. A total of 15 studies were identified that investigated meal frequency in accordance with the criteria outlined. Feeding frequency was positively associated with reductions in fat mass and body fat percentage as well as an increase in fat-free mass. However, sensitivity analysis of the data showed that the positive findings were the product of a single study, casting doubt as to whether more frequent meals confer beneficial effects on body composition. In conclusion, although the initial results of this meta-analysis suggest a potential benefit of increased feeding frequencies for enhancing body composition, these findings need to be interpreted with circumspection.
Schoenfeld BJ, Aragon AA, Krieger JW. Effects of meal frequency on weight loss and body composition: a meta-analysis. Nutr Rev. 2015 Feb;73(2):69-82. doi: 10.1093/nutrit/nuu017. PMID: 26024494.
This data comes from some big hitters in the industry and ones we really respect. It's important to note that you can find data so support regular meals helping with weight loss however this meta-analysis identified that it all stems from only one study and that you should really do what's best for you as an individual. They concluded with
Moreover, the small difference in magnitude of effect between frequencies suggests that any potential benefits, if they exist at all, have limited practical significance. Given that adherence is of primary concern with respect to nutritional prescription, the number of daily meals consumed should come down to personal choice if one’s goal is to improve body composition.
If we take what they said as in regular being eating at the same times every day then perhaps we have emerging evidence supporting this. This is from the same meta-analysis.
There is emerging evidence that an irregular eating pattern can have negative metabolic effects, at least in the absence of formal exercise.71,72 This gives credence to the hypothesis that it may be beneficial to stay consistent with a given meal frequency throughout the week.
We are creatures of habit at the end of the day and if adjust our lifestyle to one of good health and it becomes part of routine then by changing things up often may make adherence harder.
Top Tip 3: Eat plenty of fruit and veg
Fruit and veg are low in calories and fat, and high in fibre – 3 essential ingredients for successful weight loss. They also contain plenty of vitamins and minerals.
This one is a given in terms of overall health. Get your fruit and veg in! In regards to vegetables don't be scared of frozen. Super cheap and easy to prepare. Buy loads of it and reap the benefits.
In terms of weight loss, they are normally packed full of fibre which can help one feel fuller for longer. They can be super low in calories but extremely voluminous so to fill the plate out making you think it's a lot of food when in fact its impacts on your caloric goals are minimal. All of this can aid in weight loss. So a super tip!
Top Tip 4: Get more active
Being active is key to losing weight and keeping it off. As well as providing lots of health benefits, exercise can help burn off the excess calories you cannot lose through diet alone.
Find an activity you enjoy and are able to fit into your routine.
Another great tip. Perhaps you don't want to cut out all the foods you love or don't want to reduce your portion. To lose weight you need to be in a calorie deficit so if you want to eat these foods you love time to get more active! By burning more calories with exercise the less you have to cut down. The amount I eat if I were to stop training I'd blow up like a balloon! (3500 a day currently!) Many factors may prevent you from taking part in certain exercise however exercise does not always mean going to the gym or an outdoor Bootcamp!
Merely making certain lifestyle changes can aid in increasing activity levels. One example could be getting off the tube/bus a stop early and walking the rest of the way. Perhaps walking to the supermarket instead of driving? Making small changes to get more active can go a long way. Getting active does not have to result in a hot sweaty mess every time!
If you look at the links in the quotation above there is some good advice from the NHS in terms of getting started. As trained fitness professionals we can help also. One option would be to use our Primal Life package which is a fitness package most can get involved in and is all scalable to your ability. Being a part of our community keeps you surrounded by like-minded individuals and a constant support network to aid in your goals. trainprimal.co
Top Tip 5: Drink plenty of water
People sometimes confuse thirst with hunger. You can end up consuming extra calories when a glass of water is really what you need.
Agree with this one massively. On so many occasions is it the case that when one feels hungry they are simply requiring a drink. So instead of reaching for that snack drink some water/fluids and see if that helps!
If you are one for being active then you'll be aware that it's detrimental to performance output when you're dehydrated so to make sure you can perform to a higher intensity drink plenty of water! Performing to a higher intensity could lead to a higher calorie burn which will aid in weight loss!
Top Tip 6: Eat high fibre foods
Foods containing lots of fibre can help keep you feeling full, which is perfect for losing weight. Fibre is only found in food from plants, such as fruit and veg, oats, wholegrain bread, brown rice and pasta, and beans, peas and lentils.
Not only will fibrous foods help you feel more full for longer (mitigating the want to snack) but they come with some other really important health benefits. Here's some summarised data on its ability to help with some well-known diseases.
We analyzed the original data from 10 prospective cohort studies from the United States and Europe to estimate the association between dietary fiber intake and the risk of coronary heart disease.
Consumption of dietary fiber from cereals and fruits is inversely associated with risk of coronary heart disease.
Pereira MA, O'Reilly E, Augustsson K, et al. Dietary Fiber and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease: A Pooled Analysis of Cohort Studies. Arch Intern Med. 2004;164(4):370–376. doi:10.1001/archinte.164.4.370
This large, prospective study within a population-based screening trial suggests that individuals consuming the highest intakes of dietary fiber have reduced risks of incident colorectal adenoma and distal colon cancer and that this effect of dietary fiber, particularly from cereals and fruit, may begin early in colorectal carcinogenesis. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT01696981.
Kunzmann AT, Coleman HG, Huang WY, Kitahara CM, Cantwell MM, Berndt SI. Dietary fiber intake and risk of colorectal cancer and incident and recurrent adenoma in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Oct;102(4):881-90. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.115.113282. Epub 2015 Aug 12. PMID: 26269366; PMCID: PMC4588743.
The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to evaluate the association between dietary fibre intake and rectal cancer (RC) risk. In January 2019, a structured computer search on PubMed/Medline, Excerpta Medica dataBASE (EMBASE) and Scopus was performed for studies reporting the results of primary research evaluating dietary fibre intake in women and men as well as the risk of developing RC. Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) recommendations were followed. Highest vs. lowest fibre concentrations was compared. The Egger test was used to estimate publication bias. Heterogeneity between studies was evaluated with I2 statistics. The search strategy identified 912 papers, 22 of which were included in our meta-analysis. Having evaluated a total of 2,876,136 subjects, the results suggest a protective effect of dietary fibre intake on RC prevention. The effect Size (ES) was [0.77 (95% CI = 0.66-0.89), p-value = 0.001)]. Moderate statistical heterogeneity (Chi2 = 51.36, df = 21, I2 = 59.11%, p-value = 0.000) was found. However, no publication bias was found, as confirmed by Egger's linear regression test (Intercept -0.21, t = -0.24, p = 0.816). The findings suggest that dietary fibre intake could be protective against RC, with a clinically relevant reduction of RC risk. Identifying preventive measures to avoid the development of RC, especially by following a healthy lifestyle including healthy diet, is pivotal.
Gianfredi V, Nucci D, Salvatori T, Dallagiacoma G, Fatigoni C, Moretti M, Realdon S. Rectal Cancer: 20% Risk Reduction Thanks to Dietary Fibre Intake. Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Nutrients. 2019 Jul 12;11(7):1579. doi: 10.3390/nu11071579. PMID: 31336939; PMCID: PMC6683071.
We could go on but I think you get the point! Get onboard some wholesome nutritious fibre!
Top Tip 7: Read food labels
Knowing how to read food labels can help you choose healthier options. Use the calorie information to work out how a particular food fits into your daily calorie allowance on the weight loss plan.
We liked this one. We did identify that for some ie those with eating disorders this common traffic light system can be triggering but we have to look at the bigger picture and think of the majority of people this is for. Being mindful and aware of what you're putting into your body is crucial and by reading labels you are doing just that. From a weight loss point of view, we established certain nutrients that can make you feel more full and we established that a calorie deficit is needed. By reading labels and identifying foods with low-calorie high fibre then we are increasing the chances of being able to adhere to our caloric goals.
We are aware that these labels are not a one size fits all and certain individuals may require a different % of macronutrients for their goals etc but for general population like some of you reading it can be a great help in making you mindful of your choices. Moderation is key!
Top Tip 8: Use a smaller plate
Using smaller plates can help you eat smaller portions. By using smaller plates and bowls, you may be able to gradually get used to eating smaller portions without going hungry. It takes about 20 minutes for the stomach to tell the brain it's full, so eat slowly and stop eating before you feel full.
This may sound strange for some but if you are one who isn't a fan of weighing food then you'll be unaware of actual portion sizes. A great example we used in the podcast was cereal. If you actually look at a weighed out portion (45gish) it's a pretty measly portion but that portion with milk can be roughly 250-300 calories! Now if you just fill the bowl-like many do you could be consuming an outrageous amount of calories unintentionally which could be holding you back on your weight loss goals! By reducing the size of the bowl/plate you are actually mitigating this issue. My advice would be to weigh out your food into portions for a little while so you become mindful of portion sizes.
Top Tip 9: Do not ban foods
Do not ban any foods from your weight loss plan, especially the ones you like. Banning foods will only make you crave them more. There's no reason you cannot enjoy the occasional treat as long as you stay within your daily calorie allowance.
Imagine that big red button. You keep saying not I will not eat XYZ then eventually you may give in and the results could be catastrophic. Think of your calorie goals as weekly. Say one day you really fancy a Krispy Kreme. Buy them eat them but just be mindful of the calorie intake. Maybe later in the week reduce a couple of things to make up for the higher intake of calories earlier in the week.
Moderation is key. Yes don't ban these foods but obviously don't overindulge if weight loss is the goal.
Top Tip 10: Do not stock junk food
To avoid temptation, do not stock junk food – such as chocolate, biscuits, crisps and sweet fizzy drinks – at home. Instead, opt for healthy snacks, such as fruit, unsalted rice cakes, oat cakes, unsalted or unsweetened popcorn, and fruit juice.
This may seem contradictory when looking at the previous tip but I can get on board with this. If I buy loads of "junk food" I'm smashing it. It's not lasting long. If I am craving something like chocolate then next time I'm out I'll buy a bar and eat it. So I'm not banning it. What I won't do is buy a massive multipack as even when not craving I'll probably just eat it as "It's there". Instead, stock up with less calorie-dense foods but that offer that high satiating effect. Think high fibre, high protein.
Top Tip 11: Cut down on alcohol
A standard glass of wine can contain as many calories as a piece of chocolate. Over time, drinking too much can easily contribute to weight gain.
This goes for all liquid calories really. Most just don't tend to count it when in fact it could be the sole reason for unwanted weight gain. If we look at pints of beer for example we are looking at around 200 calories per pint. For wine, a large glass can be 225 and for a double gin and tonic, it's 149. If you're having 1 or 2 in an evening then it's not the end of the world if you make sure to adjust accordingly to ensure calorie deficit however if you frequent "night outs" then you could be consuming upwards of 5 pints which equates to 1000 extra calories. Be mindful of the calorie content of alcohol! Moderation is key.
Top Tip 12: Plan your meals
Try to plan your breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for the week, making sure you stick to your calorie allowance. You may find it helpful to make a weekly shopping list.
You don't have to be rigid with it however it can help dramatically in hitting your goals. A recommendation I would give is to prepare your meals so that they meat UNDER your calorie goal so that you have some flex for those moments where you fancy a treat or have a craving. If you need help with meal planning drop us a message and we will do the best we can to help. Fail to plan, plan to fail. Well, not that concrete as you don't need to plan your meals to lose weight but you get the idea.
Final Point. These points all offer some value but do not be put off by the number of them. There is no need to try and adhere to all 12 and think if you don't you will fail. Simply by doing a couple you'll be on your way. For weight loss and keeping it off your lifestyle changes need to be sustainable. If you can sustain these tips long term then that's a win in my eyes.