Find your ideal body weight and stay there - we show you how...
Your ideal body weight is a place where you feel comfortable, happy and healthy. It varies from person to person and is not dictated by a body fat percentage or dress size - so don’t get hung up on the number on the scales. Instead, your ideal body weight is determined by energy levels, fitness and general health. If your skin is glowing, your hair is glossy, your diet is balanced and your thighs are toned, who really cares if the scales read a little higher than you would prefer, you are perfectly healthy.
Comparing ourselves to others or an unrealistic ideal isn’t always a good idea. The woman who you've been striving to look like for months may actually have a higher and more unhealthy fat percentage than you, it’s just disguised by a smaller bone structure – a term coined the skinny fat’ by experts. So it’s better to think back to a time when you were at your happiest weight and aim for this ideal body weight. It’s far more achievable, you were once this weight, which means you can be again.
There are lots of simple ways you can reach your ideal body weight - a size which is healthy and easy to sustain. Simply increasing your fluid intake or extending the dog’s walk for an extra 10 minutes each day can make all the difference to your weight and energy levels without the need to incessantly count calories or spend every spare minute exercising.
We come in all different shapes and sizes and as long as we are active, eat a balanced diet and feel confident in ourselves we should embrace whatever it says on the scales. Here are 9 tips to help you reach your natural weight and be the best version of YOU today…
Often we think we are hungry when in fact we are just thirsty. When the body feels dehydrated it panics and slows everything down including our digestion which can make it difficult to shift the pounds. Try to drink two litres of water a day and if you fall short, top up your daily fluid intake by consuming more nutritious sources such as fruit and vegetables. Something as simple as drinking more water can give you instantly clearer skin and see your weight drop significantly without you having to step foot in a gym.
Balance your insulin
Whenever you eat something you send a surge of insulin into your bloodstream. If you snack or graze all day you are constantly flooding your system with this fat-storage hormone, and you will find it difficult to lose weight. Experts recommend eating three square meals a day with no snacks, try it and see if you notice the difference.
Stress releases the hormone cortisol, which alerts the body to danger (similarly to when you are dehydrated) and puts your body into fight or flight mode. This can cause inflammation and fat to store around your middle. If you suffer from stress and inflammation, you will naturally find it more difficult to lose weight. Begin to beat the problem and kick start your natural weight loss by introducing more anti-inflammatory foods into your diet. Green tea, turmeric and resveratrol, found in red grapes and red wine, are all good options.
Get a good night's sleep
Poor sleep can cause stress and also affect our appetite hormones leptin and ghrelin. After a restless night leptin, the hormone responsible for making us feel full, drops - whilst ghrelin, which stimulates our appetite, rises. This explains why we find ourselves reaching for chocolate or comfort food whenever we are overtired. If you struggle to sleep, consider removing all distracting electronic devices from your bedroom and wind down with an aromatherapy oil or Epsom salt bath - which supplies magnesium, an important mineral for relaxation and stress-reduction.
Find a way to exercise that suits you
If exercise isn't enjoyable for you, you are not going to do it. Find something that will mean you look forward to your work out, it could be a walk along the canal or a class at your local community centre. Any exercise is better than no exercise, so start off doing just 20 minutes if that's all you can manage and gradually build it up, you'll be surprised at how quickly a daily walk can shift the pounds. Timing is important, if you are not a morning person don't attempt to pull yourself out of bed at the crack of dawn to exercise, you will quickly give up and the same goes for early risers, scheduling gruelling workouts late at night will see your determination quickly wane. Find a time that suits you and your lifestyle to give yourself the best chance of sticking to it.
Enjoy every mouthful
Be mindful about the food you are eating and what it's going to do for you. If something is tasty, surely you want it to last longer. However, people often tend to munch their meals down as fast as possible - particularly if it's something they are going to feel guilty about later. Slow down and enjoy every mouthful, this will give your body a chance to register if it's full and stop any unnecessary overeating.
It's all too easy to compare ourselves to others but be realistic when setting yourself weight loss goals, rather than cutting an image out of a magazine or looking to a friend for body inspiration, think back to a time you were at your happiest weight and aim for this. It's far more achievable, you were once this weight, which means you can be again. Yes your circumstances might have changed a bit, you may now have children or a more demanding job and less time to exercise but these small changes and the belief you can get back to that size will get you on the road to weight loss far quicker than an unrealistic picture and gruelling gym schedule.
Don't eat foods that fight you
If you are eating portions that make you uncomfortably slump at the table 15 minutes after eating them, or foods that make you feel bloated, gassy, tired, moody or hungry within minutes, you are fighting your system and your body will never perform at its best. Try filling your plate with foods that give you energy and brain power such as fresh fish and vegetables. You will feel satisfied but lighter on your feet and finding your natural weight will be easier.
Know what natural weight means
Your natural weight is a place where you feel comfortable and healthy, and may not necessarily be your slimmest. Your natural weight is not determined by a body-fat percentage or a number so don't get hung up on what it reads on the scales. A weight where you feel confident, have good energy levels and can sustain it, without counting out every morsel or moving into the gym is your natural weight and you should embrace it.
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