Weight management strategies
Losing weight can often be a daunting thing to think about, and you may find it difficult to begin the process, especially if you are unaware of the best strategies to follow. As well as eating healthily and exercising regularly, there are a number of other weight management methods which are less spoken about, including:
- Increasing your nut consumption
- Eating foods high in flavonoids
- Considering what time you're eating.
Read on to find out a bit more about how these strategies can promote weight loss, and get some healthy diet tips.
1. Increase your nut consumption
Recent research indicates that an increased consumption of nuts could be associated with less long-term weight gain and obesity.1
Why are nuts helpful in managing weight?
Researchers from Harvard University suggested that nuts were helpful in managing weight because of their high fibre content.
There are two kinds of fibre, soluble and insoluble, but it is soluble fibre that is found in nuts. This type of fibre helps to absorb water, meaning it softens stool in the gut. This is beneficial as, when the stoll is soft, excess cholesterol, hormones and other substances can bind to it as it passes through the intestine.
Soluble fibre may also help weight management as it can make you feel fuller for longer, meaning you'll be less likely snack on unhealthy foods. It also prevents big spikes in blood sugar which can be problematic as these often lead to lethargy and hunger. From this we can see further how fibre can influence weight.
Soluble fibre can also be of benefit to people with irregular bowel movements. If digestion is functioning efficiently, then this may aid weight management further.
How to get more nuts in your diet
So, researchers suggest switching some unhealthy foods (a slice of cake, for example, or a biscuit) for a portion of nuts. In this study, researchers looked at all varieties of nuts, including nut butters, and found them all to aid weight management. Therefore, although you might not like all types of nuts, simply avoid those you don't like in favour of others and you could still reap the benefits.
Our Homemade Muesli with Almond Milk contains almonds and hazelnuts, though you can substitute these for another variety of nut if you prefer. This makes a satisfying and filling breakfast and, with four simple steps, it is super easy to make as well.
2. Eat foods high in flavonoids
There is evidence to suggest that a diet high in flavonoids could lead to less weight gain when it is maintained long term.2
Why are foods high in flavonoids helpful in managing weight?
Flavonoids are a group of natural compounds found in fruit and vegetables including apples, pears and berries, though they are also present in the likes of green tea. As these food and drinks are generally low in fat and calories, as well as being packed with essential nutrients, it is easy to see why including them in your diet can help manage weight.
How to pack more flavonoids into your diet
Generally speaking, if you are eating a variety of fruit and vegetables at least 5 times a day, your diet should be high in flavonoids. If you struggle to get enough fruit and veg into your diet, however, you could take a look at some of my helpful tips on how to eat more.
Juice provides another means of topping up your flavonoid intake. Here, I'd recommend Biotta's Pomegranate Juice because, not only does it have a pleasant, sweet taste, it is also completely natural.
3. Consider when you're eating
The time at which we eat our main meal of the day may also influence our ability to shed weight. Studies show that eating your main meal at breakfast time, and then eating fewer calories come dinner, can lead to more weight loss than eating a light breakfast followed by a large meal at night.3
This may be linked to 'chrono-nutrition' whereby the timing of your meals matches the circadian rhythm which regulates the sleep-wake cycle.
Why do meal times matter when it comes to managing weight?
The research suggests that chrono-nutrition could curb appetite later in the evening and improve metabolism. In addition, eating food later in the evening is associated with higher body fat because it can upset the circadian rhythm.4
The circadian rhythm can vary from individual to individual depending on factors like age – young people tend to have a later circadian clock than those a little bit older. You can generally figure out your rhythm by considering the time at which you start to feel tired.
As we tend to burn fewer calories at night when sleeping or relaxing, this could explain further why eating a main meal in the evening is not so ideal for anyone attempting to lose weight.
How to plan meal times
Most of the time, when we eat will depend on what else we are doing that day and, as a result, it isn't always easy to plan your meals. However, I would generally say that, before you do your weekly shop, sit down and plan what you are going to eat that week and when.
Not only does this save time and money as you won't be aimlessly scanning the supermarket shelves or picking up things you don't need, it also means you'll have all your meals organised for the week ahead.
Originally written 2 October 2019 (updated 18 December 2019)