WITH Christmas just around the corner, most people have resigned themselves to the fact they’re bound to pile on the pounds.
However, winter doesn’t have to be synonymous with weight gain.
With science on our side, there are some little things you can do to make to turn your body into an effective fat burning machine while you sleep.
In particular, small lifestyle changes like standing up more or drinking more water can make a significant difference to how many calories you burn each day.
Here, we take you through several simple steps to maximise weight loss – with proven research by scientists.
1. Stand up more
A recent study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology found that standing and sitting more frequently can lead to relatively fast, and low effort weight loss.
In particular, they found that standing versus sitting for six hours a day would help a ten stone person burn an extra 54 calories a day.
Add it up over the course of a year, and that’s equal to nearly half a stone, the researchers say.
Plus, previous studies have shown that standing burns about nine additional calories per hour compared to sitting.
That said, researchers cautioned that you shouldn’t rely on standing alone to shed pounds: “Whether such a small difference in [energy expenditure] will truly translate into long-term weight loss is yet to be proved.”
2. Reduce stress
Feeling stressed over a long period of time can increase the hormone cortisol, which directly influences fluid retention and water weight.
Scientists say it also increase a hormone, known as the antidiuretic or ADH, which sends signals to your kidneys telling them how much water to pump back into your body.
Managing your stress levels will help you maintain a normal level of both ADH and cortisol – vital for long-term health and disease risk.
3. HIIT workouts
A recent study revealed that short spurts of intense exercise are better for weight loss and burns more fat than workouts that takes double the time
Researchers found that 23 minutes of high intensity interval training was more effective than 41 minutes of a conventional workout.
It led to 29 per cent more weight loss than traditional gym sessions.
NHS tips for weight loss success
The NHS has shared six actions that will start you on your journey towards a healthy weight:
- Download the NHS weight loss plan.
- Check if you’re a healthy weight with our BMI healthy weight calculator. If you need to lose a few pounds, you’ll be given a daily personal calorie target.
- Take the next snack you plan to have and swap it for something healthier. Aim to do the same every day: you’ve adopted your first weight loss habit.
- Drinks, including alcohol, contain calories too, so try to cut down on sugary drinks.
- Find a way to fit just 1 extra walk into your day. Check out our walking tips.
- Try to have breakfast every morning. Get ideas in healthy breakfasts (for people who hate breakfast).
Steven Ward, CEO of fitness industry body UK active, said: “These figures show the positive impacts of interval training on reducing weight and, with Britain battling a grave obesity crisis, this research should be welcomed.”
Typically, HIIT involves 30 seconds of intense effort, such as sprinting, cycling or doing burpees, followed by short recovery periods.
4. Drink more water
It may seem a bit contradictory, but one of the best ways to lose water weight is to actually drink more water.
That’s because if you’re constantly dehydrated, your body tends to retain more water in an attempt to prevent its water levels getting too low.
Water also boosts your metabolism, cleanses your body of waste and acts as an appetite suppressant, experts say.
Guidelines suggest about two litres per day, but it can vary from person to person, so simply drink when you’re thirsty and stop when you feel well hydrated.
You can usually use your urine colour as an indicator of hydration – if it’s light yellow or fairly clear then you’re well hydrated.
When it’s dark yellow or amber then you need to be drinking more water.
5. Plan your meals
“Fail to prepare and you prepare to fail” – and that’s totally true with dieting.
Spend one day a week working out what you’ll eat for the other days and make batches of grub, so you’re not having to bother with cooking when you come back from work.
Prep your breakfast and lunch the night before to take to work and you’ll save a tonne of cash – and inches around your waist – on shop/cafe bought food.
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Sports nutritionist Scott Baptie also recommends dieters (and actually, anyone interested in healthy eating), should “prepare for an alien invasion”, by stocking up on healthy food that you can access at all times.
“When faced with a dietary disaster, it can be all too common for people to throw in the towel and either order a greasy, calorie-loaded takeaway or just create a random concoction of bits they find in the cupboard like cheese and crackers with a side of toast, crisps and half an Easter egg,” he wrote in his book, 101 Ways to Lose Weight and Never Find It Again.
“However, if you’ve got an emergency food stash, then you can still cook up a tasty and healthy plate of scoff to tide you over.”