A fresh way to lose.
What’s a runner who wants to slim down to do? More and more studies, including a large review published in US Endocrinology, show that the key to losing weight is keeping your kilojoule burn high through plenty of daily exercise and physical activity and eating quality kilojoules to properly fuel that activity. Whole, minimally processed foods supply the energy you need while also helping regulate your appetite and reduce hunger levels, which will spur weight loss.
Obesity researchers call this approach maintaining a “high energy flux”. That scientific term simply means that runners should aim to burn a high number of kilojoules while also eating a high number of quality kilojoules. Here’s how you can amp up your “energy flux” and kick your weight loss into high gear.
Whole, natural foods, such as vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains, are high in fibre. High-fibre foods take up volume in your stomach and help you feel full longer. Soluble fibre (plentiful in beans and fruit) slows stomach emptying and stabilises blood sugar, keeping hunger at bay. High-fibre foods also contain prebiotics – the special starches that serve as food for the probiotics, or healthy bacteria, in your GI tract.
Slim Down: Eat at least three cups of vegetables and three pieces of fruit daily, along with several servings of fiber-rich sweet potatoes, beans, and whole grains.
EAT MORE BUGS
There are thousands of bacteria strains (those probiotics mentioned above) in your intestines. A large study review published in 2013 found that certain strains influence obesity. Some bacteria affect the amount of energy extracted from food and send signals that impact metabolism. One particular strain, called bifidobacteria, aids in weight loss and lessens symptoms related to obesity, such as a rise in inflammatory markers. Cultured milk, like kefir, buttermilk, yogurt, and cheese, are rich in bifidobacteria.
Slim Down: Aim for at least one serving of cultured dairy (and other probiotic foods, such as miso, tempeh and even sauerkraut) every day.
BURN KILOJOULES EATING
Studies show that capsaicin, a compound in hot chili peppers, may help boost kilojoule burning, reduce appetite and aid in weight control. That makes fresh or dried peppers, pepper flakes, and chilli powder a smart addition to your diet. Green tea, which has special polyphenols called catechins, may also help boost kilojoule-burning and reduce hunger levels.
Slim Down: Swap your second cup of coffee for green tea. Add a sprinkle of red chilli flakes to soups and pasta sauce.
DOWNSIZE YOUR PLATE
A new study from Cornell University shows that 92 per cent of people clean their plates. That’s not so bad when you’re eating salads, but could mean kilojoule overload when it comes to ice cream, cookies, chips and other indulgent foods. Don’t deny yourself these treats – just trick yourself a bit by modifying what you see.
Slim Down: Serve chips in a small bowl (rather than out of the bag) and use smaller serving utensils and smaller plates, which will make downsized portions appear larger.
SWITCH UP WORKOUTS
Keep up your running mileage, but toss in new activities. Doing so will use less-trained muscles and create adaptive changes on a microscopic level, such as building new muscle proteins and cellular compartments that help burn more calories.
Slim Down: Inclement weather have you stuck inside? Try an indoor boot camp class or indoor swimming.
BOOST “EXTRA” ACTIVITY
Exercise isn’t the only way to burn kilojoules. Everyday tasks like walking, standing and cleaning can have a big impact on your total kilojoule burn and tip the weight-loss balance in your favour. Look around your work and home environments for ways you can make yourself more active.
Slim Down: Don’t sit for more than 30 minutes at a stretch – set a timer to remind you to get up. Watch TV while standing up and folding laundry. If your employer offers it, get a standing desk at work, and take the stairs.