Health

Techniques to boost your weight loss efforts

Recent studies reveal secrets to help you lose weight

VISUALISE

If you're trying to lose weight, imagine what your desired outcome looks like and how you're going to achieve it.

Mentally visualise all the things you'll be able to do when you get to your goal, and try to engage all five senses so you have a more tangible idea of what that's going to look, feel, smell, taste and sound like.

This may sound odd, but it helps you stick to your goals when challenges arise.

In a study by the University of Plymouth in the UK, this technique, known as functional imagery training, has been proven to help overweight participants lose five times more weight than those who underwent motivational interviewing, where participants talk out their goals with a counsellor.

SEE IT AS A CHALLENGE

Whether you'll have to ditch your favourite foods or stop being lazy, losing weight is hard, so call it like it is.

According to research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, realising that dropping the kilos is difficult will help strengthen your resolve so you're more likely to make the lifestyle changes needed.

It'll also improve your vigilance so you can assess what needs to be changed. Sometimes a healthy dose of reality may give you the push you need.

EAT A HIGH-ENERGY BREAKFAST

Three meals a day is better for weight loss than six smaller meals throughout the day, according to an Israeli study - the trick is to have a bigger breakfast, regular lunch and smaller dinner.

Even though those who ate three meals a day consumed the same amount of calories as the participants who ate six meals a day, those who followed the three-meal plan had less hunger cravings, and also lost weight (5kg) while their counterparts put it on (1.4kg).

According to lead author Daniela Jakubowicz, that's because "our body metabolism changes throughout the day".

She said; "A slice of bread consumed at breakfast leads to a lower glucose response and is less fattening than an identical slice of bread consumed in the evening."

TRY FASTING

In the first study to look at the 16:8 diet, where participants eat for eight hours a day and fast for the other 16 hours, the 23 obese volunteers were found to have consumed fewer calories, lost weight and improved their blood pressure.

For 12 weeks, participants ate whatever they wanted from 10am to 6pm and only have water or zero-calorie drinks the rest of the time.

As it's easier to maintain, fewer participants dropped out, plus the idea of being able to feast before fasting all night may appeal to those who may struggle with calorie counting or cutting certain foods.

TEAM UP

Losing weight can be hard without support and encouragement from a partner.

According to researcher and interpersonal communication expert René Dailey, couples who were keen to support each other were more receptive to their partner's approaches to losing weight, whether it was through encouragement, pushing each other to make better choices, or even guilt-tripping.

Because they were on the same page, these efforts were viewed in a positive light and were more likely to result in stronger relationships and weight loss strategies that work best for each couple.

Techniques to boost your weight loss efforts

This article first appeared in Shape (www.shape.com.sg)

MEDICAL & HEALTH