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Ditch the gym

ANN/THE STAR – Who wouldn’t aspire to achieve a slim and toned physique effortlessly? While physical activity and exercise offer numerous physical, emotional, and mental benefits, they may not guarantee easy weight loss.

For some, the idea of working out is unappealing, lacking the endorphin rush that motivates others.

Reluctant exercisers often rely on external incentives like enhancing their overall well-being, achieving a better appearance, or following their doctor’s advice to maintain vitality.

Our ancestors, driven by necessity, remained active as they hunted for sustenance. Once sated, they rested to conserve energy, only to resume their pursuits when food became scarce.

Resting is a natural human tendency, so don’t beat yourself up if that’s what you like to do.

With advances in technology and labour-saving devices, the world is now accessible with our fingers, and even minimal movement seems to have taken a backseat. That’s why we are blossoming sideways. Is that bad? It depends on how much weight you’re putting on.

One 2021 study published in the Annals of Epidemiology found that people who started adulthood with a body mass index (BMI) in the normal range, and became overweight – but never obese – in later life, tend to live the longest.

Adults in this category lived longer than even those whose BMI stayed in the normal range throughout their life.

However, those who started adulthood as obese and continued to add weight had the highest death rate.

So, a bit of extra weight is okay as long as you don’t balloon out of control. Any healthy person can lose weight without exercising – you just need a lifestyle tweak and some discipline. Prioritise what you enjoy doing instead of struggling to achieve unrealistic goals. – Revathi Murugappan

PHOTO: FREEPIK
PHOTO: FREEPIK
PHOTO: FREEPIK

Tips to help you trim down

  1. HYDRATE WITH WATER

Make it a point to drink two glasses of water after waking up to help “activate” your internal organs. The water will help to remove any toxins before your first meal of the day.

Water helps regulate body temperature, lower blood pressure, carry nutrients and oxygen to various cells, and maintain optimal kidney function. Replacing sugary drinks with water can help reduce your daily caloric intake.

2. EAT SLOWLY AND MINDFULLY

Instead of munching down solid food, especially poultry and meat, chew thoroughly. Not only does this increase the amount of nutrients absorbed by the body, it’s also easier on the digestive process. Additionally, longer chewing also helps develop a stronger jaw and chin, suppress hunger and gets you full faster, aiding in your weight loss journey.

3. LOAD UP ON FIBRE AND PROTEIN

You don’t have to eliminate all carbohydrates, just minimise overly-processed ones. This is because such foods are rapidly digested and converted into blood sugar. Consume more protein and fibre. Protein takes longer to digest and decreases the level of the hunger-regulating hormone ghrelin, making you feel fuller for a longer period. Fibre expands in your gut like a sponge, so it’s a natural appetite suppressant. It also moves faster in your intestines, which signals to the brain that you are full.

4. SCALE BACK ON ADDED SUGAR

Sugar itself doesn’t make the weighing scale jump up, but it tends to be in foods that have too many calories.

The sweet stuff is also hidden in all sorts of foods from salad dressing to sauces to canned fruits, so don’t be deceived that you’re eating a healthy salad when you’ve doused the greens with salad dressing.

5. MANAGE STRESS LEVELS

When the body is under pressure, it releases the hormone cortisol, which is linked to increased appetite and fat storage. Excess cortisol levels can increase appetite and cravings for energy-dense, comfort foods.

High cortisol levels over time have also been linked to abdominal fat gain.

Take time daily to do something to lower the stress levels: laugh, read a good book, play with a pet or just take deep breaths.

6. GET PROPER SLEEP

Getting enough rest can also benefit your weight-loss efforts. There is mounting evidence that people who get too little sleep have a higher risk of weight gain and obesity than people who get seven to eight hours of sleep a night.

Sleep deprivation changes your endocrine function and metabolism by affecting your production of the hunger-regulating hormones ghrelin and leptin. This can make you feel hungrier than usual, increasing the likelihood of craving for unhealthy snacks. Practise good sleep hygiene by sleeping at the same time every day, switching off all gadgets before bedtime and ensuring the room temperature is comfortable.

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