“A sound mind in a sound body“, claims an ancient latin aphorism. Today it is particularly relevant as we are constantly exposed to scary statistics of obesity, forecasting doom and gloom. What some people seem to forget is that the body is our shelter, our temple, thus if you want serenity and peace of mind, get healthy, get fit, improve your body and see what happens. One of the indicators of a healthy body is your personal body mass index (BMI). The BMI is your weight in kilograms divided by the square of your height in metres. According to the World Health Organisation, a person whose BMI equals to or is more than 25 is considered overweight. Excess weight imposes a higher risk of serious health disorders. You cannot change your height but it is possible to lose weight.
You have probably heard that if you want to lose some weight and maintain it, you have to change your way of living. Well, yes, it is true. Sticking to rigid diets provides temporary results but in the long run it may do irreversible harm to your health. The best and healthiest way to cope with overweight is to reduce your caloric intake and increase physical activity. It should become your mantra, your way of living.
The human body is unique. If we get more energy (calories) than we need, our body stores it and eventually turns it into fat. In order to prevent your body from creating reserves of energy you have to lower the amount of caloric intake. This can be done by choosing fruits, vegetables, fish, lean meat and grains instead of pastries, fat meat and fried potatoes. Moreover, reducing portions of your meal is another great method. The best option would be to eat less but more often. You should eat 4-5 times per day at the same time each day. Additionally, avoid sweet beverages because most of them contain enormous amount of sugar.
Eating slowly may help you feel full with a smaller amount of food. The interaction between the brain and the digestive hormones is crucial. However, it takes some time for the hormonal system to get started. This is why we feel satiety after about 20 minutes of eating. So, if you eat very quickly, you are taking the risk of eating too much because your body does not have enough time to say ‘I am already satiated ’.
There are stretch receptors in the stomach. They send signals to the brain and satiety hormones are released. These receptors are activated when the stomach is full, regardless of whether it is full of food, or water. So if you feel hungry, drink a glass of water and trick you stomach.
‘Do not eat after 6 o‘clock’ has become a rule for those who try to lose weight. However, there are some nuances, you should know. Calories do not start to turn into fat automatically when the clock strikes 6 pm. The time of your last meal of the day depends on the time you go to bed. You should not eat at least four hours before going to bed. The reason why eating at night is unhealthy is that metabolism of our body is lower at night. Metabolism is the entirety of all chemical processes in our body. The biological clock (circadian rhythms) regulates metabolism depending on the time of day.
An optimal weight loss plan definitely includes physical activity. When we are exercising, our body needs more energy. The main source of it is fat so the body burns fat and gets the necessary energy. The best exercises for losing weight are those where your whole body is working. For instance, jogging, swimming or cycling. You can also engage in active leisure or choose walking to work instead of driving a car.
Requirements of water are individual and depend on the body weight and physical activity. There are recommendations to drink 6-8 glasses of water each day. People who drink enough water have lower appetite and consume fewer calories. Moreover, water is necessary in each bodily function.
Researchers who looked at the sleep habits reveal that obesity is associated with short sleep duration. There are several potential mechanisms which explain how sleep deprivation may cause weight gain (Fig. 1). They include disbalance of the hormones that control hunger (leptin and ghrelin), having more time to eat, and decreased physical activity due to fatigue. Moreover, it has been observed that people who sleep less have a lower body temperature. As a result, their energy expenditure is decreased. So, if you want to lose weight, you should sleep 7-8 hours at night.