Diets and weight loss!

It's a subject which preoccupies so many of us in the UK. In fact, there are hardly any of us who can approach a set of scales with a feeling of confidence. Certainly there are a great many women and quite a few men who would simply love to lose some weight. Not just because it makes you look and feel so much better, but because of the undoubted health benefits.

Why is weight so important?

Well, the medical profession and health experts all agree that maintaining a healthy weight can bring you a whole range of health benefits. You'll find that you have more energy, you're more active and you become more confident about how you look and feel within yourself. In short, being the right weight for you can help you get so much more out of life. 

The reverse of this, for some people, is that being overweight can make you feel  nhappy and even depressed, it can also have serious consequences for your health. In fact, NHS statistics show that over 50% of the UK population is overweight and at an increased risk of developing a host of health complications. These can include diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and arthritis. 

A study recently compiled by the National Audit Office discovered that a whopping six out of every ten Britons are overweight - a figure which has tripled in the last 20 years - and one in five Britons is obese, that's at least 13-19kgs or 2-3 stones overweight. Based upon these trends, in a few years that figure will increase to a shocking one in four. 

Furthermore, being obese or at least 2-3 stones overweight, increases these health risks still further. Already obesity contributes to 18 million working days being lost every year, and its related problems can reduce your life expectancy by about nine years. Some research has even shown that carrying too much weight can also contribute to some cancers.

So how do you lose weight?

Most people are aware of the steps they have to take, it's just having the self-discipline and willpower to carry them through!

✔ Take more exercise
✔ Cut your calorie intake
✔ Eat a balanced diet preferably containing five portions of fresh fruit and vegetables every day
✔ Learn to relax - it will reduce your cravings for sugar and high-fat foods
✔ Start each day with a good breakfast

There are many more changes you can make to your lifestyle which can really help you to lose weight.

Get plenty of sleep

As well as diet and exercise, getting enough sleep is one of the most important parts of a long and healthy life. Did you know that if you get too little sleep, you eat more just to stay awake? Sleep deprivation also affects your body's levels of leptin, the hormone that makes you feel full. When levels are low, you start to crave sweets, desserts and even starches. But the most damaging results of going without sleep are linked to your growth hormone levels.

This in turn has an impact on your body's proportion of fat to muscle and the repairs which are carried out on your muscles while you sleep. In short, if you don't get
enough sleep at night, exercise will feel considerably more difficult than it should, and you'll have a harder time building muscle and keeping fat away.

A balanced diet

They may be all the rage, but diets which eliminate an entire food group from your daily intake, whether it's protein, carbohydrate or fat, are not only soul-destroying, but can ultimately lead to nutritional deficiencies in the long term. What happens when you come off the latest trendy diet and return to your old eating habits? In the majority of cases, you'll put back on the weight you've just lost and a little bit more for good measure! So perhaps you should leave the new miracle fat cures to the celebs and stick to what you know has always worked: a balanced diet which is low in saturated fat, sugar, additives and salt, and which gives you all of the important nutritional elements.

Don't chew the fat

There are simple ways you can reduce the fat
content of the food you prepare:

✔ Grill fatty foods You'll take away even more fat calories if you grill a slice of bacon over a wire grill or slatted splash guard, so that the fat runs away

✔ Dry fry, don't deep fry So many foods that you used to deep fry can now be oven baked or dry fried. You simply need a good heavy-bottomed, non-stick frying
pan and a tiny amount of oil. Once the pan is nice and hot, you can cook almost anything from fish to sautéd potatoes 

✔ Reduce the fat or oil content Almost any recipe can be adapted to make it healthier by using low-fat alternatives and changing your cooking methods

Treat yourself!

If you stop yourself from eating all of your favourite foods, it's guaranteed to make you want them more! So if you have the occasional yearning for chocolate (and who doesn't) then give yourself a treat in the shape of small quantities of luxury organic dark chocolate. Then you can go back to your diet with a reasonably clear conscience! To help you even more, we’ve selected a number of alternative herbal products and supplements which can also play a large part in helping you lose weight. These are the ideal solutions for busy people with hectic lifestyles. They can help you get in shape even if you have very little willpower or self-discipline!