A weight loss expert has shared her top tips for losing belly fat that require just five small changes to your lifestyle.
This Morning’s resident doctor, Sara Kayat, shared her advice after a recent study found that 63 per cent of people in the UK are overweight or obese.
She said: “A good starting point is measuring your waist circumference, and you want your waist circumference to be less than half of your height.
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“For example, if you are five foot four, you want your waist to be 29 inches.
“But if you’re 32 inches, that’s when you’re in that unhealthy zone, so we want to try and bring that down.”
The health expert added: “When it comes to dieting, there is so much advice out there, but I like to do five tips.”
So what are the top tips for slimming down to a healthy size without restricting yourself?
Dr Sara said appreciating the flavour of your food will encourage “mindful eating”, which helps “with maintaining healthy body weight.”
“Learn to eat properly again.
“Have a table, a plate, learn to chew, learn to appreciate the tastes on your plate rather than shovelling it in on your way to work or at your desk, or in front of the TV.”
Eat more of the right foods
By choosing to eat the right foods, you can actually eat more, leaving you with a full feeling for longer.
The expert said: “Not feel so restrictive when it comes to dieting. You can actually eat more.
“So it’s eating more of the right foods, the lower calorie higher nutrient foods, found in a lot of plant-based foods.
“The restrictive aspect of dieting can really put people off.”
Don’t feel bad for snacking, but make sure you pick out the right foods and avoid processed, salty and sugary snacks.
Dr Sara said: “An ideal snack is something like nuts – they’re really high in healthy fats, high in fibre and protein – everything to help stabilise blood sugars, so you don’t get these massive cravings.
“And to help you feel fuller for longer.”
Some studies have suggested that “little and often”, four to five small meals a day, can help weight loss.
Dr Sara said: “It really depends on you as a person and also what you’re eating.
“For some people, grazing works. For others, they need that structure in their day. Otherwise, they end up grazing too much.
“Some people find they respond better to a bit of fasting between meals.
“But if you’re feeling hungry and your option is to gorge on other foods or have a small snack, then have a snack and make sure it’s a good one for you.”
Alcohol is not only a depressant but also high in calories.
Dr Sara explained: “There are so many really good low-alcohol and no-alcohol drinks out there now, we have the options to swap.
“A lot of people just miss that taste, and we have that option now, so it’s a really viable option for people.”
Steer clear of crash diets
Crash diets are undertaken on a short-term basis to achieve rapid results.
Dr Sara said these are unhealthy and unsustainable approaches to achieving weight loss.
She said: “There’s lots of celebrities out there endorsing them, but they don’t work, you end up yo-yo-ing, it can affect your metabolism , it can affect the way your body stores fat.”
Alongside a healthy diet, Dr Sara recommended exercise.
“With exercise, it’s about finding the right balance as well,” she said. “A lot of people go in too hard too soon with exercise.
“You really need to slowly build it up. It will be easier to fall off that exercise wagon otherwise.
“You’re also more likely to get injuries and decide exercise isn’t for you.
“Try and find the joy in it.”
For anyone who wants to exercise without paying for a gym membership, Dr Sara recommended gardening, walking instead of taking a bus, even dancing in a club or kitchen to “fit in exercise in your usual routine”.
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