The year 2020 was a tough year for everybody, especially for those trying to lose weight. With the World Health Organization (WHO) suggesting that the UK stay at home for a minimum of two years to reduce the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), people had to tighten their belts and make lifestyle changes to avoid piling on the pounds. In fact, the UK government advised people that they should expect to shed half a stone (7.4 lbs) annually as a result of the pandemic.
While some may have kept on track during the pandemic, other habits such as commuting by bike and taking strolls down the aisle were abandoned as a result of social distancing restrictions. For those wanting to get fitter in the New Year, here is a list of challenges to help achieve their goals.
1. Walk more.
The Government advised people to get at least 150 minutes of physical activity per day, so those wanting to shed some pounds could do so by taking a stroll or getting on their bikes for a ride. Interestingly, many of those who managed to lose weight during the pandemic exercised for longer than usual because they were doing something they enjoy and feel good about. Research shows that frequent, short bursts of exercise can boost your metabolism and have positive effects on your mental health, too.
2. Reduce your sugar intake.
Whilst some may have used the pandemic as a convenient excuse to binge-watch Netflix and eat chocolate, the medical establishment agrees that too much sugar can seriously damage your health. Consequently, those wanting to shed some pounds should look to reduce their sugar intake and adopt a healthier lifestyle. Interestingly, there is some evidence that suggests that diets rich in fruits and vegetables can help to reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
3. Eat more vegetables.
Whilst there are various ways in which your diet can influence how you look (for example, the food you eat), it is important that you eat a healthy ratio of fruits to vegetables to ensure you get the nutrients you need. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can also help protect you against certain illnesses, so again, those wanting to lose weight should aim to incorporate more of these foods into their daily intake.
4. Eat less chicken and more fish.
According to the NHS, adopting a healthy diet can help to reduce cholesterol, which in turn, can reduce the risk of heart disease. Whilst there are various cuts of meat that contain cholesterol, it is important to note that these foods are high in saturated fats and not good for your waistline. Instead of chicken, those wanting to shed some pounds should look to incorporate more fish into their diet, as these foods are high in omega-3 fatty acids and protein.
5. Increase your water intake.
Whilst it is important to stay hydrated, those wanting to shed some pounds should drink more of what the NHS advises (i.e. 8 glasses per day). Increased water intake can also help to flush out toxins from your system and make you feel happier and healthier. If you drink alcohol, then this can also dehydrate you and make you weigh more. So, although it is important to remain hydrated, those wanting to lose weight should avoid alcoholic beverages and seek to drink sufficient amounts of water.
6. Reduce your salt intake.
Just like the sugar intake, your salt intake can seriously damage your health. It is recommended by the NHS that you consume no more than 5g of salt per day, so those wanting to shed some pounds should look to reduce their salt intake and adopt a healthier lifestyle. The truth is that too much salt can cause high blood pressure and various other ailments.
7. Eat more nuts.
Whilst there are various ways in which nuts can benefit your health (they are high in antioxidants, for example), it is important to eat the right kind of nuts to enjoy their benefits. For example, cashews and pistachios are both high in antioxidants, but cashews are healthier because they contain more magnesium. In addition, those wanting to shed some pounds should look to incorporate more nuts into their diet, as they are high in fats and fiber, too.
8. Eat more whole grains.
Whole grains are foods that contain all the nutrition and fiber present in a natural form. This type of food is excellent for your waistline because it contains fewer nutrients and calories per 100g than more refined carbohydrates. It is recommended by the NHS to eat at least five portions of whole grains per day, so those wanting to lose weight should look to incorporate more of these foods into their diet. In addition to helping to reduce your waistline, whole grains can also help to improve your mood and energy levels.
9. Get some sunlight.
As we mentioned above, exercise is good for your health, but so is sunlight. The truth is that too much sunlight can cause skin cancer, so those wanting to shed some pounds should try to get at least 15 minutes of sunlight per day to protect their health. If you cannot get any direct sunlight, then they recommend that you take advantage of the sunshine during peak hours through a window. Peak hours are either early in the morning or late at night, so those wanting to shed some pounds should ensure that they get sunshine at these times to gain the maximum benefit.
10. Increase your fiber intake.
Fiber is an important part of a healthy diet and those wanting to shed some pounds should look to increase their fiber intake, especially soluble fiber. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and forms a gel-like substance which can significantly reduce the viscosity of your blood. It is important to increase your intake of fiber because it can help to improve your digestion and absorption of nutrients, which in turn, can help to reduce your waistline. Those wanting to shed some pounds should try to eat at least 25g of fiber per day, which is the recommended daily amount suggested by the NHS.
11. Drink more water.
It is important to stay hydrated, so those wanting to shed some pounds should drink at least 16 ounces of water per hour to stay healthy. If you feel that you are not drinking enough fluids, then they recommend that you drink more during the day to maintain good health. Those wanting to lose weight should try to drink at least 16 ounces of water within 15 minutes of waking.
12. Join a gym.
If you want to achieve optimum results from your exercise program, then you should join a gym and hire a personal trainer to help you reach your goals. The gym is a great place to socialize and meet people with shared interests, so those wanting to shed some pounds should consider this as an additional benefit. In addition, gyms often offer various discounts to members, so again, this could be seen as an additional incentive for people trying to shed some pounds.
13. Keep proper track of your nutrition.
If you want to lose weight effectively, then you need to keep track of what you are eating and drinking. To this end, there are numerous fitness apps that can help you keep track of your nutrition, as well as provide you with an overview of how your daily habits are affecting your waistline. Those wanting to shed some pounds should look to download an app which can help them monitor and track their nutrition.
14. Look to add more fruits and vegetables.
The perfect dinner party snack is a colourful and vibrant mixture of fruit and veggie delights. Whilst many may see this as a no-go in terms of waistline combat, those wanting to shed some pounds should look to add more fruits and vegetables to their diet. The evidence suggests that this type of food is excellent for your waistline, so those wanting to lose weight should try to eat more of these foods and minimize the amount of meat and chicken that they consume.
15. Consider a gluten-free diet.
For those wanting to achieve perfect results from their workouts, a gluten-free diet may be the answer. The truth is that gluten can cause various digestive problems and inflammation, so those wanting to shed some pounds should look to eliminate gluten from their diet.