Weeks under quarantine make weight loss hard to achieve with gyms across the country closed, physical distancing measures in place and nutrient-rich fresh produce in limited supply. Fortunately, it is possible for you to lose weight while holed up at home, by not restricting your diet and by looking after your gut, more formally known as the digestive system.
The digestive system is one of the most important parts of your body. It breaks down the food and nutrients that are used by your body for energy, growth and cell repair. Improving your digestion as part of your weight loss journey is made possible through the following secrets from various experts:
“There are lots of ways to lose weight over the short term, but this doesn’t mean they’re healthy or sustainable,” Alex Glover, nutritionist, told the Daily Express. “There are millions of bacteria living inside your gut, known as your microbiome. Everyone’s microbiome is unique to them, and […] plays a large factor in weight management.”
Studies by King’s College in London found that microbiomes affect even how identical twins differ in weight gain and storage. This means that “our weight loss journeys must always work to also benefit our gut,” Glover said.
Portion Control And Fiber Consumption
Rather than cutting things out of your diet, losing weight and maintaining a good working digestive system is all about portion control,
explained dietitian Dr. Megan Rossi, also known as The Gut Health Doctor.
“For filling and nutritious meals, diversity and fiber are key for keeping us fuller for longer,” she said. When a meal makes you full for longer, you are less likely to snack throughout the day, and that helps in your weight loss goals.
“Rather than counting calories, I would recommend focusing on variety – the more, the better – and keeping to appropriate portion sizes,” Rossi added. However, she noted that it is important not to obsess over portion control because this can impact your relationship with food as well as your overall well-being.
“Unlike other types of carbohydrates, our human cells can’t digest fiber,” Rossi said. “Its sole purpose is to feed our gut bacteria,
which, in turn, produce beneficial compounds that help balance our blood sugars and tell our brains that we’re full.”
The recommended daily fiber intake is 30 grams so it is a good idea to amp up your fiber intake to help balance your blood sugar levels.
Change Your Lifestyle
Eating fiber-rich foods is an effective way of losing weight. However, it will have little to no effect unless it is coupled with long-term lifestyle changes such as daily exercises, enough sleep and eating whole foods.
Rossi suggested aiming for two pieces of fruit, five portions of vegetables, three portions of whole grain and one to two portions of nuts or seeds daily.
Weight management, she explained, is not just about the food we eat; sleep quality also plays a role in weight management. She recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night.
Beans and pulses “are great foods to include in your diet when it comes to fat loss,” nutritionist Jenna Hope said. “These foods are low in calories while being a great source of prebiotic fibers. Prebiotic fibers are required to feed the good bacteria in the gut to help maintain an optimal gut bacteria profile.”
“Beans and pulses can be added to soups, stews, curries and dips,” she added.