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Basic weight loss advice

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Question: I’ve just come back from holiday and I’ve piled on a few pounds. Do you have any suggestions?

BY Rebecca Laske 16 September, 2008 – 12:49

Answer: Above all the key to a healthy lifestyle is exercise. Although there are no instant results, exercise increases the rate at which the body breaks down foods, so less of your food intake is stored as fat reserves. It can also reduce the risks of heart attacks by increasing levels of HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol), and lower blood pressure.

Added to this there are the mental benefits. Not only does exercise give you a sense of accomplishment, it also causes the brain to release ‘happy hormones’ called endorphins, which ease pain and enhance feelings of well being.

So try to exercise for at least 20 minutes a day. Your routine could include swimming, walking or aerobics, all of which will help to improve circulation as well as burn off those extra calories.

A healthy diet is also essential for successful weight loss. You should try to avoid foods with a high fat content, such as red meat, full fat dairy produce and most processed foods. Chicken and fish are good substitutes as they are low in fat and high in protein.

Foods rich in carbohydrates such as pasta, rice and potatoes are also highly nutritious and an immediate source of energy, but an excessively high intake can lead to weight gain. I would recommend 3 – 4 helpings a day of foods containing carbohydrates.

Likewise foods high in fibre, such as whole grains and fresh fruit and vegetables will help to flush out any impurities and keep your digestive tract healthy. They will also create the impression of fullness, meaning you should consume fewer calories, but you must remember to drink plenty of water (at least 2 litres a day) so as not to become constipated.

Finally, as far as nutritional supplements and herbal remedies are concerned, you should take a multi-vitamin or mineral supplement to ensure your body is getting enough nutrients.

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