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Nutritional and physical exercise changes should be incorporated on a day-to-day, throughout life. Finding a balance between diet and exercise and incorporating changes that can be maintained can help to achieve your goals.
Day-to-day tips and changes
The shopping. It is recommended to do this just after eating to avoid “temptations”.Plan the weekly menu, and buy fresh, seasonal foods and avoid processed and pre-cooked foods.
Storing the food. The “less healthy foods” stored in out of sight in difficult to access places or in opaque containers, and have the healthy foods: vegetables, greens, fruit, low fat dairy products, etc., within easy reach.
Preparing the food. Select the most natural and straightforward culinary forms, and preferably steamed, griddled, or oven cooked. Season the foods with aromatic herbs and spices to boost their flavour, and try to make the main dish compatible with the family menus.
Eating. Establish regular meal times and have only one place in the home destined to eat the meals. It is recommended to eat slowly and consciously chew; at the same time, you must avoid distractions like the television or mobile phone. Put just the amount that is to be eaten on the plate, and do not leave the serving dish on the table. It is advised to use small plates in order to limit the size of the serving.
Eating out. Eat a piece of fruit or a vegetable before going out, so as not to arrive excessively hungry. Drink water or tomato juice while waiting for the food, and avoid eating the bread or the aperitifs. Choose simple dishes and avoid sauces and fatty meals. Choose the accompaniments. Learn to eat by always leaving something on the plate. Always ask for seasonal fruit as dessert, and strictly limit the consumption of alcohol.
Sleeping. Maintain a routine schedule both for going to bed and for getting up. Avoid stimulants like coffee, tea, soft drinks, or chocolate. Choose light dinners, and take up a regular physical activity, specially in the mornings, in order to improve sleep quality.
Self-monitoring. Monitoring your weight on a regular basis and recording these parameters will help you understand your progress. Keeping a food log can help you become more aware of your dietary habits and be able to identify behavior that is limiting you or, on the contrary, that is giving you good results.
Monitoring your daily steps with a wristband or pedometer will allow you to be accountable for your daily exercise.
Family and social support. Involve family and friends in the improvement of eating habits. Encourage leisure activity within the family and social environment: visits to museums, cycling routes, excursions to the mountains… Looking for support groups to lose weight can be an extra motivation to maintain healthy habits and lifestyles.
Toxic habits. Caffeine and nicotine have both been linked to obesity. They both induce a stimulating effect that depends on the quantity taken. Greater consumption is more harmful because it increases anxiety and causes sleep problems (difficulty falling asleep, shallow sleep, etc.) that can last for 8–12 hours. Therefore, their consumption should be moderated or avoided altogether.
Alcohol consumption must be limited or eliminated if you want to control your weight as it increases your intake of unnecessary calories and displaces the consumption of more nutrient-dense foods. What is more, its effect on mood and ability to reduce inhibition can result in the consumption of inappropriate foods. It is particularly important to control alcohol consumption in the case of respiratory conditions such as sleep apnoea/hypopnoea syndrome, which are prevalent in cases of severe obesity.
Mood and behavioural alterations due to the consumption of other toxic substances such as cannabis, cocaine, etc., can have a negative impact on healthy eating patterns.
Time on screens. Limit the amount of hours you spend in front of the television or on a computer, tablet or phone screen, as it is highly associated with weight gain.
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Substantiated information by:
Alba Andreu MartíNutritionistEndocrinology and Dietetics Department
Lilliam Flores MenesesEndocrinologistEndocrinology Department
Silvia Cañizares AlejosPsychologistPsychiatry and Psychology Department
Published: 17 August 2018
Updated: 20 January 2022
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