Maintaining a healthy weight, and more specifically, healthy body fat levels, reduces the risk of you developing some serious health conditions including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer. Not only that, but you’ll feel better about yourself and you will have the energy to do the activities you enjoy.
- 1 A question of energy balance
- 1.1 Set a goal
- 1.2 Reward your success (but not with food)
- 1.3 Monitor your food intake and/or physical activity
- 1.4 Keep an eye on your habits
- 1.5 Eat mindfully
- 1.6 The importance of healthy eating
- 1.7 Physical activity
- 1.8 How soup can help you lose weight
- 1.9 Fat burning soup recipes
- 1.10 The Wonder soup
- 1.11 The Poor man’s soup
- 1.12 The Wakame egg soup
- 1.13 Three Legume soup
- 1.14 The Quinoa soup
- 1.15 Final thoughts
A question of energy balance
While there might be many factors contributing to someone being overweight, the simplest explanation often relates to what is known as energy balance. Basically, the energy you take in from food and drinks is balanced against the energy your body needs for breathing, digesting food, and being active.
If your energy in versus energy out stays the same, your weight will stay the same. If you burn more calories than you take in you will lose weight and if you take in more calories than you use you will gain weight. Of course, this has to happen over a period of time, so one ‘bad’ weekend won’t throw you completely off track.
Strategies for weight management
Whatever your reason for wanting to lose weight, there are a few behaviours that you can adopt to help you to reach a healthy weight and stay there.
Set a goal
Don’t focus too much on the actual weight loss, even if this is your end goal. Think about that fact that you are adopting a healthy lifestyle, and then focus on setting yourself specific goals, such as ‘I’m going to walk for 30 minutes each day’ or ‘I’m only going to eat dessert if I go to a restaurant’. These are measurable and achievable.
Reward your success (but not with food)
Treat yourself to a massage, or a new item of clothing, for every 7 lbs you lose, for example. This will keep you motivated and on track.
Monitor your food intake and/or physical activity
Keeping an accurate record of how things are going with regards to your diet and exercise regime makes you accountable for what you are doing and it gives you a way to see what may or may not be working for you so you can make necessary changes.
Keep an eye on your habits
If you find that certain situations trigger cravings or overeating, be aware of these, and do something about it. For example, if you find that you eat biscuits each time you have a cup of tea or coffee, arm yourself with some healthier snacks to have instead in preparation.
Eat slowly so that your brain can receive the message from your stomach that you’re full. Fill your plate with fruit and vegetables, so you feel as if you are getting plenty of food but for relatively few calories, and try using smaller plates.
The importance of healthy eating
There’s no question that exercise is crucial in managing your weight, but a healthy diet is possibly even more essential. No amount of exercise will make up for a bad diet, and a bad diet will leave you in poor health in general. A healthy diet will give you the nutrients your body needs but within the boundaries of the calories you need from day to day.
A healthy diet includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, low fat dairy products, lean meats, fish, beans, eggs and nuts. Saturated fats should be limited but there will be plenty of essential fatty acids. Sugar and salt should also be limited.
If you want to lose weight, it usually involves a 2-step approach; reducing calories in your diet and creating a further calorie deficit with exercise. These steps combined will put you in negative energy balance, or in other words, you will be burning off more calories than you take in and you should lose weight.
The recommended amount of exercise is 30 minutes of exercise on at least 5 days of the week. If you have a lot of weight to lose, this recommendation rises to 60 minutes of moderate exercise, such as brisk walking.
How soup can help you lose weight
Scientists claim to have found the new weapon in the war against obesity; and it’s the humble soup. They used ultrasound scans of people’s stomachs to study what happens to the stomach after eating either solid food plus water versus the same meal blended into a soup.
Water passes through a sphincter in the stomach straight to your intestines, so water does not make you feel full. But when the soup meal is eaten, and the food and water are blended, the mixture stays in the stomach for longer, and you feel full.
Also in play is the body’s hunger hormone, ghrelin. Cells in the stomach send messages to the brain when the stomach is empty and this is when you feel hungry. But when the wall of the stomach is stretched, ghrelin production stops and you no longer feel hungry.
In the study, people who ate the soup reported that they felt full for over an hour and a half longer than the people who had eaten the solid food and water.
Finding the key to controlling appetite could be a huge step towards tackling the growing obesity problem. More research is needed, as the mechanisms that control appetite, hunger and satiety are complicated.
Fat burning soup recipes
Soups might be an essential part of a reduced calorie diet, but they don’t have to be watery and tasteless. Try these delicious soups for size and you would never guess that they are a weight loss meal!
The Wonder soup
This soup is really simple to make, and is a mixture of cabbage, onions, green bell peppers, tomatoes, celery, and water. You can add salt and pepper to taste if desired.
The soup is high in fibre and will really help to cleanse your system.
1 medium onion
2 green peppers, diced
4 tomatoes, diced
4 stalks celery, chopped
Salt and pepper (optional)
1 ½ pints water
Dice the onion. Place the onion in a saucepan with a drop of olive oil and sauté for 5 minutes. Place the vegetables in the pan, gradually adding the water. Season with salt and pepper if desired, then cook until the vegetables are tender.
The Poor man’s soup
The idea of this soup is that you can make it with any vegetables you can find in your fridge or pantry. At only about 100 calories per bowl, you can fill up on this soup guilt-free. The high fibre content will kill any hunger pangs and set you on the way to healthy weight loss. Calcium is one of the nutrients in the body that can help to control fat storage, so if you can include leafy greens like kale and spinach, this will add an extra fat burning touch.
½ bundle of spinach
½ head of broccoli
2 celery sticks
2 small carrots
5 cloves of garlic
1 litre of beef or chicken broth
Dice the garlic and onions finely.
Place a saucepan on the hob with a tablespoon of olive oil in the bottom, and sauté the garlic and onion for 5 minutes.
Pour in the broth once the onions are tender, and bring the pan to a boil.
Slice the cabbage and spinach into small strips, dice the celery and carrots, cut the zucchini into small cubes 1/3” inch in width, and cut the broccoli into bite-sized florets.
Add the vegetables to the soup, season with salt, pepper, and add any herbs and spices of your choice to add flavour.
Cook until the vegetables are tender.
The Wakame egg soup
This is a soup that originated in Japan. The combination of seaweed and egg might not sound terribly appealing but it will turn your body into a fat burning furnace. Seaweed is rich in a nutrient called fucoxanthin. This helps to speed up fat burning.
The eggs are rich in protein and other amino acids which help you to feel fuller for longer so you’re less likely to overeat.
Water – 1.5 cups
Soy sauce – ½ a teaspoon
Sake – 2 teaspoons
Salt – just a pinch (less than ½ a teaspoon)
Dried Wakame seaweed – 1 teaspoon (this won’t seem like a lot but it expands)
Lightly beat the egg.
Bring 1.5 cups of water to the boil. When it boils, turn the heat down to medium, add the soy sauce, sake, and seaweed. Allow it to simmer for a minute or two. Taste and add salt if needed. Drop the egg into the pan, then swirl it around in the broth. Remove the soup from the heat immediately and serve.
Three Legume soup
This soup will fill you up for relatively few calories. The beans, lentils, and split peas used in this recipe will help you to burn fat, promote healthy digestion, and lean muscle growth.
Some tips for making the soup; boil the legumes for a few hours beforehand. Legumes can cause gas so it helps to leave a carrot or potato in the water to absorb the compounds that cause gas.
½ cup of beans
½ cup of lentils
½ cup of split peas Chicken or beef broth
¼ head of cabbage
2 red bell peppers
The night before you make the soup, soak the legumes in individual pots.
Drain the water in the morning, and put them on the stove to boil all together.
Drop in a whole potato, as well as a whole onion and head of garlic – leaving the peel on.
The legumes will need to cook for at least 4 hours, or until you see that the peas and beans have split.
Drain the water from the legumes, and scoop out the garlic, potato, and onion.
Place another saucepan on the stove with the broth to boil, and add the legumes into the broth.
Dice the onions to add to the soup, along with the carrots, cabbage, and bell peppers.
The Quinoa soup
Quinoa is one of the best whole grains to eat, as it’s low on the glycaemic index so it won’t cause a spike in your blood sugar, it’s low in calories, and it fills you up. The fibre in Quinoa binds with the fat in your body and it can help to eliminate it. Quinoa is high in protein even though it’s a whole grain which makes it an excellent choice for those who want to lose weight.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 small zucchini, chopped
1 yellow squash, chopped
1 1/2 cups fresh green beans, broken or cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 box (32 ounces) vegetable broth
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
2 cups cooked quinoa
Salt and black pepper, to taste
Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-low heat. Once it’s hot, add the onion and cook until tender, for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, zucchini, yellow squash, and green beans and continue to cook for 4 to 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the vegetable broth, diced tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme, and basil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and cook until the vegetables are tender, for approximately 25 to 30 minutes. Stir in the cooked quinoa and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve warm.
Some tips to cook the Quinoa; rinse 1 cup of the grain under cold water. Add the Quinoa plus 2 cups of water and a pinch of a salt to a saucepan and bring it to the boil. Boil for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat and simmer until the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat and fluff the Quinoa with a fork.
Maintaining a healthy weight is very important in reducing your risk of getting serious illnesses, and it also helps you to feel better about yourself and to be able to do everything that you enjoy.
Being overweight is often due to a number of factors, such as genetics, lifestyle, the effects of medication, or illness, but the most simple explanation is often one of simple energy balance in the body. Energy balance is the balancing act that your body does with the energy you take in versus the energy you burn off through activity, and in the course of maintenance of the body’s essential functions. If you take in more calories than you burn off, you will gain weight. If your calories in matches calories burned off, your weight will stay the same, and if you burn off more than you take in, you will lose weight. So the most successful way to lose weight and keep it off is to reduce calorie intake in your diet, and burn off calories with physical activity. This creates a calorie deficit, which should mean that you lose weight.
The role of a healthy diet in weight loss is undeniable. Eating a balanced diet, with appropriate portion size and calorie intake arguably plays more of a role in weight management than exercise. If your diet is lacking in nutrients and made up of junk, no amount of exercise is going to make you as healthy and in good shape as you want to be. A healthy diet consists of plenty of fruit and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and low fat dairy products. This will offer your body the best balance of nutrients for health and a healthy body tends to settle at a weight it’s happy at. The way you eat might be just as important as what you eat though, and you should always try to eat mindfully. This means taking the time to chew your food thoroughly, and to give your stomach the chance to send messages to the brain telling you that you’re full.
Physical activity is also important to supplement a good diet and will ensure that you maintain lean muscle tissue; a must if you want to look lean and toned. Having lean muscle tissue will keep your metabolism ticking over so you will burn more calories, even at rest.
But if you’re someone who is always looking for another weight loss weapon to add to your arsenal, scientists might have the answer; the humble soup.
A research study looked at the way that food passed though the stomach in a solid state versus the way that it passed through when it was in the form of a soup. They found that the soup stayed in the stomach for much longer, which made people who ate soup feel full for over an hour longer than people who had eaten solid food. This is big news for the future of research in the war against obesity which is fast becoming the biggest cause of early death in the modern world.