Dr. Sarah Brewer's Top 10 Tips To Lose Weight

CuraLife's Medical Advisory Board Member, Dr. Sarah Brewer exclusively shares her top 10 tips to lose weight:

"If you are overweight, shedding any excess fat can improve your glucose control. For meaningful results, you need to lose at least 5% of your body weight (equivalent to 5kg if you weigh 100kg) to improve your HbA1c reading.

The latest study, published in the Lancet, found that almost 9 out of 10 people with type 2 diabetes who lost 15kg or more (on a supervised, very low-calorie formula diet) returned to normal glucose control. If you don’t think such a strict regime would suit you, don’t despair. Even losing 1kg of excess fat can improve your HbA1c by an estimated 0.1 percentage points. A continual small weight loss, in which you just focus on losing the next 1kg can help to improve your health. The following tips will help.

NB Before starting a weight loss diet, seek advice from your doctor as your glucose medication is likely to need adjusting as your glucose levels improve. This is especially important if you are on insulin.

1) Cut back on carbs

Following a diet that has minimal impact on your blood sugar levels will improve your glucose control. Known as a low GI (glycaemic index) diet, this focuses on fruit, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats such as olive oil.

2) Don’t skip breakfast

Breakfast kick-starts your metabolism, so you burn more glucose as energy. It also reduces food cravings so you don’t over-eat later in the day. People with type 2 diabetes who eat breakfast 7 days a week tend to weigh less than those only eating breakfasts 3 to 6 days a week. Those who don’t skip breakfast also tend to have better diabetes control.

3) Keep a food diary

Recording what you eat makes you accountable for everything that passes your lips and helps cut back on ‘mindless’ snacking. A six-month study involving over 1600 overweight adults, who lost almost 13 pounds each, found those who kept a regular food diary lost twice as much weight as those who recorded their food intake infrequently.

4) Eat more button mushrooms

Substituting button mushrooms for meat in familiar dishes such as stews, lasagne and chili can halve the calorie content of a dish but provides the same filling power. Doing this ten times could help you lose one pound of fat. Doing it once a week for a year would help you lose 5lb in weight.

5) Favor spicy foods

Eating chilies can increase metabolic rate by up to 50% for three hours after eating a spicy meal. This helps you burn more energy to lose weight. In one study, eating a chili-based meal once a day for 4 weeks improved insulin levels after eating by 60% compared to another 4 weeks in which they ate a bland diet.

6) Chew more

Chew each mouthful for longer, as well as pausing regularly while eating. This allows more time for the satiety center in your brain to receive signals that you are becoming full. Once you start feeling full, it’s important to stop eating.

7) Don’t scrape your plate clean

Purposely leave some food on your plate so you learn to stop eating when you feel full rather than when the plate is empty. And don’t clear away uneaten food at the end of a meal – it’s almost guaranteed to tempt you into picking, even if you are full up.

8) Eat little and often

Eating several small meals, spread throughout the day, keeps your metabolism on a higher setting and helps you lose more weight than eating three larger meals spaced further apart. This strategy also reduces snacking.

9) Drink green tea

Drinking green tea with a meal has several benefits. The fluid helps to fill you up, and the green tea antioxidants boost your metabolic rate so you burn more glucose for energy. Tea also inhibits an intestinal enzyme (alpha-glucosidase) that breaks down starch to slow the absorption of glucose.

10) Keep physically active

Exercise increases the amount of glucose burned in muscles as fuel and can promote weight loss as well as improving your diabetes control. Walk as much and as often as you can. The results of 18 studies involving 866 people show that walking significantly lowers HbA1c and weight. Many doctors now prescribe supervised exercise sessions for people with type 2 diabetes – ask your local practice what options are available."

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