Christmas - Yes, It's that time of year again where you're more likely to hear the age-old cliché that we're all "piling on the pounds" - but, exactly how many pounds are we actually talking about in real life?
Whilst it's easy to forgive yourself for having the occasional blowout if you overeat at Christmas (especially with all those delectable festive goodies around!), what about the other eleven months of the year?
Letting your hair down once in a while is fine but in order to maintain a healthy weight, it's important to be mindful of what you eat and how often you eat it.
It goes without saying that a lack of self-control, however it manifests itself, is one of those things we're all susceptible to at one time or another. Whether it's alcohol-related, playing computer games excessively or even watching too much TV, our self-control often goes out the window. This is especially true when it comes to food, and it can be a tough nut to crack. Aside from an increased risk of developing diabetes and/or heart disease, overeating can sometimes lead to bouts of depression coupled with a lack of self-worth.
With this in mind, we've put together a few useful tips to help you break the habit of overeating once and for all.
It's no secret that exercise is good for you. Whilst many of us shrink away from the idea of going out for a 5-mile power-run each day, we can still make significant improvements to our overall physical and mental health simply by being slightly more active throughout our normal, day-to-day activities.
One of the main contributors to our increasingly sedentary lifestyle is the relentless, progressive march of technology. Compared to previous generations, we're far less active than we used to be; many of us now have automatic washing machines, dishwashers and cars so there's little incentive to do these tasks by hand any more. If we don't have a car, we often rely on public transport to get us around and when do eventually get back home, we slink into the sofa to watch TV or play computer games.
There's no denying that technology has made our lives easier but our bodies are paying the price as a result. We're even less active in the workplace these days too with many of us sitting in a chair all day staring at a computer screen or answering customer enquiries. In fact, the Department of Health and Social Care even refers to our lack of activity in the workplace as the "silent killer". As well as being bad for our health, it's bad for business too, with poor employee health costing UK businesses more than £100 billion a year.
Whilst the lighthearted notion of "reaching for the nearest bar of chocolate" when we're upset or stressed is something of a cliche, the sad reality is that comfort eating can have negative, long-lasting psychological consequences.
Although it's often seen as a source of amusement when we joke about comfort eating with friends or family, emotional overeating is a very real and tangible condition that glosses over the deeper problem of an ineffective coping strategy when we're faced with problems in our lives.
Most people consider exercise an important part of losing weight but might they be expecting too much?
There is now mounting evidence that slimmers won't necessarily derive much benefit from pounding the treadmill and a compilation of over 60 studies confirms this view.
The main shortcomings of exercising for weight loss are:
- Starting from scratch it will take a long while, months or even years, to build up to a meaningful contribution.
- Exercise is often followed up by a recovery period and resting obviously negates some or all of that extra energy expenditure. Can you be sure that more calories have been used up going to the gym, compared to a normal busy day?
- Burning more calories : consuming less calories, are just opposite sides of the same coin. Both involve going hungry and succumbing to a single snack bar after a workout may be all it takes to nullify all of the previous hour's efforts.