Michael Mosley on the popular foods to avoid for rapid weight loss

Dr Michael Mosley on the importance of routine for sleep

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When looking to lose weight, it can be hard to wean yourself of quick and tasty convenience food. Early this year, Statista revealed the UK came out on top as the country that ate the most junk food in Europe, with an average of 5.69 times per month, and 12 percent of the British public admitted to buying and consuming fast food once a week. Weight loss expert Dr Michael Mosley has shared his tips to stop eating junk food. 

A 2019 study found that people eating a diet of highly processed foods for two weeks consumed 500 more calories per day than those eating minimally processed foods (about 3,000 calories a day versus 2,500 calories). 

They also gained two pounds on average during the two weeks – in a month, that would be a weight gain of four pounds. 

If someone who consumes a lot of junk food, cuts down, or cuts it out, they could see a weight loss of two to four pounds a month. 

Combine that with exercise; burning 500 calories a day, that’s an extra pound lost each week. (Past research has shown there are roughly 3,500 calories in one pound of body fat). 

But how does someone cut out junk food from their diet to start seeing weight loss results? Dr Michael said “giving up junk food isn’t necessarily down to willpower”, instead, there are several psychological and physiological factors that can make quitting difficult. 

For anyone looking to overhaul their diet, and feed their body healthy, nutritious foods, the expert has five tips. 

1. Prioritise a good night’s sleep

He said: “Not getting enough sleep plays a huge role in your junk food cravings and in your inhibitions, causing it more difficult to resist unhealthy food.” 

Sleep deprevation also peaks compound in the bloodstream called an endocannabinoid which makes eating more pleasurable. 

“So try to get an earlier night, and reduce your risk of reaching for unhealthy food,” Dr Michael recommended. 

2. Pre-pack lunch 

“A 2015 study found that fast food consumption and our eating behaviours while we’re outside of the home is a main risk factor for lower diet quality, with higher fat and calorie intake,” he cited. 

“The convenience of eating on the go, and the kick that a sugar hit gives you while you’re out and about can result in poor food choices, so try to anticipate this if you know you’re going out. 

“Pack your lunch ahead of time for a meal just as convenient, but without the negative effects.” 

If you’re looking for an easier solution, Dr Michael suggested a meal replacement shake. 

3. Try simple swaps 

“Quitting bad health habits cold turkey isn’t going to necessarily help you in the long run,” the expert said. “Making some simple swaps can begin to rewire your brain, and help you to make this a long-term change.

“Switch out your daily chocolate fix for nuts and seeds instead, try Greek yoghurt with berries instead of pudding for dessert, or try swapping your simple carbs for a veggie alternative, like cauliflower instead of white rice.” 

4. Eat mindfully

“Often we turn to junk food at a time of convenience or thoughtlessness, when our focus isn’t on the food itself but rather on a different task or activity, like watching TV and grazing, for example,” the Fast 800 creator said. 

“However, simply turning our attention to what and how we’re eating can make a big difference. 

“According to a 2018 study, there is a link between the practice of mindful eating and the reduction of food cravings.

“Make sure that you eat mindfully, and focus on the textures, taste and smell of the healthier food you eat, and you might find a reduction in how often you reach for those mindless snacks.” 

5. Track what you eat

“Making yourself accountable for what you eat can show what you’re capable of controlling and may be enlightening to food habits you didn’t know you had,” he continued. 

“Try also noting how you feel throughout the day when eating high-sugar and high-fat foods, and see if there is a correlation between how sluggish you feel, or how your moods fluctuate.”

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