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Researchers Find A Simple Way To Lose Weight That Everyone Can Do

Researchers Find A Simple Way To Lose Weight That Everyone Can Do

New research has found that taking one simple action, something you might already do, could help you lose weight.

What is it?

Drinking a glass of water.

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Just make sure to time it right and down the glass 30 minutes before a meal.

Researchers at the University of Birmingham found that drinking water half an hour before each main meal may help you lose weight. Their research showed that something as simple as drinking a pint (500 ml) of water before at least one meal, but as often as before all three main meals of the day, resulted in an average of almost 3 lbs lost over the 12 weeks of the study. The most incredible finding was that those who “pre-loaded” with a glass of water before all 3 of their main meals lost an impressive 9.48 lbs over the 12 weeks. That’s just over 3/4th of a pound a week and nearly on par with the common recommendation of “one pound per week” for weight loss that many popular weight loss programs use.

While this study was was performed with obese subjects, these findings could have applications for anyone trying to lose or maintain their weight,

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“We all get fatter over time, so it might well work as a prevention strategy at a population level.” — Daley

This study was different from past research which has shown water consumption to be an effective part of a weight loss program only when water takes the place of caloric beverages. While drinking water has wonderful health benefits, it didn’t seem that weight loss was one of them.

“There is very little evidence that drinking water promotes weight loss; it is one of those self-perpetuating myths.” — Ben Kitchin Ph.D, R.D.

However, research had shown that eating a diet containing mostly low energy density foods, many of which tend to have high water content per calorie, was associated with successful weight loss and weight maintenance. Generally, it’s believed that the high water content in those foods helped to fill the stomach, increasing satiety and feelings of fullness for longer, which resulted in less calories being consumed at a meal.

“If you eat lower-calorie, ‘heavier’ foods, you’re not going to magically lose 25 more pounds than somebody on different diet, but it might help you feel fuller and not hungry,” Kitchin said. “While drinking water may not help you lose weight, a focus on eating foods with high water content like fruits, veggies and broth-based soups can.”

This new study was among the first to show that pre-loading with water could have the same effect as eating low energy density foods and lead to the consumption of fewer calories. That is what makes this finding so exciting. Unlike diet and exercise, which are often seen as time consuming or undesirable lifestyle interventions, drinking water is generally seen as easy and painless. “It’s something that doesn’t take much work to integrate into our busy everyday lives,” says Dr Helen Parretti,

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Why is weight gain such an issue?

Because being overweight is linked to a number of chronic diseases such as heart disease, dementia, Alzheimers, cancer, and diabetes, whose rates have been rising so rapidly it’s been described as the Biggest Epidemic of the Twenty-First Century. Due to the causative relationship that has been established between excess weight and these diseases, weight gain has been identified as one of the primary public health concerns of the United States moving forward.

Unfortunately, as a society, we’ve become increasingly overweight, even obese, for decades. It’s now believed that up to 70% of Americans classify as overweight. All despite the 64-billion-dollar diet industry. In fact, it’s estimated that in 2012 as many as 100 million Americans were on a diet. So, it’s clear that the current weight loss interventions are not working for most Americans. This is why it’s so important that we find and implement simple, painless, and easy techniques to accomplish strategies that combat our growing waistlines.

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“Losing a few extra pounds over the course of a year can be significant to an individual, and this could be an easy way to help with that weight loss. It’s a simple message that has the potential to make a real contribution to public health.” — Dr Parretti

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

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Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

Reference

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