The ABC of weight loss: 4 steps to guarantee the results

Extreme diets are not necessary for healthy weight loss. Starving, fasting, eliminating carbohydrates or fats from your diet or miraculous supplements will not help you lose weight. But what will? The mentor of healthy changes of the Geneto app, Tiina Üürike, will give you a lead.

There are usually two causes of excess weight we have either been eating unhealthy food or eating too much. Usually, these two go hand in hand with additional factors, such as little physical activity, bad eating habits (such as skipping meals) and other factors (poor sleep, excessive stress). Simple logic would tell you that in order to turn weight gain into weight loss, you would have to turn these factors the other way round: eat a healthy diet, eat less, be more physically active and obtain overall healthier lifestyle habits. And you would be correct, except that for some people, weight loss is easier to achieve than for others. Genetics plays an important role in this.

The ABC of weight loss

1. Getting the size of your food portions under control
2. Healthy food choices
3. Healthy lifestyle habits
4. Willpower and decision making
+ Genetics

1. Getting the size of your food portions under control

Start with observing the size of your food portions. If you have never observed your eating, start with keeping a food diary. Write down everyting you eat for 1-2 weeks. This will help you to get a better understanding of how much you’re eating and which nutritional groups you’re consuming more and less of. Based on that, you will understand (consult with our nutritionist, if necessary) how to correct your diet. The final goal is to get the size of your food portions under control and to keep carbohydrates, protein and fats in the correct range per day. But how would you know your limits? When first using the app, set your parameters (height, weight, sex, age) and your weight goal. Based on that information, the app will calculate your recommended daily calorie intake and will predict how fast you will achieve your goal. You do not need to worry about the distribution of macronutrients (such as carbs, protein and fats) the app will calculate these for you based on the Nordic dietary recommendations. Just start logging your meals into the app and check your daily results to see the scales and the columns of macronutrients fill up.

The biggest obstacle in changing your lifestyle is the belief that weighing and writing down portion sizes would be so annoying. And yes, in the beginning, it will be. But before you jump into conclusions, read the fourth paragraph ”Willpower and decision making” and think again. :)

2. Healthy food choices

Chances are that you have already heard about the plate rule. If there would be only one rule to follow that ensured healthy eating, that would be the plate rule half of the plate should be filled with salad, one quarter with carbs and the remaining quarter with protein. Here you will find an easy plate rule guide to use when planning your lunches and dinners.

Let’s get a bit more specific. If you have observed your eating before, but have not achieved permanent results yet, we advise you to use our diet plan. With the diet plan composed by our nutritionists, you will surely be eating the best menu for losing weight all the essential macro- and micronutrients will be balanced and vitamins and minerals necessary for overall good health as well as for weight loss will be provided. If your body can get all it needs (in limited amounts, of course!), it will be happy and will no longer need to hold onto this excess weight.

If you want to decide yourself what to eat and when to eat instead of the provided menu, you should first establish a few rules:

  1. Eat regularly (3 main meals and 2 snacks)
  2. Eat a lot of plant-based foods
  3. Balance your carb intake
  4. Remember the principles of healthy eating about fats and protein

One of the key phrases for losing weight is balancing your carbs. A separate article will further expand on this topic as well, but a good rule of thumb is not choosing carbs that would make your blood sugar fluctuate too much. Choose wholegrains, whole fruit instead of smoothies and juices and eat a lot of vegetables as well. Carbs should be accompanied by fats (balancing!), predominantly plant-based fats. Our next blog post by our nutritionist Mari-Liis Väli will shed light on the importance of balancing your carb intake as well as note the allowed amounts of certain nutrients for someone who is trying to lose weight.

A popular belief about losing weight and maintaining overall health states that the consumption of fats should be limited to minimum. Fortunately, people are nowadays much more aware of how essential fats are for our well-being and minimizing fat intake is not that popular anymore. When it comes to fats, the quality and ratio of different types of fats is what matters the most. Our diet should predominantly contain fatty acids from olive oil, avocados, almonds and nuts; animal fats should be consumed in smaller quantities. Our nutritionist Mari-Liis will focus on the daily intake of fats in our soon-to-be-published post dedicated to dietary fats. A separate article on protein will be published as well, focusing on which types of protein sources to include into your diet and on how to increase the proportion of plant protein in your menu.

A healthy diet should be abundant in various vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients in other words, contain lots of vegetables, berries, fruit (preferrably less sweet ones) and of course all types of herbs and spices. An ideal diet should contain at least five portions of various vegetables, about two fruits, a cup of berries plus a handful of herbs and spices for minerals per day. It seems like an awful lot to remember at once, but don’t worry pick one of these food groups that you like and start including it into your menu more consciously. Chances are that in a few weeks you’ll be interested in herbs or spices as well. One step at a time!

3. Healthy lifestyle habits

In addition to the food you’re eating, you should pay attention to your physical activities, sleeping schedule and stress levels. Getting enough sleep is crucial for sufficient energy levels throughout the day. If we do not get enough sleep and our body feels tired, we tend to make up for the lack of energy by eating more. We also tend to make poorer choices about the quality of food when we feel tired that’s why it’s easy to start your day with a healthy porridge, but feel the temptation to reach for a burger in the evening. If we lack energy, we tend to get stressed much more easily, as if our lives would not be stressful enough yet. A stressed body will just in case hold onto the extra energy, because stress is a sign of a forecoming possible crisis or a fight, in which case the extra energy supplies would come in handy. To lower your stress levels, think over your pace of life is it possible to reduce the amount of activities or responsibilities (even temporarily) in any parts of your life? Various breathing exercises to calm your nerves will surely be of help as well.

4. Willpower and decision making

Building new habits and thus leaving your comfort zone needs a lot of effort, but human beings function by the principle of least effort and tend to usually avoid excess mental workload. A change is not usually implied unless there’s a strong need to do so. The example of ”an average man” who will not go to see the doctor until his problem gets serious enough illustrates this well. But is it really that wise to wait for that serious health problem to appear before deciding to make some lifestyle changes?

We can make the decision to change our lifestyle much earlier and thus prevent the ”lifestyle diseases” (including being overweight). If you are motivated enough, you will be determined to make a decision. If you have a reason and a goal in mind, weighing and logging your meals will be a valuable tool instead of an annoying assignment. Think of your reason for wanting to implement this change. If you act based on your inner will rather than external factors, you will be successful. Ask yourself: why or for whose sake am I willing to take up this tough journey? If you are not quite sure where your motivation comes from or how to listen to your inner voice, rewatch the Geneto Studio show and read the summarizing article “Motivation to get started, please”.

+ Genetics

Each one of us is different losing weight is easier for some and harder for others. The menu and recommendations of the Geneto app are based on the Nordic dietary recommendations. These nationally approved dietary recommendations are based on scientific studies and certainly make a helpful guideline, however these recommendations have been calculated for an average person. Not all of us are average. That’s why we have included a genetic test into the Geneto app to help you personalize your diet plan.

The result of this genetic test compares your risk of developing overweight to the average Estonian population. Genetics loads the gun, lifestyle pulls the trigger, meaning that theoretically everyone has a chance of developing obesity, but for some people it is a much bigger risk than for others due to their genetics. Our genes are about 40-70% responsible for developing overweight, the rest is based on our own actions. The bigger your genetic risk for being overweight, the stronger your genes affect the process of developing excess weight and thus the more effort you have to put into your lifestyle to maintain (or lose) weight. In contrast, the smaller your genetic risk, the easier it is for you to prevent developing excess weight or maintain your current weight with your lifestyle. For the most part in the history of humankind food has been difficult to obtain and people with higher food drive and genetic settings that favoured better absorption of nutrients (aka bigger risk of developing overweight) were successful. Nowadays things have changed food is cheap and easily accessible and therefore high food drive causes more trouble by tempting us to overeat.

A genetic test is a good motive for changing your lifestyle. We don’t need to wait for a serious health issue or a frightening accident to occur to have enough reason for changing our lifestyle. Testing your genes is a safe ”alternative wake-up call” which gives you a chance to nip a potential health issue in the bud. After giving you a proper wake up call, we won’t leave you alone the Geneto app is unique in that it turns the results of your genetic test into functional advice. Based on your results, our app will give you recommendations on how to personalize your diet to avoid the potential risks.

We at Geneto team know how difficult new habits are to build and how hard it is to find motivation and stay motivated. We try to make this journey as effortless and effective for people as possible. The Geneto app has already became a very versatile and effective tool. The results of our genetic test have encouraged a lot of people to take part of Challenges which are a fun way to be active and achieve goals together.

I invite you to take a leap towards a healthier lifestyle with us!

Tiina is a mentor of healthy changes in Geneto team. She is the chief operating officer (COO) of a startup company Geneto, a partner of the Geneto app, coming up with ideas on how to help and motivate people to introduce changes into their lifestyle. She is also the host of educational and inspiring Facebook live shows of the Geneto Studio which help to give you a lead on starting to change your lifestyle.

You can contact Tiina with any of the following questions:

  • How to use the app?
  • What am I doing wrong if I’m using the app, but won’t lose any weight?
  • If you seek for advice and help from a nutritionist
  • If you seek for advice and help with keeping a fitness journal in the app from a personal trainer
  • If you have any special requests or concerns (e.g diabetes, coeliac disease, food intolerances, eating disorders, eating while being pregnant)
  • If you wish to consult your genetic test results with someone

If you have any problems, questions or suggestions, you can contact Tiina via e-mail or leave your feedback via messages in the app.

Tiina Üürike
Mentor of healthy changes

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