1) Eat according to your when you're hungry and stop when you feel satisfied - not overfull. This can make a dramatic difference to the efficiency at which you digest food, produce energy from your food, and in turn burn excess fat weight. You may find you're a 3 meals-a-day person or conversely, 5 small meals are what your body is asking for. Meal timings (and amounts) depend heavily on your lifestyle and exercise level, so find what suits you best and "listen to your gut"! 

2) Focus on protein-rich meals and snacks and ditch the sugary or refined carbs. Protein fires up the metabolism more than any other macronutrient. Protein doesn't have to come from meat or fish either. Any plant-based food that has a good and varied concentration of amino acids is perfect - think nuts, beans, pulses, seeds, and an abundance of leafy greens and vegetables. Try mineral-rich seeds such as zinc-rich pumpkin seeds, calcium-rich sesame or sunflower seeds, or shelled hempseeds, which can be eaten on their own, or added to salads or generously sprinkled over fruit. A few nuts as a snack is a great protein-rich pick-me-up, with almonds and walnuts being popular for their nutritional profiles, and taste.

3) Starting the day with a focus on protein and healthy fat is also a good move. Try a bowl of fresh fruit, with berries, walnuts, and ground flax or hempseeds. Alternatively, go for eggs with avocado and spinach or watercress. These meals provide a good amount of protein and “good” fats to start the body's engine and keep your metabolism going throughout the day. Plus, these low carb meals will moderate the insulin response and result in more constant blood sugar levels, as well as better fat burning capacity. 

 4) Don't forget your healthy fats! Think especially about the omega-3 rich hemp seed oil, or flax oil which "rev up" the metabolism, specifically in helping the body more efficiently burn body fat. Add seed oils to salads or smoothies. Plant foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids include hempseeds, flax and chia seeds, walnuts, and certain leafy greens and herbs such as watercress, lamb’s lettuce, purslane, and seaweeds/sea vegetables such as samphire grass. 

5) Watch your intake of carbohydrates. If you want to lose weight, specifically body fat, you may well need to reduce and limit your carb intake - that means potato, bread, porridge, muesli, other cereals, rice and pasta. Choose a little of the following healthy carbohydrates to accompany meal - quinoa, brown rice, beans and lentils. Try puy lentils which need no soaking and cook in 15-20 mins. They are tasty, filling, and very nutritious!

6) Get good quality sleep. Too many of us underestimate the importance of a good night’s sleep. Sleep is crucial to keeping the body's metabolic pathways running smoothly. Not enough sleep has been linked to an increased output of the hunger hormone, ghrelin, as well as weight gain, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes. 

7) Stoke the metabolic fire with the right kind of exercise. Building muscle means an increased number and more efficient mitochondria (the cell structures that are the powerhouse of your metabolism). Exercise daily if you can, or at least 3-4 times a week. Yoga, Pilates, walking, swimming, resistance training, cycling, or running are all great forms of exercise. Mix it up!

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