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10 simple habits to start losing weight now



A young woman drinks a glass of water in the office
Drinking water increases the amount of calories you burn, which is known as resting energy expenditure | Source: PubMed Central

Building good habits is an essential part of reaching your health and fitness goals. 

In my experience as a Personal Trainer, building long-term habits is arguably the main factor that distinguishes people who reach their long-term fitness goals and those that don’t.

Strong habits are essential because they reduce reliance on willpower and discipline and therefore boost your consistency and adherence.

Personally, I have been following all of the below habits on a daily basis for a long time. Because of this, they are almost second nature and I do them on autopilot almost like brushing my teeth.

This makes it significantly easier to take the actions that I need to take on a daily basis to reach my fitness goals.

When you first start implementing new habits, it’s not always easy in the first few weeks. Personally, I’ve never been a big fan of vegetables and at the beginning this was a habit that was tough to implement.

The key is to stick with it knowing that it’ll become easier over time. Now, I eat vegetables everyday out of habit and I actually enjoy how they taste! That’s definitely something I would have never imagined at the beginning!

Most of the habits discussed below are based around your nutrition and diet; That’s because what you eat is by far the most important factor when it comes to losing weight.

That being said, other variables like exercise and sleep still are important, so it’s important to not neglect these areas of your lifestyle as well. These variables are discussed below as well.

1. Eat more protein

In terms of managing hunger, protein is the most filling and satiating macronutrient. It can also help to reduce cravings.

A high protein diet helps your muscles recover after your workouts. It helps with muscle-building, and if you are dieting, it will help you to avoid muscle loss when losing weight.

Protein also has the highest thermic effect of any macronutrient, meaning that it burns the most calories simply by just being digested.

Consuming roughly 1 gram of protein per pound of lean body mass will optimise these benefits.

Examples of high-protein foods include:

  • Chicken
  • Red meat
  • Fish
  • Low fat greek yoghourt, milk, and cheese
  • Eggs
  • Protein powder

2. Drink more water

Water is a natural appetite suppressant.

When your stomach is full, messages get sent to your brain to stop eating. Drinking water takes up space in your stomach and can help to create this fullness along with the meals that you are eating.

Also, if you’re not drinking enough water, then it’s very easy to mistake thirst for hunger.

I like to flavour my food with plenty of seasoning, which is high in sodium and increases thirst. Back when I was a beginner and before I knew any better, this meant that I was eating more food when I wasn’t even hungry, I was just thirsty! Needless to say that this greatly stunted my weight loss results until I copped on.

3. Eat more fruit and vegetables:

Fruit and vegetables are right up there with the most filling foods that you can eat for the number of calories that they contain.

Because they have a high water percentage, they are very low in calories for the large volume that they offer.

Going back to the personal story discussed above, I used to really dislike eating vegetables. But through repetition and sticking with it, I now eat them every day without a bother. Even if you don’t like the taste of certain foods at the start, your body and taste buds will get used to them over time by a process called habituation.

4. Eat until satisfied, not stuffed

Once you feel satisfied and no longer hungry, that’s when it’s best to stop eating for weight loss. Eating until stuffed rather than satisfied will likely mean consuming a few hundred calories more per meal and this can be the difference between being in a calorie deficit and losing weight and not.

5. Live an active lifestyle

Are you doing some form of intentional exercise most days?

If you’re looking to lose weight, there’s only so low that you can drop your calories, especially as you get deep into a diet. When this happens, using other tools, like exercise, to increase the number of calories that you are burning each day becomes very important.

Living an active lifestyle does not need to involve getting hot, sweaty and breathless. It can simply involve walking more. Even if you have 5 or 10 minutes while you are waiting for the washing to finish, go and get some extra steps in!

Lifting weights is also another great option; When dieting, your body is at an increased risk of muscle loss and lifting weights helps to avoid this. Not only that, but lifting weights can also help you add more muscle to your frame and tone up. This will increase the number of calories that your body burns every day even when you are asleep because muscle tissue is very metabolically active.

6. Eat more home-cooked meals

On average, home-cooked meals contain significantly less calories than takeaways or meals that you buy when out and about.

When you prepare your own food, you have control over what goes into your meals. Meals that you don’t prepare yourself often have extra sugar and fats added, which can greatly increase the calorie count.

In this study [1], it was observed that people who prepare more of their own food, tend to eat healthier and eat less calories.

Personally speaking, I eat out with friends and family in moderation. It can be fun and food is a key part of many social occasions and that’s okay! That being said, I recommend home cooking your meals for the most part. You’ve a lot more control over what goes into it and there won’t be as many high calorie additives in it like oils and butters.

7. Get plenty of sleep

7 – 9 hours of sleep is very important for weight loss.

Not sleeping enough makes you hungrier and increases your cravings for high calorie foods; This is your body’s way of trying to compensate for a lack of sleep.

Not getting enough sleep will also increase tiredness and this can mean that you move less the next day because your body wants to conserve energy.

Lack of sleep doesn’t make weight loss impossible, but it definitely makes it harder.

Finally, getting plenty of sleep improves the quality of your weight loss.(more from fat and less from muscle tissue). The science shows this and it’s something that I’ve definitely noticed with my own results having been someone who used to skimp on my sleep in the past.

8. Tracking

Tracking helps to ensure accountability and it removes the guesswork.

The first thing that you’ll need to track is your food intake. Otherwise, how else are you going to know if you’re in a calorie deficit or not?

There’s so many different ways to track calories, and different methods work best for different people. Find a method that works for you and suits your preferences.

The second thing that you will need to track is your actual results and whether you are moving towards your goals. Tracking your food is an important daily process, but at the end of the day it’s a means to an end and it’s results that we care about. The most common ways track body changes are:

1. Using the weighing scale

2. Using the mirror and take progress pictures:

3. Keep a track of how your clothes fit:

4. Take tape measurements:

Whatever method you choose, stick with it. Using the scale one week, taking progress pictures the next week and then taking tape measurements the week after that will make it very difficult to track progress. But if you use the scale each week, then it will be a lot easier to see what’s going on.

9. Eat mindfully and undistracted as much as possible

When you are eating, be present and focus on the physical act of eating as much as possible.

This means switching off the TV as much as possible and not munching down food while thinking about the stressful day at work that you just had.

Focusing on other things while eating distracts you and it can lead to you eating more food than you needed.

10. Have the same energy on the weekend

A habit that I often have to try to get clients that come to me out of is having a completely different energy on the weekend. It’s like they are living two different lives. During the week, they are regimented with their nutrition, exercise and sleep. But on the weekend, they eat a lot more, exercise less and skimp on their sleep.

Taking some downtime at the weekend is important in terms of maintaining balance and allowing your body to recharge. Slightly easing off the gas is fine, but your life shouldn’t look completely different. If it does, then this might be a sign that you need to dial things down slightly during the week, so that you don’t need to “escape” at the weekend.

Losing weight and maintaining a leaner physique doesn’t need to involve drastic changes; There are so many simple but effective behavioural and habit shifts that the average person can make that can dramatically improve their results.

In summary, you’ll get better results by making these lifestyle changes than you will from going on an unsustainable weight loss plan that involves turning your current life upside down and not being able to stick to it for more than two weeks.

I am a graduate lawyer with a passion for health & fitness. Whilst studying law at University College Dublin, I also qualified as a Personal Trainer and have worked with clients in Ireland and across the world via online coaching.


Cannes opens with French comedy and honorary award for Meryl Streep



Actress Juliette Binoche hands an award to Meryl Steep
Meryl Streep receives a honorary Palme D’Or from Juliette Binoche | Photo: Andrea Rentz

The 77th edition of the Cannes Film Festival officially opened last night with Quentin Dupieux’s Le Deuxième Acte (The Second Act), and an honorary Palme d’Or awarded to American actress Meryl Streep.

Presented Out of Competition as a world premiere on the Croisette last night, May 14, this four-part comedy was also released in all French cinemas on the same day. The film stars Lea Seydoux, Vincent Lindon, Louis Garrel and Raphaël Quenard playing squabbling actors filming a movie produced and directed by artificial intelligence.

The opening ceremony of the 77th Festival de Cannes, hosted at the  Grand Théâtre Lumière, also had American actress Meryl Streep as a guest of honour.

Streep received the Festival’s Honorary Palme d’or, 35 years after winning the Best Actress award for Evil Angels, her only appearance in Cannes until last night.

“My mother, who is usually right about everything, said to me: ’Meryl, my darling, you’ll see. It all goes so fast. So fast,″ added Streep. “And it has, and it does. Except for my speech, which is too long,” said the three time Oscar award-winning actress.

Last year French Film director Justine Triet won the Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or for her murder mystery film “Anatomy of a Fall” becoming the third female filmmaker ever to win the prize, which was first awarded in 1955. 

The 77th Cannes Film Festival is set to run until May 25th, when the Palme d’Or winners will be revealed, 2024.

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Exhibition in Madrid reveals science and technology behind Pixar’s films



Exhibition in Madrid reveals science and technology behind Pixar’s films
The Science Behind Pixar can be seen at CaixaForum Madrid until 8 September.

CaixaForum Madrid is currently hosting The Science Behind Pixar exhibition, created by the Museum of Science, Boston, in collaboration with Pixar Animation Studios. The exhibition is divided into eight sections, corresponding to the steps in the process Pixar uses to transform an idea into a film. With specific examples from some of their most famous films, the public will be able to experiment with the techniques behind the modelling, rigging, surfaces, sets and cameras, animation, simulation, lighting and rendering of animated films.

This is the third collaboration between the ”la Caixa” Foundation and Pixar Studios. In 2015, Pixar: 25 Years of Animation, represented a thorough review of this pioneering company’s work in computer animation in its 25 years of history. Subsequently, Pixar, Building Characters (which has travelled to five CaixaForums since 2020) focused on the visual design of the Pixar characters to best transmit the story and fit in with the other elements of the film. Now, the eight sections of The Science Behind Pixar will give visitors an insight into every stage of the technical process used by Pixar’s artists and computer scientists

The aim of the new exhibition is to peel away, layer by layer and in a way that is attractive for all audiences, the scientific, computer and mathematical concepts that lie behind our favourite Pixar characters. To do this, the exhibition is organised into eight sections, each of which explains in depth one specific step of Pixar’s technical process: Modelling, which allows characters to be created in 3D; Rigging, in which the virtual bones, muscles and joints are developed; design of Surfaces and Sets; Animation, which brings the story to life; Simulation, which provides automated movements; Lighting, which enhances the emotional impact, and Rendering, which turns 3D scenes into 2D images.

Throughout 815 square metres in CaixaForum Madrid, visitors will learn about all these steps that Pixar pays passionate attention to in order to bring its worlds and characters to life. Dozens of interactive and audiovisual elements will reveal what is hidden behind Pixar films, from the first-ever computer-animated feature film – Toy Story – which opened over two decades ago, to the release of Turning Red.

To better understand the science and maths that go into creating the worlds and characters of Pixar’s films, visitors will see audiovisuals and hear first-hand from members of the studios’ production teams. They will also be invited to experience different roles within the production pipeline, through screen-based activities and physical interactive elements.

In the Sets & Cameras section, for example, visitors will discover how camera placement and angles created a bug’s-eye view for A Bug’s Life; in Modelling, they will try their hand at creating a digital sculpture from an artist’s sketch and in Lighting they will use lights to solve challenges similar to ones Pixar faced in creating underwater scenes with virtual light in Finding Nemo. The exhibition route also includes human-size recreations of many Pixar film characters, such as Buzz Lightyear (Toy Story), Dory (Finding Nemo), Mike and Sulley (Monsters, Inc.), Edna Mode (The Incredibles) and WALL·E (from the film of the same name).

Throughout the months that the exhibition will remain at CaixaForum Madrid, the ”la Caixa” Foundation will be offering various activities to bring the art and science of Pixar closer to all audiences. In addition, the general public can take a guided tour and families can choose between the family tour and the animated stories workshop-tour, where visitors can make a short, animated clip to understand all the phases of the creative process after visiting the exhibition.

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Switzerland wins Eurovision song contest with non-binary singer



Non-binary singer Nemo, winner of the Eurovision 2024
Singer Nemo performed ‘The Code’ for Switzerland | Photo: Alma Bengtsson

After the very last set of scores had come in, The Code, performed by rapper Neno, was announced as the clear champion of the Eurovision Song Contest 2024 with a points tally of 591 and a lead of 44 points. 

Croatia finished in second place with Rim Tim Tagi Dim by Baby Lasagna on 547 points. The other spot on the podium finish went to Ukraine, ending up in third place thanks to alyona alyona & Jerry Heil with their song Teresa & Maria, on 453 points.

Scores on the night were awarded in two stages, as is traditional at the Eurovision Song Contest. The first results to come in were from the juries, followed by the reveal of the public vote.

Once the initial points from 37 juries had come in, Switzerland already had secured the lead on the scoreboard with 365 points.

Nemo is the first nonbinary artist to win Eurovision.

“I’m mostly just really grateful for this experience and all the friends I’ve made along the way. This was one of the most queer representations we’ve seen at Eurovision which was amazing, I want to shout out all the other queer artists this year,” said the artist who was born in Biel, a small bilingual town in Switzerland.

Nemo’s triumph in Malmö is Switzerland’s third win at the Eurovision Song Contest to date, following victory by Lys Assia in 1956 and Céline Dion in 1988.

Switzerland first participated in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1956, winning the very first edition of the competition, which it also hosted. 

It has been a controversial year for the song contest festival launched in 1956. For weeks, the question of whether Israel should be allowed to compete or not while engaged in a military conflict in Gaza dominated the media surrounding the event and attracted pro-Palestine activists to the Swedish city of Malmö. Eden Golan, a 20-year old singer representing Israel, was booed during a dress rehearsal; It has been reported that she was confined to her hotel room, while in Malmo to perform at Eurovision, after a series of threats against the Israeli delegation. Hours before the grand final, on May 11th, Dutch rapper Joost Klein, who represented the Netherlands, was disqualified from Eurovision 2024 over what the organisers described as an “incident” involving a female member of the production crew.

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