5 tips for fat loss… That are nothing to do with dieting
When trying to lose weight, you’re actually trying to lose fat. Fat loss happens when you eat less energy than you use - but we all know it’s not as easy as ‘just eating less’.
If like most of the UK population, you’ve tried a diet or two and found that the weight doesn’t stay off long-term, it will likely be because you restricted too much in your effort to eat less and this meant that the plan just wasn’t sustainable.
As a refreshing break from ‘eat less, move more’, here are some more practical tips that are tried and tested with clients and genuinely lead to a leaner, healthier body over time. More importantly, because there’s no diet plan or extreme restriction, your mind will be happier too, which means you’ll have created healthy habits that you actually want to continue long-term!
This is so important. Consistency means:
a) not being hard on yourself when food or exercise don't go to plan
b) long-term progress, rather than having highs and lows and then just giving up.
You can monitor this with a consistency calendar or habit tracker for two to three goals a week or month. Over time, consistency with fewer goals will work better than big goals for short bursts.
2. Regulating hunger
Regular meals and snacks are the easiest way to manage episodes of overeating or binge eating, which can be a main cause of extra energy intake in a lot of people, leading to weight gain.
Ideally, you don't graze all day but also never feel so hungry you want to eat the stale crackers in the cupboard. Your stomach completely empties in about five hours, and half empties in two and a half to three hours, which is where regular meal and snack times can help you manage your hunger levels throughout the day.
3. Balancing meals and snacks
Where you can, make up half your plate with vegetables, a quarter with a high-quality source of protein and another quarter with carbohydrates, ideally wholegrain versions. This could also mean some flexibility and randomness in your meals! For instance, adding cherry tomatoes or fruit to a cheese toastie for lunch, or tofu to a veggie stir-fry that was just veg and noodles for some added protein.
4. Having easy and tasty back-ups
Firstly, there are plenty of pre-prepared or freezer foods that are still healthy and great options for when you're busy - just check the ingredients for any added salt or sugars and choose ones with a high percentage of the main ingredients. Examples include soups, ravioli/ tortellini, frozen breaded fish or chicken, stir-fry veggies, curry sauces.
Make sure you have options that you like too - when you're tired, hungry and home late, you're much more likely to make unhealthy choices if you don't have healthier alternatives that are quick and easy in the house that you actually want to eat.
5. Lifting weights
Many people prioritise running or other cardio when considering weight loss, but really, lifting weights is more likely to have a positive effect. Apart from making you stronger and improving bone strength too, it can help build muscle, which requires more energy to maintain. This means you need a little more energy (food) for the same amount of expenditure (moving, exercise, digestion, etc.). Side note: cardio is awesome for heart health, so it's still recommended.
My advice would be to try making just one change for the next month and see how it goes. Think of it like compound interest - staying consistent with even the one healthy habit will have an increased effect over time. Be patient with your progress!