Recently I wrote a blog called “The secret to achieving your health and fitness New Year’s resolutions”. Based on what I have witnessed over 18 years as a PT I offered my top 4 tips for guaranteed success.
One of my tips related to asking yourself ‘WHY”. Why do you want to get healthier and fitter?
For many, their number 1 reason will be to lose weight. Bearing this in mind this blog offers a number of key ways that have been useful for me, as well as my clients, at shifting those excess kilos.
Exercise alone will not help you lose weight.
Back in 2000, before I became a PT, I exercised regularly. I ran, attended spin classes and lifted weights. But no matter how much I did I never lose any weight. It got to a point where I believed I was not meant to have a waistline.
Through frustration, I decided I needed to educate myself around where I was going wrong. I found myself my own PT.
It’s tough to create a substantial calorie deficit through exercise alone. What prompts weight loss is generating and maintaining a calorie deficit.
The calorie deficit journey
It’s very important to remember there’s no quick fix for weight loss. If someone promoting a fad diet to get the weight off- avoid it!
My journey from 38 inch waist trousers to 30 inch took some time, but it was worth it.
Gradual weight loss may sound frustrating, but you’re more likely to succeed if you change your mentality about food and exercise.
What I found worked really well was a number of small habit changes. Try them and see if they work for you.
1. Before and after photos are important motivators.
This is powerful and a great place to start. It’s important to have those before pictures. You’re saying to yourself; “I can be better than this”.
When I look at those photos of me above it reminds me I never want to go back to that person from 2000. In a blog by ‘Fitness 19’ they suggest it forces you to feel the emotions that will make you take action
The 2021 me is not a sleek as the 2004 version, but I’m still happy in a 32 inch waisted trouser.
2. Don’t Shop Hungry
Going to the grocery store feeling hungry is one of the easiest ways to derail your good intentions. Research studies have shown shopping hungry causes shoppers to impulse buy high calorie junk food they don’t really need.
Don’t fall into that trap.
Plan your grocery trips and eat before you shop. The last thing you need is for your overactive appetite and hunger pangs to convince you to get food you don’t need. I made this mistake a few times.
3. Eating small every 2-3 hours
Everyone is different in their food preferences and lifestyle; however I personally found eating small every 2-3 hours worked well for me.
It reduced my cravings for food, kept me full longer and increased my metabolism. It proved effective for weight loss.
An article by Harvard medical school supports these claims. They also highlight eating fewer than three times a day puts you at risk for overeating and choosing less healthy foods.
4. Change the plate size to portion control
An idea worth considering, especially if you are going to eat every 2-3 hours, might be to move away from the normal dinner plates and use the smaller size ones. This helps with portion control.
Portion control is a big factor in your dietary success . Our minds have a tendency to want to fill plates – the empty space isn’t very appealing, and it makes perfectly adequate meals look smaller and less filling than they really are.
Using a smaller plate means you can fill it with less food and reduce your risk of overeating. If you aren’t sure how much to eat with each meal, use a smaller plate to control your portions and don’t go back for seconds.
Similarly, if you are eating out with friends try ordering 2 entrees rather than an entrée and main.
5. Cut out all Sugary Drinks
When you think of orange fruit juice do you think healthy?
Many years ago I use to buy a litre of orange juice on the way home from the gym thinking this was good for me. But the reality is all juice drinks are very high in sugar. The instant killer for any diet.
In a single glass of orange juice there can be up to 3-4 oranges. Its main drawbacks are mainly linked to its calorie content and effects on blood sugar levels that influence weight gain. A report by Healthline indicated drinking orange juice can decrease our body’s ability to burn fat by up to 30%.
From fruit juice to soda to sports drinks to energy drinks. They all come with a host of reasons why you should stay away.
6. Water is your number 1 friend
If you’ve been drinking sugary, high-calorie beverages for some time, switching to water may prove to be a challenge.
I won’t lie- Back in the day this was a challenge for me. Breaking the addiction for sugary drinks and moving to water was tough. But the choice has so many benefits. Most noticeably you instantly cut out a lot of unwanted calories from your diet.
Many studies support the theory that drinking water is beneficial for weight loss. Medical News Today highlighted 6 reasons why:
- Water is a natural appetite suppressant
- Water increases calorie burning
- Water helps to remove waste from the body
- Drinking water can reduce overall liquid calorie intake
- Water is necessary to burn fat
- Water helps with workouts
7. Have a cheat day
One of the most important things that kept me on track was having an indulgent cheat day 1 day each week. It was like a reward for staying discipline 6 out of 7 days.
Eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to give up your favourite foods 100% of the time. Many nutrition programs and experts recommend a 90/10 or 80/20 rule. This means you can “cheat” 10% of the time.
Using this reward approach is a great way to curb cravings and overcome the psychological grind that some may struggle with being on a weight loss program 24/7.
Research reported by the Atlantic supports these claims. 36 individuals who participated in diet program that had cheat days were better able to sustain their motivation and self-control than those who ate the same amount every day.
8. Remove all temptations
I know from my own experience- if there are chips in the cupboard, or a house full of ice cream, or a beer in the fridge my mind would be waging a 24/7 battle to indulge. I would not be able to relax until I knew that temptation was done.
Self-control in the face of temptation is a tricky thing; therefore it makes sense to remove any possible threat to your diet plans. Don’t allow those red flags items anywhere in easy access.
The fewer distractions you have, the more focused you will be on staying on track and accomplishing your goals. If you want to eat healthier, throw out the junk food. Want to drink less? Throw out the booze. – It’s that simple!
Take home message….
Hopefully this blog has given you some insight into ways you can refine your environment and change your habits around weight loss.
Which ideas resonate will you?
I recommend you try a few and see how you go. Keep it easy, keep it simple!
The problem isn’t the knowing; the problem is the doing.
Anybody who pays even a small amount of attention to food already knows, more or less, what we’re supposed to eat: more whole foods with their nutrients intact and a lot less junk.
You wouldn’t put cheap fuel in a racing car so why fill your body full of junk?
If you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave a comment below.