- James Coates
7 Simple ways to lose weight
Are you looking for some simple ways to lose weight and keep it off? Great, that means you have already decided that you need to make a change and want to improve your health and the shape of your body. The good news is that you can do it, and it is relatively simple. The bad news however is that simple doesn’t necessarily mean easy.
You have probably tried to lose weight or get in shape before and it didn’t work, or it wasn’t sustainable. It takes motivation, right? Not entirely. Motivation will get you started, but discipline will keep you going. It is much easier to stay disciplined if you have a strategy, which helps develop good habits and in turn helps to stop the doubts and negative behaviours creeping back in.
Track what you eat and drink
Firstly, this makes sense because you will be able to monitor your calorie intake. If you don’t
monitor calories effectively it can be very difficult to know how much of a change you need to make, and whether you are succeeding in that change. Secondly it will also develop your awareness of the foods you are eating, the quality of those foods and how each choice can have a profound effect on your macro’s and calories. There are lots of apps available which make this super simple (My Fitness Pal is one of my favourites).
Ideally, when you are looking to burn fat, you should to aim for a calorie deficit of around 500 calories a day from your total daily expenditure. The effectiveness of this varies from person to person and we also know that not all calories are equal. Therefore, it is also important to know the quality of your food choices too.
Here is one extremely simple rule to help you lose weight, don’t drink your calories. Yes, that does mean alcohol too, Boo!! Yes, we all know that it tastes great and you get stick from your mates for abstaining, and that Resveratrol in wine is good for weight loss. But, there is no denying that it is way too easy to over consume and under estimate how many calories we ingest when in liquid form. Also, they have a less satiating effect so won’t fill you up for as long and can often create the much-maligned insulin spike that switches your body into fat storage mode.
What should you be eating? More protein, fibre and healthy fats, less sugary carbs. A good ratio of macros to aim for is 50/30/20 (% of daily intake from carbs/protein/fats). This should be relatively easy to reach when you are consuming predominantly whole foods. Take a look at this list of high nutrient foods to base your diet on.
Sticking to three meals a day helps to keep the body’s energy levels regular, trains your appetite and makes it simpler to plan and stick to a new routine. It is also beneficial to try to extend our overnight fast. This means eat early in the evening and late in the morning if this is possible.
Pre plan snacks and cheats
Some people can’t stick to three meals a day, or hunger gets the better of them. Ideally, grab
yourself a glass of water. This is a healthy habit anyway, but it can also help to stave off hunger pangs. Try drinking a small glass of water and wait 10 minutes before deciding if you are still hungry.
If you really can’t avoid snacking between meals, you definitely need a strategy. This makes it less likely that you will make the wrong choices. Try planning for two small snacks (i.e. almonds, sliced veg, eggs, hummus, cottage cheese) to help you get between meal times.
I don’t like the words ‘cheat meal’, it somehow signifies that we are depriving ourselves of something that we want. My advice here is to think of it as just making sensible choices regarding the amount of these foods you eat and to make sure you really want it when you do have it. Also ask yourself if you are eating some foods out of habit, or even emotional attachment.
There is no reason why you can’t start now. Even if you don’t have a plan or you have a social will engagement that might not fit with a healthy regime. Start somewhere, get the ball rolling and take pride in the fact that you are taking action. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing, you shouldn’t perceive it as missing out on the foods you like. Think of it as an opportunity to find new foods and exercise routines that you will enjoy as much, if not more.
The evidence regarding the benefits of good sleep is overwhelming, yet many of us still don’t make this a priority. This is a false economy because investing a little time and effort in getting good sleeping habits will pay off with increased productivity, energy levels, mood, health and weight management. 7.5 to 8 hours every night should be part of a regular sleep pattern. Try to create a familiar bedtime routine, avoid external stimuli and blue light within an hour or so of bedtime. No caffeine after 2pm. Your bed should be comfortable, and the bedroom should be a calm and relaxing environment that is dark, quiet and cool.
If you are new to exercise, or haven’t done any for a while, it is a good idea to start off relatively
easy to avoid any uncomfortable muscle soreness, and injury. But your body will adapt very quickly, and it is important to keep challenging yourself as you progress.
Look for every opportunity you can to increase activity in your daily life. Walk more, walk your commute, walk further, walk faster, walk at lunch. Take the stairs, run up the stairs, move around more at work. Take some time to think about how you can use Play a sport with friends or your kids, join a sports club, try Parkrun, sign up for a challenge. Weight training and HIIT have been shown to be very effective in stimulating metabolic changes within the body to promote the use of fat stores as a source of energy.