Nutrition science and information is constantly changing. Although this article has good points, my opinions and research have developed and changed. If you want to get started eating right for you, check out this new post on nutrition for beginners.
Weight loss is not an easy thing to achieve and many people struggle with it. The first thing that is important to understand, is the difference between weight loss, and fat loss. Healthy fat loss is what you are really aiming for, and when you have achieved this, it is more likely that you will keep the weight off for life. Just looking at the scales can be dangerous, and a lot of people mistake fat loss for muscle loss. Drastically dropping your calories will lead to weight loss, but a lot of it will be muscle. The result being a huge drop in your metabolism. This is undesirable on so many counts, but the worst part is that when you go off the diet, your body will be completely intolerant to the food you are eating, and you will most likely put all of the weight back on, and more. Here are 12 tips that may seem obvious to everyone, but if you apply them, you really will feel the fat slipping off you.
Eat More Protein
The consensus surrounding extra protein intake is that it is for people that want to build huge amounts of muscle. The fact is that if you start to increase your protein intake, you will have tremendous weight loss benefits. Protein is the hardest of all macro nutrients to break down, which means you stay fuller for longer, and you even have a small thermogenic effect, an increase in metabolism. Try to have some protein in every meal that you eat, and if you need to snack, opt for a high protein one such as nuts or cottage cheese. You may just feel like you need to start eating a lot of meat, but it is simply not true. Check out this post on natural protein sources to see exactly what kind of options you have, you will be surprised.
Eat More Veggies & Legumes
Vegetables are really low calorie, contain a lot of nutrients and will fill you up. If you have a big plate of veggies or add them to every meal, you will fill yourself up with less calories. Legumes have more calories, but they contain a lot of protein and very slow release carbs. We can’t drop our calorie intake too much, or we will start to lose muscle. Legumes are a great way to bulk up the meal without the risk of weight gain. Instead of having rice or pasta with a meal, add more vegetables or legumes.
Avoid Processed/ White Carbohydrates
A no carbohydrate diet is never a good idea. The fact is that we need carbohydrates to survive. Even more so if we are undertaking any sort of exercise. It is just stupid and dangerous to cut them out of your diet completely. You will lose weight, but it will all be water weight, and this kind of diet is not sustainable. Carbs fuel your body, and you do need them, you just have to be smart about where you get them from. Any processed carbohydrates, ‘white’ carbohydrates and obvious sugar sources need to be cut out. White bread, pasta and rice is really not going to give you much nutritional value. As a general rule, cut this out of your diet. Regarding other processed carbs in whole grain form, brown rice, whole grain bread, can be consumed, but only after exercise. You do this, you will seriously drop fat quickly. Legumes, veggies and fruit should be your main form of carbs, so eat a lot of them. Consume whole grain carbs after your workout to regenerate your body, and you will have success.
Do Weight Lifting
It is common to see people smashing the cardio when they are trying to lose weight. If you are not doing strength training, then you are missing out on an easy method to healthy fat loss. Weight training raises your metabolism permanently, more muscles equals a higher burning rate. it’s really simple, and a key that a lot of people miss, you will see instant results after starting a weight training program.
Eat A Good Breakfast
Breakfast is really the most important meal of the day. Eating wrong at breakfast is setting yourself up for a bad day, ignoring it all together is just plain stupid. I’m not going to elaborate here, check out this post on what to eat for breakfast. You will find some great recipes and reasons why you simply need to make breakfast your priority.
Eat Healthy Fats
If we followed what we see in the media, we shouldn’t be eating carbs and we shouldn’t be eating any fats. In that case you better go and stock up on celery. The fact is that you need fats in your diet, but you need the right fats. Healthy fats, fish oil, olive oil (not too much saturated fat) actually helps you slow down digestion and keeps your fuller for longer.
One thing a lot of people miss out on is the organization side of things. If you are organized, you will succeed following these rules. Try to set a diet, and follow it fora few weeks. Eat the same meals and the same foods over and over, until it becomes a habit. You can get a lot of variation from a list of foods. This might be a little boring for some, but especially at the start, it is really critical. It means you will never be out of food, and you know what you need to eat, and when you need to eat it.
This has been mentioned already a few times in this post, but it is still extremely important. You drop your calories drastically, you will end up dropping your metabolism equally as drastically, and losing muscle mass. Obviously cutting out white carbohydrates will decrease your calorie intake, so try to substitute them with vegetable and legumes. You will find that you actually end up eating more, and dropping the fat very quickly.
Do Cardio Work Effectively
Cardio can help you lose weight, but it is not the magic bullet. As mentioned above, combined with strength training, it can provide effective weight loss. Depending on your fitness goals there are a few ways to go about it. The fact is that low intensity cardio is pretty underrated. A long walk is a great way to burn calories, without the intensity. This is great for people that already to a lot of weights, and simply can’t add extra intensity to their training regime. Burning more calories means higher intensity cardio. Interval training is by far the most effective way to burn calories, and will get your good results. Work out what fits best with your current regime, and stick to it.
Getting a few more meals into your body during the day is a really effective way to lose fat. Traditionally we eat three meals a day, and the time in between meals is too much. You get hungry, blood sugar drops, and you want to eat a whole lot more at your next meal than necessary. Eat 4-6 times a day, to ensure that you keep your metabolism and blood sugar up. You will avoid cravings and overeating. Try to have protein at every meal or snack, and you will really start to achieve healthy fat loss.
Don’t Drink Calories
Fruit Juice, non-diet sodas, sugared coffee, slurpees, sweetened cordials are all a big no. Don’t drink sugar, it goes against all the rules.
Have A Rest Day
We can’t be good all the time. 90% of the time is enough. Eat well, train well, and 10% of the time take a break. not only will the break revitalize you and keep your motivated, getting some ‘bad’ food in might help you lose weight . You tend to down regulate your metabolism if your are dieting, and one day off a week of calorie spiking can help spike it again, leading to more effective weight loss.
Follow these 12 tips and you will achieve healthy fat loss.