Many people embark on drastic, unsustainable diets to lose their excess weight, only to find they pile the pounds back on again when the diet is over. To lose fat and maintain your ideal weight, you need to make permanent changes to your lifestyle. Here are some simple tips to get you started:
Don’t do everything at once.
Whilst at first it might seem like a good idea to jump right in and turn your whole life around in one fell swoop, big changes are more difficult to stick to. It’s much easier to make small and gradual adjustments to your diet and activity levels.
Replace high calorie snacks.
Rather than cut out snacking altogether, it’s a more feasible concept to replace snack foods such as chocolate, crisps and biscuits with low calorie alternatives such as fruit and oatcakes. This way you can stave off hunger without busting your belt.
Many pre-packaged meals and processed foods contain excessive amounts of salt, sugar and other additives. If you prepare your own meals from scratch you can manage exactly what goes into them, and avoid hidden calories. Be sure to have a source of protein, carbohydrates, and vegetables with each meal, and consider the cooking method – frying foods in lots of fat will undo your hard work.
Stay fuller for longer.
When choosing you foods, aim for those that will keep you fuller for longer. Low fat protein sources such as chicken, turkey and fish, as well as complex carbs such as brown rice, oats and wholemeal pasta with help delay hunger pangs.
Often, we underestimate the amount we eat and overestimate our portion sizes. Weigh your food out, use a smaller plate, and don’t eat until you are stuffed, just until you’re satisfied.
There’s no point completely denying yourself your favourite unhealthy foods, it never works and can often lead to bingeing. Be sensible about when you have your treats; once a week is fine so long as you don’t overindulge.
Write down your goals and why you want to achieve them, find a weight loss buddy, stick a photo of your ideal body to the fridge, promise yourself a holiday when you reach your targets… it’s important to stay motivated as you make changes to your lifestyle, as breaking long kept habits can be demoralising.
Be more active.
Weight loss is a simple equation: burn more calories than you consume. Increase your activity to increase the amount you burn. Could you walk or cycle rather that drive? Take the steps rather than the lift? Regular gym sessions should include a dedicated resistance programme as well as cardiovascular activity – more muscle mass will increase your resting metabolism, meaning you burn more calories at rest.
Remember, weight loss doesn’t happen overnight. Whilst you may want to shed the pounds as quickly as possible, this often isn’t the safest or most effective way in the long term. With consistency and dedication anyone can achieve their weight loss goals, and maintain them.