If you’re looking for information on weight loss, it’s a minefield out there. So many faddy diets and celebrity trends offer us quick fixes, but do they really work? More importantly, are they sustainable? Sadly, for the majority, the answer is yes they may work for short-term weight loss but no, they’re not sustainable.
So, how can we achieve a healthy weight loss and keep it off? Well, you can make a start by reading our tips and making a change today.
1. Throw away your scales. From this point forwards, think less weight-loss and more fat-loss. If you can get down to your ideal dress/waist size, do you really care what the scales say? Our weight fluctuates daily by about 3lbs so weighing every day can give misleading and often demoralising results. Also, if you exercise, your body composition will change and as muscle weighs more than fat, you could be losing fat without realising it. If you want to monitor your progress, get a set of body fat scales.
2. Don’t follow a ‘fad’ diet, they don’t work. Any diet which takes your daily calorie intake below 1200 will slow your metabolism. It’s important to understand why this happens. Our bodies are designed to go into ‘starvation’ mode when our calories fall below a certain level (about 1200). This means that it actually holds on to fat stores and burns muscle instead.
As muscle burns more calories than fat, the more muscle you lose, the fewer calories you’ll burn throughout the day which will ultimately make it harder to lose weight. Yes, you’ll lose weight initially but the important thing to remember is that these diets are not designed to be followed long-term.
When you begin to eat normally again you’ll be burning fewer calories than you were before when you started which is why people tend to put weight on as soon as they finish the plan-crazy huh? Yes, it is crazy and, when you think of it this way, it makes no sense. Don’t do it. Simple.
3. Exercise. At the most basic level, we lose weight by burning more calories than we consume. We’ve established that these burned calories need to come from fat not muscle through eating enough calories. The only way to burn calories is through activity.
To lose 1lb of fat, we need to burn 3500 calories. Consume 250 less a day than you do at the moment, burn an extra 250 through activity and you could be losing 1lb a week. A brisk walk for an hour will burn around 300 cals, an hour’s aerobics can burn around 350 (depending on how energetic you are!).
It’s very important to include some kind of resistance training in your weekly activity. As muscle burns more than fat, we can increase our metabolism through weight training so we’re burning more calories even at rest. There’s more information on this in my previous post here http://wp.me/pQJFA-3M
4. Don’t put yourself ‘on a diet’. Think of your fat loss as a long-term lifestyle change. Eat healthy, non-processed food, limit sugary and fatty foods, control your portion sizes and you will reap the benefits and by not denying yourself the odd treat, you’ll not feel like your going without. Which brings us nicely on to…
5. Don’t deny yourself treats, it’ll just make you miserable. Please remember though, that moderation is the key. The odd treat is fine, just not every day. Many people make the mistake of eating really healthily all week then having a blowout at the weekend because they ‘deserve it’. Try to avoid this – consistency is the key. If you want a treat at the weekend, have one – just not an all-out calorie-sugar-booze-fest.
6. Limit the booze. Many of us discount drinks when counting calories. In fact, alcohol plays a big part in inhibiting fat loss. 1g of alcohol contains 7 calories (for your information 1g of protien=4 cals, 1g of fat=9 cals and 1g of carbohydrate=4 cals). A large glass of wine can contain as much as 180 calories and a pint of lager 250 cals.
7. Finally, don’t expect a fast loss. Remember, to lose fat and keep it off you change your lifestyle. A healthy loss is 1-2lbs per week. Any more than that and your metabolism is likely to be affected. The longer it takes to lose it, the longer it’ll stay off.