With so many fads, diets, supplements and fitness programs out there, it can be hard to know exactly what you need to do to lose weight. The quick answer is – you don’t need ANY of these! However, keep on reading to find out our top tips to help you lose weight and maintain it.
If you ever get told or hear you can lose weight without doing exercise, run for the hills! If you aren’t doing exercise, the only way you’ll be able to lose weight is by starving yourself! Obviously this is NOT healthy and definitely isn’t a long term option. In fact, people who under eat are likely to put ON weight.
We aren’t saying you have to go on 5 mile runs every day or go all out 7 days a week at the gym. However, being active every day, in some form, will do your weight loss wonders. The average person in the UK does around 5,000 steps a day. Whereas the recommended amount to do is 10,000 steps a day. Simply by adding in a little walk every day could help give you much faster results. Walking not only helps raise your heart rate, which helps you burn more calories. It also gets the blood circulating around the body more efficiently. Research has shown that on average, people who walk everyday have lower cholesterol levels. Less visible cellulite. Better looking skin.
Type Of Exercise
You also need to look at the type of exercise you’re doing. Spending 2 hours a day at the gym, or going on 3 hour bike rides every day could actually be doing you more harm than good. If you put your body under excess stress, you could find it holds on to more fat in it’s reserves. For example, if you go to the gym, make your workouts effective. You shouldn’t be spending more than 1.5 hours in the gym each day – that includes warm up and cool down! You’ll find, in general, your body will react better to short bursts rather than long periods under stress. Within an hour you should be able to have a great workout and get everything done. If you can’t, maybe you need to speak to a trainer who can tweak your workout plan to be more effective.
If you can put 100% in to a 30 minute workout, you’ll find you get better and faster results than you would by spending hours putting in 80%. Try splitting up your gym or home workout session in to two parts. The first part could be lifting some heavy weights. Then spend the last 20 – 30 minutes doing some form of HIIT training. The weight lifting will help tone and build muscles. The HIIT training will get your heart rate up and burn calories quickly. However, you do have to really go for it. You should be on the floor panting, sweating…etc if you’ve done it right.
Please note – you should NOT be doing HIIT sessions every day as this could also cause excess stress in your body. Try to have a day in between where you do something a little more relaxed – maybe 80% effort instead.
Whether you can get to a gym or not, the main thing is you just move your body as much as you can. Take the stairs instead of the lift. Park a little further away from your supermarket. Walk or cycle to work if you can. Do some air squats while you watch tv in the evening – every little helps!
Now you’ve got your exercise down, it’s time to move on to your nutrition. This aspect gets complicated so much by people endorsing supplements, diets, fads…etc. However, all you really need is good wholesome foods. If you can cook your meals from scratch at home then do it! Once you’ve done it a few times, it’ll become routine and won’t feel like such a chore. Eating home cooked meals means you know exactly what has gone in to your meal. YOU control how much fat, carbs and protein goes in to your body.
Try to think about what you’re putting in your body. YOU are the only person who will be able to love you 100%. So, start by giving your body the fuel it deserves. Fruits, vegetables, beans, pulses and lean meats. However, we are talking about leading a sustainable lifestyle so your diet should be balanced. It’s OK to have treats now and then. The odd piece of chocolate or packet of crisps is fine – everything in moderation.
I try to say to people, aim for 80 – 20 over the week. 80% of your diet should be fruits and vegetables. 20% can be little treats here and there. If you don’t allow yourself ANY ‘bad’ foods, you won’t be able to keep it going long term.
I don’t advise people track what they eat as it can become quite an unhealthy obsession. However instead, try to make sure you have a small amount of fat (cheese, avocado…etc), protein (meats, beans, pulses..etc) and carbs (vegetables, pasta, bread…etc) in every meal. This should mean you stay fuller for longer.
Water is SO important when it comes to weight. Not only does it help to flush out all the toxins in your body, it also helps when it comes to weight loss. If you feel in need of a snack, try drinking some water instead. Many people who are a bit dehydrated will think they’re actually hungry instead of thirsty and start snacking. Obviously this isn’t what the body needs so you keep eating and eating to try and fill the wrong void. If you feel hungry, have a drink of water, leave it 10 minutes and see if you still feel hungry. If you don’t, it’s because you were thirsty.
You should be trying to drink at least 2 litres of water a day – depending on your activity levels. If you are very active or sweat a lot, you should be aiming for more around the 3 litre mark!
One aspect of weight loss that doesn’t get spoken about much is the need for a good night sleep. Going back to the stress within your body, a lack of sleep can do this a well. You should be aiming for at least 7 hours sleep a night, but an ideal sleep would be more around 8 hours a night.
If you find it hard to get a full night sleep, there are a few things you could try…
- Turn off ALL digital devices – try reading a book instead.
- Leave your mobile phone downstairs.
- Start winding down approx 1 hour before you intend to get in to bed.
- Put some drops of lavender on your pillow
- Listen to a relaxing podcast or soundtrack.
- Make sure you finish eating approx 2 hours before you go to bed.
- Make sure your bedroom is cool and dark.
We hope you have found this article of interest. If you have any questions about weight loss, please do get in touch!
Fitness Focus Team