Weight loss is simple but is not always easy!
For every “new” diet you read about, the bottom line will always be energy balance. How much energy are you putting into your body and how much energy are you expending.
If the energy going in is equal to the energy being used, your weight will remain the same.
If the first number is continually greater than the second, your body will hang on to these calories and your fat stores will increase. The energy we consume has to be used at that time for movement and biological processes or it will be stored as fat for later use.
If the number of calories we expend is greater than the number we consume, we will tap into and burn our fat stores and they will continue to reduce. Simple!
Now for the not always easy bit!
It has long been said that if you create a 500 calorie deficit each day for seven days, you will lose 1lb or ½ kg of body weight. There will always be a slight variation from person to person, but if you use this as a start point, it will give you an idea of what is required if fat loss is one of your goals.
The key message here is about being consistent. If you move more every day, do some form of structured exercise most days (burn more calories) and eat less each day (consume fewer calories), you will flip the numbers and create a calorie deficit = Fat loss.
So how do we create this energy deficit from a diet point of view? I’ll keep this brief and to the point.
Make a decision on what you want to eat for the week and make a shopping list. If you know you won’t have much time to cook and have no interest in being a contestant on masterchef, then don’t get too fancy. Keep it SIMPLE!
Cooking does take time, so if you can get your biggest pan out and make 6 or 8 portions of the same meal you are on to a winner. The evenings you work late or get home late from the gym, you know there is a tasty, healthy meal defrosting in the fridge that takes 3 minutes to heat up. Plus by doing this, you are controlling your portion sizes and being consistent.
See above 😉 But also, find what works for you and stick to it. Myself and many of my clients stick to one or two breakfast options almost all of the time. This usually involves some form of oats or eggs. For your lunch and healthy snacks, plan ahead and take them with you so there is no room for poor food choices and your calorie intake is controlled.
Healthy variations of food we enjoy:
I love a curry, but I know a homemade curry is going to contain less sugar, less fat, more protein and more vegetables. I control my portion by getting the Tupperware out and sticking a few meals in the freezer for next week. Cutting out the foods you enjoy increases the likelihood of you having a huge blow out and derailing your progress! Look at ways of reducing the calorific value and increasing the nutritional value in the foods you love.
Increase protein and fiber in our diet:
If you are exercising regularly, you should be ensuring you get enough protein in your diet. It is vital for tissue repair, and along with training will help you change your body shape and composition. Sufficient protein and fiber rich carbohydrates, from vegetables and fruit will help you feel full and provide your body with all the vitamins, minerals and energy it needs. A diet rich in fibrous foods promotes a healthy gut too!
Cut out as much added sugar as possible:
Hopefully we have all got this message by now. Bad for teeth, bad for your liver, causes insulin resistance that leads to Diabetes. Affects your mood, increases your risk of developing cancer, leads to obesity in adults and children, raises cholesterol levels which increase your risk of heart disease.
This varies from person to person and depending on your activity/exercise levels and air temperature. To be sure you are adequately hydrated, take a look at your pee and make sure it is clear. I aim for around 2.5 litres per day of H2O plus an extra coffee or two. Carry a water bottle with you and form a good habit of staying well hydrated throughout the day.
Make it easy to eat the right things:
Stock up on healthy snacks, in the kitchen, the car, at work. A small pot of nuts or a few pieces of fruit in the car mean you will not feel the urge to grab a mars bar at the petrol station.
Make it easy to avoid the poor food choices:
Clear out all the stuff that is going to derail your progress. It only takes a fraction of a second for temptation to get the better of us, and suddenly we have destroyed half a packet of Jaffa cakes. Don’t buy them! Don’t make it hard for yourself, clear out the poor choices and make good choices easily accessible.
I hope this helps you work your way through all the faddy diet plans out there and answers a few questions. Check out our website page for more information on our approach to improving your nutrition. http://www.bodyactivedevon.co.uk/nutrition/