Our personal trainer, Jess, explains the dos and don’ts of weight loss. Read on for long-term weight loss tips that really work.
When it comes to weight loss, unfortunately there are no quick fixes. Anything that promises rapid weight loss just doesn’t work. Sustainable, long-term lifestyle changes do.
Eating the right foods in the right quantities is crucial. Don’t be fooled by healthy fats and natural foods. If you eat too much of anything, you’re unlikely to sustain a calorie deficit.
Calculate how much fat, carbohydrate you should be eating each day. Plan healthy meals in advance. Prioritise veg and avoid junk food. Use an app to track what you’re eating and set realistic goals. Be sure to celebrate your progress along the way.
As a Personal Trainer, I’ve helped many people reach their weight loss goals. Here are the top tips I’ve learned along the way:
Strict low-carbohydrate diets, such as Keto, Atkins or South Beach, may help you lose weight initially. But they have been shown to be ineffective in the long-term.
People who lose weight on these diets tend to put that weight back on. This is because these diets are tough to maintain long term. They also have health risks associated with them.
A long-term approach must start by understanding what types of food our body needs to be healthy, and how much of them we need to consume.
It is important to look at your behaviours around food. How did you reach the point of needing to lose some weight?
Emotionally, this can be a difficult question to consider. But try to be honest with yourself, however hard that feels. Is it that you simply didn't realise you were consuming too many calories? Or is eating an emotional crutch?
It is important to address how you relate to food psychologically. Without doing so, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to lose weight in the long-term. Once the novelty of being slimmer wears off, the weight may creep back on.
Some people believe that simply eating the right foods will be enough to cause weight loss. I’d beg to differ.
Of course, eating healthy foods helps. Eating healthily will help nourish every part of your body from your head to your toes. But to lose weight, you need to inform yourself on how much you should be eating. It is important to understand the mechanics of digestion and metabolism.
It's still possible to consume excess calories while eating the right foods. When you eat healthy you might be eating healthy sugar and fats. However, this can still tip your calorie input into excess.
To lose weight, you need to create a calorie deficit. Your calories burned must be more than your calories consumed. On average, a daily 500 calorie deficit is sustainable and will help you lose weight. As you move towards your weight loss goal you can reduce the deficit to maintain your weight.
How many calories you need to eat to create a deficit will depend on your activity levels. Let’s compare the calories a person burns when sedentary with when they are active. These figures are based on a 5 foot 9 inch, 50 year old male who weighs 80kg:
To create a calorie deficit, this person would need to drop to 1469 calories if they were sedentary. If they exercised 1 - 2 times per week, they’d need to drop to 1779 calories. Exercising 3 - 5 times per week, they’d need to drop to 2056.
This useful calorie calculator will help you work out how much you burn each day. To create a deficit, you need to either eat less or exercise more. Or both. Here’s a guide to calories burned doing different types of exercise.
When working out how many calories you need to eat to create a deficit, it is important not to overdo it. Women should consume no less than 1,200 calories a day and men no less than 1,500.
Using diet tracking apps, such as My Fitness Pal, can help you to get a good picture of what you are consuming. These apps will help you track how much protein, carbohydrate and fat you are eating. They can also highlight things such as salt intake.
You may only need to use an app at the beginning of your journey to give you a picture of what you are consuming. Once you’ve got the hang of the right quantities to form a balanced diet, you can stop using it. Unless, of course, you find it helpful.
We need way more veg and fruit than we think! Although government guidelines recommend five portions a day, I’d say we need more like seven.
Try to build your meals around veg, rather than add them as a side. Vegetables are rich in fibre and nutrients, essential for the healthy functioning of our bodies.
When it comes to weight loss, fibre is your friend. Fibre-rich vegetables include artichokes, chickpeas and broccoli, to name but a few. Fibre keeps you full and can stop you over eating. Eat veg first when you are sitting down to your meal.
Take an evening each week to plan what you are going to eat each day. Do as much meal prep in advance as possible.
Planning ahead will help stick to your diet. Without a plan, you can end up shopping when you’re hungry. Your blood sugar will be low. Suddenly crisps, sugary drinks and sweets all seem like the best idea ever!
It is hard enough being bombarded with unhealthy calorie-laden foods when we’re out and about. Don't make being at home a struggle.
In the evenings, you may be bored and tired or in front of the TV. These are often the times you’ll want to snack on unhealthy treats. Be kind to yourself and don't buy it. If it’s not in the house, you won’t eat it.
It is important that the goals you set for yourself are achievable. Calculating your BMI can be a useful way to set weight loss goals.
Try setting short-term, long-term, and medium-term goals. Talk about these goals with someone close to you, like a family member or friend.
Doing this can help to provide you with tangible achievements. This will boost your spirits when you have had a rubbish day or are feeling low about your progress.
It is a huge step to take control of your weight and overhaul your diet. Sometimes progress isn't linear. Celebrate what you do achieve rather than berating yourself for what you don’t.
It's exciting to daydream about the future, lighter, more confident you. But try to be kind to your current self too. You’ll be more likely to make healthy choices.
A lot of health food packages make bold claims about not having any nasty, artificial ingredients. For example, cereal bars and smoothies.
These foods may be additive-free. But they tend to include an insane amount of sugar. Sugar found in fruit (fructose) is just as detrimental to our blood sugar levels as refined sugar.
Just because fructose comes from fruit, this doesn’t mean you can consume as much as you want. If you want to lose weight, try to cut down on all types of sugar.
Healthy fats may be more nutritious than other types of fat. But don’t become complacent about them. Fats are fats. To lose weight, you need to control how much fat you consume.
Eat the right amount of the right stuff. Don't go gung ho on avocados, nuts and seeds because they are good for you. They are only good for you in the right amounts.
My ultimate weight loss tip is to empower yourself with the knowledge of nutrition. This will help you sort fact from fiction when it comes to weight loss advice.
Here are some links to useful websites and books to help you:
We hope our weight loss tips help you meet your goals. Looking to start a fitness habit? Check out our workout routine for beginners and get those endorphins flowing.