Here's ten top tips to keep you slim in the long run
It takes more than a diet to sustain weight loss
ANY diet will work. As long as it puts you in a calorie deficit then you will lose weight.
Examples are Weight watchers, Slimming World, low carb, low fat, Paleo, grapefruit diet, alkaline diet, and juice diets to name but a few.
However, you need to ask yourself the following:
• Does it maximise nutrient intake and your health?
• Does it maximise your performance?
• Do you enjoy eating this way?
• Does it leave you feeling good?
• Does it not leave you feeling starved or deprived?
• Can you maintain it forever and turn it into a lifestyle?
If you answer no to any of these, then you may want to rethink your choice of diet.
The commonality between them all is calorie restriction. The more drastic the restriction, the quicker you will lose the weight, but the more unsustainable it will be.
Diets only work for the short time that you are following it. As soon as you resume your normal eating behaviours then you will more than likely regain the lost weight.
It's a perpetual cycle of yo-yo dieting, one which can leave you with a feeling of despair, guilt, and diminished self-worth.
Succeeding with permanent fat loss takes a truck load more than following a diet. Instead we need to change our behaviours around food, adopt a more positive approach, and ultimately build a healthy relationship with food.
Here are my top tips for long lasting, sustainable, and enjoyable fat loss:
1. Zone in to Your Zen
Become more mindful about how and why you eat. Repeat after me:
- I give up fear of failing my diet, I will accept when I have over indulged and then move on
- I give up punishing myself over my food choices, I will be kind to myself regardless
- I give up sabotaging my diet when I am upset, angry, or bored, I will confront my emotions instead of burying them in food
- I give up exercising to burn off the Moro bar I just ate, I will exercise to get fit and strong
- I give up striving for the perfect diet, I will have patience and strive for progress
2. Stay Hydrated
Drinking enough water is important to help our bodies work at their best, and that includes the fat-loss process. Aim for 2-4 litres per day, depending on your size. Add a fresh slice of lemon, lime, or cucumber for a twist.
3. Ditch the 'Diet' Foods
Lay off on "diet" foods, meal replacement bars, shakes, and drinks and eat real food instead. Opt for whole and minimally processed food most of the time. Think fresh vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, nuts, seeds, natural oils, dairy and whole-grains.
4. Fuel up on Micro-nutrient Power
Eat vegetables (or fruit) with each meal. They are a pillar of health, high in fibre and low in calories. Think rainbows, the more colour variety the better to cover your vitamin and mineral needs.
5. Eat Protein with Each Meal
Protein is essential for helping with appetite control, losing less muscle and more fat when in a calorie deficit, and optimising metabolism. It also helps stabilise blood sugars and is crucial for repairing your muscles after training.
6. Eat Healthy Fats with Each Meal
Healthy fats are necessary for your brain, eyes, hormones, and overall health. They also help with satiety, balancing blood sugars, and stabilising mood and energy levels. Try to get most of your fats from foods such as nuts, seeds, avocados and coconut.
7. Embrace the Carbs
If you are an active person then a very low carb diet is not sustainable. Eat some starchy carbs at each meal but have the chunk of carbs on higher intensity exercise days so you can fuel and recover from your training. Carbs are also better tolerated by the body around the workout period, where they're less likely to be stored as fat.
8. Listen to Your Body
Eat when hungry and stop when satisfied (or 80% full), not stuffed. Get to know your hunger cues and know the difference between hunger and eating out of boredom or due to cravings. Keep the hunger monsters at bay by eating every 2-4 hours to prevent you from making poor food choices because you are "hangry".
9. Treat Yourself
Allow yourself some dietary freedom and indulge in fun food from time to time. Give yourself the choice and feel the mental struggle disappear. This way, there's no deprivation, no starvation, and no food is "off limits". This is ultimately what makes any nutrition plan maintainable, sustainable, and enjoyable.
10. Rest and Revive
Sleep is probably the most forgotten ingredient for fat loss. Rest is critical to becoming healthier and leaner, helping to regulate the crazy hormones flying around the body, so it's crucial to get enough shut-eye.
Karen is a personal trainer and runs online nutrition programmes. See www.thenutcoach.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org