It comes as little surprise that the British are a nation of dieters, with 65% of women having claimed to attempted some form of weight loss in the past year (according to data analysts Mintel). Dieting isn’t just a women domain, 44% of men have also claimed the same.
Gender aside, when it comes to dieting many of us feel bombarded with a lot of options, while a lot of dietary advice is not sustainable long-term and simply acts as a quick fix. In this article we look at simple steps you can follow to end the deprivation diets and live a fitter life.
Have a plan
If you don’t have a plan or a programme then you will struggle to lose fat. Losing weight is easy as long as you know what you are doing. You should have a clear idea of how your training is laid out and what your diet should consist of. If you don’t know how to do this then employ somebody who does. Personal trainers can write a programme for you to follow and help you understand what food your body needs to eat and what it needs to avoid in order to lose weight healthily.
2. Don’t do everything at once
Too may people try and change everything in a bid to lose weight as fast as possible. They start training five times a week and reduce all their calories in a mission to get rapid results. However, what they are actually doing is stressing their bodies to the point that they won’t lose weight. Instead you need an organised plan. If you are going to do more high intensity workouts you need to ensure you don’t reduce calories too much so your body can recover and respond to the high demand of exercise. On the other hand if you have reduced your calories, you don’t want to be overly stressing the body with high intensity workouts. In order to achieve your desired results you should be performing a strength programme, increasing your calories on workout days and reducing them on rest days.
3. Be honest
We are all guilty of looking for what we are missing from our diets rather than addressing what’s wrong with it. We need to understand the behaviours that are causing the problems and be brutally honest with ourselves. Instead of looking for the newest diet craze, you should look at the bad foods you are eating and stop that instead; no more cocktail nights or ice cream. Stop eating junk food, reduce your portion size (which is what a lot of people do) and make better food choices. This will help regulate your metabolism and help it to function better. Food diaries can help monitor what you are eating on a daily basis will help you keep track of your daily total calories.
4. Not eating enough protein
Unless you track what you are eating or know how much you need, the likeliness is, you’re not consuming enough protein. Your daily protein amount is a lot of meat to consume unless you are supplementing with a good protein source as well. Protein helps to make you feel full, preserves muscle and also helps build muscle. Protein is more calorically expensive than carbohydrates or fats and has a higher thermic (burning energy and therefore calories) effect. If you want to lose fat you need to ensure you eat enough protein. A good rule of thumb is 1 g of protein per lb of muscle.
5. Going to the extremes – low carb, low fat.
There are countless diets that state either carbs or fats are the enemy. This simply isn’t the case. We need fats to decrease inflammation and help promote fat loss. You need to ensure you are eating good fats and not bad, such as transaturated fats found in processed foods like chips, crisps, ice cream, chocolate etc. Opt for fats such as avocado, grass fed beef, butter and coconut oil.
If you want a lean and powerful looking body then carbs are essential. Our body stores carbs as glycogen in muscles, this gives the appearance of a muscular/lean body. Eating around your workouts will help regulate insulin levels and make your body more effective at building muscle. If you are depleted of glycogen stores then the body stops burning fat and your muscles appear smaller because there is no usable energy or water in them. If you are training, then carbohydrates are essential however if you are sedentary and looking to lose weight, then you don’t need as many carbs and you should be careful of the amount you eat.