With Easter now well and truly behind us and New Year’s resolutions made months ago, let’s talk weight loss…. I know, not everyone’s favourite topic but a reality for many.
Not all people go to a gym to lose weight but for the majority of my clients it’s usually the top priority. There are various medical reasons why some people gain weight but for most of us it’s the food we eat. With the global population ‘expanding’ at an alarming rate, it’s no wonder the fitness industry rakes in billions. 1 in 3 adults around the world are overweight. And if that’s not alarming enough, 1 in 4 adolescents is also overweight. Obesity has overtaken smoking as the leading cause of premature death and illness and is the single biggest threat to public health in Australia.
Fad diets won’t work long term
Clever marketing campaigns aimed at those desperate for results has seen the birth of countless fad diets over the years.
And trust me, I too got sucked in. Before I became a Personal Trainer I believed many of these companies that offered ‘quick’ results. I handed over my hard earned money and, even though with a couple I might have seen some results, after time I was right back where I started. They weren’t addressing the problem, they were a band aid solution. There had to be another way.
What’s going in and on
There’s a saying….”You can’t out-train a bad diet”. If you don’t change what put the weight on in the first place (over-eating and the wrong foods) then how can you expect your body to change? Exercising is not enough.
So let’s be realistic. For a lot of you, it’s taken years to get your weight to where you are now. It didn’t happen in a few weeks. It was a gradual process. The same can be said for weight loss. With my tips below, you can start chipping away at it week by week and you’ll soon be healthier and happier and be closer to the old you.
Starting your weight loss journey
Metabolism. Sound familiar? Just one little word but it will be your best friend for weight loss. Unfortunately as we get older our metabolism slows down and leading an unhealthy lifestyle will make it even slower. The slower it is, the less calories you’ll burn daily, and the more likely you are to put on weight. So how do we get it firing?
It’s all about the right food, at the right time, in the right quantities!
So here are my non-negotiable tips to get you started.
1. Eat breakfast as soon as you wake up
The only excuse not to is if you exercise as soon as you wake. If so, eat as soon as you finish. Why? At the end of the day our metabolism slows down preparing us for rest. If we don’t eat when we wake, it’s like not setting the alarm for our metabolism and it sleeps in. The sooner we can get it firing, the more calories we’ll be burning in the day. Which brings me to my second rule…
2. Eat dinner three hours prior to bed
As mentioned above, your metabolism slows down in preparation for bed. If you eat too late, your body won’t burn up the food you just ate and you have a greater chance of storing it as fat.
3. Eat five meals a day
Spread out your meals evenly throughout the day, eating every three hours. (No less than 2.5 hours and no more than four hours). For example:
- Breakfast 7am
- Morning tea 10am
- Lunch 1pm
- Afternoon tea 4pm
- Dinner 7pm
You actually burn calories while you eat as your body has to work hard to digest a meal. By eating regularly, you are making your body work harder and burning more calories throughout the day with minimal effort.
Eating five meals a day will also help keep your insulin levels under control. When you leave it too long between meals, your body starts to get lethargic and blood sugar levels drop. Unfortunately when this happens, the next thing you do is overeat because you were so hungry and the meal is usually higher in sugar in the hope you’ll get a quick pick me up. The problem with that is within 20 mins your insulin will spike and then crash leaving you needing another “pick me up” and soon you’re on a roller coaster of highs and lows throughout the day. Other than storing fat, prolonged high insulin levels over time will result in your cells becoming resistant to it. So the more you pump out insulin, the more resistant you become to its effects.
4. Say goodbye to sugar.
I know this is probably a no brainer but excess sugar in your body will spike insulin (see above). Try to keep levels to below 12g per meal.
5. Track the calories you consume each day
You can do this using the app myfitnesspal. It will also allow you to see your sugar quantities per meal. Everyone is built differently, so your daily fuel requirements will all be different. The average calorie ‘diet’ for my clients is 1200 calories daily for females, however this will depend on age, height, weight etc. If you’re not good at counting calories, or don’t want to, change your dinner plate to a side plate to help you drop the portion size….and don’t nibble from the kids leftovers.
6. Limit the alcohol
Alcohol is full of empty calories and lots of them (that is, it has no nutritional value). Both carbohydrates and proteins have 4 calories per 1 gram. Alcohol has 7 calories per 1 gram.
Secondly, it slows down the burning of fat. After you’ve consumed an alcoholic drink your body will always process the alcohol first because it treats it as a toxin. This means that when you’ve just consumed your meal your body will not be able to process the fat, carbs and proteins because it needs to process the alcohol first. This will slow down the entire process of burning calories and fat and will result in weight gain. Roughly it takes over an hour to metabolise a standard drink.
The above points are a great way to get started but they’re just a small number of many things you can take into account when looking to lose weight. You won’t have to starve yourself on shake diets or take any ‘magic’ weight loss pills. Just be accountable for what you eat and before you know it you’ll have more energy and will be down a dress size or two.
Each person is different in many ways – different body shapes and metabolisms, different goals and incentives, different personalities and triggers. And I won’t lie, sometimes it’s hard to get started. That can be the hardest part, trust me, I’ve been there.
And if taking that first step is the biggest challenge, why not pair up with a girlfriend and commit together? Sometimes being encouraged and accountable can assist. And if you need further assistance and encouragement for your weight loss journey I can provide it. I can sit down with you and work through your triggers and goals and help you stay motivated. It’s my job and my team and I are good at it. Let’s make the Hills District full of happy healthy mums!
And remember, if you don’t put yourself first, no one else will. Take care of your body as I’m sure there are one or two (or more!) little people in your life that want you around for a long time.