There are thousands of diets and weight loss programmes out there, each claiming to deliver results faster than any of the others.
The promises of a slimmer, healthier, sexier you in just 6 weeks are too good to resist. So why do so many fail to deliver on their promises?
There are many reasons why most conventional ‘diets’ don’t work. Some are too restrictive which makes rebounding virtually inevitable, whilst others are just too unhealthy for long term use. Whatever the reason that most diets fail, the key to sustainable weight loss is to create something that you can stick at long term.
This means it has to be enjoyable, it has to be flexible, and it has to be suitable for life. Not just January! If you’re serious about losing weight and taking steps towards a healthier body, it’s going to require a fair amount of patience. But follow the steps below, and you will reach your goal!
#1 - Relax Taking steps to chill out and manage your stress levels is one of the most important things you can do to assist in healthy weight loss. When our body is stressed we release a hormone called cortisol, which actively promotes fat storage. Make time for yourself every day to combat stress. Yoga and meditation are great, but even something simple like taking the dog for a walk or playing with the kids are great forms of stress release.
#2 - Eat real food Put down the low calorie, low fat and low sugar convenience foods. 9 times out of 10, they’re just as bad for you as the original that they aim to replace. The vast majority of people don’t need to count calories at all! Instead, focus on filling your plate with real, unprocessed, nutrient dense food. To make things even easier, we created this Ultimate Diet Blueprint to help you make the right food choices.
#3 - …but don’t deprive yourself Unless you are allergic or have medical reasons for avoiding a food, I do not believe in deprivation or creating a list of ‘forbidden’ foods that you can never eat again. When you tell yourself you can’t have something, you end up wanting it even more! Know that you can have ‘treat’ foods every once in a while and it won’t signal the end of the world. The key is to keep them as ‘treats’ and not every day indulgences. As your palette adjusts to the amazing flavours of healthy foods, you’ll end up wanting to eat the ‘treat’ foods less and less anyway!
#4 - Build each meal around a source of protein Protein is the most satiating nutrient, which will keep you fuller for longer and help to reduce cravings. Aim for 20 – 30g protein at each main meal, which is the equivalent to one small chicken breast, a wild salmon fillet, or 200g cooked lentils.
#5 - Don’t fear fat Healthy fats such as those found in coconut oil, avocados, and oily fish are essential for maintaining a healthy metabolism and promoting sustainable weight loss. These fats play a big part in any healthy diet. The fats that you should look to avoid are the refined fats, such as those found in vegetable oils and processed food.
#6 – Keep things varied One of the main reasons people fail to stick to healthy eating plans is because of food boredom. For this reason, I recommend getting as much variety in your diet as you can! Try new fruits and vegetables, experiment with new spices and flavours, and keep it interesting! Not only will variety in your diet make it more enjoyable, eating a range of different foods will ensure that you get a great balance of essential nutrients to keep your body in tip top condition. I recommend eating as many different colours as you can each day from natural foods. Different colours signal different nutrients, so a multi- coloured diet is a sure fire way to make sure your body is getting everything it needs!
#7 - Sleep well Remember how we spoke about the stress hormone cortisol earlier? Lack of sleep is one of the biggest contributors to cortisol production, which is why healthy weight loss always starts between the sheets. Aim for a minimum of 7 – 8 hours every night. Sleep in a cool room with blackout curtains to help you drift off faster.
#8 – Eat Mindfully Have you ever eaten whilst distracted, and before you know it your food is gone? When we don’t give our food enough focus, it is hard to know when we are satisfied. It can take up to 10 minutes for our stomach to signal to our brain that it has had enough to eat. So take time to enjoy your meal, chew your food thoroughly, and enjoy the company at the dinner table. Eat until satisfied but not stuffed!
#9 – Find exercise that you enjoy I strongly believe that there is a sport or active hobby out there for everyone. And just like your diet, your exercise programme should be enjoyable! The gym isn’t for everyone, so don’t be afraid to try new things until you find something that is right for you. The key to a sustainable workout routine is variety which is why a fitness membership like MoveGB where you can visit multiple different venues and do 100s of different workouts is great.
#10 – Be patient This is the one that most people struggle with, but it is important to remember that you won’t see results overnight. When people crash diet, they can lose a lot of weight quickly; but this is almost always water and muscle loss, rather than fat loss. This may lower the numbers on the scale, but it doesn’t make any healthy changes to their body composition. Healthy weight loss is a slow and steady process, which requires patience and consistency. You may not notice results from day to day, but you will certainly notice them from month to month. To help keep you on track, I recommend taking ‘before and after’ photos a month, three months and six months into your journey. You’ll be amazed at how far you have come when you look back.