Calories in < calories out
Calories in vs calories out is the simplest way to look at weight loss, yes, it’s true that you must burn more calories than you eat to lose weight – but is it all that matters & can you eat pizza but keep calories low enough to lose weight? Technically – yes, realistically – definitely not.
So yes, it’s possible to lose weight eating rubbish food (kind of), but it won’t be nearly as fun as it sounds. You’ll be hungry ALL the time due to the sheer lack of food you’ll be able to eat throughout the day, and don’t get me started on how poorly nourished your body will become eating a low-calorie diet from junk food!
Getting your foods from healthy sources will help keep you feeling fuller for longer, nourished, putting your body into a much better position to start shedding body fat and prevent you from feeling tired and fatigued – winner!
Reduce carbohydrate intake, but don’t remove them completely!
Think of carbs as energy, not your enemy! – if you’re not planning on using much energy, keep your carb intake low. However, if you’re hitting up the gym feel free to get in some healthy carbs before and after! Just taking this approach will help keep your calories under control without the mental torture that comes with it!
Keep an eye on your fat intake (and the types of fats you’re eating)
This isn’t me hating on fat, dietary fat will NOT make you fat if eaten in moderation, in fact dietary fats (from the right sources) are super important – so never cut your fat intake completely! But keeping an eye on your fat intake is a super easy way to control your calories. Because fat contains over double the calories of carbs/protein gram for gram, controlling your intake will dramatically reduce your daily calorie intake!
Take control over emotional eating (stress, tired, lonely/bored)
Unfortunately, we don’t always just eat to satisfy our hunger. Lots of people comfort eat, especially when feeling stressed, tired, lonely or even through sheer boredom! When we’re trying to lose weight, it’s essential we combat this. Find something you enjoy doing or something you find relaxing – try yoga, meditation or getting a nice warm bath when you’re feeling stressed. If you’re tired and need a ‘pick me up’ ditch that chocolate bar and get yourself up and moving, throw on some of your favourite music or for an easy option grab yourself a tea/coffee – just don’t opt for the creamy sugary types (latte, cappuccino etc.).
Eat in peace! (think about your food, don’t get distracted and overeat)
Dedicate some time to eating and think about what you’re doing. It’s easy to eat on the move during your lunch hour, or sticking yourself in front of the TV at home. Doing this takes your mind off eating and can easily result in overeating and not being satisfied once you’ve finished!
Set mini goals e.g. fitting into some old jeans
This right here is the KEY to weight loss in my opinion, we love feeling good about ourselves and this is the easiest way to keep you motivated and consistent! Make yourself small daily/weekly goals that are super easy to achieve. If you’re a little lost and can’t think, try some of these!
* Eat breakfast every morning for a week
* Eat 1 piece of fruit/vegetable with every meal for a week
* Take the stairs instead of using the lift at work 3 days a week
* Hit the gym twice per week for 1 month
* Drink 8 glasses of water per day
* Trade your mid-morning chocolate bar/crisps for a piece of fruit for a week
* Swap your daily Latte for an Americano (and save up to 200 calories!)
Your smartphone really is smart! Consider some apps
Get down with the kids and use the many benefits of having a smart phone, I swear by MyFitnessPal – it allows you to scan your items and it will tell you exactly how many calories are in it. Logging your daily calories really lets you see where you’re going right/wrong. It can be a real eye opener – some of your favourite ‘health foods’ e.g. a pasta salad could really be your biggest enemy!
Get plenty of sleep
I know, we’re all busy and would love more sleep. But getting a good night sleep really is essential for your weight loss goal. Being tired makes us feel run down and can really demotivate our weight loss goal. Being sleep deprived can also increase our appetite and can play havoc with hormones making us feel less satisfied when we’ve eaten!
Cut down on sugars and refined carbs
This is a diet no brainer, everybody knows this is a must. But most people don’t understand why when you ask them. Trying to maintain a diet low in sugar and refined carbs will automatically prevent us from eating lots of calorie dense unhealthy foods (win 1) but we must replace these foods with other options such as trading white bread for wholegrain bread which will help keep us feeling fuller for longer (win 2). Now for the boring science bit that most people don’t care about – but it’s important so I’ll keep it simple.
* We eat lots of carbs (sugars etc.)
* They create glucose that goes into our bloodstream
* Insulin is released to help regulate blood sugar (sugar/refined carbs = high insulin response)
* Too much insulin causes fat cells to absorb fatty acids
Make sure all your meals contain some lean protein, fruit/vegetables and high in fibre
By making sure every meal you eat contains a good lean protein source, some fruit/vegetables and has a decent fibre content you’ll instantly be in a much better position to eating a nutritious and healthy meal!
Take control of your environment
This is probably the biggest cause of people’s frustrations when they’re not seeing the results they want. Having full control over the foods that you eat not only allows you to know exactly what’s in your diet but also give you the full accountability – no more blaming easy to grab unhealthy meal deals and being tricked into healthy ‘salad bars!’
First things first, eat a healthy breakfast. It doesn’t have to be fancy, something like eggs on wholegrain toast or porridge will do the job.
Plan your meals for the day, making your own sandwich rather than buying a store bought one and using wholegrain bread, low fat mayonnaise, lean meats will instantly make the same meal healthier and more satisfying!
Try and make sure every meal you make yourself has a maximum number of calories based on your goal (e.g. no more than 600).
Remove all easy temptations from home and if you can’t live without a little snack here and there, trade them in for some healthier options – things like fruit and nut bars with cacao can definitely satisfy a sweet tooth (just make sure to find brand that isn’t loaded with sugar).
Get moving – anything is better than nothing!
Can’t make the gym? Don’t worry! Just get yourself moving. Take the dog for a walk, try the ‘1-mile rule’ aka if your destination is less than a mile, walk! I always say to my clients, find something you enjoy doing the most – an activity is irrelevant regardless of how great it might be for you, if you hate doing it as you probably won’t do it! Find something you enjoy and stick to it. Keep it interesting and try something new each week.
Keeping the weight off
Keep physically active
Once you’ve hit your ideal weight, you can stop with what can feel like hell of a low-calorie diet – this doesn’t mean pig out and eat what you want, but you can stop worrying so much about being in a constant calorie deficit. Keeping yourself active will not only keep your metabolism strong but it will also help to burn off those extra few calories and prevent a fat gain rebound. Exercise is also rewarding and for many people gives them a purpose to continue eating healthy.
Keeping an eye on calories and having a reduced fat diet
It’s still important to continue keeping an eye on the calories you’re eating to avoid gaining weight, if you at least vaguely know what you’re eating it’s much easier to know what may be causing the issue if you start to gain some weight. Keeping a relatively reduced fat diet can massively help you to maintain a lower calorie diet without constantly counting everything you eat! However, don’t cut fat out completely, make sure you’re getting your healthy fats from things like fish, nuts, seeds and olive oil.
Eating a healthy breakfast
Eating a healthy breakfast every morning has been shown to help people stay on track, start your day off strong and continue your day that way!
Weigh yourself once per week
Although I’m not a huge fan of ‘weight’ in general (not all weight is bad weight!) it’s still a good idea to weigh yourself every now and then just to make sure you’re not gaining too much weight! If possible, try and get your bodyfat tested as this is the only thing you really need to worry about!