10 Weight loss Tips
Everybody wants to know how to lose weight easily or maybe more to the point how to lose weight fast!! I always find it a little amusing when people ask me what my secret is! I tell them that it’s just plain ole’ healthy eating, portion control and of course exercising. They always seem a little disappointed by my answer, I think they would have preferred if I said I drink bleach every morning or I don’t actually eat at all, at least then they could say to hell with that!!!! I have put together my Top 10 weight loss tips which is based on my observations as a Nutritionist. In my opinion, this is where most people go wrong when it comes to weight loss.
WHERE DO MOST PEOPLE GO WRONG WHEN IT COMES TO WEIGHT LOSS?
1. Lack of patience
Weight loss tip #1. It takes time – if you don’t accept this from the beginning you are fighting a losing battle. You have to ask yourself the question, would you prefer to be 4Ibs lighter next week or see some real results in a year. 1-2Ibs a week is a realistic expectation for most people, for some it may even be less! You have to remember that you didn’t gain weight overnight, it most likely took months or even years, be patient!
2. Being too strict
If you are too strict, dieting just isn’t sustainable and will most likely result in over-eating or binges. It has to be bearable, it can even be enjoyable! An all or nothing approach just doesn’t work, we’ve all done it. Everyone can be exceptionally good for days or even weeks but then we simply can’t sustain it any longer. The odd treat can be part of a weight loss program and essentially will get you long-term results. Moreover, depending on your choice of treat a daily one may even be possible. These weight loss tips may seem to be in contradiction with the next one, it’s not, I promise!! Treats should be mindfully eaten & modest in size. Buy 1 small treat to enjoy with a cuppa later, buying in bulk is risky as you may eat the whole lot.
3. Keeping treats in the house
Be realistic nobody is made of steel! Clients often tell me that they thought they were just meant to be able to resist all the junk in the house. Of course, they weren’t able and then they felt like they failed because they couldn’t resist. I will eat it too if it’s there so I keep very little if anything in the house. Willpower is important of course but why test yourself all night, it could be a long night!!! In a cafe or shop, you only actually need to exert willpower for a few minutes while standing in the queue. If you are strong for just that few minutes, job done, you have succeeded. If it is in the cupboard you have to exert willpower all night long!!
4. Not seeing alcohol as calories
A lot of people don’t register alcohol as calories or for that matter liquids in general. When I am calculating a client’s alcohol intake on a Saturday night, more often than not it is approximately 1000 calories. Yes, like treats you can enjoy a drink and lose weight but its the quantity consumed and the choice of drink that will make all the difference.
5. Portion control
When trying to lose weight, you can in fact eat anything if you eat the right amount of it. Even healthy foods can be high in calories, e.g. nuts and cheese, does this mean you should eliminate them from your diet? No, because they have merit … they are nutrient dense foods. Simply put the higher something is in calories the smaller your portion should be, with nuts for example, a closed handful of nuts is an appropriate portion size. Another tip is to use a smaller dinner plate, I like to use a small pasta bowl for dinners as it has sides so it restricts you.
6. Letting your inner voice sabotage yourself
Letting that inner voice tell you that you deserve that slice of cake – which could be 600 calories – stop telling yourself you deserve junk food. You are giving food too much power over you, even using the word deserve is slightly negative. On the other hand if you decide you want a treat, own it, enjoy it but mindfully decide to have that treat and don’t feel guilty about it afterwards. Ideally share the slice of cake with someone or split the dessert between 4 of you. Have a little of what you fancy!
7. Lack of planning
You do not need to be organised within an inch of your life but a little planning and organisation definitely helps. I know some nutritionists recommend meal planning – putting dinners in tuber ware dishes for the week ahead. Honestly, I find it a bit miserable and it would take the enjoyment out of food for me, but hey if it works for you! Know where your next 2 meals are coming from, this can be a good habit to get into. For example, at night time have a think about breakfast, make some overnight oats, it takes the thinking and time out of the equation in the morning. Pack some snacks in your bag for work the next day, a handful of nuts and some fruit.
I am a big fan; I actually think it is inefficient to cook every night of the week. On a Sunday I will plan 2 pots for the week ahead, if it’s raining, I may even cook both pots on a Sunday, for example a chicken curry and a Chili con Carne. I always triple ingredients, refrigerate 1-2 portions and freeze 1-2 portions, this way I always have stock to take from the freezer midweek. I also vary what I batch cook to ensure variety, for example I will cook a meat dish and a chicken dish one week, followed by a vegetarian and a fish dish the following week. Lastly, keep your house stocked with healthy food, surround yourself with good food, that way when you are picking or snacking at least it’s all good!
8. Lack of calorie awareness
You don’t have to count calories to be aware of calories. Some of my clients genuinely didn’t feel like they were eating a lot of food, yet, they were still gaining weight, how? They were simply choosing the wrong foods, very calorific foods and also their portions for these calorific foods were also too big. On the other hand, some people eat a lot of low-calorie foods, hence are getting away with eating more frequently, and even eating bigger volumes. This can seem very unfair to those people who are eating very little (albeit of the wrong foods). They then exacerbate the problem by skipping meals to further reduce their food intake. However, although they may be limiting their food intake, they still may not be limiting their calorie intake as they had little or no awareness of calories.
9. Falling off the wagon
Just because you have had a treat doesn’t mean you have fallen off the wagon – own it, enjoy it and move it on! There is no wagon. That’s just your head telling you that you have failed …. so you now may as well eat the whole fridge … nope, you had a treat – get over it – it’s food, it contains calories same as anything else you have eaten. Incorporate it into your day/week – go for a walk, whatever, let it go!
10. Letting the scales dishearten you
The number on the scales is a crude number, you could be pre-menstrual, retaining fluid or constipated. Although, you may have lost a pound of fat, if you have gained a pound of water or if indeed you are constipated it may be masking your loss. It may take until the following week to see that fat loss (assuming you are weighing yourself weekly). I do recommend weighing-in weekly and not daily for all the same reasons. A little blip can dishearten you. The weighing scales shouldn’t rule your day. In addition to the scales, let other things motivate you. Ask yourself, do I feel better, happier, more energetic, healthier or lighter? Perhaps, you feel more comfortable, your clothes feel a little looser – these are all positives things that you can focus on and use as motivation.
Weight loss is a journey
Weight loss is a journey, never a straight forward one. If you decided to only weigh-in at the end of a 10-week program, you would be delighted with your weight loss and you would be blissfully unaware of the blips. If, you are weighing in weekly and not seeing a reduction in weight, you are not in calorie deficit and you need to re-assess your diet/movement. You can opt for a slow, sustainable, more pleasant journey or a fast, punishing journey, end result is the same but the journey is very different. I know which one I would choose! Well actually on that point, I like most people, also choose the latter but I studied nutrition for 6 years and eventually opted for the former!