Are you tired of constantly trying to lose weight and failing? This is often due to bad desperate decision-making. Yes, we are looking at you bread-hating diets and you torturous Cleanse diet. It’s time to break the cycle and make healthy habits that’ll stick.
Losing weight by improving your diet and lifestyle is without a doubt the healthiest way to go. All you need is practical tips on how to incorporate simple, easy and healthy choices so that you can not only shed those extra kilos. They’ll help you transform your relationship with food and exercise and embrace a happier, healthier version of yourself! These tips hold true for most across the board — and they’re theories that you can put into practice today. Let’s get started!
1. Do Some Aerobic Moves
Not the Jane Fonda kind, but aerobic exercise. It refers to the exercise you do ‘with oxygen’ (think: cardio), and it used to be considered the best exercise for burning fat, as you use a higher percentage of it for energy. But it’s the anaerobic kind (short bursts of intensity, like HIIT – more on that later) that burn more energy over time.
2. Burn Brown Fat For Weight loss
The fat in your body is made up of different colours. Surprised? We know! White fat is the standard fat that stores energy and gathers around your body. Too much of this white fat can cause obesity. Brown fat is a type of body fat that regulates your body temperature in cold conditions. Brown fat also burns calories and generates heat, as does the less potent but more plentiful beige. Regular prolonged cold exposure fires up both helping you to slim down. Turn your air conditioner down to 19 degrees.
3. Work The Deficits To Slim down
If you are looking to lose body fat, you’ll need to be in a calorie deficit, explains sports nutrition expert Dr Emilia Thompson. “That means, simply, that you’re burning off more calories through exercise than you’re taking in.” Not a fan of tracking every morsel? Thompson recommends ruling out post-dinner snacks as a low-effort way to stay within your caloric budget and, ultimately, maintain your deficit.
4. Watch Your Environment
By which we mean factors that influence you to eat more and move less. This covers everything from eating the leftovers straight out of the pot (portion size) to a commute that consists of walking to your dining room table (sedentary jobs) and medicating a bad mood with an entire box of Astros (stress).
5. Choose Foods That Keep You Full
Or satiated. The goal is to choose foods that keep you comfortably full, for a while – and not to the point where you need a nap. The protein-rich yoghurt, fibrous fruit and fatty flaxseed in this breakfast parfait from performance nutritionist Liam Holmes will reduce your levels of hunger hormone ghrelin and raise levels of satiating peptides.
150g Greek yoghurt (or a vegan alternative)
A handful of berries
1⁄2 banana, sliced
2 tbsp flaxseed
METHOD: Dollop half the yoghurt in a jar or bowl. Add half the fruit and flaxseed. Repeat. Eat.
6. Watch The Junk
In a Stanford study, we cited subjects who lost significant amounts of weight without counting calories by eschewing processed foods for the whole, real and satisfying kind. Guess what? They ate fewer calories without number-crunching. Quantity and quality both have an impact.
7. Check Your Intentions
Ensure that you’re trying to lose weight for the right reasons. If you think you can reduce deep sadness by slimming down or control a scary situation by controlling the number on the scale, that’s anything but healthy and could tip you over into disordered eating territory. Address the emotional issue first.
8. TRY A HIIT Workout
Want to torch excess fat in an expeditious fashion? Welcome high-intensity intervals into your weekly workout schedule. Try this no-gear, no-excuses circuit. Warm up, then go hard on each move for 45 seconds, resting for 15 in between. Build up to three circuits, giving yourself a minute after each round to get your breath back.
01 | Push-up
02 | Squat jump
03 | Bicycle crunch
04 | Close-hand push-up
05 | Jump lunge
06 | Bicycle crunch
07 | Staggered-hand push-up
08 | Split squat jump
09 | Bicycle crunch
9. Drink More Water
Animal studies indicate that H2O may facilitate fat breakdown, while human trials show that if you drink more, especially before meals, you’ll eat less, as it helps you distinguish thirst from hunger. Another reason to hit your 2L target.
10. Go Slow And Steady
Your metabolism slows as you lose weight, stalling progress – or even reversing it. Former contestants on the diet show The Biggest Loser came away burning up to 800 calories per day fewer than average. Why? Because their bodies had adapted by going into starvation mode, doing all they could to cling to fat stores. Go slow and steady: aim to lose no more than 1kg a week.
11. Axe Keto
Touted to being the queen of weight loss. Think again. If you’re unfamiliar with “Atkins on steroids”, it’s essentially forgoing carbs (and fun) to get your body into ketosis: a state in which it burns fat for fuel. But once calories are matched, other diets are as effective for weight loss and superior for exercise performance and retaining muscle. Is it really worth forgoing fruit, veg, fibrous grains and beer? Didn’t think so. Should you need more convincing, two words: keto breath.
12. Say No To Stress
Stress triggers cravings and may leave you too strung out to buy and prepare healthy foods. It can lead you to eat poorly, mindlessly and irregularly (by disrupting hunger signals) or emotionally. Plus, you lose out on sleep. Dial it down with meditation, yoga or this breathing exercise by Michael Townsend Williams, founder of Do Breathe (dobreathe.com).
01 | Sit somewhere comfortable and, ideally, quiet (or wear headphones).
02 | Breathe deeply from your belly and through your nose, feeling the air passing through you.
03 | Count to five on each inhale and exhale. Repeat three to five times.
13. Get Some Light
We kid you not. Yes, we’re talking about the UV kind. The sun’s rays shrink white fat cells, while studies have linked bright morning sunlight exposure to lower BMI because it signals that it’s time for your metabolism to get moving. Meanwhile, vitamin D from sunlight, salmon and eggs stir the fullness hormone leptin. Go for an al fresco brunch, basically.
14. Stop Overeating
Just don’t do it. Only eat when you feel physical hunger (gradual and in your stomach), not emotional (sudden and for a specific food). Ask yourself if you’re thirsty or bored. And be sure to stop before you’re full – as opposed to 10 minutes after.
15. Work Your Quads
Write this down: One of the two prime movers in a squat, a move that burns the most calories of all the common lifts. Read again, ‘burns THE MOST calories of all the common lifts’. Strength training while losing weight retains and even adds muscle, which raises your metabolic rate.
16. Be Pro Probiotic
Yes, the gut. You’ve been there, done that and brewed the kombucha. But did you know that gut bacteria also affect calorie extraction? Grow your own probiotics in your gut by eating plenty of garlic, onions, leeks, asparagus, cabbage and oats. All contain prebiotic fibres that “good” bacteria go crazy for.
17. Try Tracking
Pretty self-explanatory, this. It’s not for everyone, but it’s a useful way of monitoring your dietary intake. Whether you use an app or pen and paper, give as much detail as you can about where key health markers – sleep, digestion, mood – are that day. It’ll help you see how lifestyle tweaks are affecting you.
18. Reward Yourself
The odd treat (not “cheat”) doesn’t affect your metabolism substantially but can refuel your staying power. But if weight loss is your goal, keep within your deficit, or all that discipline will be in vain.
19. Eat More Consciously
You eat more when you’re distracted by screens or music. So, contemplate what’s on your plate with mindful eating: bring your awareness to what you’re consuming, slow down and savour the smells, colours, textures and flavours. Om (nom nom).
20. Eat More Veggies
Eating less is hard – so eat more. According to a Penn State study, subjects trained to monitor portion sizes still ate however much was in front of them, but they consumed fewer calories by filling up on low-calorie, high-fibre veg. Devote half your plate to a variety of vegetables and you’re good.
21. Add Yoga To Your Regime
Regular practice can support weight loss for reasons beyond a raised heart rate. In a 2016 study, yogis who had lost weight credited the discipline with reducing cravings and stress eating. It’s also been proven to aid sleep.
22. Get More Zzz’s
Insufficient shut-eye causes you to sleepwalk towards a bunch of weight loss-sabotaging behaviours: eating bigger portions, selecting food impulsively, consuming more calories and expending less energy overall. It disturbs your hormones and gut bacteria to boot. So, remember: if you don’t adequately snooze, you don’t lose. More