Losing fat. It’s one of the most common fitness goals but navigating the road to fat loss can be like trudging through mud with hundreds of salesmen all offering you the best way to get there. To help, we’ve pulled together some tried and tested hacks that will help you to lose those unwanted inches, and more importantly, develop sustainable habits that will keep them off in the long-term.
1. Start the day with a great breakfast
Rather than reaching for those chocolate cereals or smothering some toast with a thick layer of your favourite jam, you need to get serious about breakfast!
To make sure you’re not reaching for the biscuit tin at 11 o’clock because you’ve run out of energy (cue the cravings), make sure your breakfast is a healthy mix of carbs, fats and protein. Why not try Greek yoghurt, a handful of unsalted, mixed nuts and some fresh berries?
Or, if you’re vegan, this is a tasty little one to get your teeth (quite literally) stuck into: quinoa (cooked then cooled) with chopped kiwi, berries and roasted almonds, topped with a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime and a dash of runny honey. Delicious!
2. Forget the fads!
Every other month, there seems to be another fad diet hitting the headlines – promising a sure-fire way to achieve incredible fat loss results! It’s no surprise at all why so many people get confused and overwhelmed by the subject!
That’s why blocking out the noise is essential. Instead of jumping straight into a new diet endorsed by a popular celeb or influencer, consider your overall wellness. In other words, try to figure out which type of nutrition plan (old or new) is going to work best for your body type, lifestyle and goals. Short-term fixes and fad diets are harder to sustain, so be realistic and honest with yourself. As health and fitness educators, we know that the most important word in fitness is ‘personalisation.’ Understanding your individuality is the key to living a healthy lifestyle; what works for you may be completely different to your best friend or favourite influencer. Keeping a note of what you eat and how your body reacts will set you on the right path.
3. Do away with your trigger foods
We all have one. That food we just can’t resist. Whether it’s a slab of Dairy Milk or a pack of your favourite Walkers, it pays to drop it off your shopping list – particularly if it’s something you just can’t stop eating once you’ve started!
It might seem too simple to work, but rearranging your fridge is a good tactic to keep those unhelpful eating habits at bay. Hide the unhealthy stuff at the back of the fridge and move the healthier food that fuels you and makes you feel good to the front. And while you’re at it, sort out your kitchen too. A study by Cornell University
found that people weighed an average of more than 20 pounds (around 9kg) when junk food - like biscuits and fizzy drinks - was displayed on their kitchen countertops. Remember the old saying, “Out of sight, out of mind!”
4. Get your full dose of fibre
Filling up on fibre will ensure that you’re not reaching for a quick sugar fix every couple of hours. Why? Fibre expands in the stomach and keeps you feeling fuller for longer. For fibre-packed foods look no further than whole grains, vegetables and whole fruits (not juices). Carbs such as pulses, lentils and legumes are all great choices. Also try to add starchy carbs like potatoes, rice and rye bread to around six meals per week
5. Keep it in-house!
If you’re struggling to fit in those gym sessions, try working out more often at home. It’s a complete time-saver and much easier to achieve within a busy schedule. Remember a little bit of exercise each day is better than no exercise at all. To put this in perspective, a study by Taiwanese
researchers found that people who exercised for an average of 15 minutes per day had a 14% reduced risk of all-cause mortality. So, if hopping in the car and heading off the gym is your fitness barrier, then remove it. You could add years to your life!
6. Be NEAT!
Upping your non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) could be just the ticket for dropping that unwanted fat. Simply put, NEAT is the energy you expend (calories you burn) from the movement you do throughout the day that is non-exercise in nature. Examples include walking to work, mowing the lawn, doing the housework, and playing with your children. Multiple studies have shown a link between NEAT and fat mass, with one study
stating that “Failure to activate NEAT may result in ready fat gain.” So, for all those Fitbit fans out there, hitting your 10,000 steps per day could be a simple way to help reduce body fat.
Other simple ways to be more physically active could be climbing the stairs at work instead of taking the lift or standing up at regular intervals throughout the day rather than being rooted to your desk chair for the full eight hours (possibly even longer!) All the little things will most certainly add up!
7. Handy portions!
have shown that people often massively underestimate how much they eat. Nowadays, there are many apps and gadgets out there to help with portion sizes, but there’s an ‘old school’ method you just can’t beat…
As a general rule, aim for a palm-sized portion of protein, a fist-sized pile of veg, a cupped hand of carbs, and a thumb-sized measure of fat. Handy, don’t you think?!
8. You can’t go wrong with three square meals
Cows love to graze, but is it the best way for us humans to ditch the fat?
Despite all the advice you might have been given about eating five or six smaller meals per day, this is nothing more than a widespread myth.
comparing larger meals with smaller, more frequent ones have concluded that there’s no significant difference in metabolic rate or total fat loss.
Sticking to the traditional format of breakfast, lunch and dinner – supplemented with a couple of healthy snacks during the day when you’re feeling a bit peckish – will keep your hormones balanced and avoid the grazing that can so easily become overeating.
However, fitness and nutrition are personal, so if the six-meals-a-day strategy is working for you, then there’s no need to stop. Use trial and error to decide what works best for your body and achieves the most fat loss.
9. Add strength to your cardio
To say goodbye to some serious kilos, a one-two punch of cardio exercise combined with strength training
is likely what you’ll need.
Strength training helps to create more lean muscle mass. The more muscle you have, the higher your resting energy expenditure (aka REE) will be – meaning you’ll naturally be burning more calories.
Not only this, strength training has been found to increase the amount of oxygen the body needs to recover after exercise. A physiological phenomenon referred to as “EPOC,” exercise post-exercise oxygen consumption allows you to continue burning calories after you’ve finished working out.
But wait, there’s more… Resistance training also creates a hormonal environment which promotes muscle formation and fat utilisation. So, next time you’re at home or in the gym, try adding some squats, lunges, deadlifts or pull-ups to your routine.
10. Nail your protein
If you’re going to increase your strength training and become a weight room regular to build muscle and fuel fat loss, you’ll need to eat the right amount of protein. One way of making sure this happens is to use a simple calculation. Multiply your weight in kilos by 1.5 and consume at least that many grams of protein each day, spreading this evenly across meals and snacks. We’d recommend natural, unprocessed, high-protein foods such as chicken, eggs, red meat, fish, cheese, tofu and legumes, depending on your nutritional preferences.
11. Hit the pillow
Most people know that eight hours is the magic number when it comes to sleep. But what does it have to do with body fat?
When you’re lacking sleep, it’s even more tempting to buy that large latte with caramel syrup to get moving in the morning. Tiredness also means you’re more likely to skip exercise and take shortcuts, such as buying a high-calorie takeaway dinner.
The findings of a major review
showed that the chance of obesity increased by 89% in children and 55% in adults as a result of short sleep duration, so if you haven’t been getting enough shut eye, now’s the time to start doing so. You won’t feel as hungry and you’ll be less inclined to snack. To increase your odds of fat loss success, resting up is essential!
Now that you’ve read our eleven top tips, you should be ready and armed to tackle that unwanted fat. It doesn’t stand a chance!
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