1. DRINK MORE WATER
It's one of the easiest things we can do when trying to lose weight and overall body fat reduction, simply drinking more water.
Drinking a glass of water before every meal is also a great habit to get into because this can help reduce over-eating at meal times, making you feel fuller quicker. It is also quite common to mistake thirst with hunger, next time you feel yourself searching the house for a snack, stop. First drink a large glass of water, find a small task to distract yourself for 5-10 minutes and you'll probably find you weren't really hungry, just seeking a little H20.
Most people don't drink enough in their daily life so giving yourself a target of 2-3litres per day will not only keep you hydrated, but it can also;
* Improve your skin, bodily functions, mood, motor skills and cognitive function.
* Reduce tiredness, appetite and even bad breath!
* Prevent headaches (hangover induced ones too!), cramps and muscular sprains.
2. EAT MORE VEGETABLES & WHOLE FOODS
You've probably been told from a young age to 'EAT YOUR GREENS!' by your parents, maybe even your doctor, nutritionist, whoever it may be it's something we all hear and know we SHOULD be doing... but it really is that simple. By eating more fruits, vegetables, whole foods like; brown/wild rice, oats, lentils, beans, nuts and seeds, you can really make a positive impact on effectively losing weight.
These types of foods are packed with vitamins, minerals and most importantly FIBRE, which help to keep you regular and the body able to absorb the nutrients it needs as the food passes through your digestive system. Fibre is one of the most important nutrients, but often overlooked, with the main focus being on 'calories in vs calories out', however in the quest to maintain weight-loss and good health it should be made a priority in your nutrition, to ensure the calories going in, get out just as easily!
3. GET IN THE KITCHEN
We're all busy in one way or another, but are we too busy to prioritise our health? Health is wealth after all! Take that extra bit of time before you dash off to work, to eat breakfast, avoid grabbing that coffee and muffin on the go, or getting home late and ordering a takeaway. When you prepare and cook foods yourself, you know exactly what has gone into them, try to use basic ingredients and find simple meals that work for you if you are truly strapped for time.
Another way in which you can make home cooking easier is to take 1/2 days out each week e.g. Sunday and Wednesday, to pre-prepare meals. Batch cook and freeze up a stew, curry, bolognese etc. Make over-night oats, or portion out a few days worth of lunches in tupperware tubs. A little extra effort on one day, can save you time during the week and allow you to relax in the evenings and spend more time with family without sacrificing a good healthy homemade meal.
4. SWAP OIL FOR WATER
This may sound like a strange concept, but it has been a great swap in my personal diet, oil is extremely calorie dense (high in calories with little nutritional), high in saturated fats and while we do need saturated fats in our diet to be healthy, refined oils (cold pressed, virgin, coconut, olive, avocado - whatever) shouldn't be considered as such.
But why I hear you ask? Once you refine and process anything from a plant, seed or nut, it is stripped from the other nutrients we need to digest it, Think of white flour for example, or white sugar, we all know those are not healthy for us, imagine adding white sugar directly to your Greek salad...
It takes a great volume of olive to create olive oil and the condensation of this makes for high calorie consumption in very small amounts, so if you're trying to lose weight, but adding just 1 TBSP of olive oil to your salad, and one in with your lean meats, that's added approximately an extra 240 calories to your daily intake, which could be the difference between being in a caloric deficit and not.
Instead of adding oil to your pan cooked dishes try using water; sausages, beans and veggies. It may take a little getting used to but eventually you will probably find you prefer oil free foods, if you do need to add a little more flavour use herbs and spices.
5. REDUCE ANIMAL PRODUCE
Animal produce has a number of concerns related to it, from environmental, to ethical and health is definitely a big factor. Meat, poultry, dairy, fish and eggs all have calorie density in common with little to no fibre and a high protein count, they have been touted as health foods when choosing the 'lean' cuts, or poultry over red meats, BUT much like oils they are very easy to over eat and are often the main centre piece of a meal. Reducing how often we eat animal produce, or how much we eat can really boost weight loss, replacing your whole chicken breast for half and filling up that space with extra veggies is another super simple swap that can be the difference between being in a caloric deficit, or not.
Dairy is now, more than ever known for it's terrible health consequences, firstly it is very calorie dense and high in saturated fats, it is designed to grow a calf into a 400kg+ cow within a year! So if you're drinking large quantities, you can see why it won't be aiding your weight-loss. Try switching to a plant based alternative, of which there are many to choose from, you are bound to find one which is far less calorie dense and much more tasty!
6. BE ACTIVE EVERYDAY
Whether you are a regular gym member, or not you can still be active, getting out to the park with your children, or talking the dogs for a woodland walk, ditching the car to cycle or walk to the local shops, can be the difference between having that all important calorie deficit or not. Getting a little sweaty and our of breath at least once a day, for at least 30 minutes will not only get you feeling good, but also burn off a little extra energy and if you're doing that whilst having fun and spending precious time with family it can be rewarding in so many ways.
If you're out and about on your days off, you will also be less likely to eat out of boredom, simply because the fridge is there at arms reach and eating is just something to pass the time!
7. AVOID QUICK FIXES
Diet pills, fat burners, skinny teas, tea-tox's, waist trainers, miracle diets that cut out fat/carbs WHATEVER.
NO NO NO!
Those 'before and after' pictures they're advertising with will be carefully constructed to look as flattering as possible in the after shot and are usually accompanied by some disclaimer that says, 'must be used in conjunction with a healthy balanced diet and exercise for optimum results.'
NEWS FLASH! The healthy balanced diet and exercise IS what got them the results NOT some gimmicky diet product. Save your money, invest it in exercise, a good personal trainer and fill your home with plant based, whole foods. There is no sustainable quick fix for health and weight-loss and yo-yo dieting is no fun in the long term.
8. EXERCISE WITH INTENTION
So you're already exercising, but you're not seeing the results you have seen and heard about. Ask yourself, how hard am I actually working? Sometimes it's difficult to really push ourselves, to know how far we can push ourselves, or that yes, exercise is hard and does hurt sometimes (in a good way I might add, not sharp/stabbing intense pain, we're talking muscular burn). But it is SO worth it!
9. BE PATIENT
Patience when trying to make changes within your training and nutrition is so important. You cannot change your habits over night and you won't see change immediately unless it's water/bloat related, being impatient will only leave you feeling disappointed.
10, BE CONSISTENT
Weight-loss won't happen over night and it certainly won't happen if one day you exercise, eat well and a drink plenty of water; then the next you over-consume calorie dense foods, and are sedentary all day.
Find the balance between the two, enjoy nights out with delicious foods and have a good intense workout, or have a more relaxed day and fuel your body with nutritionally dense foods.
Consistency is the key to success with weight-loss, toning up, getting stronger or whatever your end goal may be.
JUST KEEP GOING
Even on the days you don't fancy it so much, get your activewear on, and go sweat a little! You'll feel better at the end of it and that goal will become that little bit closer to being reached.