Top 10 Tips: How To Lose Weight Without Completely Crashing Yourself
When you want to lose weight it’s easy to go too fast too quickly. Your body either resists, or you lose a little weight quickly, and then quickly grind to a halt, leaving you frustrated. The end result is you start eating again with bad habits, and letting things go back to normal.
If you want to have long-term change, without crash diets, cleanses, or crazy restricted diets, then you need to educate yourself and prepare, have a plan, monitor progress, and stick to it.
A lot of what you are told is wrong around weight loss. So what I’m going to do is quickly clear up some of the misconceptions that people get caught up on in this post.
By implementing a plan, with simple, routine habits all the time, alongside moderate amounts of exercise, you can steadily lose weight and maintain that weight loss for the long term.
If your entire life is being governed by what you put in your mouth, and that dreaded step on the scales, then what I’m going to write here could help you to get sanity back and actually lose weight the right way for the long term, to backup your bodybuilding, sporting performance, or simply to feel healthier and look better.
1. Set Clear Goals
Goal setting is vital if you want to be realistic about what you can achieve, set out to achieve it, and actually get there.
The first step in setting clear goals is research and education. You need to read about what you should eat, macronutrient balance, exercise types and frequency, everything you need to build into this plan.
You’ll then need to set a plan of exactly what you going to eat and when, when you will exercise, what will you do if you start to fail.
Each goal needs to be “smart”: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, timely.
Once you’ve set your goals that you need to monitor them. As part of monitoring you will have to weigh yourself, but don’t do this too often otherwise it can become obsessive and swing your mood. Twice per week is plenty.
Having a goal makes things easier to achieve. You know the standard you are being held to, and the timescales over which you are operating. It makes it easier for you to have a rational decision making conversations with yourself about food and exercise.
2. Drink Plenty Of Fluids
This is an incredibly simple step to take, but amazingly most people don’t do it. Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. It’s a great way to keep your metabolism running, and lose weight.
Everyone should be drinking plenty of water anyway, but most people don’t drink anywhere near the recommended amount.
Interestingly, a couple of studies have shown that increased water intake prior to, and during, a meal leads to better weight loss outcomes after around three months. My thought from reading those studies is it’s around not just being full because of water, but also because we often mistake thirstiness the hunger.
3. Eat Fresh Fruit And Vegetables
This is a classic one you will always read about. You should eat more fresh fruit and vegetables. 90% of us don’t eat enough. Five portions a day is advised.
I’ll also just add a little discussed point here. It doesn’t always have to be fresh fruit and vegetables. There’s a huge range nowadays a fantastic frozen fruit and vegetables for purchase. Often far cheaper, they also have been shown in studies to actually have a higher proportion of the original nutrients than fresh versions.
The reason for this bizarre situation is that frozen fruit and vegetables are frozen within hours of being harvested. So all the nutrients are locked in. With fresh fruit and vegetables it can be days between them being harvested and being eaten. In that time, natural deterioration, light, and other environmental factors, can lead to many of the nutrients being destroyed.
Fruit and vegetables also contain a large amount of water. Water fills you up, and will mean you are less hungry (and you will not mistake first signals the hunger signals). On top of that, you will feel fuller if you choose vegetables and fruit that are high in fiber.
4. Try And Cut Out Processed Food
Processed foods are a huge problem. It’s little wonder that obesity has skyrocketed since we packaged foods up, refined them, and made them instantly accessible. They are easily digested and don’t provide sufficient nutritional value.
The problem is that a lot of the good stuff is stripped away. Even foods that say they contain oaks or grains, often have a lot of the good stuff stripped away, meaning they just do not provide the same goodness.
Also, a lot of these foods are very high in refined carbohydrates, fats, and a massive amount of them are stuffed full of additional sugar and salt as well.
Many studies have shown that eating processed foods, including a large amount of refined carbohydrates, make us more sluggish mentally and physically. It can lead to mental decline, and mental health illnesses.
Also, you’re less likely to want to exercise. Your body is basically being slowly poisoned. Worse than that in the short term, because refined carbohydrates get burned so quickly, the calories are gone very quickly, and you get a huge insulin spike.
So if you are eating large meals but always feeling hungry, it’s because you are eating too many carbohydrates, especially refined ones stuffed full of sugar and salt. Get back to basics, make your own sources, use proper ingredients, and prepare them from scratch yourself.
5. Exercise For 30 Minutes Per Day (It’s Not As Tough As You Think!)
The recommended amount of time for someone to exercises at least 30 minutes per day. Now before you start panicking, that is any consistent movement.
It could be going for a run. It could be going for a walk. It could be doing weights, aerobic exercise, skipping, whatever you fancy.
The key thing is that anything which moves your body and elevates your heart rate counts as exercise.
Its mainly advice aimed at people sitting in offices all day. Just not getting exercise. You may be walking around, but it’s very short distances.
My advice is to just go for a walk for 30 minutes at lunchtime, or build it into your journey to or from work. Go for in the evenings, or run, basically do something. Then try and work in two or three 30-60 minute exercise sessions on top of that to gain strength and endurance.
So in effect, you’ll only be working out 2-3 times per week, but with additional walking you’ll achieve an average of 30 minutes per day every week.
6. Lift Weights And Do Full Body Exercises
Talking of strength and endurance, lifting weights, especially full body exercises, or really help you to lose weight.
The only will you burn more calories during the workout, but the strain you put on your muscles will burn calories four hours afterwards as well.
Also, the higher your proportion of muscle, the more you will naturally burn calories anyway. Just by sitting there, the more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn.
Go for full body exercises, which it is many muscles in the body as possible. If you’re using bodyweight exercises, do something like burpees rather than just push-ups or squats.
7. Track What You Eat And Educate Yourself
When it comes to choosing what to eat when you’re trying to lose weight, many people simply pick an off-the-shelf diet plan and stick to it.
The problem with such a simple plan is that it usually leads to fast weight loss when your initial motivation is high in calories low, followed by stagnation after a couple of weeks. People then start cutting corners, and the weight starts piling on again.
The first thing you have to do is track what you eat prior to starting your weight loss efforts. That way you will understand exactly how many calories you have, what sort of food you are eating, and how badly a drift you are. It’s far easier to start adjusting habits a little at a time over several weeks than it is to suddenly be confronted with a completely new diet.
Education is also crucial. Read up on macronutrients. The three main food groups within which everything sits. Look at the balance you should be eating, and then the types of foods that are good for you within each group. Understand calories, how many calories you can burn with exercise, and generally what’s realistic to achieve.
By doing that, you are well on the way in terms of education good habits to start a diet plan. You may even decide you don’t need a specific diet plan, and that by swapping in good foods and habits, and getting the balance of the food you eat right, in conjunction with exercise, you don’t actually need to follow a diet plan or a fad diet.
8. Do You Eat Breakfast Or Not?
One of the big questions always comes up around losing weight is whether you should fast or not.
One thing to remember is that people fast when they are asleep. As long as you are not eating late in the evening, by the time you get up you have been fasting for about 12 hours anyway.
There are then two schools of thought. The first one is that you should eat a good breakfast because it gives you energy, and stops you feeling hungry.
The second school of thought is that you should not eat breakfast at all, to chop those calories out. Even more extreme, to exercise on an empty stomach early in the day as well.
Only you will know what works best for you, and it’s best to try all three variants of what I’ve just described.
The key consideration is your overall energy intake during the day versus your expenditure. Then look at the foods you are eating and when, and get the balance right.
For me, if I had to give you a starting strategy, it would be start with a small vegetable smoothie in the morning to give you some nutrients and energy. Then have lunch around midday, and make it filling, something like porridge, whole grains, a slow burning carbohydrate and vegetable meal.
Then, an early evening meal, and possibly a small snack of something very healthy and natural stop you grabbing for convenience foods.
9. Look At When You Eat & When You Are Hungry
Another great strategy for pre-diet analysis is to look at when you eat, when you are hungry, and what you are going for to satisfy the cravings.
Make a food diary and over two weeks record when you eat, what you eat, and every time you feel hungry.
You may start to notice some startling data. These are the areas which could be “quick wins”. It could be TV dinners, it could be grazing, it could be certain types of food at certain times of the day which are creating the problem.
Also, look exactly when you are hungry and look for patterns. Look at your water intake and when as well. When you know it’s a time you start to feel hungry, drink a good glass of water. See if it’s actually thirst that’s actually causing the problem rather than hunger.
10. Surround Yourself With Active People
Last on my top 10 list to get yourself skyrocketing into weight loss that you can maintain, is a motivational tip. This tip actually applies in many situations in life.
You should surround yourself with active, motivated, upbeat people. That’s your best chance of losing weight.
You will feed off that energy, and be able to take part in the frequent activities. You will get emotional encouragement, and feel like you’re moving forward.
Think about it. If most of your friends are down the pub most days, eating takeaways, not exercising, and socially only meeting to sit in environments where food and drink are consumed, or minimal exercise is taking place, then do you stand more, or less, chance of sticking to a diet and being more active?