A quick guide to healthy weight loss
At Body&Fit, we believe fitness is all about feeling good in our own bodies. In most cases, losing weight can give us the confidence we need to get there, although it’s important to do it in a healthy, lasting way. In this article, we ditch the diet fads and discuss how to lose weight while keeping your physical and mental wellbeing in the best shape possible.
Weight loss: where do I start?
The basics of weight loss are simple — consistent exercise and a calorie-restricted diet. A calorie is a measure of the amount of energy in food (it’s also referred to as a ‘kcal’). Almost everything we eat and drink contains calories, and we all need them to stay alive. On average, a man needs around 2,500 kcal and a woman roughly 2,000 kcal per day, although it all depends on your lifestyle, physique and activity levels. You can use an online calorie counter to get a good idea of how many calories you need each day.
When you consume fewer calories than you burn (known as maintaining a calorie deficit), you’ll lose weight in a natural, healthy way. If you’re ready to start losing weight by counting calories, follow the steps below to kick start your journey:
Calculate how many calories you need each day.
Pick a realistic and achievable goal.
Use an app (like MyFitnessPal) to track your nutrition habits for one week. Afterwards, check how many calories you consume on average per day.
Compare this to your calorie needs.
See what you need to adjust in order to lose weight.
If you’re eating equal to or more than your daily requirement, you’ll need to consume fewer calories to lose weight. In general, that means eating around 500 kcal less each day, although it can depend on things like your body, gender and amount you want to lose.
Our complete range of weight loss essentials is your go-to for all the weight loss shakes, foods and supplements you need to manage your calorie intake and achieve your goals.
Weight loss without calorie counting
The structured and time-consuming nature of counting calories isn’t for everyone. We get it. There are, however, other ways to help with weight loss, as long as you’re open to making some small lifestyle changes. Give some of the below tips a try:
Drink more water
Our bodies have trouble distinguishing between hunger and thirst. So, if you think you’re hungry and get the urge to eat, chances are you’re actually thirsty. The more water you drink, the more you’re curbing those cravings. Read more about the benefits of water and find out how much water you should drink here.
Eat smaller portions
It’s easier said than done, but eating smaller portions goes a long way towards weight loss. Get used to cooking a little less rice or pasta, frying your food in less olive oil (or a healthier alternative like our Body&Fit Smart Cooking Spray), or packing two sandwiches for lunch rather than three or four.
Nowadays, it’s quite easy to find low fat, low calorie alternatives to your fridge and pantry essentials (albeit slightly more expensive). Switch out whole milk for semi-skimmed or low fat (or unsweetened almond, oat etc.), use a wholemeal pasta or swap soft, sugary drinks for water or a natural cordial.
Eat more fruits and vegetables
Low in calories. Full of vitamins. What’s not to love about fruits and vegetables? Also, vegetables in particular keep you full longer than other ingredients, so you’ll be less likely to snack between meals.
The hormones leptin and ghrelin directly affect your appetite. In particular, leptin suppresses it and ghrelin (known as the ‘hunger hormone’) increases your drive to eat. Even just a few days of sleep deprivation causes leptin to decrease and ghrelin to increase, resulting in your body asking for food when it doesn’t really need it.
If you’re struggling to get some shut eye, check out our complete guide to sleeping well.
The role of protein in healthy weight loss
You might think protein is just for people trying to build muscle or bulk up, although it actually plays an important role in healthy weight loss. Our bodies take longer to digest protein than fats or carbohydrates, which means it can help us feel fuller for longer. So, if you want to lose weight in a healthy way, but struggle with cravings or feel unsatisfied throughout the day, an increased protein could help control your calorie consumption.
Can I still eat snacks while losing weight?
Whether it’s a bowl of popcorn on movie night or a bag of chips on your way home from work, you don’t need to give up your favourite snacks while losing weight. It’s not an all or nothing thing. We need to treat ourselves every so often, especially when we’re working hard to achieve our goals. If you want to be extra good, stock up on a selection of our most popular healthy snacks below:
Smart Chips: a great alternative to everyday crisps with 60-70% less fat and an extra protein boost.
Smart Popcorn: an essential snack for a cosy movie night with 62% less sugar than regular popcorn.
Smart Break: this delicious high-fibre, high-protein and low-sugar waffle snack is ideal for work or on the go when you’re craving something sweet but don’t want to reach for something too sugary.
Protein Cookies: the perfect alternative to conventional sugary biscuits with only 0.5 grams of sugar and 15 grams of protein. Available in chocolate and salted caramel.
Weight loss with exercise
Of course, alongside nutrition, exercise plays a big role in losing weight. A regular training routine not only helps you burn calories but also feel good about yourself and your progress.
Endurance exercises like running or rowing burn a lot of calories, but let’s face it, they can be exhausting. Our tip? Choose a sport you enjoy. If you hate running, chances are you’ll get bored and throw in the towel after a few tries. From cycling to dancing, football, basketball and boxing, there are so many other fun ways to get the heart pumping and the body moving.
In a single session, cardio may burn more calories than hitting the weights, although the benefits of strength training come in the long term. Over time, strength training helps to build muscle mass. The body needs more energy to maintain muscle mass than fat mass. So, even at rest, when you have more muscle mass you’ll naturally burn more calories each day.
Increase your NEAT
NEAT stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. A bunch of complicated words for a very simple concept: all the energy-expending activities we do besides exercising. It could be walking to the café, running to catch the bus or all the lifting and carrying you might do at work. If you’re not doing much physical activity during the day, think about what you could do to increase your NEAT. It could be by biking to work, walking to the next stop to catch the bus or taking the stairs up to the office.
Healthy weight loss: FAQs
Find answers to more of the most commonly asked questions surrounding healthy weight loss below.
Can I lose weight quickly and healthily?
Losing weight quickly may be possible, although it carries risks for your health and may not be sustainable in the long term. It’s advisable to make long-term adjustments to your diet and lifestyle in order to lose weight in a healthy and sustainable way.
How much weight loss is safe and healthy?
Of course, every person and every body is different. In general, however, a weight loss of about 0.5 to 1 kilogram per week is healthy and safe.
Do I need additional supplements for successful weight loss?
Although supplements are not a prerequisite for successful weight loss, they can help support your journey. Still, it’s important to focus on a balanced diet and adequate exercise and talk to a doctor or nutritionist before starting any new supplement programme.
Should I eat carbohydrates if I want to lose weight?
Yes, carbohydrates are an important part of a balanced diet. Go for whole grains, fruits and vegetables rather than refined carbohydrates and enjoy appropriate portion sizes alongside protein and healthy fats.
How can I boost my metabolism naturally?
Some ways to boost your metabolism naturally are to exercise regularly, get enough sleep, eat a balanced diet, stay hydrated and avoid crash diets. It’s all about supporting your body holistically and developing habits that boost your metabolism in a healthy way.
For anyone, no matter the size or shape, losing weight is difficult. It takes a whole lot of hard work and commitment. Fortunately, there a plenty of resources out there to support along the way, like apps, personal trainers, dieticians and online courses. If you have other questions about losing weight, weight loss supplements or training, don’t hesitate to get in touch @bodyandfit_official or via our customer service channel, where our team of Nutrition Experts are always on hand to help you #FINDYOURFIT.