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.
Losing weight: where do I start?
The basics of losing weight 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 this Mayo Clinic Calorie Counter to get a good idea of how many calories you need each day.
When you consume fewer calories than you burn each day (known as maintaining a calorie deficit), you’ll lose weight in a natural, healthy way. If you’re ready to lose 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.
Lose weight without counting calories
The structured and time-consuming nature of counting calories isn’t for everyone. We get it. There are, however, other ways to lose weight 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 losing weight. 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 and 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.
Up your protein intake
Our bodies take longer to digest protein than fats or carbohydrates, making it one of the most satiating macronutrients out there. A whey protein or vegan protein shake can be great for supporting weight loss as it may help supress your appetite while preserving lean muscle mass.
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, you can grab a bag of our Body&Fit Smart Chips or Popcorn, which contain a maximum of 100 kcal per serving.
Losing weight 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.
How do I measure my weight loss progress?
The most common way to track your weight loss progress is to use a scale, although there are other ways. Using one or all three of the below methods is a good way to make sure you’re on track and hitting those targets.
Although standing on the scales each day can give a complete picture of your weight loss progress, it’s important to remember that your weight can fluctuate due to things like salt intake, a full or empty stomach and stress. Try not to compare your weight loss on different days. Compare weekly averages for a better view of your overall progress.
Another way to track your progress is by taking pictures. You can do this in front of the mirror, or with the help of a partner. In the photos, wear the same underwear and stand in the same position so you can clearly see the progression. You might not see much difference in the beginning but the longer you do it, the more visible the change.
As the saying goes, “to measure is to know”. Using a tailor’s tape measure, measure your chest, waist, hips and possibly your thighs every week or month. Make sure you measure in the same spot each time so you can properly compare the numbers side by side.
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.