I want to start off by reiterating that most marketing claims of the 'big' mainstream ways to lose weight aren't worth the paper they're printed on. Losing weight quickly, losing weight through deficiency and losing weight through over working are not healthy ways to do it. Losing weight these ways almost always come with negative side effects and almost always (around 90-95% of the time) result in the yo-yo effect - diet, lose weight, stop diet, put weight on, diet, lose weight..... I would be willing to bet that most people reading this blog have been caught up in this cycle at some point in their lives - I know I have!
I think a lot of the issue is the marketing and the fact people don't have time to do the research into the claims. They also have faith that the advertising regulators and such keep the marketing honest... but that's a whole other issue I'm not going to go into. The lack of knowledge, promise of quick results and effective marketing make for a very compelling draw to the diet. If you're reading my blog then I expect you're looking for things that aren't quite mainstream and ways to get healthier without becoming stuck in the yo-yo cycle. Good news!!! Keep reading for my advice (that is proven time and time again to work long term).
1) Forget about calories
2) Forget about 'low fat' / 'diet' being healthier options (low fat yogurt, diet Coke etc)
3) Forget about grains - they are bad news for most
4) Forget about starving yourself to weight loss
5) Forget about epic cardio sessions in the gym
These are probably the 5 best things to forget when trying to lose weight the healthy way. Next have a look at the 5 best tips.
1) Focus on the quality of your food
2) Focus on eating 'whole foods' with natural fats in them
3) Focus on eating fat, protein and carbs ('good' ones) - your body needs it all
4) Focus on eating meals that give your body what it needs and not filling it with toxins
5) Focus on lifting some weights, sprint training and smaller amounts of cardio
Simple really. Steps 1-4 are all about the fuel your putting into your body. That's what food is at the end of the day - fuel. Your body needs the right fuel if it's going to work properly. The right fuel is:
- meat and fish
- vegetables and fruit (more veg and less fruit)
- nuts and seeds
- dairy (for some) and eggs
To give your body that fuel I would recommend:
- learn to cook
- eat meat (or fish) and veg as pretty much every meal
- snack on nuts and seeds
- drink / eat dairy if you can handle it (full fat)
- eat eggs everyday
- drink lots of water
I can't overstate how important it is to have quality ingredients too. Buy the best food you can on your budget. Home grown (or local farm grown), organic, nutrient dense food will fill you up and give you better fuel than the supermarket cut price produce - fact.
Eat a good meal and you will be full up until the next. If you happen to get any hunger then I'd suggest ignoring it for 10 minutes. Do this and it will most likely go away. If it doesn't then have those nuts / seeds, yogurt or eggs. The reason you can forget about calories is because once your body gets used to eating these foods (and forgets about the high sugar foods you used to eat) it will tell you when you are full. Listen to it, stop when you are full and you'll get on fine.
Finally it's the exercise. Pounding the treadmill or cross trainer for hours on end is boring and just drives your appetite for sugary food - don't do it! Instead make sure you increase your low level day to day activity - get off your butt and move around. Couple that with some weight sessions in the gym or some sprint intervals and you'll be turning on all the right genes for fat burn and lean mass building - perfect! Sure, throw in the odd cardio session if you want but if you work the weights and sprints correctly your heart and lungs will get a better workout there!
Honestly I can say that if you follow these guidelines you will get healthier. There is no way that you won't. The trick is to follow them and adapt them (a little) to suit your lifestyle. The first couple of weeks tend to be the hardest as you break your sugar addiction. Then it becomes easier and you start to feel the benefit.
2 final things to leave you with:
1) Get in touch with me for more personal advice or more in depth answer to your questions
2) Throw out your scales. Weight is but a number (and not even that important). Measure your success in how you feel, how much energy you have, your perceived body shape, how often you get ill. The list goes on. These are all 'real' measures for health and fitness - much more useful than a number on a scale!