It seems like everywhere you turn these days there's another new diet out there that the latest celebrity is following, which has (of course!) got them great results. If you're trying to lose weight it can be very tempting to give them a try, but very often this just leads to frustration and sometimes even to weight gain instead - not good! I watched a programme tonight about the secrets to weight loss and 80% of the experts questioned on the programme agreed that crash diets did not work in the longer term - which I have to say I agree with. So, following on from that here are my top 5 tips for healthier, stress-free sustainable weight loss...
, 1. Start keeping a food diary - and be honest! For some people just writing down what you eat and drink each day can be enough of a shock to keep them out of the biscuit tin. With food available everywhere it's very easy to sit and snack all day without properly realising it - and those extra calories all do add up! I recommend to my clients either keeping a paper copy (there are lots of templates available on the internet) or you can also use an app like My Fitness Pal (which is free to download). It can also be a useful exercise in determining how balanced you think your diet really is when you see a week's worth written down in front of you. Some people find calorie-counting works for them - how can you know if you are eating fewer calories than you actually need without having any idea how much you're actually consuming? Again, an app like My Fitness Pal can really help with this. Most of my clients use this and they find it quite a shock sometimes learning what's actually in their food! It can be quite an education. A good personal trainer should be able to tell you how many calories a day you should be eating for weight loss, and this service is included with selected Exercise For Mum's programmes.
2. Include exercise in your life. Find an exercise that you like, that you can include in your weekly routine without too much difficulty and make it happen! Increasing your activity levels will increase your calorie burn, which will start burning the fat you want to lose. It doesn't have to be complicated!
3. Plan ahead with your meals and snacks. This is one of my most important tips. Plan, and if possible prepare ahead as much as you can with your food. This is a really good idea for several reasons. Firstly, it means you're more likely to eat a healthier meal if something is already prepared and quickly available when you're hungry. So you're therefore less likely to choose an unhealthy option. Secondly, it's when your blood sugar levels dip when you are hungry that you are more likely to make bad food choices - so keep healthy snacks to hand to avoid this problem. Thirdly you can plan your menu's ahead of time, save yourself the stress of wondering what to cook tonight and you can also shop accordingly which will almost certainly save you some money!
4. Swap white carbs for wholegrains. Swapping white bread for wholemeal, white pasta for wholewheat and white rice for brown rice is an easy swap to make but it really benefits your diet. This is because wholegrain foods contain more fibre than white due to the fact they are less processed. This means they have a lower glycaemic index (G.I.) so your body will take longer to process them and therefore you will feel fuller for longer. In addition they keep your blood sugar levels more stable, so you're less likely to suffer from drops in blood sugar that often result in reaching for the chocolate bars... They take the same length of time to cook these days (well, apart from brown rice perhaps!) and are easily available. They are also lower in calories than the white alternatives. I compared the calories between dried lasagne recently and there was quite a significant different between brown and white versions. They are a bit more expensive than the white versions, but if you can afford to buy them I recommend it. If your kids are not keen on them you can do half and half for pasta, which is better than nothing! My kids don't really notice the difference these days.
5. If you are cooking for your family and want to only make one meal for you all (which I totally sympathise with!) then cook the same for everyone but reduce your portion of carbs, have a bigger portion of protein and make up the difference with green, starchy vegetables. That way you are all more or less eating the same thing, you will reduce your calories and make up the gap with the veggies so you won't feel hungry. The extra protein will also keep you feeling full. You'll be getting some extra veggies in your diet and you don't need to go to the hassle of cooking yourself a different separate lower-calorie meal. Simples!
So that's my top 5 tips for losing weight, hope you find them useful. Add these together with consistency and patience and you will start to see results.
Feel free to comment below, ask me any questions and to share this blog if you've found it helpful.
Exercise For Mum's was created by PT mum Susan Flintoff. Susan is a busy working mum of two who specialises in helping other busy mum's fit health and fitness back into their lives, and hopes to inspire them to be the best mum they can be!!