Lose 10lbs in 4 weeks, drop a dress size in 7 days, lose belly fat fast! These are some of the headlines that sell newspapers and magazines, but what is the real truth behind successful weight loss?
Over the years, I have seen hundreds of clients who struggle with their weight, and there are usually a few common denominators for our fluctuating waistlines. So here is my low down on what works, time and again, for client after client when it comes to beating the battle of the bulge…
Balance blood sugar levels
If you find yourself needing something sweet to finish meals, or craving carbs and sugars regularly throughout the day, the chances are you are on a blood sugar rollercoaster. This vicious cycle means that as soon as we finish one square of chocolate, we want the whole bar (and maybe another one…). Sugar and insulin spikes are a recipe for fat gain, so a muffin top is exactly that!
If your sugar cravings are controlling you, it is time to fight back. Be prepared with alternative snack
To stop you reaching for the biscuits at 3pm. Some ideas include:
- 2 oatcakes with sugar-free nut butter
- natural yoghurt with berries
- an apple & a handful of nuts
Taking a supplement to help manage blood sugar levels could be useful to help take the edge off sugar cravings. I like this one from Higher Nature.
Up your protein
Protein helps balance blood sugar levels and keeps your feeling fuller for longer, so make sure you incorporate a bit of protein with every meal and snack. Choose from eggs, meat, fish, chicken, nuts, seeds, pulses, houmous, natural yoghurt, quinoa.
Eat more fat!
Yes, you read that right! If we don’t have enough good fats in our diet, it plays havoc with appetite and hormone balance (remember the insulin and sugar cocktail I told you about – insulin is a hormone too.).
- eat avocados a few times a week
- have a handful of raw nuts and seeds every day
- eat oily fish 2 or 3 times a week
- use olive oil based dressings
- cook with coconut oil (research shows it helps manage weight around our middle)
Keep an eye on the carbs
The only thing your body uses carbohydrate for is energy, so if you are not moving enough to burn it off, then it gets stored as fat.
- choose low GI (glycaemic index) carbs – these are the ones with less sugar and more fibre e.g. porridge, oatcakes, rye bread, new potato.
- 1 portion is the size of your fist
- avoid carbs after 6pm to kickstart weight loss. If your evening meal is later than this, choose protein with veg or salad and replace carbs with quinoa, sweet potato or cauliflower rice instead. How about some roasted Mediteranean vegetables with herby fish, or chickpea curry with quinoa instead of rice.
Eat lighter twice a week
Choose two days a week when you eat lighter meals and fewer calories. Maybe a light breakfast of yoghurt & berries, followed by salad for lunch with fish, chicken or houmous and some chicken and roasted veg for tea. For just 2 days a week, cut out the snacks and eat 3 meals a day.
Treat your treats as treats
Instead of munching on sweet treats every day, choose one day a week to allow yourself a little bit of what you fancy. Sit down, savour and enjoy it (without feeling guilty). Treats should be just that and not a daily indulgence.
Sometimes we mistake thirst for hunger. Aim for one and a half litres of pure, clean water every day. Not as juice, cordial, tea or coffee, but just fresh water.
Move your body
Move it, shake it, stretch it. Whether your preferred form of exercise is dancing around your kitchen, roller-skating along the towpath or a walk in the park, make sure you do it regularly and enjoy it! Aim for 30minutes of activity every day.