But with contrasting fat loss tips coming out all the time, it’s easy to see why so many women struggle.
If you want to lose fat and get healthy, you probably think you’ve tried all the fat loss tips and tricks in the book and they’ve just not worked.You’re not alone.
THE GOLDEN TIPS TO LOSE FAT
- START KEEPING RECORDS
Research in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine shows that food journals can double a dieter’s weight loss effort.
Keep a fitness and food diary and make a note of how you train and what you eat (yes, that Bounce Ball you snaffled while dinner was cooking still counts) so you can see where your goals are at.
- ADD WEIGHTS TO CARDIO
To drop serious kilos, you need the one-two punch of aerobic exercise plus strength training.
“Regular resistance training can boost your basal metabolic rate by 15% but it’s key to target multiple muscles,” says Nicola Addison, PT and founder of Eqvvs Training. We’re talking squats, lunges, pull-ups and deadlifts.
- START WITH VEGETABLES
If you’re eating out, check the menu in advance and you’re more likely to make a smart, considered choice when you order.
“Opt for a vegetable-based starter,” says Toribio- Mateas. “You’ll be feeding your healthy gut microbes and filling up with fibre, meaning you’ll absorb fewer calories from starch and fat as a result.”
- DRINK OUTDOORS
Research says that placing yourself in the context of a wider ecosystem, simply by stepping outside, can improve body confidence and help you make healthier choices.
It comes down to a human need to maintain your place in nature, which, over time, will lead to you feeling healthier and happier. Grab your coat.
- PICTURE MOTIVATION
“If you have a weight loss goal, have pictures on hand that motivate you to stay on track,” says Kenny.
When it comes to setting goals, visualisation is important. It could be a picture of you at a healthier weight, fitspo from your favourite athlete or an outfit you want to wear when you reach your goal.
- DO SWAPS THE SMART WAY
Fact: small treats keep you from feeling deprived, so allow yourself a little bit of something you love every day (aim for it to be around 150 calories). The reason?
This kind of moderation is the difference between a ‘diet’ and a lifestyle you can stick with forever. Nailed it.
- LEAVE THE EXTRAS
Milk in your coffee, sauce on the side, extra alcoholic drinks, those mindless nibbles when food appears in front of you – it all adds up.
“Added sugar and sweeteners affect your gut microbes in ways that make you more prone to put on weight (or less prone to lose it),” says Toribio-Mateas.
- TRY GETTING THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF PROTEIN
1.5 is the magic number to aim for when it comes to protein – which helps build muscle and fuel fat loss – if you’re a regular in the weights room.
To hit the right amount, multiply your weight in kilos by 1.5 – eat at least that many grams per day, spreading evenly over meals and snacks (like a fine peanut butter – yum).
- MIND YOUR PORTIONS
“Studies have shown that most dieters underestimate how much they eat,” says Filip Koidis, founder of W1 Nutritionist.“Aim for a portion of protein the size of your palm, a pile of vegetables the size of your fist, a cupped hand of carbs and a thumb-sized amount of fat.” Chow down.
Tools and gadgets can help but the most useful hack is far simpler.
- THREE SQUARE MEALS SHOULD BE OKEY
Stick to traditional meals of breakfast, lunch and dinner – supplemented with a small morning and afternoon snack if you’re feeling particularly peckish – to ensure that your hormones remain balanced and avoid grazing turning into overeating.
Despite all the advice about eating five or six smaller meals throughout the day rather than sitting down to three main meals, research shows this strategy doesn’t often work for weight loss.
- EAT ENOUGH TO BALANCE FAT LOSS AND ENERGY
There’s a fine line between eating for energy and muscle recovery, and eating to drop body fat.
Weight loss will be a by-product if you’re burning energy at the gym but shouldn’t necessarily be your goal over fitness, strength or endurance.
“People think if they exercise more they’ll lose more weight,” says Koidis. “But its effect on weight loss is minimal as humans have a variety of adaptive and compensatory mechanisms to make up for the energy burnt in the gym.
“Your exercise recovery goals should include a good night’s sleep, a balanced meal consisting of all three macronutrients and rehydration.”
- DON’T GET CAUGHT UP IN FADS
Clear confusion by taking a step back and looking at a wellness approach that suits your body type, goals and lifestyle. A nutritionist or dietitian can help you figure this out.
“It’s important that changes you make are realistic and sustainable rather than short-term fixes,” says Koidis.
“The key to a healthy lifestyle lies in individuality – what’s healthy for a celebrity or friend isn’t necessarily right for you. Make a note of how your body reacts after foods that you eat.”
- GET MORE INFORMATION AND UPDATE YOURSELF
People need support and accountability in reaching goals.
Whether that’s from a nutrition expert, a support group or a friend, locking in regular update sessions will provide vital support and encouragement while keeping you on track.
Going it alone? “Have a clear vision of yourself looking fit and healthy,”
“Imagine yourself feeling the way you’d feel and appreciating your healthy body. Do this every time you falter and your willpower will become stronger.”
- LET GO OF THE FOODS THAT TRIGGERS WEIGHT GAIN
It could be grab bags of Monster Munch, homemade flapjacks or that extra spoonful (or seven) of mac and cheese; whatever your poison, it pays to park it, particularly any food you have a tendency to overeat or eat mindlessly.
Rearranging your fridge may sound way too simple to work, but nutritionist Karen Beck assures us it does: move the foods that you know fuel you and make you feel good to the most visible shelves, and shift the unhealthy stuff towards the back. Oh, and while you’re there, clean up your kitchen.
Research by Cornell University found that people who displayed junk food on the counter (like biscuits in a glass jar) weighed an average 12kg more than people who stored food away.
Out of sight, out of mind.
- SWEAT CLOSER TO HOME
Do a bit of Tabata and up physical activity by climbing the stairs at work, or standing up in the office for 10 minutes every hour.
Working out in your own space doesn’t just save time, it’s also easier to fit in if you find yourself with a spare five minutes. Remember – a few minutes is better than no minutes at all.
- FIBRE AND FAT
Fibre expands in your stomach and also takes time to digest, which means you feel fuller for longer, so focus food choices on fibre-packed whole grains, vegetables and whole fruits (not juiced).
Healthy fats like olive and nut oils – in moderation – boost flavour, add energy and help your body absorb nutrients.
“In terms of carbohydrates, pulses, legumes and lentils are your best choice, but aim to include starchy carbs like rice, potatoes and rye bread in around six meals per week,” explains Miguel Toribio-Mateas, expert nutrition practitioner and clinical neuroscientist.