THE ULTIMATE WEIGHT LOSS “SHORTCUTS”
JDP Top Trainer and Body composition expert Scarlet Hollands giver you 7 of her ultimate weight loss shortcuts.
Any weight/fat loss journey can be a challenge whether you are the new gym-goer looking to increase fitness and drop a few pounds after the Christmas festivities or a professional athlete looking to make weight for your next world champion powerlifting competition, regardless, its very uncommon to hear of people dropping the pounds easily. The most common thing we hear as trainers is clients/individuals looking for a “quick fix” or rapid weight loss. A successful weight loss isn’t something that is achieved fast. The key to a steady loss with a high probability of keeping that weight off is more about a lifestyle change then a “diet”. As a competitive bodybuilder myself, I know only first hand how a severe diet to drop to a low body fat percentage for a competition is not only completely exhausting and requires a huge amount of adherence, motivation, energy and determination but due to the severe nutritional deficit and extreme level of output, there is no way the final product will be maintainable once the calories increase and output is less intense.
The key to a successful loss is implementing small changes to your everyday life, being consistent with those changes and forming new habits which will last long term if not forever. Here are my top 7 tips to help you eliminate unnecessary calories and make long-term changes to your nutritional needs to ensure you have a progressive, maintainable and successful weight loss journey.
1. Eliminate the booze
Booze is probably the number one enemy to gain weight. People forget that because its liquid, it doesn’t count as calories. Wrong … Alcohol is rife with calories and provides absolutely ZERO nutrition value to you and your body. Ideally, we want to drink as little alcohol as possible but as adults we are partial to a glass of red, or 5 .. To kick start you weight loss journey, try cutting down your booze consumption. Give yourself one “dry” month with absolutely no alcohol and watch the weight drop off. After that month, if you want to re-introduce alcohol, try to keep it to a minimum so for example, stay dry during the working week and if Saturday evenings typically mean drinking until the sun comes up, try cutting down your 5 glasses of wine to 2 glasses and hydrate with a glass of water in-between drinks. Your body will be less inclined to turn the excessive booze to stubborn body fat but you will also eliminate the dreaded hangover the following morning!
2. Drink more water!
We here this being said over and over again but that is because this works! Our bodies can easily mistaken dehydration for hunger so one of the easiest ways to reset your appetite is to stay hydrated. When you feel that pang of hunger, try consuming 500ml of water and then if your are still ravenous, choose something to keep you sustained for a prolonged period until your next meal. Another advantage to staying hydrated is eliminating water retention in the body that can physically make you appear larger/fluffier then you are. By staying hydrated consistently day to day, your body will not feel the need to hold water as it will be assured it is receiving an adequate amount of water to stay hydrated. This is super important when exercising as we lose huge amounts via breath and sweat so drink even more water if you have an intense training session planned for that day!
Probably one of the easiest weight loss tips ever – sleep more. Most people don’t realise that sleep directly effects the hormones that control our hunger and satiety cues. By simply allowing yourself a good quality sleep we can keep those hormones balances and thus appetite in check. It is also important to note that good quality sleep (minimal interruption) is far more beneficial then 10 hours of disrupted sleep. Before bed, enjoy some down time, allow yourself to switch off from the day, enjoy a book or magazine and try to avoid tv and mobile phones.
4. Eat protein and fibre
Counting calories and macros can be a nightmare but also a useful tool to keep you on track with set nutritional goals. Every individual requires a different amount of calories daily and these should also be tailored to individual goals. Yes, we require a balanced amount of all the key macronutrients (protein, carbs and fats) but rather then stressing about how many carbs you can’t eat or how much fat you are consuming, turn you attention to proteins and fibre. Both of these nutrients will keep you feeling fuller for longer so try and include these in every meal and you will be feeling content and sustained until your next meal.
5. Turn up the heat
Spice doesn’t just kick start your metabolism with what we call the “thermogenic effect” but its effect on your hunger levels is equally important. By adding chilli/spice to your food, even in a deficit, it is enough to keep you feeling fuller from that meal even if you are consuming less. It will also help increase your metabolic rate which is the effect on the rate in which we burn calories. The more efficient the metabolism, the more we burn, the faster the drop in body fat!
6. Lift weights
One of the worst side effects of dieting, is that it tends to cause muscle loss and metabolic slowdown, often referred to as “starvation mode”. This is when the body recognises that it isn’t receiving adequate fuel and as a result will start to hold onto anything you eat and store as fat. One of the best ways to prevent this from occurring is to do some sort of resistance exercise, like lifting weights. Lifting weights can help keep your metabolism high, and prevent you from losing precious muscle mass. Of course, it’s not just important to lose fat. You also want to make sure that what is beneath looks good too. Doing resistance exercise is perfect to ensure muscular growth and tone is ready to be exposed when you torch that fat leaving you looking lean, defined and healthy.
7. Cut back on added sugar
Added sugar is the single worst ingredient in the modern diet, and most people are eating far too much of it. Sugar (and high fructose corn syrup) consumption is strongly associated with the risk of obesity, as well as diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and an endless list of health disorders and diseases. By cutting back on sugars, you will noticeably but dropping the pounds fast. Sugar is everywhere and even in many “health foods” so know what you are looking for when you read the nutritional information on the packing of food. If the ratio to “carbohydrates” and “of which sugars” is similar, know that that specific food consumes high amounts of sugar. If the “carbs of which sugars” is much lower than the “carbohydrate” number then you are good to go as that is a more natural, fibrous carb source.