Meal plans, diets and depriving yourself are a recipe for disaster. If you have a history of failing with diets you’re not alone, infact you’re the majority. I’m here to show you that there’s an easier way. A way that works long term and that doesn’t result in misery.
You will have to make some changes but small strategic changes over time compound into amazing results. Below I have listed 7 steps to guide you to sustainable long term success.
1. Eat a nutrient dense diet high in protein
How much you have to change your current diet is going to depend on what your current diet consists of. The less quality food the more changes that will need to be made. Small changes over time will result in long term results. Here are some tips that will get you on your way.
- Limit processed food and high fat, high sugar junk foods,
- Use mindful eating techniques. When you are eating, just eat. Don’t watch TV, walk, drive. Focus on your food and catch up with friends and family. Take time to taste the food. Focus on the different tastes and sensations as you chew.
- Once you slow done you will be more aware of actually eating and feel more satisfied. Research has shown that appetite is linked with the memory of eating so if you inhale a meal while watching youtube videos the body can sometimes not realise it.
- Another way to be more mindful and slow down is by chewing each mouthful 10 times or more and putting down your fork after each mouthful.
- Use smaller plates and servings containers. The larger the plate the harder it is to judge the portion size so once you make the plate smaller the portion gets smaller automatically.
- Drink calorie free drinks like water, coffee, teas or diet sodas.
- Track your food intake. You can use the app myfitnesspal.com or else a journal.
Your diet should also contain enough of protein. A quick way to calculate how much protein you need is by multiplying your weight in kgs x 2. So if you’re a 70kg man then your protein is roughly 140g per day.
Why protein is awesome.
- It keep you feeling full and satiated which stops you eating more food.
- It preserves muscle mass as you lose weight and allows you to burn a higher percentage of fat.
- Protein takes slightly more calories to digest than fat or carbs.
An easy way to get more protein in the diet is by eating protein at each meal. Aim for 30-50 g at each meal or 1 palm for ladies and 2 for men. A protein shake can be a great help here as a serving contains roughly 30g of protein.
2. It must be enjoyable for the long term
When you think of losing weight you probably have an image of celery sticks and juice fasts. For long term weight lose your diet needs to be enjoyable. If you can’t see yourself doing it long term then why even bother? Eat foods you enjoy everyday. If you have difficulty with so called healthy foods, spice em up a bit. Find a recipe that entices you with a mix of vegetables and protein like these.
Not sure where to start? I have listed a days worth of healthy meal options below:
- 2-3 eggs with spinach and peppers and an apple.
- Super smoothie – banana, bcaa or protein powder, peanut butter, blueberries, almond meal
- Leftover dinner from yesterday
- Mixed leaves, chicken breast, olive oil, oregano.
- Vegetable soup, an apple, one to two thumb sized portions of cashews
- Egg fried rice with veggies. Make sure and have more veggies than rice here
- Salmon, courgette and sweet potato
- Steak and fresh spinach salad.
- Cashew chicken
3. Make exercise a part of your daily routine.
There are 168 hour in a week. If you take 8 hours a night for sleep out you have 122 hours. Take another 5 hours for 5 exercise sessions and you’re still left with 117 hour each week to get in movement known as NEAT (non exercise activity thermogenesis). Now you can see how many opportunities to move you have each week outside of your formal exercise sessions.
Below are 5 ways to get more movement into your weekly routine.
- Use a device like a fitbit or smart watch
- Use a standing desk
- Get up from your desk or seat more often
- Take stairs when possible
- Park farther from your work building
- Lift weights
Weight training is the most effective way of building muscle. The more muscle you have the more potential you have to burn fat. It increases the speed of your bodies metabolism. It also makes day to day activities easier, boosts energy and improves movement. If you’re not sure where to start I recommend a basic program like strong lifts 5×5 or anything that uses push, pull, squats, hinge and carries. You can also check out my 4 week bodyweight program here.
5. Better Sleep
If you think about them days when you are tired everything is more difficult. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation while driving is like drunk driving in some instances. Now you can imagine how much more difficult it’s going to be to adopt new habits when you’re fatigued. People eat worse and make worse decisions when they are sleep deprived so obviously more sleep results in easier fat loss.
6. Seek out a weight loss support group
Jim Rohn famously said “you are the average of the five people you spend most of your time with” and I have to agree. When I’m around high achievers I want to achieve more. When I’m around fit people I want to get fitter and when I’m around people who just sit around all day I tend to sit around all day. The behaviours of those around you put those behaviours front of mind.
So if you want to make a healthy change to your lifestyle you need to be around other people with similar goals, otherwise you won’t feel motivated to keep going. Studies have shown that online accountability has a positive impact on behavioural change. Josh Hillis has an awesome online group for anyone wanting help with fat loss. Check it out here.
Another option would be to consider getting a coach ideally someone who is going to help you build long term sustainable habits not some meal plan with broccoli and chicken for dinner capped at 1200 calories a day.
7. Deal with emotions without eating
Emotional eating is one of the most common problem with over weight people. One study found that 70% of the people who relapsed after a diet was for emotional eating reasons.
Here are some steps to take if you are an emotional eater.
- Acknowledge it. Awareness of the problem is the most important starting point. It is only then that you can begin to change it.
- Create an environment that makes it easier to make good decisions. Throw out junk food. Put fruit and veggies on display.
- Find other activities that you can focus on that don’t involve food
- Keep a journal
So that’s it. Nothing short term, instant or sexy about these tips but they work and will lead to long term fat loss success. Stop wasting your time with 6 week programs and start getting the results you deserve.