How to create a sustainable fat loss programme
The biggest mistake people make when embarking on a fat loss diet is cutting out most, if not all the foods they love and enjoy. When we drastically reduce our calorie intake, we get tired, irritable, and hungry! What you need are 10 Top Tips for fat loss to create sustainable habits.
Drastically reducing our calorie intake often results in a significant weight loss in the first few weeks but unfortunately, it tends to be water or lean muscle – not fat loss. It can be disappointing when you only lose a couple of pounds when realistically this is a good healthy weight loss and will generally be sustainable.
One of the main reasons for reducing calories is to achieve a quick result in the short-term. Wanting to achieve and see quick results isn’t necessarily the best strategy and is certainly not sustainable long term.
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10 Simple Top Tip for Fat Loss
1. For successful fat loss track your food
Keeping a journal will keep you accountable and it’s a great way of re-educating yourself on how many calories are in certain foods.
It’s widely researched that people on a diet under-report the amount of food they eat or just don’t log or record it.
Here are some of the foods that get missed off the tracker:
- Milk in tea – how many cups of tea do you have? Be honest!
- Lattes (skinny or semi-skimmed will add a couple of hundred to your daily intake)
- Picking while preparing foods…it’s tempting, isn’t it?
- Or tasting food during the cooking stage – of course!
- Out with friends and family… a cup of tea and a slice of cake or a few biscuits!
Not weighing foods can account for some missing calories as well and can potentially add hundreds of extra calories to your daily intake and much more during the week.
3,500 calories equal a pound of stored body fat.
When I was younger watching mum baking all the cakes, biscuits, bread, and scones was a regular activity. My sisters and I got to lick the bowl and spoons, and we probably would have licked the counter if we’d been allowed! All those hidden calories we were consuming. Do you eat off other people’s plates?
2. Download Fitness Pal
If you would prefer the digital tracking tools – then there are so many to choose from. We like the Fitness Pal and there’s a walking, jogging, and running app that is all owned by Under Armour and I’m a bit of an Under Armour gal myself!
Be aware that some apps add extra calories to your daily allowance if you log your exercise or activities. So, if you are specifically on a weight loss programme, adding the extra calories every time you exercise will slow down your weight loss. Stick to the daily calories allowance. Once you achieve your goal weight, then you can allow yourself more calories.
Here’s an easy way to calculate the daily calories you need for fat loss:
Goal body weight = XX x 12 = this is your daily calorie intake.
For example: Goal body weight = 135 Ibs x 12 = 1620 calories
3. Eat more protein (it’s filling)
The last thing you want when you are on a fat loss plan is to get hungry. If you’ve decided to reduce the carbohydrates in your diet then you need to make sure you are adding some protein.
How much protein should you be eating?
The Department of Health advises adults to avoid consuming more than twice the recommended daily intake of protein (55.5g for men and 45g for women).
Healthy protein-rich foods:
- Chicken or turkey
- Greek yogurt
4. Drink more water
This has so many benefits. For starters water contains no calories, it’s free and there are no sugars! It regulates the body’s temperature and helps with the body’s functionality.
Drinking 6 to 8 glasses of water prevents you from getting de-hydrated and there are health issues associated with getting de-hydrated.
- Boosts energy
- Aids weight loss
- Improves body functionality
- Helps digestion and much more…
5. Walk 10k steps per day (you don’t need to go crazy on the cardio workouts for fat loss)
Walking is underrated as an exercise associated with fat and weight loss. There are still people that believe you have to go crazy with the cardio workouts 7 days per week. If you enjoy cardio, then of course go for it and keep on keeping on. However, if you hate running or standing with a hundred others dressed in leotards and sweating together…then don’t feel this is your only option for weight loss.
The NHS recommends walking at least 10, 000 steps per day. Yes, it’s challenging in terms of the time it takes and we are all busy people these days. Consider using your time to listen to podcasts or listen to music. You could of course buddy up with friends (Following COVID-19 rules of course!).
Perhaps you are considering jogging or running? Why not try to couch to 5k challenge? It’s literally designed for people starting at the beginning.
6. Regulate your sleep pattern
Notice we haven’t said how many hours to sleep and this an individual preference. However, as a guide, the research shows between 6 to 8 hours a night is a healthy range.
Why is it so important to regular your sleep pattern? There are many health benefits associated with a good night’s sleep.
- It improves and protects your immune system’s health.
- Having a good night’s sleep can help with weight maintenance and weight loss.
- Boost mental wellbeing and contributes to reducing anxiety, low mood, or depression
- Decrease the association with heart disease
NHS says, “Sleeping less may mean you put on weight! Studies have shown that people who sleep less than 7 hours a day tend to gain more weight and have a higher risk of becoming obese than those who get 7 hours of slumber.”
This is worth noting, that the only way to catch up on lost sleep…is getting more sleep. And, if you have experienced sleep deprivation over a number of weeks or months, one lay in isn’t going to catch up on the amount of lost sleep. It could take weeks or months to recover and pay back the sleep debt.
7. Eat more vegetables and fruit
We love a plate full of colourful vegetables, how about you? Vegetables are filling and low in calories which makes them a great addition to every meal.
In the winter, steam some broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots, and in the summer, chop up a nice salad mix with tomatoes, lettuce, grated carrots, and don’t forget the cucumber!
8. Keep busy
We get the impression these days that a lot of people are busy.
During the lockdown, there were people experiencing very different journeys. Some people were twice as busy, working from home and responsible for homeschooling and trying to juggle lots of conflicting priorities.
We also had the people living alone, quarantined to protect the medically vulnerable and isolated with very little social interaction.
For this group of individuals, it’s important to keep busy and find activities that keep you busy. Do you like painting? Have you always got a good book on the go? Do you love writing? There are hundreds of different hobbies and interests to get involved with and the internet opens up lots of possibilities.
Have you considered a Vegan Diet?
Eating a whole-food, plant-based vegan diet, without the consumption of meat or dairy is beneficial for our health and wellbeing.
Vegan foods such as vegetables, fruit, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds are low in saturated fat.
Even high-fat plant foods (such as avocados, nuts, and seeds), contain no cholesterol whatsoever, so a vegan diet is cholesterol-free.
A vegan diet is also packed with antioxidants and fibers which can enhance your health, your body, and muscle recovery.
9. Calorie Deficit for fat loss
Whatever diet you chose to lose weight or fat has to be a calorie deficit. That’s why most diets actually work because they put you into a calorie deficit.
However, some diets do not lend themselves well to being sustainable and that’s why you need to consider when you are selecting a diet with a daily calorie intake under approximately 1,200.
If you start off higher and then reduce, it will serve you better in the future. Your body will be to adjust to the new amounts of food. (See more information and calculations below.)
10. Strength and muscle building exercises
Another myth about weight training for women is the fear of getting bulky! No, don’t worry. It’s not that easy to build big muscles and it takes a lot of work and dedication. The objective is to lift weights to build strength, which will have great benefits in your everyday life.
And, the most widely mentioned fact for weight or fat loss by all of the experts is CALORIE DEFICIT.
Let us know how you get on if you are looking to lose a few pounds or two!
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How to determine how many calories you need for maintenance:
The Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)
The Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the amount of energy (calories) your body needs while resting. This accounts for about 60 to 70 percent of calories burned in a day.
In general, men have a higher BMR than women. One of the most accurate methods of estimating your basal metabolic rate is the Harris-Benedict formula:
- Adult male: 66 + (6.3 x body weight in lbs.) + (12.9 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in years) = BMR
- Adult female: 655 + (4.3 x weight in lbs.) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years) = BMR
To determine your total daily calorie needs, multiply your BMR by the appropriate activity factor, as follows:
- Sedentary lifestyle (little or no exercise) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.2
- Light activity (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.375
- Moderately active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.55
- Very active (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days a week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.725
- Extra active (very hard exercise/sports & physical job or 2x training) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.9
Total Calorie Needs Example
If you are sedentary, multiply your BMR (1745) by 1.2 = 2094. This is the total number of calories you need in order to maintain your current weight.
How many calories needed to Lose Weight?
There are approximately 3500 calories in a pound of stored body fat.
If you subtract 3500 calories each week through diet, exercise, or a combination of both, you will lose one pound of body weight. (On average 75% of this is fat, 25% lean tissue).
Create a 7000 calorie deficit you will lose two pounds and so on.
The calorie deficit can be achieved either by calorie reduction alone or by a combination of eating less and doing more. This combination of healthy eating and physical activity is best for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight and a sustainable lifestyle.
If you want to lose fat, a useful guideline for lowering your calorie intake is to reduce your calories by at least 500, but not more than 1000 below your maintenance level. For people with only a little amount of weight to lose, reducing your calories by 1,000 is too much.
As a guide, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends that calorie levels never drop below 1200 calories per day for women or 1800 calories per day for men. Even these calorie levels are quite low.
Think carefully before reducing your calorie intake too low – it’s not realistic and you’ll get hungry, tired, and probably irritable. Aim to enjoy the journey and enjoy your food and exercise.