By Simon O’Connor
Losing weight starts with you and wanting to make a change.
Taking control and believing that you can achieve your weight loss goal is key to succeeding. Try the below tips to take a step closer to changing your life this year!
Step #1 Adjust Mindset
Living healthy and feeling great is very powerful; it can transform your confidence, which filters into other areas of your life. All it takes is a bit of education and the correct mindset.
With that said, following these steps and starting with the belief that you can get into the best shape of your life, is something that can be achieved right now. I always find, writing down my goals and consciously reminding myself that I can and will achieve them subconsciously gives me the drive I need!
Step #2 Change Eating Habits
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying ‘treats’ in moderation – but the real issue that many finds is constant cravings… So – why is it so difficult?
Answer: It’s the emotional connection to foods such as pizza, fizzy drinks, cakes, biscuits, crisps and sweets – that leave us wanting more.
Studies have shown foods containing wheat-containing products stimulate our appetite. When wheat is ingested and exposed to the stomach enzyme pepsin along with stomach acid, the gluten in wheat is degraded to polypeptides. The dominant polypeptides were isolated and tested on lab-rats.
The discovery showed that the polypeptides were able to penetrate from the bloodstream to the brain and bind to the brains morphine receptor. This is the same receptor that detects opiate drugs. It was speculated that the compound that binds to the brain from gluten had a similar effect to that of endorphins!
So when we think of wheat-based products and in particular those containing lots of sugar, it’s incredible how the addictive properties are generated by a mild euphoric reward!
Cutting out these foods completely can seem ridiculous, but for the best fat loss solution, moderation with things such as bread and pasta will be important if you want to change your body composition.
Changing eating habits goes beyond cravings and requires a step-by-step guide to elimination and adding certain foods. It can be done and can be the best thing you ever do. Not eating enough can sometimes be a problem too; the number one excuse for not eating healthy and skipping meals is ‘time’.
I’m not the best cook and I’m impatient, when I’m hungry I want food there and then – if it can’t be done in 20 minutes or less, I’m not interested. Healthy meals can be made in short time and with a bit of preparation, you can arrange your daily meals and snacks no problem.
Here’s a something you can try to help change eating habits:
Week 1 – cut out refined sugars (sweets, chocolate, sugary drinks, biscuits)
Week 2 – cut out stodgy processed foods (pizza, bread, ready meals, white pasta)
Week 3 – drink more water (5-8 glasses every day)
Week 4 – eat more fresh whole foods (lean meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, eggs)
Step #3 Workout 3-5 Times Every Week
It might seem obvious to work out 3-5 times a week but it’s also about what you do with that time. I don’t mean spend three hours a night in the gym, but you must commit some time if you want to lose weight. Exercising once-a-week won’t cut it, just like if you have a good week of training then skip out a week or two – that’s won’t work either.
In actual fact, the exercise is probably the easy part. But staying focused and putting the effort in can actually become enjoyable and very rewarding.
If you are a beginner, you can start by exercising Monday, Wednesday and Friday for 20 minutes and then in week 2 try 30 minutes, followed by 4 days of training, then 40 minutes – and so on. Building your skills and fitness using a step-by-step process is the best way to allow your body to adjust to intense exercise!
Not sure what exercises to do?
Firstly, training at a high intensity for shorter periods of time will burn a lot more fat than a long steady run for instance. (High-Intensity Interval Training – HIIT)
✓ Lifting weights can significantly sculpt your body and begin burning tons of fat – especially if you’re not familiar with weightlifting prior!
It’s important to ‘periodise’ across weeks. Including a range of training techniques and styles will keep your metabolism moving and your physique well balanced. Feeling energetic, athletic and strong are byproducts of exercising to lose weight – but are equally beneficial!
Step #4 Know What Foods to Eat
This one is pretty obvious too but still, so many people make the mistake of exercising really well and then not eating properly.
When you exercise, you’re burning energy previously stored in your body. The energy used from your muscles must be replaced and the best way to do this is to consume the correct foods; carbohydrates (being the body’s primary source of energy) and proteins to help boost your metabolism. We also need healthy fats to help burn bad fat cells and for hormone regulation.
It sounds complicated an even daunting if you don’t know anything about nutrition, but you may be consuming foods that you believe are nutritious due to the packaging claiming ‘fat-free’ – but it’s really not that nutritious!
Over the years I have worked with many different people and have spent a lot of time conducting research – and the conclusion? Everyone is different. For that reason, there is no right answer or one-diet-fits-all! What works for me might not work for you.
One thing that cannot be denied; natural, whole foods are the most nutritious and including a range of macronutrients (protein, carbs, healthy fats) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) can provide you with the necessities for optimum healthy results.
Including these general food groups will improve your health and body.
Natural Protein Sources
Lean beef, turkey, chicken, fish, eggs
High Energy Grain Carbohydrates:
Oats, rice, quinoa, rice noodles, wholemeal pasta (contains wheat-gluten)
Anything green! + Sweet potatoes (still contains carbs but lower than white potatoes) tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms etc.
Berries, apples, pineapple, banana, watermelon etc.
Step 5 – Consistency
Lastly, consistency can be labelled as the ultimate key to success! However, having completed the above, you will have already adopted a new healthy lifestyle – therefore making consistency a lot easier; a position byproduct.
I know how difficult it is to fall into the trap of eating a bad diet at the weekend. You can still enjoy sweets and pizzas, just maybe as a ‘planned cheat meal’.
Moderation is key! With the more consistency, the easier it becomes to include these steps on a full-time basis.
Take Home Message
I hope you find value in all I have shared, for any questions, tips and programs, please get in touch – feel free to leave any comments below.
I offer online training and nutrition programs and I enjoy the challenge of helping people reach their goals!