So often we're told to reduce food intake and increase exercise to lose weight. While the slogan for weight loss advice over recent years has been to 'move more, eat less, this doesn't actually give us any practical advice or suggestions on how to lose weight. In fact, it's certainly not a must to 'eat less, and I think a more helpful way to approach weight loss is to 'eat differently' and maybe even 'move differently' too! When we are looking to lose weight, on a biological level we want to push our body into an energy deficit. An energy deficit simply means our bodies are using more energy than they are consuming. When the human body is in a state of negative energy balance over a prolonged period of time, the weight should start to slowly head down as it utilises stored body fat for energy. With this in mind, let's discuss some practical tips to help push our weight down!
As touched on earlier, we don't actually have to eat less to lose weight. Even subtle swaps in our food choices can help slowly push our bodyweight down, without feeling deprived or hungry! For example, swapping any energy-dense processed food snacks from our diet with some high fibre veggie sticks means we're not actually eating any less, in fact, in some circumstances we can be eating more food, but less total energy.
If you find yourself snacking on processed foods (biscuits, crisps or chocolate), why not replace them with a larger volume, more filling foods like carrot sticks and hummus, mixed nuts with yoghurt, or even some wholemeal bread with nut butter? Less energy, more nutrients. and more filling!
The type of movement we do can influence our weight loss progress. The first step isn't necessarily trying something new, it's about moving more than you already are. This could be through walking, doing some gardening or even experimenting with some light jogs or runs.
However, if you find yourself regularly exercising and you're still not noticing much change on the scales, why not try and mix it up a bit? Strength training, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and adding in some sprints to your runs can go a long way in boosting your energy expenditure as it adds that extra energy demand for your body!
Experiment with 1 new type of exercise or workout each week. This could be walking, running, cycling or even some strength-based exercises and HIIT, keeping it varied allows your body to develop in more ways than one. While running will help to improve your endurance and cardiovascular fitness, strength training can help develop your muscle mass, strength and functional movement.
Healthy habits = healthy results
It's always important to refrain from tentatively looking at the scales for any movement. There are many reasons why this isn't a good idea, but one that I think is worth keeping in mind is that our weight fluctuates by up to 2kg each day. So, it's inevitable that we will regularly see our weight bounce up and down - what's important is how this number changes over months, not days or weeks.
What's even more important is the healthy habits that lead to weight loss. A big mistake people make is they focus on the scales, not the behaviours that lead to results on the scales. Instead of setting weight targets, set yourself habit targets.
This week's goal can be to fit in 3 exercise sessions each week over the next month, and/or to add 1/2 plateful of vegetables with both lunch and dinner. These are the habits that lead to healthy results, and if you can get into a healthy habit routine then over time the weight loss will follow!
Losing weight isn't easy, but there are some subtle changes we can make to help push the number on the scales down overtime. But the thing is, weight loss will take time, so it's important to focus on the healthy habits that lead to weight loss, as healthy habits = healthy results.
Joe specialises in appetite regulation, weight loss and personalised nutrition. He is our associate nutritionist regulated with the AfN & also works as a health coach looking at lifestyle factors that influence eating behaviours. Book Joe's expertise to help you lose weight in a simple but sustainable way!