I am often consulted on how to lose weight by busy people at Stronger For Life gym and usually my suggestions are very simple. I must admit it is ridiculously simple it can be taken lightly. Like one of my most recent clients (happens to be a busy parent and runs his own business who just returned to training with me this year) who lost 9.6kg in 14 weeks said “It’s so simple. If I had not trained with you in the past, I would not have believed this would work.”
Should the focus be losing body fat? Absolutely! But there are cases when their physicians want them to lose weight as in determined solely by the number on the scale. Or they simply need to lose weight to keep their jobs and bodyfat percentage was not even a factor.
The problem with people failing to lose the weight, in my opinion, is having a belief that losing weight requires a complex eating plan or some kind of sophisticated muscle-confusing High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) program. And most definitely you do not need to run a marathon to lose weight.
The truth is most people need no complicated eating approach or be training their buttocks off to lose weight. There is also no need for any fat burners or protein supplements. They need to get the basics right.
If you got a busy life like most of the people I trained the last thing you need is a complicated plan to make your life even busier or complicated. If things get too complicated and requires too much work, you will be setting yourself up for failure. Want permanent weight loss (or fat loss) success? Make it as simple as possible for you to achieve success.
Here are my ridiculously simple tips that you may choose to ignore.
Tip #1 – Start a Honest Food Journal
Forget about signing up for the most trendiest and hottest muscle-confusing High Intensity Interval Training workout in your neighbourhood until you start an honest audit of what actually goes into your mouth. Trying to lose weight and ignore what actually goes into the mouth is the most common downfall of people who failed to lose weight. You need to know what exactly goes into the mouth that contribute to weight gain in the first place. And no amount of workout or high intense workout can out-train a poor diet.
How to do it? Get a small note pad and pen that go with you and start jotting down what you actually eat and drink every single time. Or download the phone app MyFitnessPal and do the same thing. If you use MyFitnessPal, you can also get a rough estimate of your calorie intake. Choosing not to be radically honest with yourselves and jotting down the things that look good on paper obviously does not work and it is just cheating yourself.
Tip #2 – Cutting Back on Calorie Intake
If you have a sedentary lifestyle and gaining weight not because of muscle gain, you need to cut back on calorie intake. Using the MyFitnessPal helps you keep track of the daily calorie intake and you can make the calorie adjustment from there. Sure the calorie count is not gonna be exactly accurate but it will give you a ball park of where you are. You can cut back by between 250 to 500 calories per day and see what happens in a week or two and adjust from there if needed. If the weight goes up or stay the same, cut back on the calorie intake again. If you are losing both bodyweight and fat, then maintain it. Obviously, the body will lose weight if the energy demands exceed energy intake and gain weight if the energy intake exceeds the energy demand.
What do you cut back on to reduce the calorie intake? Keep reading.
Tip #3- Cut Out Sweets
Whether or not you used the My Fitness Pal apps, most people seems to lose both weight and bodyfat just from cutting out sugar from their diet. This is one of the first things to cut down on when reducing calorie intake to lose weight. And it makes sense to drop sugary food both in the form of solid and liquid such fruit juices, ice cream, coke, lollies, high sugar breakfast cereals and low fat yoghurt with high sugar content. They are usually high in calories but low in macro nutrients and vitamins. Also look out for hidden sugars that may sneak into your daily diet such as ketchup, spaghetti sauce, BBQ sauce, protein bars and sports drink.
Consider this – 1/2 cup of Ben & Jerry ice cream is about 250 calories. Although 1/2 cup do not seem a lot but to have one serve of 1/2 cup everyday will give you 1750 calories a week extra. And a typical person weighing in at 70kg will generally burn 700 calories running at 10km/hr for an hour. To burn that 1750 calories a week, you need to be running at 10km/hr for 2.5 hours. This is definitely a losing race for a busy person trying to lose weight.
Tip #4 – Cut Down on Alcohol
Drinking alcohol certainly adds to the daily calorie intake and no minimal nutritional value. On top of that, it stops the body from burning fat. When you have your drinks, 20% of the alcohol goes to your bloodstream and eventually ends up in your liver. Waste products called acetate and acetaldehyde are produced in the liver from breaking down of the alcohol which stop the body from burning fat. Then your body actually starts manufacturing fat from another waste product of alcohol called acetyl CoA.
With the high calorie content of the alcohol and the fat-storing effects of alcohol, it is obvious that this is one of the first things to cut back on if you are looking seriously to lose fat.
Do you need to stop drinking completely? Probably not. Consider this – 1 bottle of 375ml Toohey’s New Beer is 143 calories. If you drink 4 bottles of 375ml Toohey’s New beer everyday and decide that you will not drink for 5 days in a week you would save yourself 2 860 calories a week and some money for getting yourself a personal trainer. Plus, your body gets a chance to burn fat.
Tip #5 – Cut Down on Starchy Carb
In most cases, most people tend to overeat the starchy carbs which can contribute to the bulk of the total calorie intake. Starchy carbohydrates can come from bread, rice, pasta, beans and potatoes. If you are having trouble dropping fat and having starchy carbs every single meal and have no idea how much you are having, it is time to either count one serve of starchy carbs as a fist size or use the My Fitness Pal App. And start cutting back on the starchy carbs from there.