When you're on a mission to lose weight, there's so much information online to process. sometimes it can become a bit overwhelming deciding what advice to listen to and what to ignore. We wanted to help, by sharing some simple tips for lifestyle changes you can make in order to lose a little weight. This isn't about drastic changes or a whole new diet, it's about some small simple changes you can easily make in your lifestyle to help shed a few pounds.
It's also a handy guide if you are already in shape, but want to cut your body fat a little bit further.
Not all weight loss will be fat loss, you have to ask yourself specifically why you want to lose weight. If it's purely for a weight cut then some methods are more effective than others, but for this article we'll assume you want to lose fat and are measuring this through your weight loss.
Drink More Water
You've probably heard this one many times, but the health benefits of upping your water intake are undeniable. One of these benefits includes weight loss. This occurs in two ways. Firstly for most people, by increasing your water consumption you'll reduce your water retention. So after the initial adjustment period, your body will begin to cycle the water you consume better and therefore you'll retain less water, although the benefits of this are limited mainly to those looking for short-term weight loss for competitions such as weight lifting and combat sports etc.
The main way that increasing water consumption can help with weight loss is that it appears to increase thermogenesis in the body and therefore boosts your metabolism. Water is essential for metabolising stored fat into energy so even mild dehydration can start to slow your metabolism down.
Another way that water can help with weight loss is as an appetite suppressant, a recent study found that female participants who drunk 500 ml of water before meals saw a reduction in hunger. The water fills up your stomach, making you feel full sooner and therefore you consume less calories. So drinking a large glass of water before every meal is a very easy way to reduce your calorie consumption.
Swap Fruit Juice for Whole Fruit
Many people include fruit juice in their daily diet, because we are told that increasing the amount of fruit and vegetables in our diets is healthy. However, fruit juice can be a false prophet.
Although it contains a range of vitamins and minerals, it's also a very dense source of fructose sugar, it therefore contains a lot of calories per ml. Due to the high levels of sugar it's pretty addictive, especially when we are led to believe that it's "healthy" we are more likely to consume it in excess.
To avoid these extra calories, but still maintain your daily fruit intake, try swapping fruit juice for whole fruit. It's higher in both soluble and insoluble fibre and also it's much harder to over consume calories. One or two pieces of fruit a day is an acceptable amount, much more than this and you'll be consuming an unnecessary amount of calories in the form of sugar.
Reduce Your Alcohol Consumption
This one is in almost every dietary advice article/blog, for good reason, it works!
Reducing alcohol consumption is something most people struggle with, mainly because it's an addictive substance. Unfortunately alcohol is the main enemy of weight loss, for several reasons:
- It contains "empty" calories. In other words there's calories, but no nutrition. Alcohol itself is a fuel source and contains 7 calories per gram or the equivalent of 244 calories for a pint of 5% lager, that's the same as a Mars bar! This doesn't include any sugar in the mixers you may drink with spirits as well.
- Alcohol is metabolised by the body before any other fuel, because it can't be stored like other fuels (carbs, protein, fats) . Therefore your body will store any other calories that you consume whilst there is alcohol in your system.
- It inhibits digestion, which can lead to less efficient digestion and therefore your body won't be able to process the food you eat as easily, so you'll store more fat.
- Alcohol reduces the quality of your sleep, although you may think that alcohol helps you to sleep (which is can do), the quality of sleep is poor. This will result in hormonal imbalances which can result in excessive eating and tiredness, which also reduces your motivation to exercise.
Let Yourself be Hungry
There's a fairly modern obsession with eating regularly enough, most people don't allow their stomachs to completely empty. If you think about our native eating habits we would have hunted or gathered food, feasted and then gone hungry until the next kill or forage. This would have allowed our stomachs to empty and given our digestive system time to rest.
Nowadays most of us in the western world will always have something in our digestive system at any point in time, even when we're sleeping. The average digestion time for food is between 24 and 72 hours, this means that if you never fast, then your digestive system is always working and under stress.
This is why many modern weight loss and fat cutting programs include intermittent fasting, in order to give your body time to fully process the food, before clogging it up with the next meal. This can lead to more efficient digestion and metabolism.
Start Using a Smaller Plate
Another very simple trick, is to swap your dinner plate for a small plate. This will naturally reduce your portion sizes. Most people will naturally try to finish everything on their plate, if you start with a smaller portion and wait 5 minutes after eating it to see if you're actually still hungry, often you'll realise that you're not as hungry as you think.
The other bonus with this technique is that you'll often end up with more leftovers, which you can freeze. So next time you're feeling lazy and can't be bothered to cook, you can quickly defrost a meal and you avoid eating a calorie packed takeaway.
Although this is obvious, we can always do better. Consider walking or using a bicycle if your journey is less than a couple of miles. Make it a habit to always take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator. If you have a sit down job, then break up your working time by setting a timer and getting up and do some quick form of movement every hour. Of course, this doesn't have to be a workout, but maybe 20 squats, walking up and down a couple of flights of stairs or simply walking around the office.
At home avoid the dreaded sofa trap. Don't allow yourself to sit down for more than an hour at a time, get up, get moving and then if you really have to, go back to the sofa. Better still, avoid the sofa as much as possible and fill your free time with exercise, sport, walks or other activities. A highly effective move (although drastic for many) is to sell your TV. This will really make you think about how you spend your spare time and can actually transform your life all-round.
If you really struggle with increasing your daily movement, then consider buying an activity monitor, or using an activity app. They will let you know how much time you've spent sitting, laying, walking or exercising. They will also set you activity targets to hit each day, which will get you moving!
Well we are a weight lifting company!
In all seriousness, weightlifting is proven to help you burn fat. As we discussed in our recent article "Does Lifting Weights Burn Fat", we explained in full detail the benefits of lifting weights in terms of burning fat. Fundamentally you build muscle which raises your metabolism and turns you into a calorie burning furnace. The act of lifting weight also raises your EPOC (Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) higher than other exercise such as cardio, so you continue burning calories even when you're resting. Finally the act of lifting weights is very energy intensive, so you end up using a lot of calories whilst you're doing it as well.
So that's a handful of handy tips for losing weight and reducing your body fat percentage. The key thing most of these tips is consistency and self-discipline, add one or two things into your routine to start with and once you've committed to them, then add in another couple. If you're thinking of adding weight training into your workout, then we have a good range of weight bench packages to get you started check out the link below: