- Track your food intake using My Fitness Pal for 7-14 days. Ideally use the bar code scanner as there can be inaccuracies with most MFP numbers. If in doubt, use USDA or Supermarket data. When eating out in places that don’t give calories on their menus, search for alternatives on MFP such as Wetherspoons to give a good estimate (i.e. Wetherspoons fish and chips). If you don’t like gadgets, track using pen and paper, crucially whilst you’re actually eating and drinking.
- Whilst Tracking food, make sure it’s done prospectively. Therefore, track at the time you’re actually eating and drinking rather than retrospectively. Studies show that when people track their intake at the end of the day, they can under report by around 500 calories, enough to halt weight loss completely.
- Once you’ve tracked for a week or two, you should know the average amount of calories you’re eating each day in order to maintain your current weight. Reduce this by 300-500 calories, depending on your size, in order to create a deficit. Therefore, if you’re currently consuming 3000 calories a day and are wanting to lose weight, reduce to 2500-2700. This will allow around 1 pound per week weight loss. If you are very over weight, you could even reduce by more than this to lose weight proportionately quicker.
- Meet your protein requirements of 2.7g per KG bodyweight. Therefore, if you weigh 80KG at present, aim for around 216g per day. Protein is more satiating than fat and carbohydrates and burns 25% of its own energy in digestion (as opposed to 6% for carbs and 3% for fat). This is known as TEF or Thermic Effect of Food. Spread this protein so that you eat some of it with every meal. Good protein choices include lean chicken, turkey, beef, quorn, quark and low-fat cottage cheese.
- Meet fibre requirements. Divide goal calories by 10 to work out your fibre requirements. Fibre gives us a feeling of satiation and fullness after eating, as well as helping to maintain a healthy digestive system, absorb nutrients and lower bad cholesterol (LDL’s). High fibre foods include potatoes, whole grain cereals, fruit and vegetables.
- Consume 80% of your daily intake from whole or single-ingredient foods i.e. meat, grains, seeds, legumes, fruit, and veg.
- 10% from mixed ingredient foods, nourishing foods and minimally processed foods i.e. nut butters, hummus and bread.
- 10% from whatever you want. This allows for a social life and limits the restrictive nature of most diets. This will massively help with your long-term adherence and maintenance, making it more of a lifestyle change than just another fad diet which you’re either on or off completely. When eating out, eat less in other meals, either that day and / or reduce the rest of the week’s food intake.
- Get active by increasing your NEAT or Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. Studies show that this is actually much more influential for weight loss for most average people than the total amount of exercise performed in a week. Start by tracking your daily steps over a week and then aim for a 5-10% increase each week. A Fit Bit, Pedometer or Smart Phone can track steps for you. Other tips include: parking further away from supermarket entrances, taking the stairs instead of the lift and standing or walking with the phone at work rather than sitting.
- Aim to drink enough water daily. Many people over eat as thirst can be mistaken for hunger. 2-3 litres a day is a good guide. Keep a bottle of water with you throughout the day to sip regularly. Use sparkling water and add a slice of lemon or lime to make it more palatable. Water also makes the body more efficient as losing fat.
- Limit alcohol to no more than 14 units a week for women, 21 units for men. Track the calories from alcoholic drinks, including them as part of your intake. Ideally cut down so if you are drinking 4 pints of beer a day, reduce to 1. Alcohol provides little nutrient value and tends to lower our inhibitions, leading to poorer food choices and over consumption.
- Be mindful of eating. Always sit at a table and not in front of the TV. Slow down your eating and when reaching for a beer, wine or other treat out of the fridge, put it down for 30 seconds and ask yourself “Do I really want and need this, is this going to help with my weight loss goals?”
I’ve Tried Various Slimming Clubs Without Much Success And I Don’t Like Gyms. What Can I Do Now?
Peter offers a mobile personal training and diet coaching service to your home in Norfolk and Suffolk. As well as having 4 Diplomas in Nutrition, I have also studied Behaviour Change with Dr Gary Mendoza, one of the UK’s leading Nutrition Educators. I have real world experience in body transformations and have optimised my own body fat to single digit numbers, whilst preserving muscle mass. I can also work with a range of medical issues and offer exciting exercise sessions such as Kick Boxercise, Yoga, Kettlebells, Circuit Training and ViPR.