As the festive season comes to a close, to lose weight and get fit for the year ahead are goals that many of us have made. To lose weight is easier said than done , but the 3 steps below will arm you with the knowledge and ability to do it your way. Who wants to listen to some celebrity who has cut out every food group and made up a few of their own. Instead I’m offering an eat what you want and do it your own way solution, or have your cake and eat it. The basic principle is to figure out what you are eating, compare it to what you need and adjust your food choices accordingly.
Step 1- Log what you consume
Logging what you eat, drink, daily activities and exercise gives you the knowledge you need to make positive change, allowing you to make the adjustments to lose weight and reach your goal . A simple way to do this is using one of the many available apps, which will do all the number crunching for you. My favourite is myfitnesspal, which is free and I’ve found easy to use. After adding some basic information about yourself such as height weight, age and weight loss goal, myfitnesspal calculates your calorie needs, breaking it down in to carbohydrate, fat and protein requirements. The default setting is 50% carbohydrates, 30% fat and 20% protein, which I use, but you can change it to meet your own requirements.
Step 2 – Analyse the data.
The knowledge from the data in your food diary will help assess where you need to make changes to lose weight. From the data in your log you will see how you meet you daily carbohydrate, fat and protein needs. From this you will be able to see how each food contributes to your daily needs and where you need to make changes from areas of excess or deficiency. In areas of excess look for foods to reduce the consumption of and what foods you can increase or add to your diet to make up the deficiencies. You may need a little extra research at this point as to what foods these may be and you may find yourself reading food labels more and more. Look for high quality, evidence based research not the most resent fad. If replacing or adding food go with high quality and fresh options first.
Step 3 -Adjust your dietary habits.
You don’t have to act straight away, a week logging and analysing will help you spot trends, but the apps do give the ability to adjust quickly and make changes to your daily food choices fast. Most of us are creatures of habit and eat similar things throughout the week, so making the adjustments is actually the creation of new habits. The satisfaction of hitting daily targets on the app of your choice is a big motivator, especially when you think your hungry at the end of the day and you’ve eaten your calories total already. Be creative, try new foods and find a way that works for you.
Top 3 Tips
Repeat the above 3 steps and you’ll quickly learn your way how to lose weight and meet your goal as you figure out how your eating and drinking needs to match you lifestyle and exercise needs. My Top 3 tips are:-
- Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day, plus extra to replace fluid lost from sweating during exercise. Thirst is often mistaken for hunger!
- Spread your protein throughout the day, as the body can only process 20-30g at a time.
- Eat mostly REAL food. REAL food doesn’t have an ingredients list, such as an apple, breast of chicken, glass of water etc…