Weight-loss is often right up there on the list of the average individual’s concerns, and certainly what I get asked about the most. The tricky thing with individual weight-loss is just that: we are all individuals. Reasons for weight-gain differ vastly across people, based on their habits, eating patterns, stress and activity levels, and there is certainly no one-size-fits-all plan for tackling them. That said, here are my four general weight-loss tips that everyone stands to benefit from.
Our bodies adapt quickly. It’s essential to keep yours guessing by varying your workouts and eating as much as possible. This breaks through fitness and weight-loss plateaus – and keeps you interested and motivated as well. Opt for a balanced diet of a variety of foods, aiming for as many colours as possible on the plate.
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HIIT (high-intensity interval training) is the most efficient way to blast fat and tone up. This means shorter workouts of challenging, explosive sets of resistance or cardiovascular training back-to-back, with short – sometimes active – rests.
Refined carbs and added sugar sneak their way into so many of our daily meals. A conscious effort to limit these and rather take in a healthy balance of complex, low GI whole carbs – think starchy vegetables, brown rice and oats – will remove a lot of the dead weight in your diet that typically ends up being stored as fat.
If this is the one change you make to your diet, it may be the only one you need. Our veggie quota of roughly 4-5 helpings is almost never met. Focusing less on what to take out your diet, and more on reaching this quota is one of the most successful strategies for weight-loss. You’ll be surprised how little space is left in your stomach after you’ve worked to include all the veggies we need in a day! This is a healthy approach that focuses on increasing nutritional quality in your diet, rather than deprivation.
Identifying the biggest contributors to your weight-gain is a must, and they are usually the things we do repeatedly or in excess. Do you have multiple cups of tea a day with a few sugars each time? Are you getting dramatically less than the weekly recommended minutes of exercise? Does every weekend include a big night out with handfuls of drinks? Are you prone to something sweet after dinner every evening? These habits are going to differ sizeably amongst individuals, but it is these personal habits that have the most impact on results. Spend some time identifying the few routine things you believe have the most impact on your weight and moderate them accordingly.
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Forget the all-or-nothing approach! Generally sticking to a sensible training and eating schedule will serve you far better than going flat out for a few weeks then throwing in the towel for long stretches in between. Slow and steady fat-loss is also the key to keeping it off long-term – deprivation is always short-lived.