The top 5 tips to stick to your diet and lose weight faster
Ok, so we all know that to lose weight you have to be in a caloric deficit. And regardless of any other factor, eating correctly is the number 1 priority when it comes to reducing that waistline! But when we’re eager and motivated to make a big change in our life we tend to want to see the results yesterday.
This is why so many of us fall for the latest dietary concepts where we’ll lose half our body weight in a week by simply eating cheese.
Or we suddenly drop to a daily 1200-calorie intake and spend most of our time awake physically and mentally exhausted while constantly dreaming of cake.
Instead, you want to consider the long-term sustainability of the way you eat, as well as the health implications. There’s no short-term solution to a long-term transformation, which is why any weight loss from crash dieting tends to yo-yo back and result in extra weight gained. People who feel constantly deprived of something are likely to binge when their willpower gives in.
In addition, suddenly dropping your calorie intake right down will kick the body into starvation mode which results in it actually holding on to your fat reserves for energy, while also slowing your metabolism down to prevent you from burning off too much of this stored fuel supply.
So, it may seem then that losing weight is an unwinnable uphill battle, where you’ll not only fight temptation but your own body. The trick however is to make things easier on yourself, rather than harder. Think about weight loss and body recomposition as a new lifestyle and exciting project, rather than a daily ordeal that you have to survive through.
By following a few basic practices, therefore, and keeping consistent over time, you can achieve some really great results.
Tip 1 - Keep your deficit manageable
Aim to be creating a small, steady caloric deficit of around 300 to 500 a day, (with a little flexibility one way or the other to avoid your metabolism adapting and slowing down)
To do this in a sustainable way….
- Try making more realistic healthy substitutions instead. Focus on whole foods over pre-made meals and ingredients with added salt, sugar, and saturated fat (ie. Added calories) This allows you to eat more and feel fuller.
- Add more Protein into your diet. It not only helps synthesize muscle growth to speed up your metabolism but has a low-calorie density while making you feel fuller. So, aim for a high protein source in every meal.
- Stay hydrated and drink water regularly. We can often mistake hunger for thirst, and I guarantee you’ll feel less hungry after a large glass of H20.
- Create an eating structure that works with your lifestyle. For example, you can choose to start eating later in the day or finish earlier. Some dietary fasting methods - like the 8 - 16 methods basically work by providing you with only an 8-hour window to eat and is effective mostly due to the fact that the less time you have to take in calories the less you probably will!
- Make sure that you’re not surrounding yourself with temptation. It’s a lot easier to avoid biscuits if you aren’t within 10 feet of the tin.
- Stay consistent – It’s very easy to nullify a 500-a-day calorie deficit in a single evening over the weekend, leaving you back to square one when you weigh yourself on Monday morning.
Tip 2 - Get specific
It can be really surprising how many calories you’re actually taking in even when you think you’re doing well.
But, when you factor in the sugars, salts, and saturated fats in processed foods, as well as any additional sauces, syrups, and condiments that you put on your meals, it all adds up!
So, aim to get detailed about what you eat and how much you eat by accurately tracking your calories.
Check the labels on foods to get an accurate breakdown of what’s actually in a product. It may say low fat, but what is the sugar content.
And what if you’re eating 3 times the suggested portion size? In fact, how big are your average portion sizes in the first place? So aim to weigh out anything you eat to get a true picture of what you really consume.
You can do this in the form of a food diary or a Calorie Tracking App. I really like MyFitnessPal and use it all the time as it pretty much has a database of every food or product available, along with the macronutrient content. You can even scan the barcode to save time and get a thorough breakdown of Carbohydrates, proteins, and fats as well as minerals.
Likewise, fitness watches have become massively popular as a way to monitor activity, so aim to track the calories you burn off in a day as well as what you take in. Some apps, like Fitbit, even allow you to synch to other trackers like Strava and MyFitness Pal.
It might seem like a hassle at first but will really help you in the long term how do you know if you’re creating that weight loss deficit if you don’t know how much you’re actually eating and burning off?
Plus, you’re more aware of the treats and extra alcohol if you have to record it too.
Tip 3 More sleep
Sleep (primarily in the form of REM and Deep sleep) is crucial to how you physically and mentally reset, and many studies connect a lack of sleep to increased levels of obesity, weakened immunity, high blood pressure, low mood, poor memory, and problems concentrating.
REM sleep … or the bit where we dream… helps the parts of our brain used for learning and memory, while non-REM, or Deep Sleep is responsible for the body’s recovery.
During Deep Sleep, your brain is barely active, which allows the greater blood supply to deliver oxygen, nutrients, and Growth Hormone to the muscles for growth and repair. So, if you’ve been training to build lean muscle and lose weight, then you’ll really want to give your body enough time for this process to take place, in order to see the benefits physically.
In other words, consider it as “saving your progress” in a video game!
So, try to create a routine to help you wind down and get to bed earlier (ideally around the same time each night, and make sure to get a good 7 – 9 hours of sleep in order to feel alert, energized, and give your body every chance of benefiting from any healthy changes you’re making
Tip 4 Find what works for YOU
Ok, so to state the obvious, we’re all different, and what works really well for one person won’t have the same benefits for someone else. Our age, body type, sex, and 101 other aspects of our genetic makeup all influence the specific results we’ll get.
For example, women react better to strength training for fat loss due to a lower natural amount of muscle mass than men. So, any improvement in this area will make a big difference in providing that metabolic boost.
Unfortunately guys…. for you, no amount of bench pressing will do the job if you’re not eating well, so your diet is even more important to improving your body composition.
Likewise, the same diet may work better for one person than another. For instance, some of us can get a greater benefit from a higher carb diet and find it improves our training performance and results, while others really notice a difference in their weight when using a low carb diet.
Maybe adding in 2 -3 HIIT sessions or classes a week is really shocking your body into greater weight loss, or you perform better in the morning on an empty stomach.
Basically, don’t be afraid to experiment with your diet and exercise.
Be reflexive. Evaluate your progress and monitor changes regularly. If your progress starts to stall, consider the following.
- Has the intensity of your training progressed (are you working as hard? do you need to change routine? Do you need new motivation? Would you benefit from training with a friend …. Or is your friend slowing you down?)
- Are you adjusting your calorie intake as you lose weight? (you’ll require a lower intake at 75kg than you will at 95kg)
- Is your daily life affecting your goals? (For example, regular Stress results in elevated levels of Cortisol which disrupts your body’s ability to remove excess glucose in the blood. Instead, this Glucose is then stored as fat instead).
I realise this can be an intimidating ammount of information to take in at first, but understading how you can optimize your life to get that lean, healthy body, (and the confidence it'll bring) will ultimately save you a lifetime of repeating the same mistakes with the same results.
So be patient, get a little organised and treat this as a one way journey to the destination of your dreams!