In last weeks email I explained that you must be in a calorie deficit if you’re to lose weight, and I discussed several factors which influence both the energy we consume, and the energy our bodies use. These factors can explain why one person might lose weight on a certain diet, whereas someone else might not.
I said at the end of that email that you could make many of the factors work in your favour, so today, I wanted to give you some proper action points. If we can increase the energy our body needs to just stand still, and decrease the energy we take in without having to starve ourselves, then we can make losing weight a little easier.
So, as I’ve already mentioned, there are, of course, two sides to the calorie deficit – the calories we eat, and the calories we use. Let’s look at both.
We can increase the calories our body uses by:
– Increasing Exercise
Exercise burns calories – be it a structured cardio workout like going for a walk, cycle or swim, or increasing daily activity by using the stairs rather than the lift, parking further from where you’re going or making a point of getting up from your chair more often – or better still, do both!
It’s not always a case of ‘the harder the better’, simply moving more will do the trick. Work towards the 10,000 steps a day target – or if you’re already there, you can do more as long as you can fit it into your life and you’re not feeling exhausted by it.
– Increasing Muscle
Working on your strength also encourages your body to build more muscle. Muscle needs more energy to maintain itself than fat does and so by carrying a little more muscle you’ll increase your daily energy requirement and help create a natural calorie deficit.
– Eat More Protein
I say this so much I should get it printed on a t-shirt, don’t you think?
Protein requires energy to be digested, more than either carbohydrates or fats, and so by replacing some of your calories with protein calories, you’re helping create a calorie deficit without actually reducing your intake.
And we can decrease the calories we eat by:
– Increasing Fibre
Filling up with low calorie veg is a great way to feel more satisfied with fewer calories, not to mention the fact that being topped up on nutrients reduces food cravings too.
– Eat More Protein
Protein is on this side of the equation too!
Eating sufficient protein will reduce your appetite and help to reduce your caloric intake naturally.
– Eat Slowly
This will allow you to tune in to your body’s signals. If you ram your food in as quickly as you can, your body doesn’t have time to let you know it’s eaten enough!
– Check portion sizes
Using your hands is a great way to keep track of portions if you have no idea where to start. A portion of protein is about the size of your palm, fat should be the size of your thumb and a portion of carbs or veggies should fill your cupped hand.
– Look after your Lifestyle
Make time to de-stress and to improve your sleep quality and duration. Being stressed can lead to some big food cravings and hormonal fluctuations, as does not getting your sleep right.