Sometimes we want to lose some weight -or shall we say fat -, but we often go about it all wrong.
Learn about some common mistakes, and what you should be doing instead!
1. “I am going to eat hardly anything.”
Decreasing calories is an efficient way of losing weight, however, drastically cutting calories will have your body thinking there’s a famine happening, and it will hang on to it’s fat reserves by lowering it’s metabolism, making it harder to lose fat.
The key is to gradually either lower calories by cutting out the unnecessary “empty calories” such as sugar and alcohol, or to increase calorie expenditure by adding exercise, or ideally a combination of both.
2. “I am just going to eat fruit.”
Although fruit certainly has a role in a healthy diet, you shouldn’t be turning solely to fruit to help you shed fat.
Actually, fruit is quite high in sugars, which will cause insulin spikes that push calories in your fat reserves.
Fruit is also completely lacking in protein, actually your secret weapon in losing fat.
3. “I am cutting out all fats and will only eat light products.”
Apart from the fact that most commercial “light” products make up for the loss of taste by increasing sugar content, you actually need fats, not just to function properly, but also to burn fat.
Especially Omega 3 fatty acids are involved in the fat burning process, as well as keeping your brain working efficiently.
4. “No more carbs for me!”
Ah, the popular no-carb diets! Yes, they do work for fast weight loss, providing you keep your protein high. However, we don’t believe they can be a long-term healthy way of life.
Cutting out all carbs is also not needed. Some carbs remain necessary for you to function properly, especially if you’re physically active, which we encourage.
If you severely limit carb intake, you are also very likely to cut out fiber in your diet, which is absolutely needed for health.
What is absolutely recommended, is to cut out sugar and other high glycemic index foods, that cause too much of a spike in blood sugar.
Read our article on basic nutritional principles to find out more here.
5. “I am only going to do cardio exercise.”
Although cardio exercise such as running, biking or swimming is very good at burning fat, you should really add resistance training too. Lifting weights or doing body weight resistance training has positive effects on your hormones and will maintain or increase your muscle mass, keeping you toned and increasing your basal metabolic rate, having you burn more calories throughout the day.
So, with all these common mistakes identified, how should we go about losing fat?
We will be focusing on this very soon, but here’s some general guidelines to get you started:
1. Cut out the empty calories from sugar, saturated fats and alcohol.
2. Focus on getting high quality protein, such as chicken breast, fish, lean meats, eggs, beans, peas or high quality, low sugar protein shakes.
Aim to get a good source of protein in with every meal. As a guideline, try to get a portion of lean protein the size of your hand palm at every meal.
Have a low calorie, slow-digesting protein shake as a snack when you feel hungry.
Protein will help you feel fuller for longer and will maintain your muscle mass.
3. Make sure your Omega 3 fatty acids intake remains high, either by consuming adequate amounts of fatty fish or consuming a daily supplement of Omega 3.
4. Lower your carb intake, but don’t cut them out. Aim for a diet that is high protein, moderate car and moderate fat. Eat only low glycemic index carbs. A good approach would be to try to eat high protein, with ample servings of vegetables and some carbs in the form of brown rice, whole cereals, sweet potato or other decent carb source. Don’t go crazy with the fruit!
Also, try to eat most carbs in the morning and at lunch, as you need them during the day, and eat only vegetables and protein in the evening.
5. Exercise: combine cardio and resistance training. We would advise to try and do cardio in the morning, on an empty stomach. Your body’s glycogen storage will be low, as it fasted all through the night, and didn’t get much carbs in the evening before. This will have your body switch to burning fat for energy faster. Aim for 3 cardio sessions a week.
Add a minimum of two resistance training sessions a week to keep or increase your muscle mass.
So, in a nutshell: replace high G.I. carbs by more protein, eat healthy fats, do three cardio and two resistance training sessions a week, drink plenty of water and you’ll be on your way!
Stay tuned for more detailed fat loss advice from our ambassadors!