We all want to know the secret of how to lose weight fast!

But, that’s just it…there is no secret!

It’s all about following the simple rules – and sticking to them.

A big reason for people eating processed or unhealthy foods is that they don’t allow themselves enough time to prepare and cook a healthy meal.

Having these kitchen management skills in place, you can make dinner time a LOT less stressful to begin with.

That’s all good and well, but almost all of us who DO that end up regretting it a few weeks later when we realise we have tipped the scales a bit too far!

Not to worry though, you’re not going to be stuck in a body you don’t like for long.

Losing weight is actually pretty easy if you follow the “rules”.

Most people don’t follow the rules and then complain when they are not seeing any differences in their shape or weight.

If you follow everything in this post and you STICK to it, there is no reason why you should not start shedding the pounds very soon.

Please remember that when you diet, you should ALWAYS be doing some kind of exercise to help your weight loss along.

As this post is all about diet tips, I will not be posting anything in here about exercise, however…

Here is a fab post on how to exercise – for beginners! With loads of helpful links and tools included 🙂

 

Do I Really Need to Count Calories?

Whatever way you put it, the more calories you eat, the more weight you gain!

This is because your body converts extra calories to fatty tissue, rather than using them for muscle growth and general maintenance.

It is recommended that women should have a daily intake of around 2,000 calories each day. Men are recommended to stick to around 2,500.

Although you should not go overboard with counting your calories, it is important to monitor your calorie intake.

Experts suggest that you aim to lose around 0.5 to 1kg (1 – 2lb) every week until you reach your ideal weight.

This would mean, on average, cutting down your daily calorie intake by around 500 to 600kcal (calories).

So, if your normal average intake is around 2500kcal, you should aim for a new daily calorie intake of no more than 2000kcal. If your normal average intake is around 2000kcal, you should aim for a new daily calorie intake of no more than 1500kcal.

 

#1 Do NOT Skip Breakfast

Some people skip breakfast because they think it will help them lose weight.

WRONG!

In fact, research shows that people who regularly eat breakfast are less likely to be overweight.

Eating breakfast kick-starts your metabolism for the day and replenishes the glycogen in your body to give you energy straight away. It is suggested that people who skip breakfast tend to get more tired quicker than those who eat breakfast.

Breakfast also helps to reduce cravings later on in the day. People who eat breakfast also tend to be more aware and careful with their diets.

Breakfast has also been shown to have positive effects on children’s mental performance and increase their concentration throughout the morning.

healthy breakfast is an important part of a balanced diet, and provides some of the vitamins and minerals we need for good health.

10 Breakfast Recipe Ideas

  1. Fruit smoothies
  2. Muesli, fresh fruit and low-fat yoghurt
  3. Apple porridge
  4. Smoked salmon and low-fat cream-cheese bagel
  5. Low-fat yoghurt with Chia seeds (a known superfood)
  6. Porridge with mashed banana and dried blueberries
  7. Baked beans on wholemeal toast
  8. Avocado toast with egg
  9. Scrambled eggs with wholemeal toast (good for protein)
  10. Breakfast cereals (look for ones with low sugar content)

Or you could always get a Breakfast Recipe Book!

 

#2 Low Carbs and High Fibre

Do you know why everyone goes on about low-carb diets all the time?

It is because your body burns carbohydrates for energy before burning fat. If you lower your carb intake, your body has no choice but to start feeding off your stored fat for energy.

Low carb diets are also well-loved because less carbs = lower insulin levels. Lower insulin levels means your body gets rid of excess sodium and water. This reduces bloating.

Starchy carbohydrates can be found in foods like potatoes, bread, cereal and rice. There are some very useful low-carb cookbooks out there to help you with some ideas.

If you choose the brown, wholegrain alternative – rather than the white versions, you will already be reducing your hunger cravings by boosting your fibre intake.

12 Low-Carb Foods

  1. Eggs
  2. Broccoli
  3. Cauliflower
  4. Spinach
  5. Meat (Beef, Lamb, Chicken, Pork)
  6. Most seafood
  7. Cabbage
  8. Greek Yoghurt
  9. Asparagus
  10. Mushrooms
  11. Cucumber
  12. Cheese (but be aware of the fat content in this)

 

#3 Plenty of Protein

Studies have shown that protein can boost metabolism by up to 100 calories every day!

The biggest way to get lots of protein into your weight loss diet is through eating plenty of FISH. Get yourself a Fish Recipe Cookbook.

Not only does fish contain huge amounts of protein, but it also holds many key vitamins and minerals.

It is recommended that you eat at least two portions of fish every week. This should include at least one portion of oily fish (which helps prevent heart disease).

Although smoked salmon is still good for you, it does hold a lot of salt. Try to limit smoked salmon to only one small portion per week.

10 High Protein Foods

  1. Seafood
  2. Oats
  3. Cheese
  4. Eggs
  5. Chicken
  6. Milk
  7. Beans
  8. Quinoa
  9. Almond, Pistachio and Cashew nuts
  10. Yoghurt

Types of Oily Fish

  • Herring
  • Anchovies
  • Salmon
  • Mackerel
  • Trout
  • Sardines

Types of Non-Oily Fish

  • Tuna
  • Hake
  • Haddock
  • Cod
  • Plaice
  • Skate

 

#4 Fruit and Veg

You have probably had the words, “5-a-day” drummed into your mind by now!

That is because fruit and veg is super good for you.

Fruit and veg provide fibre. 

Fibre is good for your digestive system…it keeps it happy and helps you poo!

If you are ever constipated, have an orange or a banana – seriously, do it!

Fruit and veg provide essential vitamins and minerals (which keep your energy up), but without any heavy calories.

It is recommended that we eat at least five portions of DIFFERENT fruit and veg every day.

One portion of fruit or veg can be described as a “handful”.

It is a lot easier than it sounds.

  • Add a chopped banana into your breakfast cereal
  • Swap your usual mid-morning snack for a piece of fresh fruit
  • Eat desserts that are based around fresh fruit, rather than chocolate or cream etc.
  • Have a simple fruit smoothie

No-matter how many smoothies, vegetable juices or fruit juice you have, they will only ever count as ONE portion of your 5-a-day.

Fruit and veg

 

#5 Avoid sugary drinks and snacks

Other than acting as a huge contributor to weight gain, sugar increases your risk of tooth decay and is known to actually stimulate hunger hormones!

So, next time you think about grabbing that energy drink with a ton of sugar in it, just remind yourself that your teeth will rot and you will feel extra hungry later in the day.

This just leads to you eating more calories than you need and therefore contributes to your weight gain in more ways than one.

Alcohol is included in this list of sugary drinks!

“But it says, ‘No Added Sugars’!”

Before I knew about the different types of sugars, I would look at a pack, see it said “no added sugars” and grab that one.

I thought it was “good for me”.

I was wrong.

There are many types of sugars in food and drinks that are not clearly labelled as sugars to the layman.

  • Naturally Occurring Sugar: Found naturally in fruit and dairy
  • Added Sugar: Sugars added to processed foods, baked goods and soft drinks. Sugars added can include things like actual sugar, honey and maple syrup.
  • Artificial Sweeteners: Many products that claim to be “sugar-free” actually have artificial sweeteners. Things such as diet soft drinks and tabletop sweeteners.
  • Sugar Alcohols: Used to sweeten sugar-free food. Not associated with tooth decay. Used in chewing gum and hard candy.

The FDA states that a food is considered “sugar-free” if it “contains less than 0.5 grams of sugar per labelled serving“.

This is therefore, NOT entirely sugar free.

Check your labels people!

Food sugar level is high if the label reads more than 22.5g of total sugars per 100g.

Food sugar level is low if the label reads 5g or less of total sugars per 100g.

** Be prepared and take some fruit, fruit bars, yoghurt or healthy biscuits out with you incase you get hungry. That way you won’t reach straight for the sugary treat for a “quick-fix”.

Good alternatives to sugar

  • Coconut sugar
  • Honey
  • Sucralose (Splenda)

Cut down on

  • Sugary fizzy drinks
  • Energy drinks
  • Alcohol
  • Biscuits
  • Pastries
  • Breakfast cereals with high-sugar content
  • Cakes

 

#6 Regular Meals with Portion control

Metabolism is the process in which your body burns energy from food. Metabolism is so important because it keeps us breathing, thinking, digesting and regulating body temperature.

Eating regularly reduces your hunger pangs and keeps your metabolism working like clockwork.

People commonly believe that you can burn more calories and boost your weight loss by raising your metabolism.

Of course, there is no point in eating regularly if you are still going to be eating big portions.

You should eat around 5 meals a day:

  • Breakfast
  • Snack
  • Lunch
  • Snack
  • Dinner

How to Control Portion Sizes

  1. Measure your ingredients

Use scales, measuring cups, tablespoons and teaspoons.

  1. Measure all oils

Did you know that there is an average of 120 calories in just ONE tablespoon of oil?! Measuring how much you use, rather than just pouring “a bit” into the frying pan, for example, can save you up to 500 calories a day! Crazy, right? Even Olive and Sunflower oil have a high calorie count. 

  1. Use smaller dish-ware

Smaller plates, bowls, cups, and glassware can give the impression of a larger meal.

  1. When eating out

Eat half or share the meal with a friend. Ask to have your salad dressing on the side so you can dip into it as you like.

 

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#7 Drink Plenty of Water

It is easy to forget that water and fluid are two different things!

We need to drink lots of fluids to keep us hydrated.

Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, such as soft drinks, milk and smoothies also count as fluids.

You should try to limit fruit juice, vegetable juice and smoothies to 150ml a day.

The NHS recommends 6-8 glasses of water every day (around 1.2 litres).

There is also water in food. Things like cucumber and grapes can have a high-water content.

Remember that drinks with “free sugars” and added sugars are highly calorific and terrible for your chompers (teeth!)

How to stay on top of your water intake

NOTE: If you have a heart problem, such as Cardiomyopathy or Heart Disease, you may have been advised to limit your water intake. If you DO have a medical condition, please take the advice of your doctor first!

 

#8 Avoid Processed Food

One of the biggest problems with eating processed food is that much of it is made from trans-fats!

Although we do need some fats in our diets, not all fats are good for our health.

Trans fats, properly known as ‘trans fatty acids’ (TFA), are naturally found in very small amounts in dairy products and some red meats. They can also be found in biscuits, cakes and pies etc.

Trans fats reduce your “good cholesterol” and raise your “bad cholesterol” levels. Too much can increase your risk of Coronary Heart Disease.

All trans fats can be unhealthy for you, but the naturally occurring ones are at such a low level that it does not have a big enough effect to be detrimental.

Processed food can have such a high trans fat level because trans fats are produced when oil is heated at a very high temperature.

Labels on foods do not tend to mention any use of trans fats, so you should always check the labels for hydrogenated fats or hydrogenated vegetable oils.

Cholesterol 

Cholesterol is a fat in our blood, which is produced naturally in the liver. 

This does not make it a bad thing though. Every single cell in our body uses cholesterol and it is carried through our body with the help of proteins in our bloodstream.

Bad Cholesterol (Non-high density lipoproteins, non-HDL)

  • Delivers cholesterol to your cells from the liver
  • Too much sticks to your blood vessel walls and stays there
  • They clog up your blood vessels
  • Can lead to Heart Disease
  • Increases risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke

Good Cholesterol (High-density lipoproteins, HDL)

  • Gets rid of bad cholesterol
  • Returns unused cholesterol to the liver
  • Liver breaks down the unused cholesterol so it passes through body more easily
  • Reduces your risk of heart disease

 

#9 Sleep

A study done by the NHS showed that you have a better chance of hitting your weight-loss goal if you sleep for between 6-8 hours every night.

The study also found that obesity is linked to poor sleep.

Although getting more sleep will not directly boost your metabolism, it is suggested that a lack of sleep can make you gain weight.

People with less sleep tend to eat more food or foods with a higher-calorie intake. This then makes them gain weight.

It is a vicious circle.

Try these tips to help you get a better nights sleep.

 

#10 Eat less salt

NOTE: People with certain medical problems may have been advised to limit their salt intake to around 3g or less.

Too much salt can raise blood pressure, which in turn puts people at a higher risk of developing heart disease and having a heart attack or a stroke.

Most of the salt we eat is actually already in the food ingredients that we buy (such as salmon, breads, sauces and breakfast cereals).

So, you don’t need to add any extra salt to the food that you cook.

Ways to Cut Down Salt Intake

  1. Use a salt substitute
  2. Read food labels to choose lower-salt foods (over 1.5g of salt per 100g is high in salt)
  3. Make your own stock, rather than using cubes or granules
  4. Don’t cook with salt – season with pepper, herbs and spices
  5. Poach or steam, rather than frying

 

Remember 

A bit about the main points covered in this post and how you can keep on top of it all. Some tips on keeping track and monitoring your progress.

Count your calories – but don’t go crazy with it!

  • Women stick to 2,000 calories a day. Men stick to 2,500
  • Aim to lose a healthy weight of 0.5 to 1kg (1 – 2lb) every week
  • Cut down your daily calorie intake by 500 to 600 calories (kcal)

Eat Breakfast

Low Carbs, High Fibre

  • Get a low-carb cookbook or check out the recipes above
  • Eat more fruit for fibre
  • Choose brown (wholegrain) rather than white versions

Don’t forget your protein

Get lots of fruit and vegetables

  • Get your “5-a-day” (eat at least five portions of DIFFERENT fruit and veg every day)
  • Add a chopped banana into your breakfast cereal
  • Swap your usual mid-morning snack for a piece of fresh fruit
  • Eat desserts that are based around fresh fruit, rather than chocolate or cream etc.
  • Have a simple fruit smoothie

Avoid sugary drinks and snacks

  • Avoid food where the label reads a sugar level higher than 22.5g per 100g
  • Enjoy food where the label reads a sugar level of 5g or less per 100g
  • Be prepared and take some fruit, fruit bars, yoghurt or healthy biscuits out with you incase you get hungry
  • Use honey as an alternative to sugar
  • Use Sucralose (Splenda) in your tea and coffee, rather than sugar

Eat regular, small meals

  • Eat around 5 meals a day
  • Measure your ingredients
  • Measure all oils
  • Use smaller dish-ware
  • Be more aware when eating out

Drink Plenty of Water

  • Drink 6-8 glasses of water every day
  • Limit fruit juice to 150ml a day
  • Add fresh fruit slices in your water (lemon, lime, orange etc.)
  • Sip water before every meal
  • Use a measured water bottle
  • Eat more foods with high-water content (cucumber, zucchini, grapefruit and watermelon.

No processed food!

  • Avoid foods where the label reads hydrogenated fats or hydrogenated vegetable oils
  • Stay away from take-aways and fast-food places

Get your sleep

Eat less salt

  • Limit your salt intake to 6g a day (or even less if advised to by a doctor)
  • Use a salt substitute
  • Read food labels to choose lower-salt foods (over 1.5g of salt per 100g is high in salt)
  • Make your own stock, rather than using cubes or granules
  • Don’t cook with salt – season with pepper, herbs and spices
  • Poach or steam, rather than frying