The key to successful long-term fat loss is eating a healthy diet that provides essential nutrients and engaging in regular physical activity. Exercise alone without a proper diet will not lead to fat loss. Diets that encourage cutting out particular food groups, or that limit the amounts of nutrients you feed your body are not sustainable and can encourage a cycle of yo-yo dieting. Here are seven tips that will help you achieve long-term body fat loss and keep your body nourished.
- Eat clean by consuming whole, unprocessed foods. Eat wholegrains such as brown rice, barley, and oats, fresh fruits and vegetables and lean cuts of meat, poultry and fish. Completely avoid refined sugars, alcohol, processed meats like hot dogs and sausages, heavily sweetened soft drinks and fried foods.
- Drink plenty of water – Try to drink at least 8 glasses of water daily. This will help flush out toxins and prevent water retention.
- Physical activity – Engage in at least 30 minutes of medium-high intensity exercise five to six days a week. Physical activity speeds up your metabolism and encourages fat burn. It also keeps your organ systems in good functioning order.
- Avoid late night snacking/eating – Food eaten late at night does not get a chance to be used by the body for energy, instead it is stored as fat. Rather than giving your body a chance to use up fat stores for energy, late night prevents fat loss and encourages more fat gain.
- Increase your protein intake – Protein keeps you satisfied for longer. It does this by increasing the levels of hormones such as glucagon that keep you satisfied and reducing the levels of hormones such as ghrelin that induce hunger. Protein additionally helps to maintain muscle mass, while encouraging body fat loss. Try to include a protein in every meal.
- Get enough sleep at night – The amount of rest you get at night can directly impact your fat loss efforts. Sleeping less than the recommended eight hours at night for adults can reduce your metabolism and also increase the levels of hunger hormones that encourage excessive eating during the day.
- Watch your portions – Eating the right type of foods, but in excessive amounts (especially of carbohydrates and fruits) can completely undo your fat loss efforts. Try to eat from smaller bowls or plates and have only one serving.
Sample 1200-1400kcal fat loss meal plan for a woman
Breakfast: 2 large boiled or poached eggs; 1 medium slice of wholegrain bread; 1 medium apple
Snack: 25g nuts (almonds preferably)
Lunch: 150g chicken breast; 100g broccoli; 65g wholewheat pasta or brown rice; 1 teaspoon olive oil
Snack: 100g grapefruit; 150g plain greek yoghurt
Dinner: 150g fish; 100g green beans; 1 teaspoon olive oil