Wednesday, 30 January 2013

My Weight Loss - Tips & Tricks

This year, along with a ridiculously high proportion of the country, I made a resolution: to lose weight.  Generic and obvious I know but I decided this would be the year that I finally get the body I’ve always wanted, in a healthy way.  So far, I’ve lost 6 pounds of my 14 pound aim and I couldn’t be happier.  It hasn’t been easy but it also hasn’t be ridiculously hard so I thought I’d share with you my tips and tricks – calories, exercise, chocoholism and all!

It’s all in the maths

At the end of the day the simple fact is this: in order to lose weight you must burn more calories than you consume.  It really is that easy – if you burn off more than you consume, you WILL lose weight.  Now as humans, we burn calories every day just by living and as such, we all have a BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) which is, simply put, the number of calories you would burn if you just lay in bed all day.

You can work yours out here.

Once you have that number, you can use the Harris Benedict Equation to work out your daily calories needs based on your lifestyle and level of activity.

As there are 3,500 calories in a pound of fat, you will need to reduce this daily number by 500 to lose 1 pound a week or 1000 calories to lose 2 pounds a week, which is the recommended maximum. 
The important thing to remember is that as you lose weight, your body will require fewer calories so you may need to check your numbers every so often to ensure you are not consuming more calories than necessary.

Sounds easy, right?!

Keeping Track

It is all well and good working out the figures but keeping track is one of the hardest parts.  That’s where my little miracle comes into play – MyFitnessPal.

This genius app/website keeps a log of your meals, snacks, exercise, weight, measurements…basically everything you could ever want.  You can also tailor your profile to how many calories you want to consume to ensure it is personal to you.  However the best part is the barcode scanner – simply scan your food and it will log all the nutritional information immediately – doing all the hard work for you.

Food – Where to get your calories from

Once you’ve worked out how many calories you need, it really is up to you where you get them from.  You could use all 1,200+ on 5 chocolate bars however you will soon realise this won’t give your body the fuel it needs and you’ll end up tired, miserable and completely un-motivated.

I therefore stick to the ‘1 ingredient rule.’  My favourite phrase being: ‘If it came from the earth or it had a mother, you can eat it.’  That means no processed ready meals, no sauces full of rubbish, no fizzy drinks packed full of sweeteners  – just healthy food that I can identify all of the ingredients in. 

Obviously nobody can be perfect 100% of the time which is where the 80/20 rule comes in – allow yourself to be naughty 20% of the time and you won’t crave all your favourite foods and risk giving in.  For example, I eat chocolate every day (I am a true addict!) – in the form of a Freddo or other snack size favourite; 100 calories isn’t going to tip you over the edge.

Exercise – How to work your calories off

Obviously you can reduce your calories purely by food however if you want a truly lean body, this probably won’t be enough.  Muscle requires more calories to maintain that fat meaning that once you’ve built muscle, your body will use up more calories even when sitting watching the TV.  Also, burning calories off means you can eat more – it really is a win/win situation! 

My favourite free workouts are found on Fitness Blender – this site probably deserves a post of its own.  It’s like having a personal trainer right there in your room and there are so many videos to choose from you will never get bored.  My personal favourites are the HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts and with videos ranging from 5 to 90 minutes, there really is no excuse not to work out every day.

If, like me, you’ve avoided exercise your entire life, this won’t come overnight but it does become easier every day.  They say it takes doing something 21 times for it to become a habit – give yourself 3 weeks of doing a small workout every day; trust me, you’ll never go back.

Extra Tips and Tricks

There are hundreds of amazing fitsporation accounts on Instagram.  Trust me, when you’re craving a pizza but log onto your timeline to photos such as the below, you suddenly don’t want that junk anymore.

Look Good
It’s shallow but true – having great workout gear will make you feel better about things.  Who ever felt great in an old t-shirt and pair of worn out leggings?!

Simple but so effective.  Lack of sleep can lead to the production of cortisol in your body which aids fatty deposits around your abdomen – the most dangerous area to carry fat.  Working out will allow you to sleep better which will reduce these levels – another win/win.

Losing weight is really hard but hopefully some of the above information will help you on your way.  
What are your favourite tips?  Any amazing workout DVDs you have found?  Please comment and let me know!