As the evenings are getting brighter, we are now seeing glimpses of spring time and we are thinking about our summer bodies.
It’s not too late to start prepping for fat loss now – shift your focus away from short-term last minute fat loss to longer term more sustainable approaches. Here are my top 5 tips to getting leaner for summer.
For some of you, these tips may mean changing training and nutrition approaches, however, from my experiences in helping thousands of clients get leaner, fitter and enjoy happier, healthier lives, I feel they are the most sustainable and practical methods for fat loss and good health.
1. Eliminate or reduce processed foods
Chemicals, dyes and artificial additives mean that processed foods are manipulated so much that they lack nutrition. The body doesn’t metabolise them in the same way as whole or natural foods because they are denatured so much.
Fat loss will be accelerated by removing processed foods and replacing with real whole foods. Many people don’t realise that foods such as bread, cereal, energy bars that say they have been made with whole-grains, are still highly processed and should be avoided. Once a grain is pulverised into a flour it is no longer whole.
2. Include a protein with every meal
Protein creates a thermic effect which means that it can burn off much more calories than fat or carbs through the digestion process alone. For instance, a 200 calorie chicken breast once digested can have the net calories of just 140 calories. Putting that into perspective it also equates to a 20 minute moderate paced walk to burn off the same calories!
Personally, and from experience with helping clients get leaner, it is the number one natural appetite suppressant as it helps control the appetite and sugar cravings that lead to overeating and extra fat storage. Aim for a protein with every meal. Eggs with breakfast, chicken, fish or meat with lunch and dinner.
3. Portion control
You shouldn’t have to count calories or weigh foods at each mealtime. This is unrealistic and not practical. Therefore, using the size of your hand is more realistic as it proportionate to your body, its size never changes, it’s always with you and it’s a perfect tool for measuring food and nutrients.
I suggest a palm size portion of protein, thumb size portion of healthy fats and cupped size portion of carbohydrates and unlimited vegetables with every meal. Double these portions if you are a male. Just like calorie counting, pay close attention to your results and adjust as needed.
4. Start doing some resistance training
Resistance training is a must. I include it in almost all of my programs and online programs. Using your body weight or lifting weights is proven by research if you want to get leaner but most importantly keep it off.
It helps rev up your metabolism, improves your hormone health, and improves sensitivity to insulin (the fat storing hormone). So get yourself out of the cardio area in the gym and into the weights area and watch your body change!
5. The 80/20 Rule
It’s important to remember that nobody is perfect 100% of the time. It is OK to have a little of what you want in moderation.
If you are eating three meals a day, seven days a week, that’s a grand total of 21 meals per week. It is fine if not all of those meals are not from whole foods, don’t beat yourself up about having 2-3 meals a week or 20% of your calories that are not deemed “clean” or “wholesome”.
You are still within the 80% rule of eating well most of the time. This allows flexibility and a more realistic approach to your nutrition whilst still having a social life, resulting in a more long-term adherence to living a more healthy lifestyle.
This blog first appeared on the SPAR NI website. You can find out more about the work I am doing with SPAR by logging on to www.spar-ni.co.uk
If you’d like to start working on that summer body now, in your own time, in the comfort of your own home or with a gym based workout programme, click here for information on my Six-Weeks Online Better Bodies programme.