We are constantly being bombarded by new trends in weight loss every time we go online. With information available to us 24/7, it makes deciphering fact from fiction challenging. Fortunately, there are always a few strategies that withstand the test of time.
Here are 10 tips for decreasing fat and losing weight that always seem to make the final cut!
1. Eat according to your individual needs. There are many online tools that will calculate your individual calorific needs. Once you know your base level, you can reduce calories from that number (most dieticians will tell you to decrease caloric intake by 500 calories/day).
2. Aim for balance when planning your meals. Building your diet around lean protein, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates, will help you eliminate processed food and excess sugars. Many people find adopting the 80/20 way of eating helps with quicker fat loss and easier maintenance. Eighty percent of your day is made up of these core building blocks while the other twenty percent is to be used at your discretion.
3. Eat protein at every meal. Your body needs protein to maintain lean muscle mass and burn calories. Protein requirements range from 0.8 to 1.6 g/kg body weight per day. A position statement published by the ADA, DOC and ACSM recommends that endurance and strength-trained athletes eat between 1.2 and 1.7 g/kg of protein for optimal performance and health.
4. Eat breakfast. Eating breakfast jump-starts your metabolism so it's no accident that those who skip this meal are four and a half times as likely to be obese.
5. Exercise. Aim for five days a week of moderate to intense exercise for at least 30-60 minutes/day. The ideal exercise plan should include: aerobic exercise, strength training, and flexibility.
6. Strength/weight train 3+ days/week. Increasing lean muscle mass is a necessity in the quest for fat loss. Strength training increases your metabolic rate, causing the body to increase lean muscle mass and burn more calories throughout the day.
7. Add HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) to your training. Interval training combines a number of short bursts of intense exercise with short recovery breaks in between. Studies have found that HIIT increases cardiovascular capacity and burns considerably more body fat (consider HIIT 2+ days/week).
8. Keep track of your day. Track your meals and exercise in a journal or using an app on your phone. This increases adherence and keeps you accountable.
9. Weigh yourself daily. Daily weighing is an important tool for weight loss, according to Dori Steinberg and colleagues from Duke University. They found that daily weighers lost about 15 pounds more than people who weighed less frequently.
10. Sleep. Getting less than five hours of sleep per night increases visceral fat levels, according to a 2010 Wake Forest University study. Eight hours is ideal for overall health and fat loss.
The bottom line is this; whatever weight loss plan you choose has to have one essential ingredient: adherence. If you ditch the diet mentality and embrace the small daily changes, you will see permanent weight loss.
Sara Lindburg has a B.S. in Exercise Science and an M.Ed. in Counselling. A 41-year-old wife, mother, and full-time secondary school counsellor, she combines 20-plus years' experience in the fitness and counselling fields and she has found her passion in inspiring other women to be the best version of themselves on her Facebook page, FitMom. Her inspiration for writing comes from her 6-year-old son, Cooper, and 8-year-old daughter, Hanna. Follow Sara on twitter.