If you're like most of my clients, you'll have gone through times of dieting successfully for a while. Perhaps trying some new diet, you've heard about and seeing some progress with the scale at the start.
Then someone suggests ordering a Deliveroo, and it's all too easy to slip into old habits and overdo it. Working late might become drinks at happy hour, and that can grow into food on the way home that doesn't fit your food plan - by any stretch of the imagination!
It's worse than frustrating. It's exhausting. Always feeling like you're undoing and redoing all the progress you've made and never really managing to get as lean as you'd like.
Well, there's good news. You can make lasting changes to your eating habits without being one of those weirdos weighing food to the gram in a restaurant.
Focus on 3-4 Main Meals
You can track calories if you want - but if that isn't right for you at the moment, there's still a way to get a handle on losing weight. By focusing your energy into three or four main meals a day that each has a balanced ratio of macronutrients, you can keep feeling full throughout the day.
Macronutrients are in all the foods we eat. They are protein, carbohydrates and fat. And no - carbs and fat don't contribute to weight gain. Too many calories do that. So are you going to have to weigh your food out to get these macros in the right proportions? Thankfully not.
It might take a week or two of experimenting with the portion sizes. Still, eventually, you will be able to find a balance between feeling hungry or full all the time. Aim for a sensation of satisfaction just to the right level, never very full.
Review Snacking Habits
Some of my coaching clients have found that it's not the main meals that push them out of their calorie deficit and into gaining body fat. It's what happens between meals that causes the problems. Their snacking habits are taking over!
If you feel yourself looking around for something to nibble on, consider whether you're actually hungry or just looking to distract yourself from boredom. Or feeling emotional, and that's made you uncomfortable. Habits around snacking are worth paying attention to because these emotional triggers are often the cause of the snacking, rather than being hungry.
Sitting down to eat slowly, and mindfully sounds simple, but for some people, it is a challenge. It means that you make deliberate time to eat during your day, ideally at a table with a fork.
Practising this every day for a week has made some of my clients realise how frequently they would eat standing up, walking from one appointment to the next, or at their desk while working.
By slowing down, and mindfully chewing your food - you are better able to tune into your body's feelings of being satisfied with your meal. Those physical indicators that you're no longer hungry and can stop eating. One activity you can try is to put your fork down while you chew, and consider the flavours of your food, the temperature and textures. Chew thoroughly, and you'll feel more satisfied with smaller portions. You'll also help your digestion, as digestion begins in the mouth!
Stop Eating Before Feeling Full
It's a very effective method to achieve progress over a more extended period. It is only possible, though, if you're aware enough of your body's physical hunger cues. By eating slowly and paying attention to the experience, you're able to stop eating when you no longer feel hungry. Not when you're too full of moving and needing to undo the top button of your jeans sneakily.
Be More Active
You don't have to limit your exercise to the gym and deliberate workout sessions. Our training accounts for only a fraction of the calories we burn per day to get lean.
The non-exercise activity - known as NEAT - accounts for way more. In some people, as much as 50% of the calories they burn in a day. Neat is any movement that isn't a planned workout; walking up stairs rather than taking the lift, or getting off the tube one stop earlier to walk the rest of the way. Finding ways to increase your NEAT can contribute a lot to the overall calories burned in a day - without feeling much like work!
Would you like to kick-start your fat loss progress and learn new methods of managing your nutrition habits? Check out the FREE 5-Day Fat Loss Course I have put together!
If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch!
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Busy Pro Fitness offers personal training in Hampstead for clients based in Hampstead, Belsize Park, St John's Wood, West & South Hampstead, Childs Hill, Finchley, Golders Green, Regents Park, Maida Vale, Highgate, Muswell Hill, Hendon, Primrose Hill and surrounding areas but we also provide a Virtual Training and Online Coaching service for those clients who live elsewhere and Worldwide.