When it comes to losing a significant amount of weight, there is no quick and easy route. Staying motivated over a long period of time to stay in calorie deficit and exercise regularly can be hard. But there are some things you can change quickly that will help you reach your long term goals.
These are 3 things I have changed or started doing, that helped me achieve my 40lb weight loss and has helped me keep it off.
- Don’t drink your calories
This is number one on this list because I think drinking your calories can contribute so much to weight gain, and because I think it’s the simplest change to make.
Back at my heaviest weight, I was easily guzzling down more than 2 litres of Cola or Pepsi a day, and not really thinking much of it. But 2 litres of Cola contains more than 700 calories. It has absolutely no nutritional value, and doesn’t contribute to satiety so it’s pure empty calories.
But it’s not just fizzy drinks, an average 250ml glass of orange juice contains around 120 calories. Orange juice (or other fruit juices) do however hold more nutritional value than fizzy drinks, but again, it doesn’t leave you feeling satiated and consumption should definitely be limited.
I personally don’t drink alcohol, this is more due to mental health than weight loss, but of course alcohol is also full or empty calories that don’t contribute to your health, so again should be enjoyed in moderation.
I do enjoy smoothies from time to time, and because whole fruit is added, the fibre is included and smoothies still contain the nutritional value of the food you have added to it. However, when you drink these instead of eating them, your brain doesn’t immediately register that you have eaten, as you have consumed it quickly without chewing, so you may not feel as satiated as you would if you had eaten them. However, smoothies are a great way to add extra fruit and vegetables to your diet if you are not keen on eating them.
Replace high calorie/sugary drinks with water and drink throughout the day to keep hydrated – water can contribute to feeling fuller and stop you from snacking when you aren’t really hungry, flavour with lemon if you’re not too keen on plan water.
You can still enjoy your favourite drinks, but in moderation!
2. Plan meals that are easy to prepare
There are always going to be days when you absolutely don’t want to cook. You get in from a long day of work and would rather order a takeaway or grab something more convenient, and this is fine every now again – I don’t believe in cutting out foods if you really want them (I say this as an avid Pizza Hut lover) but ideally you should plan out some meals you can have that are quick and easy to make, or that you can make in batch and have them to hand.
A go-to meal for me is any kind of stir fry, if I can just throw some chicken and vegetables into a pan and have a meal in 15 minutes with zero effort, I’m in.
Or even better, find ‘one pot meals’ that you can just throw everything into a pot or tray that you put straight into the oven. There are loads of recipes online but I get a lot of these recipes from a series of books called ‘The Roasting Tin’ by Rukmini Iyer – there’s 4 of these out at the moment. I personally love the Around the World copy, but the ‘Quick’ one is especially good for finding easy meals:
If you have enough freezer space, making healthy meals in batches and having them on hand for days when you really don’t want to cook anything is also a lifesaver. Not to mention batch cooking usually saves a lot of money in the long run.
Make moving around more of a habit
You don’t have to workout in the gym for 2 hours a day to lose weight. Making small habit changes can contribute to the overall amount of calories you are burning daily, or your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure)
TDEE is made up of:
- Basal metabolic rate,
- Thermic effect of feeding,
- Exercise energy expenditure
- Non-exercise activity thermogenesis.
Non–exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) is the energy expended for performing general day to day tasks, outside of working out. i.e. cleaning, walking up and down stairs, gardening etc. Even fidgeting contributes to this!
Calories burned from NEAT on average is between 15% and 30% of your total calories burned each day.
Simple ways to add to your NEAT could be:
- Taking the stairs instead of the elevator
- Walk or cycle to more places instead of driving
- Walk around when you are waiting for something (water to boil, when you microwaving something etc.)
- Set up reminders on a Smart Watch that tell you every hour to move if you have been inactive (I use a Fitbit Versa and it does this for the 8 hours a day that I am working)
You’d be surprised how much just moving around a little bit more can contribute to weight loss, and it’s especially important to be aware of how much you’re moving as you may naturally move less when you start eating less (calorie deficit) – it’s a natural behavioural response to dieting.
Learn more about Nutrition! Recommended Reads:
To lose weight, you need to be in a calorie deficit – there’s no way around this. But the above tips are just small changes you make to hopefully help you reach that calorie deficit without feeling too deprived. There are loads of small changes you can make and I’ll be making more posts about this in the future, so please subscribe below if you are interested in updates on this!
If you have your own tips to share or have found the above helpful, drop a comment below to let me and others know!