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Shape up for summer

Jo Waters
Article written by Jo Waters

Date published 17 July 2019

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We all know losing weight is down to cutting calories and burning them off – it's not rocket science. The key to sustainable weight loss though, is making long-term changes rather than a 10-day quick fix on the latest fad 'bikini diet'. Here are our tips for achieving healthy weight loss – without going hungry.

Cut your calories

To lose one pound of weight per week, men should eat on average 2,000 calories and women 1,500.1

Although this may seem like slow progress, research shows that people who lose weight too fast end up putting it back on again. One study found diets where food was insufficient led to greater fat storage than if food was always abundant.2

11 ways to eat smarter (without feeling hungry)

You don't have to deprive yourself - by making smarter choices you can cut down on calories without eating less or feeling hungry.

Here are some simple ideas for eating smarter:

  • Eat regularly and at the right time: Skipping meals won't help you lose weight and you may be depriving yourself of essential nutrients. A review of 28 studies, found keeping calories down late at night could help reduce obesity.3
  • Stick to a plan: The British Dietetic Association suggest that if you're trying to lose weight on 1,500 calories a day you should break this down into: seven portions of starchy carbohydrates; three of fruit; three of vegetables; two of milk/dairy; two of meat (or protein alternative); three portions of fat; and allow 150 calories for snacks.
  • Eat an egg for breakfast: Studies have shown that eating eggs as part of a calorie-reduced diet enhanced weight loss.4
  • Fill up with fruit and veg: Bulk up your plate with seasonal summer vegetables and eat fruit as snack or to top breakfast cereals or yogurts.
  • Plump for lean protein: Protein can naturally control your appetite by making you feel fuller for longer, plus high-protein foods take more work to digest so use up calories. One study, found that a high-protein diet resulted in significant weight loss.5
  • Ditch sugar and saturated fat: These are high in calories so cut out sugary soft drinks, crisps, sweets, biscuits, pies and pastries, chips and pizzas.
  • Ban takeaways: Swap your usual Friday night curry or pizza for a healthy and filling homemade stir-fry.
  • Don't eat in front of a screen: One review of 24 studies found paying attention to a meal was linked to eating less later in the day and those being distracted were more likely to eat more at a meal.6
  • Cut down on booze: Empty calories in alcohol all add up. Drinking alcohol may also reduce the amount of fat your body burns for energy.7
  • Drink plenty of water: Being hungry can often be mistaken for thirst - so make sure you're drinking enough water.
  • Beat the bloat: Avoid eating too many foods that can cause bloating. These include beans and pulses, cauliflower and sugar-free mints. Have a cup of ginger tea instead, which soothes the digestive tract and relieves gas, bloating and cramps, or try a supplement containing friendly bacteria.

Get moving and tone up

The summer holiday season is the time when you want to look toned and lighter evenings give you more time to get outside and exercise. It's recommended that you do at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity every week.8

Here are some fitness tips to help you tone up and lose weight:

  • Take a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day: One study found a brisk or fast-paced walk is more effective than any other form of exercise for keeping weight down.9
  • Strengthen your core: Core-strengthening exercises, such as abdominal crunches and planks, are the ultimate tummy-toning exercises as well helping your posture. If you stand tall you will immediately look slimmer. Sit-ups, plank and back exercises are easy to do anywhere and at any time.10
  • Build muscle: Resistance training is often shunned in favour of cardio workouts, but for all-day fat burning and a quicker metabolism and the most aesthetically pleasing body sculpt, tone up with strength and conditioning work two to three times a week. A combination of squats, lunges, press ups, plank, deadlifts and shoulder press exercises will work wonders. Or try a circuit class for a fat-burning cardio and strength combination workout.

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Jo Waters

About Jo Waters

Jo Waters is a health writer who has contributed to a variety of newspapers and magazines including the Daily Mail, Mirror, Nurture Magazine and the Express.