Start with the basic. Our body requires water for every function, so much as a 1% drop in your water levels can cause process within the body to slow down. Stay hydrated, aim for 2.5-3 litres daily.
Measure your progress. Take measurements at the beginning of your training then take them each week on the same day at the same time. This will allow you to track your progress.
Keep a food diary. If you are not assessing, you are guessing. Track everything that passes your lips. If you eat something that’s not in your plan, be honest with yourself and put it in your food diary.
After your first week of keeping a food diary, review it and look at your calorie intake for each day. For most Monday-Friday will be different in calories to your Saturday-Sunday to due the lifestyle you lead so what’s important is to track it all. Calculate your daily calories HERE then multiply that number by 0.80 to get your weight loss calories.
Measure/Weigh/Calculate the foods that you eat and track them in your food diary. Be mindful that the same foods from a different manufacturer can lead to false calorie quantities.
Be conscious of the amount of stimulants you have such as caffeine and pre workout drinks. Caffeine can be good for you in weight management but can also overwork your body, and deplete nutrients from your body.
Check your food diary for trends. For example, You might find that when skip breakfast you are more likely to snack on sugary foods throughout the day or When you have an early lunch and late dinner you crave takeaways or processed foods. Once you establish a trend you can plan better to avoid it.
PROTEIN – Calculate protein at 1.2g/kg bodyweight on non-training days. On training days calculate it up to 1.8g/kg bodyweight. Example if you weigh 80kg’s then you will require 96gram on non-training days and up to 144grams on training days.
Remember that above figures are only guides and the key is manipulating it to your needs. If you aren’t able to maintain weight/lean mass, you might need to go up as your overall day could be very different to that of another person. Some working in manual labour will have different requirements to someone who works typically 9-5 at a desk. It’s about fine tuning it for your needs.
Consistently eat this amount on a daily basis to ensure you are able to track and make specific changes. The more erratic you are, the less ability you have to change variables and know which one is working.
FATS and CARBOHYDRATES – What to eat of each isn’t as important as you may think in the initial stages. They are both important fuel sources and to be honest, at this stage it’s about total calorie amounts and consistent protein. From there you can spend days where carbs are higher, and some days where fats are higher. Play with each and longer term you will be happier and find this easier. For those who are trying to get low levels of fat this may change eventually but to consistently lose weight and do it long term you will find more adherence having the ability to have all macros in your life. It’s more flexible this way and easier to stick to which is what you want initially.
Eat foods that you love. This is an important one because if you at least enjoy what you’re eating you won’t find this experience as much of a chore. It’s simply a case of slowly making calorie changes, keeping protein at right consistency daily, and enjoying what you eat. Adherence will always trump strictness in terms of long term goals that is why most diets don’t work long term.
Eat vegetables with as many of these meals as possible. Remember that it’s not just the fact that the nutrients, vitamins, minerals in these foods are fantastic, but also they do fill you for longer and curb satiety. Food volume is important in dieting for weight-loss. Vegetables in particular are low in calories and therefore can be eaten in high volume not to mention the benefits of the dietry fibre.
All food outlets sell there products as small package ready to go meals that would tie in with the above meal plans. So adherence is also easy if you look at the meals and see what fits your requirements. It’s always about taking 10seconds to look at the back and match up what you need. It really doesn’t have to be that hard.
Workout 3 times per weekly for about 60minutes consistently. Make sure you don’t deviate from this. Let the body understand that 3 sessions per week is the norm and calories can match the equation. Do training that you enjoy most importantly, something that doesn’t bore you. If it’s football, or a sport then get involved in that in some way. Weight training, cross-fit, powerlifting, a combination of different activities, and get consistent so that you can match the fuel to the goal. Remember that with this plan above what you are doing is creating a lifestyle change that allows you to have flexibility and a social life without yo-yo-ing back and forth either going ALL-IN or ALL-OUT.
Be patient. Rome wasn’t built in a day and either is a transformation. If you’ve been bad with your nutrition and eating for quite a few years, then realise you can’t expect it to change just like that. The key is to find a balance like the program above and get used to eating consistent amounts and creating meals based around that meal plan. After doing this for a few months you will have life long knowledge on how much is in your typical foods trust me on that.
Get support wherever you can. Either friends, family, a support network or even a coach to nurture the process and help you make it more specific to your needs. You may need technical guidance in the gym, or guidance on foods and that can be enhanced with someone who’s willing to listen and program this for you.
Learn what is in your favourite alcoholic drinks and beverages. By knowing this you can plan events better. I’m not advocating alcohol, but what I am advocating is planning and knowing that if you are at an event or going to have a drink, then you know what your limitations are. Look to replace high calorie beers, wines and ciders with lower calorie white spirits with sugar free mixers. Don’t over do it and plan for the following day, its not just the calories from the alcohol your need to be concerned with its you hydration levels and foods consumption the following day too.
DE-STREE. Stress is something that can cause us to fall into old traps, like comfort eating, not eating at all, negative mindset, and much more. Try and bring stress down wherever possible. Schedule in some rest and recovery time for yourself.
SLEEP! Establish a sleep schedule, aim to go to bed and get up at the same time each day giving yourself at least 7-8 hours of sleep. Your sleep is important, it is when your body recovers and when your lean muscle develops. Lack of sleep can also create hormone imbalance.