Our 7 tips for burning the bulge
1. EAT THE RIGHT FUEL:
When you’re training hard and aiming to lose weight, it’s important to eat frequently, to constantly fuel your metabolic fire. But you need to add the right fuel! By feeding your body with a good balance of lean protein (which you should eat at every meal including snacks), good fats and carbs – primarily from fruit, veg and legumes – you’ll find cravings for sugar and calorie-laden carbs decrease along with your waistline. And, as protein takes longer for the body to break down and requires more energy to do so, you’ll stay feeling fuller for longer.
2. DRINK YOURSELF SLIMMER:
Do yourself a double favour by switching to water instead of other drinks, wherever possible. Not only will you cut your calorie intake by up to 500 calories a day, you’ll also increase hydration levels, too. This, in turn, can reduce the amount you eat. Research shows that even mild levels of dehydration can cause your brain to confuse thirst with hunger. Lattes (300 calories), fizzy drinks (150 calories) and fruit juices (120 calories) soon mount up without you even noticing.
3. CHEAT YOURSELF SLIM:
As with any new habit, sticking to a diet can be tough. At my fitness club Phoenix Pro Fitness, we recommend sticking to a diet plan 80-90 per cent of the time. This means that each of our members is allowed at least one cheat meal per week where they can have anything they like, which means they’re more likely to stick to a healthy eating plan. Eating more calories than your daily norm also boosts your metabolism and increases your rate of fat burning. Studies show the calorie surplus of a cheat meal can elevate your BMR by nine per cent. Being in caloric deficit reduces the appetite-regulating hormone leptin, but a cheat meal increases leptin production, to help beat your hunger cravings.
4. TIME YOUR CARBS:
Save your starchy carbs (bread, pasta, potatoes, rice) for after training, within a two-hour window. This serves two purposes: first, it means you’re taking in starches when your body is low on glycogen so they’ll be used to replenish your muscle glycogen stores rather than being squirrelled away as excess fat. Second, it means you’ll regulate your intake of starchy carbs without having to count points or calories. In my experience, few people get fat by eating too much protein or too many vegetables.
5. JUGGLE YOUR MEALS:
Juggling the ingredients of your favourite meals by reducing the carb content and increasing the amount of fruit and vegetables, can cut calories while doubling your nutrient intake. For instance, spaghetti Bolognese contains around 600 calories. But if you use 50 per cent less meat and spaghetti, and add more veg such as peas, sweetcorn, tomatoes, mushrooms and grated carrot (which dissolve during cooking to give a fabulously rich and velvety texture), not only will you create a tastier, more filling, vitamin- and mineral-packed meal, you’ll halve the calories to around 300 per serving. Apply this process to your other meals and watch the pounds disappear without feeling hungry!
6. SLIM STARTERS:
Salad vegetables are at their best this time of year, so make the most of the seasonal produce and eat a small bowl of salad before your main meal. Not only is this a great way to increase your fruit and veg intake but, according to a study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, it also means you’ll eat up to 12 per cent fewer calories. Just remember to go easy on the salad dressings though!
7. GET YOUR 4:1:
We know we should eat our five a day. But five pieces of fructose-packed fruit will send your insulin levels soaring and your sweet tooth into overdrive, which can make staying on an even keel difficult. It’s hard to fight the urges produced by chemical reactions in your brain, such as the release of calming serotonin after ingesting carbohydrates. I recommend you stick to a ratio of 4:1 vegetables to fruit. Plus, to get all the daily nutrients, fibre and sustenance you need, you should be shooting for 10 servings of veg and fruit per day, not five. So pile ’em up!