How to get slim and stay slim
Change for the better
Do you want to get slim and stay slim? Have you tried many diets, and diet clubs before but with no real long lasting weight loss? Read my advice on how to get slim and stay slim and look forward to a new you.
Having worked as a personal trainer for many years, I came across many clients who had been back and forth to diet clubs their whole lives with no real long term results. I was able to change that by working with them using the following principles as explained below.
Diet clubs start off well, but ...
Whilst you do get an initial result when you start in such clubs, largely due to dramatic calorie cutting, it doesn’t always last and doesn’t really educate you in the best way to stay slim and healthy for the rest of your life. Not for the majority of people anyway, there are of course exceptions. What these clubs can do at the start though is encourage you to make some temporary changes because you are part of a group where you are being monitored, where everyone is watching you to a certain extent, and there is a bit of competition in that sense which is sometimes a good thing. However what do you do when nobody is monitoring and watching you?
To make permanent changes
To get slim and stay slim long term, you have to watch yourself, be your own minder and make permanent changes that will result in you staying slim, and when I mean slim, I mean a healthy weight where your body fat level is at a normal level. It is hard to change, but it is not impossible and the greatest gains really do come from the greatest pains.
What about you?
Have diet clubs and radical diets helped you to reach and stay at your ideal weight/body fat level?
Check Body Fat levels not just BMI
Many diet clubs measure according to BMI - Body Mass Index. This is a calculation based on a ratio of your height and weight to determine if you are overweight or not. This is a useful tool, however it doesn't take into account things such as a person's bone density, natural build, structure and muscularity. Furthermore, it is not as acurate a factor in determining a person's health as is body fat analysis. See the body fat level chart to the right for a guide. Nowadays body fat analysis is more commonly used as an accurate tool in professional health centres and by personal trainers, and you can buy weighing scales to measure you body fat.
For example - BMI vs Body fat analysis
Take the case of two women who are both 5 ft 5 inches tall and both weigh 10 st, and are both aged 27 the BMI table would determine that they are equally overweight by around 5lbs, however one of them has a low body fat percentage of 22%, and good lean tissue as she is a swimmer, and the other has a body fat percentage of 30% and low lean tissue. There is a huge difference in the composition of both these women, even though the BMI chart says they are both overweight by 5 lbs. Only one of them is in fact overweight, that being the one with 30% body fat despite that fact that they are the same weight and height.
Does this sound like a familiar story?
Take Case study A for example:
Case Study A was cutting his calories from Monday to Wednesday dramatically, from around 3000 a day to less than a 1000 during the three days a week before the diet club weigh in. Whilst on the night of the weigh in and the subsequent 3 days, Case A was binging with the usual takeaways and junk food convincing himself that he was losing weight. Whilst the scales showed that he might have lost a 1b to 2 lb every other weigh-in, his weight was in fact yo-yo ing dramatically during the week and actually not speeding up his metabolism or burning excess fat in any way. Result: no long term change in weight, fitness or metabolism and ultimately frustrating. If anything, a lower metabolism.
Does this remind you of anyone? This cycle can go on for many years with people jumping from one diet club to another.
So how to get slim and STAY slim
Learn about nutrition and the food you eat
Try to understand exactly what you are putting in your body.
Eat natural products at every meal time – this means fruit, vegetables, salads, grains, beans, lean cuts of meat and fish and generally dishes made largely out of natural ingredients... not processed foods. In many of our leading supermarkets, around 75% of products on the shelves are some sort of processed food, with added sugar, fats, additives, chemicals and other products that our body doesn’t need, and that do more harm than good.
Shop for your goals
Do this test next time you shop – walk around the supermarket and only add products to your trolley or basket that are not processed. Add fruits for breakfast, a cereal that has no added sugar, and low fat dairy products, choose lean meat and fish cuts that you can grill – not processed meat products like burgers, nuggets, pies, fish fingers etc. Choose drinks that are made with fresh products such as juices with no added sugar, or make your own juices from fruits. Choose fresh potatoes and not ready roasted potatoes and oven chips, choose rice and fresh noodles and add fresh vegetables and spices, and not ready made rice and noodle meals with masses of added fats.
Learn about your metabolism
Your metabolism is influenced by many things including age, gender, muscle to fat ratio, the food you eat and physical activity. We can't change age or gender, but an understanding of muscle to fat ratio, the foods we eat and the effect of physical activity on our bodies go along way to achieving our goals
Muscle to fat ratio – Muscles burn calories rapidly. The more muscle you have in your body, the higher your metabolism is even when you are at rest. The body is constantly burning energy, and the more lean tissue (muscle) that you have in your body, the higher your metabolism will be. i.e. the fatter you get – the fatter you get, and the leaner you get – literally the leaner you get (providing your activity levels and nutritional intake remains the same).
Lose weightly slowly and consistently
NOW here’s the catch, when you lose weight rapidly, i.e. due to a massive drop in your daily calorie rate through crash dieting, fasting or starving, this actually encourages the metabolism to slow down and conserve energy reducing your metabolic rate by 15 percent. So instead of burning fat, your body is conserving it, and furthermore, your lean muscle tissue becomes depleted, reducing your metabolism furthermore. RAPID WEIGHT LOSS IS A DIET DISASTER!
Top tips for a slim you
- So, aim to lose weight slowly, it is for the rest of your life, not just a fad for a few weeks, set yourself a target of 3 - 6lbs a month.
- Eat small and often. Don’t save yourself for a huge meal in the evening, rather balance your daily intake throughout the day, and always eat breakfast.
- Make a healthy choice not to eat sugar snacks but snack on fruit instead. The natural sugars in fruit will actually physically give your body all it needs.
- Look to include vegetables and salads as half a plateful at each mealtime.
Why not give it a try, one thing is for sure you can’t carry on yo-yo dieting as your body is storing more fat in the long run.
Move your body somehow!
Many people that are overweight and seeking weight loss solutions resist the notion of exercise as they see themselves as ‘someone who doesn’t do exercise’, and the others who do are ‘people that are sporty’. Well, we ALL need to move, as the body is designed to move, not to be stagnant and still all the time. The benefits of moving your body are endless and once you start it’s actually quite satisfying.
Work out at home and get slim fast
Choose a new slim you
You don’t need to take up marathons or triathlons, not everyone is made that way. But one thing is for sure, that we are all made to move. The body needs movement to keep the joints mobile, improve the posture, to stretch the limbs, to improve the circulation, improve respiratory function (heart and lungs) and of course to regulate the metabolism. It is also proven that regular exercise improves mood, can alleviate symptoms of depression, and all of this can add to you feeling positive about your new slim way of life.
Start with a short walk for 10 minutes today. See how it feels. We have all become accustomed to just walking to our cars that we have forgotten that we have legs! Really try a stroll today, and then maybe tomorrow you can add 5 minutes. Every bit helps.
Buy a pedometer and count your steps. This is a great way to keep you motivated to burning more calories. You can wear it at all times and watch the steps add up. Set yourself a new goal each week. They are available for a very low cost - £3 to £6 on many websites.
Find a workout or activity that’s gentle at first. A huge mistake people make after having not exercised in 20 years or so is to join in a circuit training class for example, or a fast paced aerobic class and then find it’s much too hard for a beginner, and the aches and pains for the next two or three days are too much that they are put off exercise, again! So find a beginner’s class, a gentle toning workout that will build you up slowly, or to start with swimming is a good idea, if you can swim of course.
Weight Loss DVD
Buy a video to follow at home, or search for a workout video on the internet. Nowadays there is so much choice with all the media that you don’t actually have to leave the house. However I would recommend that you still take a regular walk, and perhaps schedule yourself a workout every other day at home. Search for beginners workouts.
Find out about your local sports facilities. Not everyone can afford a personal trainer, but most towns, cities have facilities provided by the local council where costs are relatively low. Ask about a class for beginners, something that won’t stress you too much to start with. Build up slowly.
Buy home gym equipment. What’s that spare room for after all! A static bike, stepper or cross trainer is a great way to improve your cardiovascular fitness and burn calories/increase the metabolism. Look around for deals on the internet, or someone’s barely used 2nd hand machine might be a good option to start with.
Last tip - write a schedule and tick it as you go
It makes a huge difference. You are watching yourself, you are doing this for yourself and you will be the one who benefits the most at the end of the day from your new slim self. So write a daily chart to include exercise and and diet guidelines, or just one or the other. Make a time to do it, if you have an idea of your schedule in advance, obviously sometimes you'll need to be flexible, but if you have it fixed in your mind for example that you have 20 minutes workout when you get home from work, before you cook, eat and relax, then you are more likely to do it if it is a fixed appointment in your mind.
I wish you luck and advise you that if you have any existing health problems, or any doubts about your physical condition, that you should consult your doctor before you start any kind of activity or exercise program.
New Slim Me Schedule
Ride bike to work 20 minutes
10 minute walk morning
20 minute swim afternoon
15 minute gym ball after work
Yoga DVD before work
20 minute walk at lunchtime