Tag: Diet

25 Fat Loss Tips

Here are a selection of some of the fat loss tips I recommend to people I work with. You don’t need to use all of them, and some of them will probably work better for you than others, that’s fine. But I guarantee that you’ll find it easier to lose weight, and keep it off, by including some of these tips in your daily routine.

 

1.Track your steps

I’m a huge fan of walking for fat loss and general physical and mental wellbeing. Buy a Fitbit, or something similar and start tracking how many steps you actually do.

 

2.Don’t drink your calories

To help manage hunger you want to be eating as many of your calories as possible. Try to avoid wasting them on things like coke and sugary, full fat milky coffees. Instead go for water, diet drinks, black coffees, skinny lattes and herbal teas.

 

3.Budget your calories for when you are most hungry

If you don’t feel hungry at breakfast time then keep your breakfast light, save your calories for the times where you are most hungry and will enjoy those calories the most.

 

4.Eat more vegetables

Filling your plate with veggies is a great way to help cut down your portion sizes of other higher calorie foods you might have otherwise. For example you’ll eat way less pasta by including a load of veggies on your plate.

 

5.Remember healthy isn’t always enough, pay attention to quantity and calories too

If you’re eating healthy food and not making progress then the chances are you are still eating too many calories. Even healthy food contains calories and too many calories will mean you wont’t lose weight, or worse you’ll gain weight. Try tracking your calories on an app like MyFitnessPal so you can control how much you eat too.

 

6.Eat more slowly

If you are always raiding the cupboards after meal times it’s probably because you are eating too fast. Instead slow down, put down your knife and fork between mouthfuls, chew more slowly and let your body actually register that it’s eaten. You’ll often find that once your food settles you aren’t as hungry as you thought.

 

7.Drink more water

Most of us could benefit from drinking more water. Obviously it’s essential for our health but it can help with fat loss too. Often we eat because we think we are hungry when in fact we are just thirsty.

 

8.Go for lean meats like chicken and turkey over fattier meats like beef, pork and lamb

Higher fat meats aren’t ‘bad’ it’s just that they are higher in calories. Swapping them for lower calorie, lean meats will mean you can make your daily calories go further (you can eat more food).

 

9.Tell a friend

If you’re planning on starting a diet then tell a friend, even better get them to join you. Having that accountability can really help with motivation and keep you going on the challenging days. You won’t want to let them down or let them see that you haven’t followed through on what you said.

 

10.Walk to the shops

Those quick visits to the shops throughout the week for a couple of things could be a great chance to get some extra steps in. Leave the car at home and walk instead, it all adds up.

 

11.Track for atleast one week

Tracking what you eat on an app like Myfitnesspal isn’t for everyone, but most people would benefit from tracking for just a week. You’ll get an idea of what you eat, how much, and the calories in those foods. It can be a great way of helping you make more informed choices.

 

12.Take the stairs

Imagine how many extra calories you’ll burn and the extra exercise you’ll get if you always choose the stairs over the lift or the escalator.

 

13.Measure

If you’re trying to lose weight but haven’t measured yourself then how do you know if you’re making progress? Track your progress using tape measurements, progress pictures and weighing yourself if you’re comfortable with this. And then repeat these weekly or fortnightly. That way you can keep tabs on your progress.

 

14.Cook in bulk

Make life easy for yourself by making extra every time you cook. When you cook an evening meal do an extra portion for your lunch the next day. Or cook a load of chicken breasts and veggies at weekends so you have them ready for the week. Make eating better more convenient.

 

15.Set goals

Setting goals can be a great way of staying motivated. Set overall goals and then break them down into smaller goals along the way.

 

16.Celebrate your wins

When you achieve these goals make sure you celebrate them and give yourself credit for your hard work.

 

17.Focus on your total calories in 24 hours, not when you have them

We often hear you must eat breakfast, or eat little and often to lose weight. What matters for fat loss is what you eat in 24 hours, so eat at whatever times work for you.

 

18.Save yourself cash and waste with frozen berries

Having frozen raspberries or blueberries in the freezer means they are always handy to add to your porridge or smoothie as a low calorie fruit addition. They won’t go off and they are much cheaper than fresh ones.

 

19.You can eat sandwiches and lose weight

Caught on the go and need something for lunch, sandwiches can be a great option. Just look for one with a decent amount of protein and reasonable amount of calories.

 

20.Plan ahead when eating out

If you know in advance you’re eating out, go on their website and check out the menu. That way you can take your time planning what you’ll have and adjust your daily calories accordingly if you need to.

 

21.Eat high volume, low calorie meals

Try to go for foods that are lowest in calories and will fill you up most when dieting. Filling your plate with low calorie foods like veggies and salad is a great way to help you feel like you’re eating more and bulk out your meals whilst keeping your calories low.

 

22.Avoid caffeine after midday

Drinking caffeine after midday won’t make you gain body fat but it might affect your sleep. When we are sleep deprived it can increase our hunger levels and cravings so avoid caffeine after midday to make sure of the best nights sleep you can.
 

23.Learn to be patient

Fat loss will never happen as fast as you want it to so learn to be patient and trust the process.

 

24.Find a way of exercising you enjoy

I always advise people try to include some form of resistance training in their exercise routines but you’ll have more success long term by finding something you’ll enjoy and stick to consistently.
 

25.Remember what works for your friend won’t necessarily work for you and vice versa

People love giving out advice when they’ve lost weight and telling you to try their diet, and it’s easy to get derailed from what you’re doing. Just because it worked for them it doesn’t mean you’ve got to ditch what you’re doing to try. Focus on building a plan and making changes that work for you and then give it time.

Diet mistakes, I’ve made them all

I started writing a list of all the ridiculous diets I’ve followed over the years and stupid gimmicks and fads I’ve been sucked in by and it’s a long old list!

You might think that as a Personal Trainer I should know better. But at the time, for whatever reasons I believed that particular diet by some fitness model or even fat burners were the answer to all my fat loss prayers!

So given that I’m a fitness professional that’s made tonnes of diet mistakes, I completely sympathise with how difficult it can be for you guys. With all the mis-information in the media about certain foods or certain diets and different celebrities endorsing different diets and fat loss products.

It’s confusing and overwhelming to say the least!

I qualified as a PT about 10 years ago and really that’s when your learning properly starts. You have a base of knowledge from the course and I had a Sports Degree before that, but the vast majority of knowledge I have now has been gained since I qualified.

I’ve learnt by doing, trying things, making mistakes and trying to improve my approach and methods along the way.

The first diet ‘fad’ I bought into was clean eating.

I thought at the time that so long as my clients were eating ‘clean’ then they would get results and I followed the same approach with my own diet. So I would tell everyone to swap white rice for brown, white bread for brown, ditch the baked beans and have broccoli. And of course cutting out sugar, alcohol and enjoyment lol! It was all about making people’s diets as healthy as possible and it did get results to an extent.

The problem was that when you made people’s diets as clean as they could be and they stopped making progress, where do you go from there?

I now know that in fact it’s calories that are important for fat loss. Whilst health is of course a big consideration too, it’s more important for fat loss to control how much people eat rather than just what they eat.

Which is how I’ve come to where I am now and recommending people track calories. Ensuring people are in a calorie deficit, eat healthy food 80% of the time and whatever they fancy 20% of the time.

It’s effective, it’s realistic and way less boring!

Other ridiculous diet mistakes I’ve made include pouring ridiculous quantities of fat burners down my neck despite not tracking calories.

 

So I had no idea whether I was in a calorie deficit or not. Basically I just wanted to eat the same and expected the fat burners to do the work for me.

Needless to say this didn’t work, I didn’t lose weight and just ended up extremely anxious because of the excessive caffeine in the fat burners.

Another shocker was the extreme diet I followed where I’d basically live on fumes 6 days of the week because my calories were so low. Then on a Saturday I’d have the ultimate refeed! (a refeed is a higher calorie day)

At the time I’d read something that said that a refeed would kickstart your metabolism and I’d read about some guy doing ‘filthy refeeds’ and getting results. So I went for it big style!

I’m talking cookies for breakfast, Domino’s for lunch, garlic bread mid-afternoon, take away for dinner, then sitting in bed eating chocolate and ice cream until the minute I went to sleep to eat every last bit I could fit in.

Looking back I think at this time I had given myself an eating disorder and it took me a good while to get back on track. Despite starving myself all week, because I was eating such insane amounts on my refeed days my average calories for the week meant I wasn’t in a calorie deficit and not making progress. The whole thing was a waste of time.

Once again with the benefit of hindsight and the knowledge I have now, of course I know that a diet like that was ridiculous. If I’m working with someone now and feel they need a refeed, they generally only need to increase by say 300-500 calories and come back to maintenance.

There are more horror stories like this but I’ll save them for another day!

I guess what I want to say is that the advice I give is based on years of learning, making mistakes myself, attending courses with respected people in the industry, reading books, listening to podcasts and continuing to evolve and improve the methods I use. I’ll continue to do this and I might well look back on what I recommend now and realise there’s a better way, I hope I do.

But when you see a gimmick or fad being advertised that sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

Trust me I’ve probably already tried it lol!

GUEST BLOG FROM DIETICIAN LAURA TILT: Dieting during your monthly cycle

Have you ever noticed that your appetite (and cravings) seem to shoot up right before your period?! This isn’t your imagination… studies show women consume more calories in the days leading up to their monthly cycle.

 

Although we don’t completely understand why, it seems the fluctuations in hormones during your time of the month can trigger an increase in appetite and a change to eating habits. In fact, research has shown that carb cravings are more common during the premenstrual phase, particularly in women who suffer with premenstrual syndrome.

 

Your weight can also do crazy things around your period – hormones can cause fluid retention so the scales might stick or jump upwards, making you feel like your body is working against you.  This isn’t fat gain – it’s fluid, but it can feel crappy, particularly if you’re feeling a little low.

 

If you’re dieting, these monthly changes can be bloomin’ frustrating, but learning more about how your appetite and eating habits change around your menstrual cycle will empower you to better manage them, and lessen their impact on your journey.

 

Why do we get food cravings?

First up – remember that food cravings are completely normal. In fact, studies show anywhere between 59 and 97% of us experience them from time to time – and yes they peak around the menstrual cycle.  So why does this happen?

 

  • Emotions / mood

 

Most of the science shows that cravings are closely linked with changes in our mood. We’ve all felt the urge to eat chocolate or sweets after a crappy day – and studies agree that low mood often occurs before a food craving. Low mood is common during the menstrual cycle, so this is one reason that cravings increase at this time.

 

But why does low mood cause cravings? Well, foods like chocolate and sugar trigger the release of feel good hormones like dopamine when we eat them… you brain remembers this, and so you crave sugar the next time you’re feeling crap, because the brain knows it’s a quick fix.

 

Although your wise mind knows that eating probably won’t help in the long term, your prefrontal cortex (the logical part of you) goes offline when you’re stressed, so you’re left fighting with the emotional part of you, which just wants to feel better. This is why cravings are hard to beat.

 

  • It’s your hormones

 

Hormones released during the menstrual cycle can affect your appetite and eating behaviours – and sadly there’s not much we can do about it!

 

Some women also experience a drop in serotonin (the happy hormone) during the premenstrual cycle – which can trigger low mood and an increase in appetite. If you suffer with premenstrual syndrome, you are likely to be particularly sensitive to these changes.

 

  • Food restriction

 

Have you ever told yourself you’re never going to eat chocolate / carbs/ sugar / biscuits again and then suddenly found yourself craving them like crazy? Studies show when we eliminate foods; we suddenly experience more cravings for them.

 

This is one reason that cutting out foods isn’t a good idea – they just set us up to crave food, which can lead to bingeing. So, building in an allowance for treats, rather than avoiding them, is a smart strategy.

 

How to manage your diet around your period

 

Try keeping a food, cravings and mood diary for a few cycles to see what you notice about your eating habits during your period. You can also keep track of how your weight fluctuates. This will help you know what to expect – and you can then plan for it – knowledge is power!

 

If you do find food cravings and appetite peak around your monthly cycle, think about how can you support yourself with this, so that it doesn’t throw you off your path.

 

For example, you might choose to save some extra calories as a buffer (e.g. an extra 200 per day would be ideal in the 3-5 days before your cycle), or plan in some extra walks or gentle workouts to help increase your energy expenditure and balance out the increase in calories during these few days.

 

If you find you feel more hungry, help manage your appetite by prioritising protein rich brekkies and high fibre foods which are naturally filling. Pack your plate with lots of lovely veggies (roast root veggies to up the comfort factor) or curl up with a big bowl of veggie lentil soup. If you love dessert, try a baked banana oatmeal, or a baked apple with custard. If you crave chocolate, work in an allowance so you can include some, rather than fight it (and then end up thinking f@!k it!)

 

Another tip is to up your self care during your cycle, especially if you struggle with feeling low. Make a list of activities that help you feel comforted. By practicing more self-care, you’re less likely to turn to food to help you cope with low mood and difficult emotions.

 

One last tip – be kind to yourself! If you notice fluctuations in your weight, don’t freak out or assume you’ve failed, fluctuations are normal and to be expected, weight is one marker of progress and not always an accurate one! If you can’t separate yourself from the fact that weight is simply “data”, you may find it better to skip weighing yourself in the days leading up to your cycle.

 

My top 20 self care activities for during your cycle

    1. Take a 3-Minute Breathing Space
    2. Call a friend
    3. Have a hot bath
  1. Take a 10-minute walk in nature
  2. Have a relaxing shower with your favorite shower gel to “wash off” the day
  3. De-stress with an at home yoga session
  4. Don’t check emails tonight
  5. Change into soft comfy clothes as soon as you arrive home
  6. Turn your phone off for the evening
  7. Get into bed an hour early with a hot water bottle and a magazine
  8. Have a cup of tea and take 10 minutes away from your desk
  9. Plan a night out with friends
  10. Cook a nice meal
  11. Journal for five minutes
  12. Read a book with a hot chocolate

Want to learn more?

If you fancy learning more, join me on Instagram (@nutritilty) and Facebook(@TiltNutrition) for tips and mindful eating challenges or check out my website for all my blogs, recipes and guides.

Why I don’t like diet plans

Most people when you start working with them, just want a plan to follow;

“Just give me a plan, that’s all I need”

“I know what to do, I just need a plan I can follow”

“I don’t mind how strict it is, I’ll follow it”

These people fully intend to rigidly stick to whatever plan you might give them but the thing is life doesn’t always allow for you to follow a rigid plan.

S*%T HAPPENS!

Time after time I’ll just start working with a client and they’ll change jobs, or move house, or get ill, or have a family crisis.

Suddenly that rigid plan counts for nothing because it was written based on everything running smoothly, but life doesn’t work like that.

You might strike it really lucky and fluke a month or two when you can stick to ‘the plan’ and make great progress. But then you’ll get surprised with a meal, or a party, or a weekend away, and you’ll have no idea how to cope with this because you can’t follow the plan. This usually leads to the plan going completely going out the window, and often one almighty binge.

So now do you see why I don’t like rigid diet plans for people I work with?

But I do realise they have a place, and I know that having an example to work from can be helpful, so because of this I give the people I work with the best of both. I write what I call ‘example diet plans’, and we use this as a template and then as life happens we adapt and put strategies in place to cope.

No rigid plan, just learning how to cope with life as it happens and making the best choices they can at that time so they can cope with meals out and weekends away without ruining progress.

With my Personal Training and Online one to one clients I’ll find out the foods they like and then come up with an example plan that includes those foods but in a way that will help them achieve their goals. Then I’ll teach them how to swap in other foods and learn how to be flexible and vary their diet day to day, week to week to fit in what they like and what happens in their lives.

The beauty of this is that they learn how to eat in a way that help them get into their best ever shape, but even better stay that way. Because they understand what they should be eating and how to make good choices they have flexibility. This wouldn’t be possible if they were mindlessly following a plan.

With the Happy Balanced Life Group I obviously can’t write an individual example diet plan for every member of the group but I still want members of the group to benefit from the same approach. I’ve put together a 7 day example diet plan including a huge variety of different foods, and I’ve done the same for vegetarians to cater to difference people’s preferences. There are then 3 different calorie options to follow from these example plans.

I want members of the group to begin by following the example plan they select and then I’ll be teaching them how to swap in other foods, tweaking it to completely suit their preference and the foods they like to eat.

In exactly the same way as with my one to one clients, I want members of the group to learn and understand what a balanced approach to eating looks like for them, how to do the in a way that helps them get in shape, and of course still factoring in foods they like.

Think of a ‘diet plan’ as being a temporary fix and learning and understanding as being a long-term solution. I want any one I work with to be making sustainable, lasting changes and that’s why I use diet plans at the start but accompany this with teaching and educating!

GUEST BLOG FROM DIETICIAN LAURA TILT: Caught Up With Calorie Counting? Here’s A Different Approach

If you’re on a mission to lose weight chances are you’re counting calories. While this can be helpful, there’s no doubt continuous calorie counting is a slog. It also means we stop trusting our bodies, and instead rely on external rules (like diets) to tell us when and how much to eat.

But what’s the alternative? Well, it’s called mindful eating. It’s not magic and does require practice, but it can improve your relationship with food and help you reach a healthy weight minus your calorie counting app.

MINDFUL EATING, WHAT’S THAT?

When was the last time you last checked in before eating to ask; ‘am I hungry?’

If the answer is “I can’t remember”, you’re not alone. Most of the time we eat mindlessly – on autopilot, when distracted, and for reasons other than hunger. See if any of these habits sound familiar…

  • Scooping down a bowl of cereal in front of e-mails or while getting dressed
  • Eating bites of lunch scrolling through your phone, or posting on Instagram
  • Heading to the fridge or vending machine when you hit a tedious part of the work day
  • Eating chocolate, crisps or other comfort food after a bad day or to help you cope with emotions
  • Emptying your plate, regardless of how full you are
  • Eating lots of a food because it’s ‘free’ or low in calories, even if you don’t like it that much
  • Eating because food is offered to you without considering whether you’re actually hungry
  • Eating a meal in front of the T.V., looking down to realize it’s gone but you still feel hungry

Although most of us eat on autopilot from time to time, the more often we eat like this, the more likely we are to struggle with our weight.  And that’s when when we turn to a diet – instead of getting back in touch with why and how we eat.

Mindful eating turns dieting on it’s head by encouraging you to use your body’s inbuilt method of regulating food intake  – eating when hungry, stopping when satsifed – instead of calorie counting or a diet plan. Believe it or not, we all have these cues – it’s just we’ve forgotten how to listen to them.

Mindful eating also helps you identify why you turn to food when you’re not hungry (for example in response to stress, boredom, sadness) and teaches you how to manage these emotions in other more helpful ways.

In addition, you’ll start to enjoy your food more as you really pay attention to what you’re eating and how it makes you feel, versus eating a food because you think you should, or at the other end of the scale, bingeing on something that’s off limits (which never feels good afterwards).

IS MINDFUL EATING REALLY HELPFUL?

You might think tuning in and trusting your body sounds flaky, but research shows mindful eating practices can help to reduce binge and emotional eating, improving self esteem and what scientists call ‘self-regulation’.

Self regulation is the ability to make good choices for yourself. Ones that help you reach a desired goal.  So over time, eating mindfully an help you make better decisions about food, without needing to follow a diet. When you combine mindful eating practices with helpful principles about nutrition, it can also lead to weight loss without the struggle of calorie counting.

More importantly it gives you freedom and confidence in your ability to make food choices – without relying on calories or a diet.

HOW TO GET STARTED WITH MINDFUL EATING

Mindful eating is a skill which takes practice, but you can you can begin with a few simple tools – I’m going to share two of my favourites to get your started.

Tool 1 – Hunger Awareness

For the next few days, whenever you go to eat, simply ask yourself… am I hungry?  If the answer is yes, rate your hunger on a scale of 0-5, imagining your hunger levels like the petrol gauge on your car.  0 is completely empty (ravenous, so hungry you can’t think straight!) 5 is neutral– no sign of hunger.

For most people, hunger begins to make itself known around 4, and get progressively stronger as you get to 0. For most of us, eating when hunger is around 3 is ideal – waiting until you’re very hungry (0-1) can lead to overeating.

If the answer is no, I’m not hungry… ask yourself, “what else is going on? Am I feeling anything in particular?” If you come up with an answer great, if not that’s ok too. See if you can give yourself the option of delaying eating until you are hungry.

Don’t worry if hunger feels unfamiliar; as you start tuning in, you’ll get to know your own personal hunger code! And, once you start to identify the difference between physical hunger and other triggers you can use this information to help you make a decision about whether to eat or not.

Tool 2 – Device Free Dining   

Studies show when we combine eating with other activities (watching TV, working, or catching up on social media) we miss the subtle signals that tell us we have moved from hunger to ‘enough’ – this is the space beforeyou feel full.

In fact, the MOREdistractions we have when eating, the LESS satisfied we feel.

Have a think about the times of day you are most distracted when it comes to eating – is breakfast always eaten at your desk? Do you tend to snack on the train ride home whilst reading? Perform a bit of detective work to determine your distraction hotspots, and then challenge yourself to have a distraction free meal during one of these times.

The goal is to eat without any distraction – that means no TV, reading, working or using your phone – all your attention is going to be on the food. Before you start, take a minute to see if you can rate your hunger. Then begin your meal and focus fully on the tastes, textures, smell and appearance of the food. Keep tuning in as you continue eating, and see if you can notice when your hunger changes – how do you know when you’ve had enough? Once you notice hunger disappearing you can choose to stop, remembering that you can return to it later.

Afterwards, take some time to reflect on the practice – how did it feel to eat without distraction? Did you enjoy the experience? Did you feel more satisfied after eating? Most people find that they can ‘hear’ satiety much more easily when they eat without distraction. Studies also suggest we may go on to eat less later in the day if we eat with full attention.

Want to learn more?

If you fancy learning more, join me on Instagram (@nutritilty) for tips and mindful eating challenges. I’m also going to be launching a brand new mindful eating course in September – it’s completely online and self-paced, so you can work through the tools at your own pace.  If you want to find out more, register your interest here– it’s free and there’s no obligation to sign up J

Laura Tilt

www.tiltnutrition.com

 

Intuitive Eating

This picture is from a photoshoot I did with my good friend Chris Montague towards the end of 2016.

What I love most about this picture is that it represents how far I’ve come with my own training and nutrition.

I did no dieting or anything for this, I even had a pizza and a couple of beers the night before. I’m not super lean and I wasn’t trying to be. But I was happy enough with how I looked to take my shirt off for the shots.

Previously I would’ve dieted for months to look like this and spent the whole time miserable, stressed and anxious. I’ve now found a healthy balance where I can eat consistently and intuitively without tracking. My weight isn’t jumping up or down, I’m just staying in a good place and I’m enjoying my training.

Which is exactly where I like all of my clients to get to; with an understanding of what works for them and how they can have balance in their diets and staying looking how they want to.