Need to lose weight fast? We’re not judging because sometimes, that’s just what’s needed. In fact, leading nutritionist and fat loss specialist Fiona Kirk says you can lose weight fast in ways that are also safe – here’s how
‘Research is scant on the quick fix approach to weight loss,’ says Fiona. ‘But it is vital to remember that proven research takes a great deal of time and money, so it could be years before we see conclusive evidence that one route may be better than the other in the long term but this doesn’t mean we have to sit back and wait.’
Many of us lose focus fairly quickly if we don’t see results in the early stages. Let’s concentrate on getting it right
‘There are umpteen things we can do to speed things up without compromising our health or going hungry and struggling with cravings, fatigue and mind-numbing diet boredom. No matter what the research says, let’s focus on the fact that when it comes to fat loss, many of us lose focus fairly quickly if we don’t see results in the early stages. So let’s concentrate on getting it right, right now, and making a few changes that are going to see us feeling and looking better in record time and staying determined!’
Here are a selection of Fiona’s recommendations:
Don’t Say ‘High, Low or No’
Most dieters are familiar with quick fix and fad diets that mess with the balance of the three macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins and fats) and some may even have achieved some pretty impressive weight loss results in super-quick time by majorly increasing and/or seriously cutting back on one or another but each has a role to play not only from a health perspective but also for an efficient metabolism where our fat cells are encouraged to give up their excess stores and shrink.
Balance and variety are crucial in our diet if we are to provide the body with the ‘big 6’ essentials – carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and water. If both short and long term fat loss is the goal, don’t mess with the balance and don’t stick with the same snacks and meals day after day – mix it up, sling as much colour into a bowl or onto a plate as you can and make every bite delicious and count!
2. Say Yes to Fat
Fat really is our friend. We need fat for brain, heart, nerve, bone and immune health and for fat loss and yes, that includes both saturated and unsaturated fats. For way too long we have been brainwashed into believing that fat makes us fat and sick and ‘fat fear’ was at risk of becoming a global epidemic, but at last (and not before time), the ‘experts’ who played a mighty role in promoting our ‘fat fear’ have backed down and hallelujah, fats are back!
Fats are filling and tasty, as long as we steer clear of ‘fake’ fats
The body makes much better use of fat for fuel to generate energy within every body cell than grains and starches – which are regularly recommended as the cornerstone of a healthy diet. But when these are consumed regularly throughout the day, they are responsible in many for everything from blood sugar imbalances, which may encourage insulin and leptin resistance over time, an ever-expanding waistline, and an inability to lose weight to an increasing reliance on both sugar and starch (more about how to avoid this and become ‘carb-conscious’ below).
The body makes much better use of fat for fuel to generate energy
Fats are filling, satisfying and tasty and as long as we steer clear of ‘fake’ fats – those that line the supermarket shelves. These are added to many processed and fast foods and most junk foods, and after major ‘rearrangement’ in the laboratory bear little or no resemblance to the natural fats from whence they came. Little and often is the way to go: a dash of cream in your coffee, a knob of good quality butter on your vegetables, a chunk of cheese in a snack, full fat yoghurt on your fruit, avocado and coconut oil in cooking, nut and seed oils in dressings, juicy cuts of meat and poultry a couple of times a week, oily fish – and lots of it!
3. Be carb-conscious
There is possibly more confusion about carbohydrates than either of the other two major macronutrients and understandably so. Why they have found themselves in a place where they are simply referred to as ‘carbs’ is difficult to understand when the range of carbohydrate-rich foods is so expansive. Some are nothing short of magnificent and should feature regularly throughout the day (most vegetables), some are great but we don’t need them as regularly (fruits, root vegetables, whole grains, pulses, nuts and seeds), some are ‘nice to haves’ but only occasionally (potatoes, bread, white pasta and rice) and some offer nothing other than momentary palate satisfaction (cakes, pastries, biscuits, crisps etc).
Carbs and weight loss – a user’s guide:
From a weight loss perspective, being ‘carb conscious’ means being aware of 5 things:
• vegetables are our top source of carbohydrate and fibre, won’t pack on the pounds and should feature in all meals and snacks
• fruits are also great but because of their relatively high fructose content should be limited to 2 to 3 portions per day
• whole grains plus beans, lentils and legumes are filling and fibre-rich and should feature regularly in our diet but unless strenuous exercise is part and parcel of our daily routine, should always form a back-up to vegetables in every meal and snack
• white, refined carbohydrates can play a part in a healthy, fat loss diet but only when the portions are small and protein and fat-rich foods dominate
• few of us can live without the occasional treat and whilst our ‘treat of choice’ is likely to be sugar and starch-rich and unlikely to hasten fat loss, it’s not the devil incarnate so don’t beat yourself up, make it occasional, relish every bite then forget it and move on – little damage will be done if you adopt this approach!
4. Work out your eating style
Planning is the golden ticket
Some of us favour two to three good meals a day with little or no snacks thrown in, others can’t get through the day without some nourishment every few hours so regular small meals and snacks work for them. There is no right or wrong route to successful and ongoing fat loss, we simply have to determine which route suits our tastes, our timetable and our lifestyle and make sure that we get the very best nourishment from whichever route we choose.
On-the-go doesn’t need to mean ‘off the rails’
However… we can change the goalposts if we choose to do so and not compromise our diet…. one of the big secrets to fast, fabulous and lasting fat loss is to never get stuck in a rut that may not be delivering the results we are looking for and add stress to an already busy life. If you have a fairly stringent routine and you know (pretty much) how the week ahead is looking, a bit of planning is going to be the golden ticket for you so you can fill your shopping trolley with all the essentials, get into the kitchen for as many hours as you can afford and be ahead of the game by portioning dishes and refrigerating or freezing for easy access throughout the week.
Alternatively, if you rarely know where you are going to be and when and the prospect of ‘sticking to your diet’ is likely to add even more stress to your life, ‘on the go’ choices are going to be your saviour and once you have determined what to choose from the vast selection of dishes and snacks on offer in every sandwich shop, fast food outlet, restaurant, brasserie, railway station, airport or room service menu when you are pushed for time or travelling or just exhausted and need some nourishment, it’s all good. “On the go’ doesn’t need to mean ‘off the rails’!
5. Move more, throughout the day
Wherever and whenever possible, get outdoors for a brisk walk, jog, run or cycle for 30 minutes to benefit from a boost of health-enhancing and fat busting vitamin D (even when the sun is behind the clouds)
6. Don’t plan cheat days
There is nothing wrong with the occasional day where your diet goes a bit awry – tomorrow is another day and you know what to do. Diets that encourage total dedication for 6 days with a focus on a day of total indulgence make no sense whatsoever when you are endeavouring to change your eating habits
7. Consider a supplement
It can be hard in the early stages when you venture into a new eating plan as hunger and cravings can invade. Steer well clear of any supplement that ‘guarantees’ fat loss but consider a daily dose of glutamine, chromium and magnesium which can really help to keep blood sugar spikes under control
Fiona Kirk is a qualified nutritionist and author of 15 fat loss books. Head to her Fiona’s website to find out more about Fiona’s new Fast and Fabulous Fat Loss multi-touch, interactive eBook, and eating plans, or to buy the new book on iBooks at £6.99.
Follow her on Twitter: @FatBustForever