Don’t you ever wish someone would cut through the c*&p and tell you what to do to lose weight? Us too. So we asked one of our favourite nutritionists Rick Hay for a BS-Free guide to dropping pounds
1. Break the fast
Eat breakfast because if you don’t your body will run on adrenaline which will make it harder for your system to metabolise and burn fat.
Skipping breakfast can lead to more weight gain around the middle which is also more of a risk of future cardiovascular problems. If you eat breakfast you’ll also have more energy and better mood and be less likely to over eat later in the day.
Stay away from sugary breakfast cereals and if you haven’t eaten breakfast for a while you can start with really small portions to help get your body and mind used to the idea. Porridge with berries, yogurt with fruit and nuts or scrambled / boiled Eggs with a little cayenne are perfect choices.
2. Snack mid-morning and mid-afternoon
Eat snacks – eating the right high protein snacks like an apple with some almonds, a vegetable and fruit juice combo or a healthy raw Nakd food bar can help to give you a mind boost and help to stabilise mood. These weight busting super snacks can also help you to reduce your portion size at lunch and dinner as you won’t be feeling so hungry or hyperglycaemic. If you are starving before meals you are more likely to eat bigger portions or grab an unhealthy sugary snack. Healthy snacking will reduce you sugary cravings too.
3. Protein Protein Healthy Protein
Have protein based meals and snacks. I’m not talking slabs of red meat here but healthy lean protein like salmon, free range eggs, hummus, avocado, tuna, organic non sugary yoghurt, nuts, seeds and pulses. When combined with some low GI carbs this will help to keep your energy up – both physical and mental. Protein is the perfect fuel to help with weight loss, lean muscle formation and toning.
4. Bitter is Better
Rocket, chicory, endive, lemons and grapefruit are the perfect liver and gall bladder stimulators. A great digestion booster is a bitter greens salad before meals. Eat these foods liberally to help reduce cravings and to help to body more effectively burn fat. Drink dandelion tea or coffee after meals or before bed to reduce fluid retention and to help kick start the liver and gall bladder. Start the day with the juice of half a lemon or grapefruit 30 mins before breakfast. You can buy Dandelion tincture (£8.50 from Fushi) or as dandelion root tea from health food stores.
5. Spice it up
Use thermogenic spices when cooking to help speed up fat metabolism – turmeric, chilli, cayenne, black pepper, mustard, wasabi and curry powder will all do the trick. Add cinnamon to your coffee or tea to reduce cravings and regulate blood sugar. Don’t forget herbal teas to help stimulate and regulate the digestive system – licorice, fennel, ginger, peppermint and spearmint all will help.
6. Stay regular
If you’re constipated it’s harder to flush out toxins and lose weight. You can often have headaches and feel lethargic which impacts on your ability to do exercise. Prunes or dates are great to get thinks moving – you can have stewed prunes and apples for dessert or just go for a glass of unsweetened prune juice at night. Aloe Vera can also assist to sooth the gut – Lifestream do a liquid form that you can take between meals on an empty stomach to help constipation.
7. Meal or Snack Replace
In order to kickstart results you can always replace one meal a day with a healthy protein shake: add berries as they are catabolic and assist with immunity. Use rice or almond milk as your base and it’s kinder to your stomach than dairy. Go for a healthy plant based protein like Pulsin Hemp or Sunwarrior vanilla or chocolate blend of hemp, pea and cranberry. You can take half a scoop mid morning or afternoon as a healthy snack if you’re hungry or a whole scoop as a meal.
8. Move Baby Move
Move for five minutes every hour. Research is showing that if you sit for long periods you are more likely to gain weight and have health issues. Try to incorporate High Intensity Interval Training into your exercise routine – this is where you might skip very fast for 30 seconds and then skip slower for 30 seconds then repeat. This can be done for 3, 5,10 or 15 minutes depending on your fitness level.
Add Incidental Exercise such as taking the stairs instead of the lift and walking to the shops instead of driving to keep your metabolism raised through the day.
9. Write it Down
Use a diet diary. We often underestimate how much food we are consuming – don’t forget to include any sweeteners that you may be adding to hot drinks as these can really add up. Read the label of your foods checking for the unhealthy fat content and for any hidden sugars. The sugar content of some of your purchases my surprise you. You can do this online for free at myfitnesspal.com
10. Get Down
Note the glycemic index (GI) and the Glycaemic Load (GL) of the foods you are eating – this is more important than simply counting calories. Sticking to low GI and GL foods help keep blood sugar levels steady and avoid insulin spikes – they are the perfect foods to reduce excess weight – think brown rice, lentils, beans, wholemeal pasta, vegetables, rolled oats, salmon, mushrooms, tofu, chickpeas, small seeds, strawberries, peaches and grapefruit. There’s a good calculator here
Other posts by Rick Hay:
10 pre-exercise snacks that won’t ruin your diet
Is seven a day the new five a day?
How to choose a protein powder
5 foods to eat when you’re frantic
Rick Hay is a sport and exercise nutritionist, lectures at The College of Naturopathic Medicine in London and is available for consultations in central London. Contact Rick rickhay.co.uk, futrients.com or follow Rick at @nutrtionalphys
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