4 Weight loss tips
Updated: Feb 1, 2022
If only you could lose more weight and gain strength – this is the optimistic mentality of most endurance athletes. Is it possible? Or is this mentality just setting you up for inevitable failure? Well, you’re in luck – today, I am going to share FOUR tips that helped me and continue to help me lose weight and slab on strength. Before we get into it, if you’re looking for a quick fix or a magical pill/powder, this isn’t for you AND if anyone is claiming that a supplement can do this for you, they are full of bullsh*t. Diet, diet, diet… oh how I dislike this word; not because it won’t help you lose weight, but because the stigma associated with most fad ‘diets’. I believe in lifestyle changes, adopting a healthy relationship with food, and changing your mentality surrounding food, disregarding the so called 'diets'. Let’s start off with understanding that calories aren’t calories – the calories that you consume from pizza (example) is different from the calories within whole plant based foods (spinach, broccoli, kale, cucumbers, and so forth). However, the equation for losing weight is simple – calories out must be higher than calories in, you must be expending more energy than you are consuming. The issue with this is that the reality is different from the simple equation - in reality, we often find ourselves eating a handful of nuts (calorie dense), nut butters, chocolate, etc and still be hungry, not fulfilling the empty void within your stomach. That’s the first tip I’m going to be talking about – fibre loading.
Tip #1: Fibre loading
This tip is one of the most effective ways to lose weight without manipulating your current diet (for the most part). It simply consists of switching around the foods that you consume during a given meal. For example, just say that for one meal you are going to be eating tofu, vegetables, and roasted sweet potatoes, you may typically eat the calorie dense foods first (tofu/sweet potatoes); however, if you eat the foods high in fibre first (tend to be extremely nutrient dense), you will have less ‘room’ in your stomach for the calorie dense foods. Therefore, you will consume less calories than you typically would, resulting in potential weight loss. What I like to do is either have my vegetables/fruits (low calorie options such as: blueberries, watermelon, apples, asparagus, beets, and so forth *you can do a quick google search for vegetables/fruits that contain a low amount of calories) first before I consume my calorie dense meal (avocado, sweet potatoes, nuts, rice, dates, soy milk, etc). This could be in the form of a vegetable platter, smoothies *coconut water/water instead of milk/milk alternatives, vegetable soup – just to name a few options. In short, fill up on your nutrient dense/low calorie foods before indulging yourself into the high calorie foods.
Tip #2: Water, water, water, and more water
You’d be surprised by how many people in the world suffer from chronic dehydration – ranging from 70-80% of individuals in the US! From this statistic alone, we can make a blanket statement that the majority of the human population suffers from dehydration. Chronic dehydration has been linked to hypertension, increased heart rate, UTI’s, kidney stones, brain fog, and so forth. These are just some of the effects of chronic dehydration. That aside, how can increasing your water intake make you lose weight? First off, by consuming more water or water prior to a meal, you are going to become more full – decreasing the chances of consuming more food. In addition to this, if you choose water over other beverages such as pop/soda/fizzy drink, and juice, you’ll consume less liquid calories (which are SO easy to consume – drinking a can of coke for example has 140 calories in 12oz! Not to mention that is not particularly good for your health; we all know how easy it is to drink calories in liquid form vs eating them). Furthermore, water helps the body remove waste – keeping your bowel movements in check and flushing out unwanted bacteria (the nasties). Lastly, your body needs water to burn fat! Increasing your water intake will increase the process of lipolysis – the process by which fats are broken down in our bodies (which requires water). I always start my day off with 750ml – 1 litre of water (flushing out the system) and then from that I monitor my hydration via urine colour (aiming for clear/slightly yellow) *please note that this provides a ROUGH outline on hydration levels. In conclusion, drink plenty of water throughout the day and prior to meals.
Tip #3: Consuming a plant-based diet & cooking without oil
I kid you not, I have lost an enormous amount of weight in a healthy manner by switching to a plant based lifestyle, WITHOUT starving myself! I have and will never weigh my food or restrict my eating. I am not saying that you need to convert to a 100% whole food plant-based lifestyle right away, but I do recommend shifting the majority of your meals to plant dominant OR at least cutting out/limiting processed foods. By switching to whole plant-based lifestyle, you are getting fibre rich and nutrient dense foods (as per discussed in the fibre loading section of this blog), and literally doubling your volume but cutting down the calories. In addition to this switch, I stopped cooking with oil (which you really don’t need to do in the first place). Reason being, oil is the most calorie dense food by volume! Yes, you heard it correctly. Approximately 4tbsp of Olive oil is equivalent to 476 calories. Let’s just compare this to apples, because who doesn’t love apples. In one apple, there is approximately 52 calories – that’s like eating 9 apples, yes, 9 apples. If you use water instead of olive oil when cooking, you will be eliminating the unnecessary calories – for most overweight individuals (25.0 + BMI), taking out 500 calories will most likely result in losing about 1lb a week.
Tip #4: Intermittent Fasting
When it comes to fasting, I can really go into depth, that’s why I will leave it for a later time (whole blog post in the future). In short, I abide by the rules of intermittent fasting – 16/8 is what I prefer, but I am currently on 18/6. 16/8 means 16 hours of not eating (including when you are sleeping) and an eight-hour feeding window. 18/6 is 18 hours of not eating and a 6-hour feeding window *I wouldn’t recommend starting at 18/6, start off with 14/10 and then 16/8. For a 18/6 IF protocol (Intermittent fasting), just say that you stop eating at 4:52pm, you can then eat your first meal at 10:52am (happened to just check my ZERO app). The app that I use is called ‘Zero’ and you don’t have to pay for it, which is great (it’s simply just a start/stop tracking app). IF helps you shed the pounds/lose weight by limiting your feeding window and utilising fat as a source of fuel. If you limit the time you are eating in a day, you are less likely/physically unable to cram in as many calories as you would if you weren’t fasting. Try to count calories for a given day (record what you typically eat) and then try to eat all of that food after 16 hours of fasting… you may be able to do it, but it won’t be pleasant. That aside, when we eat, our food is broken down into sugars (particularly carbohydrates). Carbohydrates are broken down into the sugar glucose and this is then absorbed into the blood stream, where our cells use it for energy. Any energy/glucose that isn’t used, we store it in fat cells. When we snack, our insulin (hormone that is secreted via the pancreas) increases – allowing sugar into the fat cells. Without this insulin spike (limiting food), we start to utilise our fat stores and not the glucose coming into our body from foods (fat stores start to secrete glucose). So if you start IF, you are bound to lose weight due to utilising fat stores and restricting your feed window *limiting calorie consumption.