strategies for weight loss that work in lockdown

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If you’re trying to lose weight fast, it can be easy to get caught up with fad diet or other ‘quick fixes’ that promise a flat stomach in days. That’s especially true if you are stuck at home on lockdown, and scoffing barbecue in your newly acquired hot tub. Sure, you can now exercise outdoors as much as you like, but you’re still likely to be moving less and eating more, especially if you are usually a gym goer, and haven’t been able to acquire home gym equipment to tide you over.

Don’t worry; there are ways to lose weight – and lose belly fat – that are tried and trusted. It might not be the easy and quick weight loss of your dreams, but it’s very doable. We have nothing against the keto diet, for instance, but a lot of people will find it is difficult to fit into their lifestyle. We’ve tried to keep these diet, workout and weight-loss tips as simple as possible so you can get fit and in shape, in 2020.

So, if you’re serious about losing weight, you’ve come to the right place. We won’t promise you’ll get a six pack in as many hours, but we can guarantee expert advice and key tips for losing weight quickly, but in a healthy and sustainable way. We’ve also got the lowdown on the best exercise for losing weight fast, and all the gear you’ll need to get started.

Is there a “best” way to lose weight fast?

The best way for you to lose weight fast will depend on your starting point, your end goal, and your lifestyle. In this article we lay out ten strategies that are applicable to everyone, whether you’re a fitness novice looking to shed several stone, or you simply require motivation to keep going.

Generally speaking the best way to lose weight quickly, and maintain that weight loss, is to follow a steady, manageable plan. Don’t try to take on more than you can reasonably fit into one day, unless you’re willing to make the sacrifice. Most likely sleep or your social life.

The NHS recommends that you aim to lose no more than 2 lbs (1kg) per week; anymore than that and you risk burning out and giving up. With that in mind, here are ten strategies to get you losing weight quickly.

1. Achieve a consistent calorie deficit

The short answer to the question of how to lose weight fast is to achieve a consistent calorie deficit. That is, burn more calories than you consume.

If you eat 2,500 calories a day – the recommended daily amount for a man, although of course this can vary wildly depending on your height, weight and frame – and burn 3,000, you are in a calorie deficit.

If, however, you burn 3,000 but have consumed 3,500, you’re not in a calorie deficit, even though you’ve almost certainly been working out a lot have burned that much energy.

What you need to do is ensure you’re eating the right food and doing the right exercise so that you’re sufficiently full and satisfied even when consuming fewer calories than you burn. Here’s how…

2. Decrease calorie input through diet changes

As we alluded to above, a common pitfall that many people experience when trying to lose weight is that as they start exercising more, they feel like they need to eat more to keep their energy levels up and consequently fail to see results. Instead, we recommend adapting your diet to get the most out of your calories.

All foods have different energy densities. Foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains have low energy density, which means you will get fuller faster when eating these than you would high energy density foods.

Nutritionist Jenna Hope explains: “Proteins and healthy fats promote more stable blood glucose levels, keeping you fuller across a time period and less likely to crave sugar or over eat,” and so these are the kinds of foods you should get the majority of your calories from.

Consuming the same amount of calories as you are now (or fewer if possible), but getting more nutritional value from them will help you feel fuller for longer and lose weight more quickly as a result.

3. Don’t cut out all of any single food group

We all know that some foods – and some food groups – are healthier than others, and that we need every type of food in our diet. The problem is that many of us aren’t getting the right balance.

Spoon Guru nutritionist Isabel Butler (MSc, ANutr) recommends that “the best way to reduce weight and maintain the weight loss is by simply eating a balanced and healthy diet, without refusing yourself particular foods… If you do cut out foods, you need to make sure your diet is still balanced and you are getting the nutrients your body needs from other sources.”

For example, unless you’re training to become a weightlifter, there’s nothing wrong with carbs per se – despite what keto diet fans might tell you – but the biggest food culprit when it comes to hindering weight loss is the simple carbohydrate.

• Could complete meal replacement product Huel help you diet effectively?

Compared to complex carbs like beans, whole grains and vegetables, which break down and release energy slowly, thereby keeping you full and energised, simple carbs such as sugar and starchy foods which break down into sugars – such as pasta and spuds – give you a shorter boost of energy, then leave you wanting more.

The likelihood is that the more simple carbs you eat, the more you’ll end up eating overall, harming the balance of your calorie deficit.

One easy trick if you’re a carb fan is to swap out white pasta or rice for courgetti, or noodles made from other vegetables like butternut squash. This can make an arrabiata, curry or stir fry much lower in calories. You’ll hardly notice the difference when you’re eating it, but you’ll be fuller for longer despite consuming fewer calories.

4. Try a food substitute

Sometimes it’s a real struggle to reduce the calories you take in, or even just to track them. If you’re constantly on the move and don’t have the time to count calories, or you have the best intentions and are cooking fresh with ingredients that aren’t all labelled with their nutrition info broken down, then accurately tracking calories can be a nightmare.

To ensure you’re getting a good mix of nutrients, as well as all-important protein, you could try a food substitute such as Huel.

This is not marketed as a dietary aid, but it is highly nutritious, and makes calorie counting a lot easier. A word of caution though: Huel may replace meals from a nutritional standpoint, but slurping a cool, slightly slimy milkshake instead of getting your teeth into a warm, healthy paella isn’t for everyone.

5. Try intermittent fasting

Some people thrive on intermittent fasting, which means significantly cutting calories – or completely fasting – for a portion of the day or week, and then eating normally for the rest.

The most popular form of intermittent fasting is the 5:2 diet, where you eat normally for five days a week but then eating no more than 600 calories two days a week.

There’s also the 16:8 diet, which is a bit different. With this diet you can eat anything for 8 hours a day, but can only drink water during a 16 hour fast. The recommended time to eat is between 10am and 6pm, although this can be flexible depending on what time you’d prefer to start or end eating (as long as you stay within an eight hour window).

The benefits of intermittent fasting is that during the fast period the body will run out of carbohydrates to run on, and so start to take energy from the body’s fat stores, thus starting to burn that belly fat once and for all.

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