The most common motivation behind people joining a gym, or starting a fitness regime, is to lose weight. However, like with many good intentions, the results often fall a little short of the goal. If only it were as easy to shed the pounds as it is to pile them on then life would be so much more straightforward.

But then life is never really that simple. Were it easy to lose weight then nobody would ever fail. The key thing to remember is that it’s hard and that avoiding having to do it is perhaps more sensible than struggling along. Yet this isn’t realistic either and at some point most of you will have had the conversation with yourself about losing a little weight. So, if you’re intent on action but not sure what to do, or if you’ve tried and failed before but want to try again, then read on as we look at 8 hacks to lose weight. So where to start…

Food

You might think that you need to exercise a lot more to lose weight. But your weight is a balance between your intake and your expenditure. If you consume more calories than you expend you’ll gain weight. If however you become calorie deficient then over time you should lose weight.

A pound of fat equates to roughly 2500 calories. If you reduce your intake/increase expenditure by 500 a day then you’ll lose about 1lb per week. Now compare having to burn an extra 500 calories at the gym compared to eating 500 less each day. A few less treats will mean that you’ll soon reduce the intake and is so much easier than an hour or so on a treadmill! Learn to understand food, read labels and educate yourself on nutrition. Fall in love with what you eat again, as engaging with food will make it so much easier to manage your diet. Cook from fresh where possible and always make sensible choices. Of course there can be treats, but moderation is the key. They say that diet v exercise is about an 80/20 split, so food is critical, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t…

Exercise

Losing weight and keeping it off is a lifestyle choice and every healthy lifestyle incorporates regular exercise. However, that doesn’t have to mean pounding away in the gym for hours at a time. There is a place for the gym of course, and you should work hard when you’re there, but when you’re not you can incorporate little things into your daily routine – they will all add up. Think taking the stairs and not the lift, taking a walk at lunch and even better, walking the dog more too! One key element of losing weight is moving more every day.

Snacks

When you’re feeling a little low on energy, you’ll reach for a sugary snack. A temporary fix, but a fix all the same. However, managing your diet better will result in no energy slumps. Your snacks can then be healthier too and will leave you feeling better about yourself – a key element in weight loss.

Fibre

A diet high in fibre will leave you feeling fuller for longer as well as other benefits. So think of a good fibrous start to the day, and you’ll get through it much easier.

Meals

All mealtimes are important. From breakfast, where you can set yourself up well, through to dinner. Home cooked meals are better as you know what exactly is in them, plus it will reinforce your relationship with food.

Drink

Alcohol is basically dead calories – sorry. They call them beer bellies for a reason! Alcohol is incredibly calorific with little nutritional benefit. When reaching for a drink, try a glass of water. Sometimes you can confuse hunger with thirst, so if a pang hits, try a drink first.

Size Matters

If you’re reading labels, think about portion sizes too. What you give as a portion is likely to be much more than the suggested serving. Learn to measure and weigh food so that you understand quantity too – otherwise you’re kidding yourself about your intake.

Document

Don’t use scales, they are disheartening, use instead selfies to document your journey. Photos will not lie, but your body can fluctuate up to 4lbs a day in weight! As well as pictures, an honest food diary will help you see any slip-ups or areas that need attention. If you do slip-up though, move on and don’t be too hard on yourself, just don’t make a habit of it.

Try not to think of the words diet or exercise, think of lifestyle – a combination of both. You now have a platform to build on and all it will take is your effort and commitment. Good luck

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