I personally believe that sometimes weight loss is over complicated and it doesn’t need to be. I also don’t believe that it is as easy as “calories in and calories out” as some people will tell you. I like to keep things simple and start with the basics first and move on from there. This is the approach I tend to take when I training clients and I discuss nutrition habits:
Largest meal to smallest meal: This isn’t a new concept but I find that in the western world, the typical diet tends to go smallest meal first (or nothing at all) and largest last. I recommend to all my clients that they try this method and see what impact it has. There are a few reasons but I focus on two, firstly, the typical western diet consists of a lot of refined grains, pastas and breads, potatoes are also common. If your evening meal is the largest of the day and consists of a big portion of these food groups, then these excess calories are unlikely to used up before bed. The spike in blood sugar can also cause cravings later, which means more sweet food later on in the evening. The second main reason for making the evening meal the smallest is the later you eat, the greater risk of disturbed or a lack of sleep. This then increases stress levels the following day which can lead to bad dietary habits.
Drink Enough Water: This one has been debated a bit lately. I have read books that say only drink when you are thirsty and others that have said drink three litres a day! I would say that people don’t tend to drink enough water so this is definitely a good place to start as I don’t believe it does any harm. A lot of times when people are hungry, it is because of thirst so I say that to keep the body working properly, at least 2 litres of water per day does the trick. If more water is consumed it can also mean that there is less need to drink sugary soft drinks or excess caffeine.
Play “The Sugar Game”: I do with this with most of my personal training clients. I have a lot at their cupboards and get them to guess how sugar is in a tin of soup for example. This is a great way to raise awareness of how food is produced and why aiming for a whole food diet can be the best way to go. I do not want all my clients to become compulsive label checkers but can be very powerful to show how much sugar is in “everyday” items. This then allows them to make better choices when they are out shopping. I find that reducing sugar consumption is a great foundation for weight loss.
There are plenty of tactics and methods for losing weight, I find that starting with a few basics can make the journey a little more user friendly and not as scary. I have had some good successes with clients with the above and I would certainly recommend trying these out and going from there.