Recently I've been asked quite a few times what the secret is to losing weight. Unfortunately it's impossible for me to give one simple answer to this question. Weight loss is determined by so many factors - nutrition, exercise, mindset and hormones... just to name a few. But one thing I can say for certain is that there is definitely no 'secret' - in reality, sustainable weight loss takes months to achieve because it does not involve any fad diets or dramatic calorie restrictions.
Because is there is no magical secret to weight loss I thought it might be quite useful to share with you my 4 top tips towards living a healthier lifestyle. This doesn't mean following them will guarantee weight loss but it will be a definite step in the right direction for anyone wondering where to start.
1) Just Eat Real Food (JERF)
This may sound obvious but it is so fundamental to any healthy way of living. We need to go back to basics and start cooking from scratch again so we know exactly what is going into our bodies. Lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, unprocessed meats, fish, eggs, butter and everything else our grandparents ate when they grew up! Supermarkets are so full of processed foods it can be hard to resist so what I tend to do is just walk around the edges of the supermarket - this is where most of the fresh produce tends to be. Avoid those middle aisles full of packages and preservatives. Or if you have access to a fresh food market (we are spoiled for choice in Australia) then that's even better!
2) Look after your gut
The gut is by far the most under-rated organ in our body. When you actually think about it for a second and put it into perspective, everything we eat enters our gut to get broken down and absorbed so it makes complete sense that it needs to be healthy. An unhealthy gut is often the starting point for many diseases including diabetes, obesity and arthritis. Therefore, we need to look after it by feeding it with healthy bacteria from nutritious food and try to reduce our intake of foods high in refined sugars. Fermented food works wonders for the gut... kimchi, sauerkraut, yogurt, kombucha and sourdough just to name a few.
3) Get moving
Pretty obvious, I know. But what's important when you are starting out is that you don't set yourself unrealistic goals. If you've never stepped foot in a gym before it would be silly to set yourself a goal of going to the gym 5-6 times a week. Start slowly and set realistic goals and you'll be more likely to stick to it long-term. And do something you enjoy! Try yoga or pilates or play a sport... you don't have to spend hours in the gym to lose weight. I also always try to walk places when I can - get off the train one stop earlier or go for a walk on your lunch break (very important if you have a desk job).
4) Stick with it!
Eating healthily for a couple of days and then pigging out at the weekend won't get you anywhere in the long run. Weight loss or healthy eating should not be a 9-5 job... it is a lifestyle (such a cliché, I know). But I know this because I treated it as a 9-5 job for years and years which is what caused such fluctuations in my weight. Weight loss requires being consistently good, not occasionally perfect. Find the balance that works for you and that you can stick to and run with it! If you enjoy sweet foods then don't completely restrict them from your diet because restriction leads to binges. You will see much better results if you are good 80% of the time rather than perfect 50% of the time... Consistency is key!
Have you been on your own weight loss journey? What are your top tips for healthy weight loss? Let me know in the comments below!