Let’s just lay one myth to rest: there is no magic bullet to lose weight – no matter what crazy exercise or diet routine you tackle, it will take time to ditch the kilos.
However, men do lose weight faster than women because they usually have a higher percentage of muscle and this leads to a faster metabolism.
That is not a free ticket to an all-you-can-eat buffet though and the best way for men (and women) to lose fat is a combo of diet and exercise. It’s also not rocket science to know that you should be eating plenty of fresh fruits and veggies along with lean proteins and a moderate helping of healthy fats.
One of the most important ways to lose weight i portion control: using a slightly smaller plate is a sneaky yet effective way to fool your brain into thinking you are having a big helping.
Diets and meal plans are not for everyone, but they can help to give you structure.
How about a few more practical tips to get you closer to that dream body:
- Working out helps with weight loss because it burns calories. Which means, simply put, if you want to lose weight without exercise, you are going to have work that much harder on your diet.
- Don’t go grocery shopping on an empty stomach.
- Braai don’t fry: grilling over coals is far healthier than frying in fat but try also not to snack while you are standing round the fire.
- When it comes to lean proteins, choose chicken breast meat, without the skin, instead of deep-fried wings or drumsticks. Pick up a pork steak rather than a lamb chop for the braai. Opt for grilled fish, sauce on the side, rather than battered fish ’n’ chips, which will be soaked in oil.
- Eat more avo: there are good fats and bad fats, and avocado, along with nuts and seeds, are full of the good stuff. Steer clear of the bad fats in slap chips, fried foods, fatty wors and the like.
- Time when you eat: Eat your biggest meal at lunch, then scale back at supper when your metabolism will be slower and it will take longer to digest your food.
- Netflix and chill: Keep healthy snacks like lean biltong or air-popped popcorn close to the remote when you settle in for TV time.
- You’ll need to cut back on the beer if you want to get rid of a beer boep so stock up on sparkling mineral water or diet cool drinks. Even better, keep a jug of plain water on hand, and drink a glass (or more) before or with a meal. It’s common sense, as drinking any fluid will help fill you up so it’s easier to eat less.
- Take an unflattering photograph, get it printed and stick it inside your wardrobe door. Every time you see it, your brain will be reminded about why you started this weight-loss process.
- Buddy up but choose your buddies wisely: it can be really hard to change your behaviour, especially if you go at it alone but a group of friends who booze or binge won’t help your cause. Join a tribe of runners or find friends who value a healthy lifestyle.
- Sleeping less than six hours a night may lead to weight gain, along with higher stress levels and even an increased risk of heart disease. Make sure you get your quota of quality shut-eye as it also helps to regulate your metabolism.
Other tips to win at losing
Don’t be your own worst enemy by setting yourself unrealistic targets that you are doomed to miss. Rather play the long game and aim for a modest loss each week. Losing weight is not a competition (well, not for most of us) as you are not in a race against anyone except yourself.
Remember also that the scale can lie. It’s a piece of machinery which doesn’t know if you are fat or fit, and will mark up a lean, mean 70kg fighting machine just the same as a 70kg barrel of blubber.
Many people do like to measure their progress in some way and, if this is you, rather buy a fitness tracker like a pedometer or smart watch and build up to a regular 10,000 steps a day. You also can load a fitness app like MyFitnessPal to your phone to track what you are eating.
Exercise: just do it
Strength training like lifting weights is great for building muscle mass but be aware that muscle is denser than fat. This means that you will grow leaner, as seen in how much better your clothes will fit, even though the scale may only show a modest dip.
It’s good to incorporate exercises that use your whole body. Think: squats, deadlifts, push ups and chin-ups, which give you a fuller workout.
Interval and weight training are both great at burning fat but, if you hate exercise there are other options. For example, if you have a dog, walk it. No dog? Borrow one and catch some fresh air at the same time.
Whichever route you take, the longer you stick at it, your once “fat chance” of being slim becomes more and more a reality.
Date Published: 15 April 2021