The warm days are returning and the smell of post lockdown freedom is in the air. With summer fast approaching so too are thoughts of beach days and holidays, meaning our COVID kilos really need to shift if we are to look and feel our best in a few weeks. While extreme weight loss regimes that support relatively quick weight loss have traditionally been criticised as unsustainable, there is also research to show that losing weight initially is highly predictive of maintaining a new lifestyle program.
So, if you are keen to drop a few kilos relatively quickly, here is the right way to do to ensure your efforts pay off long term.
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Commit for a period
One of the many reasons that we are not always successful in our weight loss attempts is that we go on and off programs too quickly. It takes time for the body to deplete fuel stores and mobilise fat stores and as such ensuring you are giving yourself enough time to lose weight is important.
As a general rule of thumb, you will need at least 3-4 weeks to drop 3-5kg and up to 3 months to lose 10kg.
This means that focusing on your diet and exercise goals for a couple of weeks without distraction and tempting meals and treats will go a long way at getting your weight loss efforts off to the right start.
Choose the right program and stick to it
There are many different weight loss programs out there, and most will work if you can stick to them. The key is choosing the right program for you. Whether this is a lower carb option like CSIRO, counting your calories or macros using MyFitnessPal or committing to a very low-calorie meal replacement program such as BioSlim for a couple of weeks to kick start your weight loss, choosing the right program for you is the key to success.
Focus on consistency
While it can be tempting to try extreme programs that eliminate many calories or replace all your food with juice, ultimately if this is not the way you usually eat, you will be much better to opt for a consistent plan each day where you are eating regularly and keeping your calorie intake controlled. Contrary to popular belief it is not one off, high calorie meals that cause issues when it comes to weight loss, rather the meal choices we are making over the other 21-35 meals we eat each week. Focusing on making most of your meal choices in line with your calorie-controlled plan and you will be on the right track.
Focus on volume-based eating
One of the great things about building a calorie-controlled diet with a focus on high nutrient density but low energy density foods such as salads, soups, veggie juices and vegetable-rich meals is that you will be eating more than you every have, whilst enjoying fewer calories so you are less likely to feel like you are on a diet at all. And best of all this is extremely easy to do — think a couple of cups of veggies at breakfast or a veggie-based juice; a salad or soup with your lunch and 2-3 cups of veggies or salad at dinner. Eating more low-calorie foods, which offer much volume is one of the easiest and most effective ways to drop the kilos quickly.
Keep on top of your hunger
One of the reasons that diets fail so frequently is that they leave you feeling hungry, and when we are hungry and craving sugar, we are much more likely to be tempted when higher calorie foods are available. This means that keeping on top of your hunger throughout the day by eating a filling meal or snack every 3-4 hours will help to ensure that you do not get too hungry, and as such can stick to your program consistently.
Author Susie Burrell is a leading Australian dietitian and nutritionist, founder of Shape Me, co-host of The Nutrition Couch podcast and prominent media spokesperson, with regular appearances in both print and television media commenting on all areas of diet, weight loss and nutrition.