It may come as a surprise to hear that it can actually be harder to lose that last few kilograms than it is to lose 20 or 30. There are a number of reasons why weight loss becomes more difficult the smaller the amount of weight you want to lose. Firstly and most importantly if you only need to lose three to five kilos, it is likely that you are already eating well and exercising. To then lean up further, it will then require additional diet and exercise changes that help to increase metabolic rate and promote further fat loss. The second issue that is of particular relevance when you are looking to drop a couple of kilos is that the body simply does not like to be lean, which means that sometimes we need to resort to various diet and exercise tricks that will help to boost fat burning in the quest to achieve the specific weight loss and body shape we are looking for.
While it may go somewhat against the grain to suggest that losing weight fast is the way to do it, the interesting thing is that research does support losing weight quickly, as long as the methods used are sustainable. Specifically, it has been shown that when people lose more weight initially, it helps to motivate them to remain committed to their weight loss goals long term. So, with summer just around the corner, what are we waiting for? Let’s drop a few kilos, quickly and safely, so that you do indeed keep them off for good.
Commit and follow through
To set yourself up for sustainable fat loss, particularly when the desired weight loss is relatively small, you need to aim for a number of days each week of tightly controlled eating. Many people fail with their fat loss attempts as they let the little extras slip in on a daily basis; the couple of hundred calories from wine at dinner or from an extra row of chocolate are all it can take to completely derail your weight loss attempts. To commit to fat loss you need a period of at least five to six days of tightly controlled eating to adequately deplete your fuel stores, effectively burn body fat and see that one to two-kilo drop on the scales over a course of a week. In food terms this means no extras, no alcohol or high calorie food for at least six days a week. While this may seem a little strict, it will help you to see an initial drop on the scales that will motivate you to keep plugging away.
In order to eat well, you need to have the right food readily available – planning is the key to dietary success. Each week, set aside some time to plan all of your weekday meals and snacks and then stock up on all the foods that you need to ensure that you eat well. People who eat well are organised and keep the foods on hand that they need to keep on track with their diet, no matter what situation they find themselves in. If you are serious about losing body fat, your nutrition needs to become a priority for at least a couple of week, which is also a perfect amount of time to lose three to five kilos.
Bump up the protein at breakfast
Protein is a super nutrient when it comes to weight loss as it is digested more slowly than carbs and hence helps to keep the hormonal systems that control our appetite and fat burning hormones well regulated. Aiming to consume 15 to 20 grams of protein at breakfast via a couple of eggs, a protein shake, some baked beans or some thick natural yogurt will help to kick-start metabolic rate for the day, and keep us full and satisfied for at least three to four hours so that we are less tempted by high fat treats and snacks throughout the morning.
Eat more vegetables
Once you aim to include vegetables and salad at every meal and snack, whether this is via some mushrooms and tomatoes in your morning omelette, a large salad at lunch and some vegetable soup for dinner, you are kept so nicely full that you eat far less of the other calorie containing foods. Aim for at least two to three cups of vegetables or salad at lunch and dinner as well as snacking on some vegetables throughout the day.
Watch the liquid calories
It does not matter whether the calories come from wine, juice, coffee or a smoothie, the body does not compensate well when we consume liquid calories. This means that we do not adjust our food intake to eat less when we drink fluids other than water or clear tea. For many of us, our daily coffee or a couple of wines with dinner are habits that have gradually crept into our lives, along with an extra couple of kilos. Take a break from your milk coffee, alcohol and extra juices and swap to water or herbal tea and you are likely to see a drop in weight as well.
Change things around
If you only have five kilos to lose, chances are you are already exercising regularly, but it may also be time to change your workout around a little. The body gets used to exercising in a certain way, just as it gets used to eating a certain way very quickly. For this reason, altering your workout type, timing and intensity is often all you need to do to kick-start fat burning again when things have been stable. Choose a different type of gym class, start training intervals rather than sitting on the treadmill or bike at the same speed or go to the gym at a different time of the day to mix things up a little and challenge the metabolism.
Top 10 tips for losing five kilograms
1) Make breakfast your largest meal of the day.
2) Drink a green tea after each meal.
3) Make sure that your dinner and lunch include half a plate of salad or vegetables.
4) Go alcohol free for at least six days each week.
5) Drink tea and coffee with meals only.
6) Take the edge of your hunger on the way home from work with a filling snack such as apple, carrot or nuts.
7) Move your body for an hour each day.
8) Keep your dinner small, with salad, soup, vegetables and a small, 100-150g piece of fish or chicken breast.
9) Have a meal off your diet each week.
10) Get lots of sleep, at least nine hours each night.
High protein breakfast omelette
1 teaspoon butter or margarine or spray olive oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
½ small zucchini finely grated
½ cup chopped mushrooms
½ red capsicum
1) Spray pan with olive oil then add the egg and swirl to coat the base of the pan.
2) Sprinkle the egg with the grated zucchini, tomatoes, capsicum, mushrooms and cheese. Cook for two minutes or until set, the turn over and cook the other side.
3) Remove the omelette from the pan and set aside to cool slightly before rolling up and cutting into slices.
1 kg of plain, white fish (Snapper is a good choice)
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon peanut oil
1 small, hot chilli, finely sliced
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon salt-reduced soy sauce
2 spring onions, chopped
1) Preheat oven to 200ºC
2) Combine all ingredients except fish and spring onion into a screwed top jar and shake well.
3) Brush fish with marinade and cook for 20 minutes on a greased oven tray. Serve with salad.