Many of us are on a mission to shift a few pounds, but we know that crash-dieting or being super restrictive for a short period of time just doesn’t work long-term.
While we might lose lots of weight initially, depriving ourselves of delicious food just means we’ll soon end up binging and regain the weight we quickly lost.
So, what is the best way to lose weight quickly, but in a healthy, sustainable way that ensures the pounds won’t just stack back on?
We asked My Muscle Chef’s sports dietitian Ryan Pinto for his top tips on how to shed fat fast and build muscle at the same time, without having to give up everything we love.
Don’t completely cut out carbs.
Ryan says yes, you can totally eat carbs everyday and still lose weight.
“Most people single out carbohydrate-rich foods when trying to lose weight because they are so easy to over consume, however, typically these foods are also high in sugar and fat and lack the important vitamins and nutrients such as fiber,” he said.
“Chips, biscuits, cakes, white breads, and cereals tend to be over-consumed regularly and if reduced, can generally allow people to lose weight. It is important to be aware of this and either remove these foods from your everyday environment, or make a conscious effort to avoid them.”
So, what types of carbohydrates are best to eat for weight loss? Those with a high vitamin and mineral content.
“Carbohydrates which contain a high amount of naturally occurring fiber are great at keeping you feeling full. It’s not rocket science — the fuller you feel, the less you will tend to snack” Ryan said.
“Carbohydrates such as sweet or white potato (consumed with the skin on), wholegrain and dark breads and cereals, oats, brown rice, and fruit (especially any variety of berries) are a great place to start. You don’t need to eat all of these in a day — you could just start by swapping in some in place of the current foods you have in your house.”
Load up on protein.
Make sure you eat a small amount of protein with every meal, because this is what keeps us feeling full throughout the day.
If you’re after a specific amount, well, Ryan says gone are the days where we focus on making sure people consume an exact amount of protein each day.
“Nowadays, we recommend ensuring most people include a protein source at every main meal and in the mid-afternoon, to get you through the 3 p.m. slump,” he said.
“The main culprit seems to be breakfast, where most people will consume food which may resemble a dessert, such as a high sugar cereal or pastry, and lack the necessary protein and fiber required to keep you feeling full.”
The best types of protein include meat, fish, chicken, dairy, and eggs, as well as plant-based proteins including nuts and legumes.
If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, or you’re simply looking to follow a more plant-based diet, you can still get enough protein without eating meat.
“You can easily consume enough protein from vegetarian sources, however, this needs to be planned quite well by either sourcing appropriate meal options from cafes, restaurants or healthy meal delivery services, to ensure the meal contains enough protein to assist with recovery from exercise,” Ryan said.
Make sure you’re consuming enough fiber.
“A dietitian’s secret weapon for anyone wanting to lose weight, is to ensure they consume enough fiber per day on a consistent basis,” Ryan said.
“This is by far the most effective way to help people lose weight and keep it off. Along with this, consuming enough protein at main meals will additionally keep you full for most parts of the day.”
That means loading up on fruits and vegetables, which are packed full of fiber, as well as wholegrains, legumes, and nuts.
Find habits and routines you can implement into your lifestyle long term, not just for a week or for a month.
“In the modern world of instant gratification, most people want results now! It doesn’t matter if it took 10 years to put the weight on, if they don’t see results in one to two weeks, they’ll give up,” Ryan said.
“Food habits and routines are hard to break and hence require time to learn new routines and habits. Consistency is the key. It generally take 21 days to form a habit.
“Don’t fall for the quick fixes such as the pills and potions. As a dietitian, our goal is to help you, so if they worked, we would be shouting it from the rooftops!”
If you fall off the wagon, just jump straight back on again.
It’s totally normal — and human — to overindulge every now and then. But rather than thinking “Oh no, I’m blown my diet,” and completely going off-course, Ryan says simply resume your normal healthy patterns.
Particularly around the December season, it’s easy to have a few too many drinks and greasy foods. But in the grand scheme of things, this is a blip in the ocean.”Remember, you may have four or five meals during the whole Christmas period where you may go overboard,” Ryan explained.”But most people subconsciously write off the whole Christmas period and don’t effectively plan what they will do in between these occasions.
“When you’re not attending functions or eating out, my advice would be to try to stick to eating healthy meals to keep your diet balanced.”
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Now to Love.