Even the smallest changes to our diet can lead to noticeable weight loss results, oftentimes more rapidly than we might expect. To learn more, we talked to some of the leading personal trainers in London to better understand the importance of nutrition and how it can be enhanced to support weight loss goals.
Why does losing weight feel hopelessly impossible at times? Let’s face it. Not everyone who aspires to lose weight has the time each day to fit in a 30-minute cardio routine. However, personal trainers say there’s much more to losing weight than exercise alone. There are powerful measures outside the realm of exercise that can be tremendously effective in helping us shed unwanted fat, and nutrition ranks very highly among them. In fact, there’s plenty of evidence to support the fact that we can lose weight by focusing exclusively on nutrition and by making small changes to our diet.
I know what you’re thinking. Are these simple tweaks really all that I need to do to experience the weight loss results I want? Well. According to the personal trainers we talked to in London, particularly around Canary Wharf on the eastern end of town where the city now plays host to some of the area’s most advanced and innovative fitness spas, the answer is, quite simply, yes. Their take on the subject is that, if you adopt any of the following nutritional recommendations listed below, without changing anything else, you can lose weight.
Let’s look at what they said.
Avoid Processed Foods as Snacks
Processed foods dominate our food supply. The archenemy of a healthy diet, processed foods are nothing more than an industrial concoction of food that’s convenient, tasty, and inexpensive. That’s it. Examples include cereals, sugary drinks, crackers, etc. By the time these processed foods reach the shelves, they’ve been enhanced by unhealthy additives that make them last longer and taste yummy.
However, snacking on processed foods like chips or crackers means a higher caloric intake as these foods are often high in sugars and fat, not to mention being almost entirely devoid of necessary fiber. Personal trainers were especially adamant about avoiding processed foods because they contribute to the creation of visceral fat – a nasty kind of fat that coils around your organs.
The best way to avoid processed foods is by making better choices when shopping for the snacks we want to keep in our kitchen pantry and around the office. Here are a few of the best snacking alternatives to help you lose weight as recommended by London’s top personal trainers:
String Cheese / Cheese Sticks / Cottage Cheese
Dried Fruit / Banana Chips
Whole Wheat Bread
Protein Bars (check the ingredients! The fewer, the better.)
Fewer Lattes | More Water
Water is SO underrated as a weight loss strategy. Before we look at H20, let’s talk about those popular coffee drinks. Coffee by itself is fairly benign when it comes to your efforts to lose weight. In fact, black coffee contains ingredients that help slow the production of fat cells in your body.
However, coffee shops are seemingly everywhere now. And that has made lattes and cappuccinos two of the most popular coffee drinks for Brits today. The problem is that these beverages often contain lots and lots of fat and sugary flavorings to make them taste so darned good. For example, the white mocha frappuccino that’s made with whole milk serves up about 500 calories and 12 grams of saturated fat! That’s over half of the daily maximum recommended amount! We’re not suggesting that you skip lattes altogether in favor of black coffee, but if you’re a daily consumer of lattes and/or cappuccinos, personal trainers do recommend cutting back to reduce your caloric intake.
And a word about water: one of the first questions personal trainers ask their clients is: do you drink enough? Water can be your secret weapon in losing weight. It helps suppress your appetite, boosts your metabolism, and can increase your caloric burn rate.
Oftentimes, just by adding more water to an already healthy diet, people discover that water was the magic ingredient that was missing from their weight loss strategy. In fact, almost 60% of the adults in the U.S. who are trying to lose weight will often increase their water intake as a key component of their weight loss strategy.
How much water you need to drink for weight loss depends a lot on how active you are and your body metrics (weight and height). The personal trainers we talked with said that healthy adult men should try and consume about 3.5 liters (15.5 cups) each day, and healthy adult women should be targeting just over 2.5 liters (11.5 cups) each day.
A Greater Emphasis on Protein
Protein is widely championed by personal trainers and dieticians for being a vital nutrient in weight loss success. That’s because protein-rich diets offer many fat-burning advantages. For example, studies show that consuming protein-rich foods can leave us with a satisfied “full” feeling longer, and that means consuming fewer calories.
Also, our bodies are designed to burn calories as a part of our digestion and metabolic processes. This is known as the thermic effect of food (TEF), and protein results in a very high thermic effect. In other words, it takes more calories for your body to break down protein-rich foods versus other foods that might be high in sugars and carbohydrates. Protein is also crucial in the development of lean muscle mass, especially if strength training exercises can be included in your fitness regimen. Muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue does, even while we’re at rest.
We mentioned some fine sources of protein earlier in this article as alternatives to processed foods, but additional sources of protein-rich foods include:
Lean meats and chicken
Fish and Seafood
Low-Fat Cottage Cheese
Eat More Salads
If you’re constantly on the go, pre-made salads can be found everywhere. Grocery stores, delis, even coffee shops now showcase an array of different salads; this is a huge opportunity to add swaths of valuable nutrients and fiber to our diets. These salads are often made with an assortment of fruits and vegetables that contain vital nutrients that work together to lower your blood sugar and help you lose weight.
Also, a vegetable-laden salad is a fantastic source of insoluble fiber, which adds bulk to the contents of your intestinal track to keeps things moving regularly.
Let’s be clear: we don’t’ suggest trying to adopt every single recommendation on the list above. Start off with what you believe is the easiest immediate change that you can make to your diet and stick with it. After you see the results (which might come more rapidly than you’re expecting), you can always step up your efforts by adding more of these changes. Good luck! And don’t worry. These aren’t difficult steps to take, even for a newbie to the dieting scene.