Losing weight can be challenging at the best of times, especially when there's so much conflicting information all too readily available about the most effective ways to do it. Personally I believe that every body is different, so what works for one person may not necessarily work for another.
That said, I do believe in some fundamentals when it comes to weight loss, which I have outlined below. Some of these may work for you, and some may not. That’s OK! You must always remember to do what's best for your own body — no one knows it better than you, after all!
1. Get to know warm water and lemon.
Drink this when you wake up in the morning. I usually boil half a glass of water, mix it with half a cup of cold water in my glass, then squeeze 1/4 to 1/2 lemon in. When you have this in the morning, you awaken your digestive system and create a more alkaline environment before digesting any food.
2. Consume protein at each meal.
Especially at breakfast! Protein is digested and absorbed into the body at a slower rate, which means it will provide a good substantial meal and will promote satiety, helping you feel fuller for longer. It also helps stabilize blood sugar levels, which prevents the body from burning glucose rather than fat.
3. Eat regularly.
I recommend trying to eat five times a day. Breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner. This speeds up your metabolism, which will in turn help your body burn fat at a faster rate.
4. Practice portion control.
Each meal should include 1/4 protein (the size of your palm), 1/4 complex carbohydrates (1/2 cup cooked brown rice, quinoa, sweet potato etc.), and 1/2 vegetables (with the exception of breakfast). One thing to be mindful of is consuming carbohydrates at dinner, which is something I usually advise against, since your body rarely needs this amount of energy before going to bed.
5. Incorporate lots of vegetables and some fruit into your diet.
Lunch and dinner should always always always include loads of vegetables. Salads, lightly steamed or slowly baked at low heat is best. Fruit is a good option to include in your breakfast or as a snack. Try not to have more than two pieces a day due to the fructose, and avoid having fruit after a meal or on a full stomach because it can ferment in your stomach. Fruit is actually best enjoyed on an empty stomach, and I like to have a citrus-y type fruit such as grapefruit or orange in the morning before breakfast.
6. Drink two to three liters of water EVERY DAY.
This can be a tough one, especially if you are not used to drinking water but it is so important. It will help to flush out any toxins and keep you hydrated, which will allow your body to works its cleansing magic during this time.
7. Abstain from artificial or processed foods.
These create a toxic buildup and can mess with your insulin levels so reduce or ideally eliminate soft drink, chocolate bars, crisps, artificial sweeteners, white rice, white bread etc.
8. Reduce alcohol.
While it may be unrealistic to say no alcohol, I recommend saving it for the weekends and limiting the quantity you drink. While your liver is busy processing alcohol it is unable to do any other bodily processes, and the liver is an important detoxifying organ.
My recommendation for this is 30-45 minutes of exercise 4-5 times per week with a mix of cardio and strength training. Deep breathing exercises also help, so try yoga, Pilates or tai chi.
Rest is just as important as exercise. Try to aim for at least 7.5 hours (ideally 8) of sleep a night. When the body is completely rested, it does most of its healing. Sleep also helps regulate the hormones that affect and control our appetite.