Almost every person who becomes a student at our martial arts centre has, either as a main goal or a secondary goal, the wish to lose weight – and rightly so; being overweight increases a persons risk of developing certain cancers, stroke and diabetes amongst other serious diseases*
Here are THREE simple tips to help you lose fat:
- Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
This is a quote by Michael Pollen and sums up how we eat perfectly. Allow me to elaborate a little further.
To ‘eat food’ is to eat real foods; foods with minimum ingredients, that aren’t highly refined and decorated with super colourful boxes. Portable yogurt tubes, plastic looking meats and drinks with 15 ingredients in (most of which you can’t pronounce) aren’t exactly ‘food’. They’re space foods that are inadequately designed for our stone age body. If it won’t eventually rot or you’re struggling to decipher the origin of what it’s made from then it’s probably a safe bet to leave it alone.
The ‘not too much’ part highlights our problem with habitually eating and comfort eating. You don’t need to eat first thing in the morning to ‘boost your metabolism’ or to eat 5 times a day to keep hunger at bay. Simply eat when hungry and stop when no longer hungry, not when full. It’s common for people to feel guilty or to feel like they’re missing out if they’re not hungry and choose not to eat. You don’t have to! Listen to your body and, if you fuel it right, it’ll soon get to it’s optimum weight.
Lastly, the ‘mostly plants’ part means, well, to eat mostly plants. Whether you wish to go completely plant-based or if you choose to still eat meat, the majority of your food should be in the form of plants. Plants are nutrient rich and low in calories, hence you get more bang for your buck. The micronutrients are what is important; the vitamins and minerals. People focus too much on proteins/fats/carbs when really the micronutrients are the key thing to consider. Plants are a superb source of fibre, too. Learn to give plants the centre stage!
2. Why are you doing it for?
Having a solid, definitive goal as to why you wish to lose weight is important. Do you wish to lose ‘x’ amount of kilos? Is it to move down a dress size or a waist size? Is it so you can go for a walk with your family and not be out of breath? If you simply state you want to ‘lose a bit of weight’, then you have no definitive anchor to help pull you back down when you begin to deviate off track. You’ll most probably end up losing a bit of weight, before putting some back on, trying again, giving up for the weekend, telling yourself you’ll try again next week, before repeating the process.
The best goals are tangible, results based goals – ones that you can monitor. Weight, waist size, blood pressure, HR and items like that are brilliant to monitor and check as they are directly related to the most important thing you should want to lose weight for; your health. Exercises are the same (press ups in a minute, time you can walk/run X distance) as they are markers of overall fitness and health.
3. Exercise – get the body moving!
Healthy eating and exercise is the perfect combination for health and weight loss. One helps support the other. Exercising not only makes you fee
l great but it can kick start and motivate you to eat healthily, and once you begin eating healthy combined with exercises, you’ll improve your health and begin to lose weight. The two pieces of the puzzle fit together and compliment one another. You can’t out exercise a bad diet and there are elements of exercise you can get that you can’t receive from eating healthily alone – both aspects are important.
So, to lose weight and get healthy you should eat food, not too much and mostly plants, get some exercise and get serious about why you want to – and, in my opinion, there is no greater ‘why’ than your health.