If you’ve hit a bit of a weight loss lull, and are in need of a boost, don’t worry. Plateaus are absolutely normal and far more commonplace than we realise.
Here are our four top tips that could be just what you need to help kick those scales back into the decline mode…
If there is one top tip we can give you for weight loss success, it is prepare, prepare, prepare!
Ensuring you have healthy food by your side when hunger strikes can be the difference between a great day and an unhealthy meal, which could derail you completely for the rest of the day or even week.
If lunch is your downfall, prepare healthy pack lunches to take to work. We have lots of healthy lunch ideas available to our Hairy Bikers’ Diet Club members via our menu plans. Plus, you can see every meal for the week and can download a shopping list to make sure you’ve got everything you need in the kitchen. Mint hey? Now that’s being prepared and planning ahead.
Diet Clubber Micheal Hassell, who has lost over 4st, says, “The most helpful tool was the meal plans. They were incredible; full of flavour and not too compelx.” Read Micheal’s full success story here.
Got home late from work, nothing in the fridge and you’re ravenous? Then turn to your freezer stash for instant healthy meals. You can cook up batches of soups, casseroles, pies and even vegetables, then all you need to do is defrost, cook and enjoy. A healthy meal in minutes, and no take away in sight!
Do a diary
Keeping a food diary is the difference between weight loss success, and failure.
Tracking your food and drink is the only way you will truly know your energy balance; your calories in and your calories burned. And we mean every single tiny morsel and sip.
You can use a paper diary if you wish, but thousands of our Diet Clubbers rely on our online diary. As members, they get access to a digital food and exercise diary, which they can complete to track their daily energy balance and ensure they are set to see a weight loss on the scales each week.
It’s simple – if your calories burned exceed your calories consumed, you should lose weight.
Research conducted by the University of Newcastle in Australia, found that the more you use your diary, the more weight you are likely to lose. Members who used the diary five times a week or more lost the most, followed by those who used theirs four and three days respectively.
Hairy Bikers’ Diet Clubber Sara Davis says, “The online diary is the feature that really helps me succeed. It’s my ‘diet buddy’ that keeps me on track by keeping my calories in my mind at the same time as reminding me of the next delicious meal!” Read her full success blog here.
In our supersize society, today a portion far exceeds what a normal, healthy-sized portion should look like. Vats of sugary drinks, grab-size packets and free refills. We are encouraged to eat to excess.
Take things back to basics and start weighing and measuring your foods. Be precise and you might be surprised where extra calories are hiding.
- When weighing foods, place a plate, a bowl, or a piece of baking paper on electronic kitchen scales. Press the ‘Reset’ or ‘On’ button to clear the weight of the plate, then add the food you want to weigh.
- Use metric spoons for energy-dense foods such as oil, butter, sugar and honey. Keep the measure levelled rather than heaped, by flattening off the top of the spoon with a knife.
- Use metric cups for foods such as breakfast cereal. You can also use them as measuring scoops for cooked rice, pasta and noodles.
When freezing foods, you can weigh out each healthy serving size, and store it into individual containers and bags. This gives you instant healthy homemade food at the right portion. Register now to receive our ultimate freezing guide for FREE.
Although weighing and measuring is the most accurate way to work out how much you’re really eating and drinking, it’s not always possible to take scales, metric cups and small plates with you. So when you can’t weigh and measure, use your hand as a guide to portion size.
- Your palm is about the size of a small 150g serve of meat or a serve of raw nuts.
- Your palm and fingers are roughly equivalent to a regular 150–200g serve of fish.
- Your cupped hand is about 1⁄2 cup of vegetables or pasta.
- Two cupped hands are about 1 cup of breakfast cereal, salad or air-popped popcorn.
- Your clenched fist is approximately 1 medium piece of fruit or 1 cup of vegetables, berries, cooked rice or pasta.
- Your thumb is approximately the size of 1 tablespoon of dips or condiments such as cranberry sauce.
- Your fingertip is about the size of a teaspoon of margarine, butter or peanut butter.
Ditch the drink
Alcohol affects weight gain in 2 ways:
- It provides energy that can be stored as fat, particularly around the mid-section. Moreover, it is usually consumed as additional energy to your normal food intake. These calories are empty of nutrition, but are all too easy to over-consume.
- It frequently leads to overeating. The infamous beer gut, for example, is not only a result of the calories in alcohol, but also of the additional eating that accompanies drinking.
One of the first effects of alcohol on our brains is to suppress the centres responsible for decision-making. By losing our normal inhibitions, we tend to eat more and eat less mindfully while drinking. We are also more likely to eat food we might not touch when not affected by alcohol, such as fatty, salty snacks. Hello canapés.
We are also frequently distracted by the social environment and don’t notice how much we are eating and drinking. Not great when trying to lose weight.
Alcohol also interferes with your sleep (very important for weight loss), negatively impacts your mood and packs on fat.
In short, it’s best for your weight loss success to avoid drink as much as possible, or at least drink in a controlled manner enjoying just one, or two.