What works and what doesn't when it comes to trimming down? Personal trainer Andrew Cate opens his vault of secrets.
Imagine a job in which one day you can be punched, sworn at and stood up; while the next day you could be propositioned, working with a beautiful model, or flown to a tropical island.
After running more than 25,000 personal training sessions over the past 12 years, I've seen it all. I know what sort of lifestyle changes work best, and those that don't work at all. In combination with what I have leant from books, courses, athletes, doctors, nutritionists, professors and my clients, I have developed a list of 10 key strategies for stripping body fat.
1. Identify the barriers to your weight loss
There are usually a number of underlying reasons why people are overweight. Gaining awareness of these limiting factors is the first step in addressing them.
2. Have positive goals and a plan to achieve them
Goals can be a powerful, personal and motivating force to initiate action and power new lifestyle changes. Set goals that are focused on a positive outcome, like competing in a fun run.
3. Have a measure of your success not related to body weight
When you lose weight or gain it you don't necessarily know how your level of body fat has changed. Use additional indicators, such as girth measurements, your energy levels, or how your clothes fit.
4. Eat more natural foods
Try to base your diet on quality, high nutrient foods with minimal processing. Include low glycaemic index (GI) carbohydrates, lean proteins and small amounts of plant and fish fats. The closer a food is to the way Mother Nature intended, the healthier it will be.
5. Change the way you eat
How you eat is also important. Have smaller portions, especially at night, to prevent fat storage while you're sleeping. Eating more slowly can also help to reduce hunger.
6. Drink more water, and less sugar
Water plays a significant role in fat loss, helping to reduce your kilojoule intake, suppress food cravings and improve your metabolic rate. Beverages such as fruit juice, soft drink and cordial give you kilojoules with no fullness, making it harder to lose weight.
7. Move more to lose more
Food changes alone are not enough. Regular movement and exercise burns kilojoules, elevates your metabolism and boosts your energy levels. Physical activity also has a wide range of health benefits.
8. Lift weights to lose weight
Strength training, in combination with cardiovascular exercise, can take your fat loss to another level. Increasing your strength (not bulk) can boost your metabolism and transform your body shape.
9. Build a support network
Friends and family with similar goals can be there to share your thoughts and frustrations, and provide motivation and encouragement. You can also benefit from professional support from a personal trainer, dietician or group based programs.
10. Make it fun
It's easy to motivate yourself to do something you enjoy. Be patient and positive, and look for ways to make healthy eating and physical activity more enjoyable. Enjoy the journey.
Andrew Cate is a university qualified exercise physiologist, an online weight-loss coach and author of five books on weight control. Throw Out Your Scales includes more confessions from Andrew, including 21 ways to ditch the diet and lose fat forever. For more information visit www.andrewcate.com