Weight loss can often be a very emotive subject. Someone's relationship with food can be complicated and deep rooted. Whilst I completely acknowledge this, I am instead going to deal with as maths, as that is essentially what it is and is also how I now see it.
To lose weight you must create a calorie deficit, basically consuming less calories than your body needs to maintain it's current weight under it's current level of physical activity.
When you lose weight, you lose a mixture of fat & muscle. Our muscle mass is what keeps our metabolism in tip-top shape, we do not want to lose it. Traditional diets and slimming groups fall down here. Yes, you lose weight following any diet. You initially would do by eating less than you need under any circumstance. However, by failing to push the importance of a high protein diet, they are setting you up to end up with a slower metabolism than you did at the start, lower muscle mass & therefore not quite the 'toned' appearance you were going for.
You will experience much better results and much less reduction in muscle mass if you resistance train at the same time. You'll also avoid feeling that you are just as untoned as when you started..... just a little smaller!
In order to maintain your muscle mass you would normally create an ideal calorie deficit of around 200-400 kcals a day.
Right, now we have the facts out of the way, let me throw you my top tips and some food for thought (see what I did there!!)
Get planning! Are you going out? If you go out one night and have 3 glasses of wine then fairplay. If you do 3 nights on the trot with 8+ units a night then I don't want to hear you bleating on that you can't understand why you aren't seeing any improvements on the scales. Everything in moderation. Is one night more important that the others? Can you drive one of the nights? Can you relocate to a restaurant with healthier options? Can you check the menu out beforehand and assess what you are having so you don't make a worse choice after a class of wine? Whatever you can do to prevent your weekend from ruining the hard work you have put in during the week, is a step in the right direction.
2. Surround yourself with supportive people
If someone really supports you, they won't be waving the biscuit tin under your nose. And know this, if they do, it's because they want to see you fail. It may not be for vindictive reasons, but by changing your lifestyle, you are saying you are not happy with how things were before. This can make people feel uncomfortable and judged. Rest assured they will come around, and may in time actually join you on your fitness journey, but in the meantime you are going to have to bear with them and continue on your path. Keep your motivational hat on!
If you work in a place where there is nowhere to buy healthy food from at lunch then it's time to think about planning ahead and meal prep. Yes I realise it makes you sound like a bodybuilder, but let's be honest, they have their nutritional shit together. Let's up our game and get on it. Get used to picking the best options in a less than perfect situation, natural nuts, meat, greek yoghurts, salads packed with protein. If in doubt, Marks & Sparks garage it up -
they are definitely one of the better ways of finding healthy fast food!
4. Educate yourself
So you skim read by post on macronutrients and you didn't full understand it all, so instead of commenting on it and asking for clarification, you ignored it and carried on. Now who's responsibility is that? If you can hold down a job, raise your kids and pay your own bills then you can understand basic nutrition. If your idea of eating healthily is chicken goujons, oven chips and peas then it's time to admit that you may need to put your ego aside and get learning.
So to summarise:
eat lots of protein
try & plan your menu
comment in the group about anything you need to get clarification on (it's great if it's public because other people will have the same queries)
focus your mind!
It's going to be a fun ride!
Anna is a qualified Personal Trainer, experienced Group Exercise instructor and a Master-Trainer for an international fitness brand. Owner of Vital Signz Dance. Creator of Always Moving Forward Instructor Network.