The start to 2020 has seen global and national disruption with the extensive outbreak of COVID-19. The rapid appearance of the coronavirus pandemic has meant that our daily routines have been dramatically affected, making it difficult to continue with our health, fitness and weight loss aspirations.
With the closure of gyms and restriction to meeting up with team members and friends, working out and maintaining a weight loss regime has been a challenge. So, to help get you back on track with your weight loss goals, we’ve summarised a checklist of essential tips to help you lose weight fast and safely.
1. Find the right diet that works for you
If you haven’t been able to stick to a diet, maybe it’s just not the right diet for you?. Dieting can sound off-putting, however, there are multiple diets that can offer flexibility around your lifestyle.
Three popular and effective diets are the ketogenic diet, a calorie restriction diet and the zone diet.
Ketogenic Diet (Keto)
A Keto diet consists of low dietary carbohydrate intake but a high fat and protein intake. The aim of this diet is to induce a metabolic state in the body called ketosis, where the body burns fat for energy due to a low availability of carbohydrate.
A recent study highlights the effectiveness of the ketogenic (low carbohydrate diet) by comparing it to a low fat diet alternative over a period of 8 weeks. The results of the study reported that the ketogenic diet assisted with an 11% loss in body mass compared with just 2.7% in the alternative low fat diet.
Calorie Restriction Diet
The calorie restriction diet involves reducing calorie intake but ensuring sufficient nutrition. The recommended range to reduce your calorie intake by is 20-40%.
In a recent study, research investigating the effectiveness of the calorie restriction diet over a 12 week period reported weight loss results in obese and overweight participants of between 10-20% relative to individual body mass.
The Zone Diet consists of consuming a specific ratio of macronutrients in each meal; 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein and 30% fat. The premise behind the Zone Diet is to reduce diet induced inflammation by stabilising insulin levels and constraining the intake of saturated fats.
In a landmark study, the Zone Diet was observed over a 6 month period to examine the effectiveness of the diet at inducing weight loss in obese women. The results reported that participants lost on average 7.4% of relative body mass.
2. Weight loss medication
Weight loss prescription medication that’s safe and effective is highly recommended to support your weight loss efforts and accompanying strategies. Alongside a healthy diet and regular exercise, you could lose up to 50% more weight compared to just dieting alone.
Weight loss medication such as Alli, Orlos, Orlistat and Xenical are all highly effective at helping speed up weight loss results. These clinically proven weight loss medications all contain the active ingredient Orlistat, which is a pancreatic lipase inhibitor, this means that it reduces the amount of fat from being absorbed into the body by as much as 30%. The efficacy of Orlistat is widely reported, research reports it is an effective medication for losing weight fast in both the short and long term.
3. Exercise – find something you enjoy
With gyms being closed, our regular exercise routines have been disrupted. Therefore, alternative exercises to staying active and burning calories can be highly beneficial to helping you achieve your weight loss goals.
Walking and running is a popular way to help burn calories, a healthy target to try and achieve is 10,000 steps a day. This translates to roughly five miles or 30-60 mins brisk walking. However, if walking and running is not enjoyable or motivating for you, try alternatives such as cycling, home workouts or playing outside games such as football, basketball or any activity that gets you moving!
4. Set realistic goals
Setting realistic goals and maintaining your motivation throughout your weight loss schedule is important to weight loss success. If you have managed to keep your weight loss programme going, then it may be beneficial to review the goals you have set. If you are looking to start a new weight loss programme, setting easy to achieve goals is highly recommended. Goal setting includes the inclusion of both short term and long term goals. It may be helpful to have weight loss as an overall goal but multiple shorter, easier short term goals that encourage lifestyle changes (follow a diet, complete exercise etc.)
The SMART checklist is helpful when it comes to setting goals:
- Specificity – Make sure your weight loss goals are outlined in detail, this will make your goals clearer and easier to follow. Day to day and weekly targets are important to providing structure.
- Measurable – Ensure your goals are all measurable in some way. This helps to ensure you can accurately monitor your progress. This also allows you to reward good progress.
- Attainable – You must be able to realistically achieve your weight loss goals. Setting unrealistic weight loss goals are one of the main pitfalls when setting weight loss goals.
- Relevant – Your goals should be relevant to your overall desired outcome. It is important to not lose sight of what you are trying to achieve.
- Time-Limited – It’s important for goals to be time-limited. This is necessary to keep you motivated and to stay on track.
Giving yourself regular rewards in line with progress and the achievement of short term goals and milestones is important to keep motivated, research suggests that it is easier to familiarise positive behaviour and change lifestyle habits with a consistent reward programme.
Ensuring good quality, sufficient sleep is an easy win when it comes to increasing your chances of sticking to your weight loss programme. Sleep is an important process for the body when it comes to regulating hormones and recovery.
Disruptions to daily routines and working from home more frequently can result in a change in sleeping routine. When it comes to weight loss, sleep is an important part of giving yourself the best chance of losing weight. Research investigating sleep duration and the impact on weight loss indicates that six to eight hours sleep is essential to avoid fatigue induced disturbances in the hormones responsible for regulating appetite.
For more information and advice on weight loss strategies, you can visit our popular and insightful blog about other useful scientifically supported weight loss strategies.