How to lose body fat: Top 5 Tips!

So let me guess, you've been trying to shift those extra few pounds (or more) for some time and you have either a) not managed to get anywhere and feel like you have tried everything under the sun, or b) lost weight previously but oops... somehow that weight has slowly (or quickly) crept back on? Believe me when I say, I've been there (and I'll no doubt be there again at some point in the future).

Us women (or men - hello!) are commonly thinking about our weight and comparing ourselves to others - we're human, and unfortunately that's how our minds work sometimes. I, as well as many others, like to think I've been through a very cliche 'transformation' over the past four years or so and I thought I'd share with you my five top tips for losing that stubborn fat - after much trial & error, research and learning curves!

First things first, I'm not a nutritionist nor a personal trainer. I'm simply somebody who's been there and I want to share some advice to my fellow readers! However, I am a bit of a geek and I'm very interested in how the human body works and the scientific/medical facts and research that people do surrounding health and fitness, so I'll share and link some of those with you if you're like me!

One thing I think that's critical to mention, because I have been there, is eating too little. Many of us when trying to lose weight will reduce our calories or increase exercise levels, to ensure the amount of calories burned amounts to more than the total amount of calories we have consumed, therefore allowing us to lose weight. After completing a 12-week transformation programme (with coach Elle Darby which by the way was fantastic) I realised that prior to the challenge I was seriously under-eating and found that my progress or weight loss had stalled. Now this is something that is scientifically debatable. You may have heard the term 'starvation mode' which is known as 'adaptive themogenesis' in the medical world (apparently)! Here is a link to an 'easy read' about this term and how your body reacts to being in this state for a prolonged period of time.

This bring me to my Top Tip Number One: Work out your TDEE! This is your Total Daily Energy Expenditure which tells you how many calories you burn in a day, including your normal daily activity and any exercise you do. There are many links online that help you to work this out and of course they will just be an approximate amount. Now, I'm not saying that calorie counting or macro tracking is the way to do it, I'm simply suggesting that by knowing your rough TDEE you might be more aware of the amount your body needs to eat in a day to maintain your weight. Now the simple rule is, to lose weight your body needs to be in a caloric deficit, as mentioned above. This means you need to eat less calories than your body is burning. Simple, right? Well... sort of. Finding the balance between a reckless caloric deficit that will result in an unhealthily quick weight loss, and a small caloric deficit which potentially might result in extremely slow progress is something you need to find. The recommended weight loss per week is 1-2 pounds (but again, this might be something you choose to research further for yourself individually).

Top Tip Number Two: What types of food are you eating?
Now of course, it is scientifically proven that if you're correctly eating less calories than what your body is burning every day, you will lose weight - as stated above. A lot of research has been done into the proof of this and there are many stories in the media that show that as long as you're in a caloric deficit you will lose weight, no matter what you eat. One example of this is Chazz Weaver who created the documentary 'Down Size Me', where he ate only Mcdonalds for 30 days and due to the fact he was tracking his intake of calories, he lost weight due to being a caloric deficit. Now of course, I imagine Chazz felt incredibly unhealthy and we all know that proper nutrition and the fact that we intake the appropriate amount of nutrients, vitamins and minerals is very important. McDonalds I'm not slaying you... but everything in moderation right? The whole point of my top tip number two, is that you need to think about choosing foods that are high-quality and 'healthy', rather than just eating less. This is due to the fact that a diet with 'adequate high quality protein and essential fats will produce better body composition/more muscle than the same number of calories from an all sugar diet'. More about that here.

Top Tip Number Three: Are you being consistent all week - including the weekend?
Now this is something I know first hand a lot of people struggle with. That whole 'I'll be good in the week so then I can have a treat at the weekend'. Now of course, yes! Life is about balance and I think everybody should build up a good relationship with food and have what they like! However... if you're trying to lose weight/fat you need to be consistent 100% of the time. Consistency is key. For example, if somebody was in a caloric deficit by around 200 calories per day, that amounts to 1000 calories from Mon-Fri. Then said persons gets to the weekend and decides they'll go out for a Mcdonalds, have five cocktails and then a cheeky kebab afterwards. You've just undone all of the hard work you put in during the week! This will cause you to maintain (if not put on) your weight and wonder where you're going wrong. Remember, the weekend is 42.8% of your week (Fri, Sat, Sun) -  put it to good use!

Top Tip Number Four: Why do I need to exercise? Can't I just eat less?
Essentially... yes. To lose weight, as we have discussed, you need to eat less than your body is burning. However, exercise can help increase your metabolism and therefore increase how many calories you burn in a day. If you go from doing no exercise to exercising the recommended amount (30 minutes, 5 days per week) you're increasing how many calories you burn, therefore increasing your caloric deficit which increases weight loss. Simple.

Top Tip Number Five: Cliche but WATER!
Does water help you lose weight? If you're interested in this topic, that linked article might give you a small insight. As well as drinking plenty of water to ensure your body is properly hydrated, or drinking before meals to ensure that 'hunger' isn't just 'thirst', water also helps me feel so much better! I go through stages where I very simply forget to drink throughout the day, and with a banging headache at 8pm at night I wonder where I'm going wrong. When I make sure I'm drinking 3-4 litres (more than your bog-standard generic recommended) I feel so much fresher, more active and just healthier, which in turn motivates me to eat better food and go and exercise.

All of this things, as well as simply explaining my top tips to lose weight, will hopefully help you mentally and physically feel more positive when applied. Chances are, if you've stumbled across this post you're feeling a bit naff and looking for ways to lose those extra pounds. You'll get there - and I hope I've helped!

Thanks for reading!
Melanie x

Melanie Clare