Burn More Calories
‘Energy in – energy out’. The most basic way to describe weight maintenance. ‘Energy in’ is the energy we put into our body in the form of calories. This comes from the food we eat. ‘Energy out’ is the calories used by our body to perform basic bodily functions and other physical activities. So one would assume that putting too much energy in and not enough out again, would end up in an imbalance, and therefore perhaps some weight gain. A simple equation! BUT, are there some other aspects of life that could play a role in our weight maintenance? The answer is yes.
Here are some straight-talking tips and reminders that can be easily implemented if you’re looking to lose pounds but stay strong and energised.
EAT GOOD FATS
We NEED healthy fats in our diet to function normally. They give us energy but also help monitor hormone efficiency. In a nutshell, healthy fats such as oily fish and avocados help reduce insulin resistance in the body and help produce the hormones that control our appetite!
When you’re dehydrated, you don’t always function at your best, mentally and physically. And when you exercise specifically, you want to be on top form so you can work your hardest. If you work your hardest, you will use more energy. You can see how easily dehydration has a knock-on effect. Also, make sure you’re accounting for the loss of hydration through sweat too. Another thing we often do is confuse thirst for hunger. Next time you feel hungry mid-afternoon say, stop and take stock of how much water you’ve drunk so far that day. If you know you’re on track to your 2 litres+, perhaps you ARE hungry. If not, it could be thirst kicking in.
DO RESISTANCE TRAINING
Improve your muscle mass, and you will increase your metabolism. Muscle is metabolic, so requires energy. The more muscle you have, the more energy you need from your body and the more calories you will burn off. You can use body-weight exercises, free-weights or resistance bands. Not only will this kickstart your metabolism, but it will bring a nice toned shape to your muscles too.
…low-calorie dense foods. Meaning, eat a bigger portion of foods with are low in calorie. This will fill you up whilst keeping the calorie intake lower. The full feeling you get when eating causes an increase in the hormone Leptin. Leptin is what tells you you’re full. So filling up on good, healthy, low-calorie foods, can help keep you fuller for longer and you’ll be less likely to reach for the naughty snacks! A good example would be eating a large, clean salad (minus the high-calorie sauces and oils) full of veg and a good protein source, such as tuna (which only has 99 calories per 100g by the way) for lunch. The AMOUNT WE EAT isn’t always the issue – it’s WHAT WE EAT that can have the undesired effects. Replace the tiny ham and cheese toastie and handful of crisps, for a big old plate of greens and protein, and you will most definitely feel fuller for longer.
…consumption of protein and fibre. Not only will it fill you up for longer, you burn more calories digesting these nutrients – especially compared with sugars and fats. Protein is ESSENTIAL for building and repairing cells. If we want to achieve longevity, we can’t afford to miss this one out of the diet. Fibre is also a vital ingredient for optimal health. Fruits and vegetables are the ideal food group for this and just like protein, fibre takes more energy to digest. Thus, burning more calories.
DRINK A LITTLE…
…coffee! Coffee has hardly any calories so long as it’s black or with a splash of low-fat milk. You don’t want to be wasting 200 calories on a large, milky, syrupy drink! Coffee is a stimulant and it can actually keep your hunger down. So, if you’re not much of a coffee drinking, but like one a day, maybe skip the very first-morning cup and opt for one at 11am instead. You’ll not only get a little kick from it, but it may even stop you reaching for a naughty snack (if that happens sometimes!) The only thing we must keep in mind is that coffee is a diuretic still. Which means it can be dehydrating. So you want to make sure you’re still drinking water alongside it, especially if you opt for more than one cup a day (which let’s face it – we all often do!)
…between your workouts. Fitting regular walks into your week is the perfect way to burn more calories. It’s low-impact so won’t put too much strain on your joints and muscles, which means it’s also great for recovery days. A nice brisk walk – not a saunter – is a moderate-pace activity, which is the perfect zone to be in. The longer and further you walk, the better!