Confused about all the different types of diets available. Look no further – here are some top tips from one of Hong Kong’s leading female fitness and nutrition experts
Indulged in too many of Hong Kong’s notorious free-flow brunches or dinner buffets? Or just wanting to eat healthy and need some help with sticking to your workout routine? Leading nutrition expert Beth Wright fills you in on 5 ways to lose weight and get toned the easy way.
5 ways to lose weight and live your best life
Do you find yourself trying every new diet fad that comes along only to find yourself back to where you started (or worse) 6 weeks later? You aren’t alone…. In fact the diet industry banks on you doing exactly that. From Keto to Intermittent Fasting, from the Meat and Nuts Diet to the Beverly Hills Diet (unlimited fruit and champagne), and let’s not forget the Twinkie Diet! There is no magic pill, no one diet that will miraculously help you lose weight overnight but yet we keep trying and hoping that one will work.
To clear up the misconceptions around weight loss – here are 5 ways to lose weight effectively and healthily, and best of all, you’ll keep it off!
1. Create a Calorie Deficit
To lose weight all we need to do is look at energy balance. This is the relationship between “energy in” (calories from the food and drink we consume) and “energy out” (calories our body uses for daily energy requirements). If we take in less calories than the body needs then we lose weight – simple.
Everyone’s body needs a certain amount of energy (or calories) just to breathe, for organs to function and the body to perform – we call this the basal metabolic rate (BMR) which is determined by your height, weight, lean muscle mass, age and sex. Based on your BMR and your daily activity levels you can decide if you want to take an easy (e.g. 10 % calorie deficit), moderate (20 %) or aggressive approach (30 %) to fat loss. These numbers are not set in stone but give you an idea of how you can simply reduce your intake to create a calorie deficit and lose weight.
Advice for beginners: If you want help with calculating your BMR or putting a nutrition plan together ask an expert. I work hand in hand with my clients to make sure that they have the right nutrition plan for them – it is personalised to the individual, takes into account their bodies, history and lifestyle.
Get fresh healthy food straight to your door with these grocery delivery services
2. Eat Sufficient Protein
Protein is your friend when it comes to fat loss. It helps you feel satiated and fuller for longer than the other macro nutrients (i.e. carbohydrates and fat). When you eat protein such as meat, fish etc., there is a thermic effect, meaning the body uses calories to digest it (i.e. you absorb less calories than you consume – winning!) In addition, when the body is in a calorie deficit eating protein protects the body’s lean muscle mass and the body is more likely to use fat as a fuel source.
Advice for beginners: How much protein you need depends on your weight, goals and lifestyle. With my clients, most want to not only lose fat but also gain muscle, so I lean more towards a higher calculation of protein intake depending on their specific goals and body composition (everyone is so different). There really is no down side to having a higher than minimum requirement of protein.
Check out these top steakhouses in Hong Kong for a lean protein hit
3. Strength Training
Strength training builds muscle which is more metabolically active than fat. The more muscle mass you have the more calories you burn!
In addition, the benefits of strength training far outweigh aesthetics and weight management. It helps you move better in everyday life, protects bone health and muscle mass and also protects you against cardio vascular disease and Type 2 diabetes. All this on top of creating a lean, toned, strong and tighter physique! Being strong is also empowering – you can absolutely take the strength you gain in the gym out into the real world whether it is into the workplace, the board room or socially. You will not only stand taller but you will feel taller.
Advice for beginners: Find a coach that suits your personality and who understands your goals and motivations. There are a lot of great trainers in Hong Kong all of whom have their own particular expertise and skill-set so spend time finding the one that you click with and understands what you need.
Follow these Hong Kong workout pros on Instagram for inspiration
Not getting enough sleep is not only bad for dark circles but it sets your brain up to make bad decisions. It dulls activity in the brain’s frontal lobe, the centre of decision-making and impulse control.
So it’s a bit like being drunk. You don’t have the mental clarity to make good decisions. In addition to which, it also affects a number of key hormones – namely leptin and ghrelin (known as the hunger hormones). Lack of sleep increases ghrelin (the hormone that makes you feel hungry – think of your tummy ggggrowling) and decreases leptin (a hormone produced in your fat cells which is the signal that tells your body that you are full).
In other words, you need to control leptin and ghrelin to successfully lose weight, but lack of good sleep makes that nearly impossible. If that’s not enough, when you don’t sleep enough, your cortisol levels also rise which is the stress hormone frequently associated with fat gain (particularly around your mid-section).
Cortisol also activates reward centres in your brain that make you want food. A combination of high ghrelin and cortisol shut down the areas of your brain that leave you feeling satisfied after a meal, meaning you feel hungry all the time—even if you just ate a big meal.
Tips to get a good night’s sleep: Make good sleep habits a priority as this is one of the simplest and easiest ways to help you lose weight. Aim to go to bed and get up at the same time every day, buy black out blinds, keep the room at a cooler temperature and turn off all electric devices 2 hours before bed.
One of the simplest and easiest way to lose weight is to get a good night’s sleep – plus it’s free!
Sleep better with the help of these meditation centres in Hong Kong
5. STEPS or “NEAT”
NEAT stands for Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (a bit of a mouthful) but in short means all the extra movement we do (outside of the gym) which burns calories. The more you move the more calories you burn.
Advice for beginners: I encourage all my clients to set a daily steps target. Whether you use a Fitbit or a sports watch or even your phone – track and monitor your steps to make sure you hit your target. This WILL increase the speed of your fat loss and to a certain extent delay dietary adaptations. When dieting our bodies intuitively want to move less so this helps keep us moving and active. Depending on my client’s starting point I set them a daily step target and gradually increase week by week. Some tips – if you sit at a desk all day (like I do) find small ways to make yourself walk more. Sprint to the printer at the far end of the office, use a smaller water bottle so you refill more frequently (and inevitably have to walk to the bathroom more), walk around the office whilst on calls or even better take them outside! I have a rule – I have to walk up every escalator I get on and find an excuse to go the long way round. Hong Kong is immensely walkable (heat aside) so it is easy to get your steps in once you think about it.
Explore these hiking trails in Hong Kong and get your step count in for the day