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Expert weight loss tips

10 expert tips to help you shift stubborn weight for good

Losing weight and getting fit is tough. But we’re here to help. Follow the top tips of these 10 health and fitness experts and celebs and start seeing results.

1 focus on food

‘Keep in mind the reason you’re losing weight. Is it for health reasons? Is it for looks? Both will be improved with a healthy diet packed with vitamins and minerals, so focus on what you are eating rather than what you aren’t,’ says nutritionist Helen Money (helenmoneynutrition.com). ‘Spread your calories between three meals and two snacks. Your plate should be roughly one quarter low-GI carbohydrates, like sweet potatoes or wholemeal pasta, one quarter good-quality protein, such as lean cuts of meat, and half vegetables. And include low-fat dairy such as plain yoghurt or skimmed milk in your diet to aid weight loss.’

2 GO THE DISTANCE

‘Don’t think of dieting as a short-term fix – it’s a lifestyle,’ says Romy Gill, chef and author of Curry Without Calories (romyskitchen.co.uk). ‘Never skip a meal. If you do, you’re more likely to crave something sweet as your blood sugar level will dip – and then the problems will really start! Everything in moderation is the key to success. Extreme diets will leave you cranky and starving, and they simply don’t work. Don’t ban anything – just understand that smart food choices will go a long way to achieving your long-term goal.’

3 BRING ON THE SUBSTITUTES

‘One very simple tip is to replace all white carbs with fibre-rich, nutrient-dense, complex brown carbs like brown bread, brown pasta and brown rice,’ says senior personal trainer Oisin Devitt (oisindevitt personaltraining.co.uk). ‘Generally speaking, the same portion size will contain 20-40 per cent fewer calories.’

4 CHILLAX WITH YOGA

‘Take time to do at least 10 minutes of deep diaphragmatic breaths every day,’ says yoga instructor Rebekah Fensome (juststopyogaretreats.com). ‘Place one hand on your chest and one on your tummy, and feel both lift when you inhale and deflate when you exhale. Focusing on deep breathing encourages your body to burn fat. It also helps to relax you and keep you calm, reducing stress. Stress reduction is important when trying to lose weight because the body’s metabolism slows
down when it’s stressed out, which causes poor digestion. It also releases cortisol, which tells the body to store fat.’

5 TRAIN WITH KETTLEBELLS

Actress Anna Paquin’s trainer, Clay Burwell, is a big fan of kettlebells. They’re great a they provide a full-body workout and combine strength training with cardio, so you can maximise your results in a shorter time. The exercises done with a kettlebell involve total-body actions where you swing, press or pull the weight. The momentum forces your muscles – in particular the ones in your back and abdomen – to counteract the movement, strengthening and toning them.

6 HAVE A STARTER

‘It might sound counterintuitive, but eating a very light starter such as a non-creamy soup or a salad without any oily dressing before your main course may actually help you cut calories,’ says senior nutrition scientist Bridget Benelam (nutrition.org.uk). ‘Studies have shown that when people had this kind of starter before their main meal, they actually consumed fewer calories in total than those who ate just a main course and no starter. This is because these kinds of foods provide bulk without many calories, which will fill you up and help you to avoid overeating when it comes to your main course.’

7 SPICE UP YOUR LIFE

‘Research suggests capsaicin, the component that makes chillies hot, increases metabolic rate and suppresses appetite to help you burn more calories and control your weight,’ says registered dietitian Jacqui Couch (nhs.uk). ‘Lots of takeaway dishes may contain chilli, but they are also calorie-dense. Make your own soups, stir-fries and casseroles instead.’

8 BRUSH YOUR TEETH

‘I lost more than 14 stone in 18 months and I did it the right way,’ says Justine Forrest, cook and author of Justine’s Journey (browniesbyjustineforrest.co.uk). ‘I’m a strong advocate of healthy living. As well as exercising, drinking smoothies, eating healthily and cutting down my portion sizes, I found that one amazing trick was to always brush my teeth after a meal. It took away the taste of food in my mouth and stopped cravings.’

9 WORK OUT A LOT

Fancy looking as sculpted as Jennifer Aniston? It takes commitment! The actress works out ‘at least five or six days
a week,’ she says. Her routine includes 40 minutes of cardio: spinning, running, the elliptical machine, or a combo of all three. Then she does Pilates once a week and yoga three days a week. Jen also stretches before bed and sometimes does some sit-ups, too. Oh, and if she’s talking on the phone, she picks up hand weights to do arm exercises. Phew!

10 MANAGE YOUR EXPECTATIONS

‘We all want results yesterday!’ says personal trainer and sports therapist Joslyn Thompson Rule. ‘Don’t expect miracles on day one, or even week one… Just keep chipping away, gain some momentum and you will succeed. If you expect some sort of magic to happen early on, you’ll soon feel demotivated just because you are simply not aware of the micro-changes that are taking place.’

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