Your guide to sustainable weight loss

If you’re someone who has spent most of your thirties (and beyond) trying to shift a few kilos, you’re not alone. Cadence BeatsInstructorT Ngarimu says more than 90 percent of people who start her classes would like to lose between five and ten kilograms. She shines some light on sustainable ways to lose body fat andkeep it off. 

When people talk about weight-loss goals they usually think of sacrifice, diets and all the disappointing journeys they’ve been on in the past. It doesn’t have to be that way. Weight-loss techniques should be maintainable and sustainable. Your hard work to shed five kilos (or more) should be reinforced with long-lasting habits that help you keep it off.

Through more than 20 years of experience and noting what has worked for people and what hasn’t, I’ve taken note of the common themes, techniques and habits that have emerged as the best ways to drop a dress size.Here are just some.

  • Eat every 2-3 hours

This is all about avoiding those highs and lows in energy and sustaining even blood sugar levels. In my experience, it prevents you from overeating later in the day and indulging in high-sugar foods.

  • Drink more water

Begin your day with a large glass of water.Your body goes through periods of repair while you sleep and drinking water when you wake up will aid this process.Aside from water, other non-calorie drinks for hydration are best – think green and other herbal teas. Recent research supports the idea that drinking cold water also boostsyour resting metabolism rate.

  • Limit caffeine intake

Most of us are guilty of drinking too much coffee and other energy drinks. We forget that caffeine can trigger our stress hormone – cortisol. Stresscan lead to poor eating decisions, like sugar cravings and an increase in appetite. High levels of cortisol have also been known to trigger fat storage. Start by halving your daily caffeine intake.

  • Introduce resistance training

Resistance training, also known as strength training, includes making your muscles work against force (ie. weights) and is not about “bulkingup” (unless you want it to be). Increasing your muscle mass improves your resting metabolic rate and resistance training promotes theburning of calories even after you’ve left the gym or studio. Well-planned resistance training is the fastest way to lose body fat.

  • Don’t waste time on just cardio

Variety is the spice of life when it comes to weight loss. Shocking the body with a different routine will help you see results and is better for the mindas we’re more likely to stick to an exercise programme if we are enjoying it!

  • Eat carbs, protein and fats

Carbs are not evil, no macronutrient (food type) is.All food groups play a positive role in our diet – protein helps us build, and carbs and fats give us energy. To lose body fat, ensure your carbohydrates come from fruit and/or vegetables (with the exception of post-training meals, for whichcarbs such as rice or pasta are acceptable) and choose lean protein every meal (eggs, chicken and fish).

  • Don’t punish yourself

If you build a wagon, you’re likely to fall off. No one is perfect allthe time soallow yourself the odd treat as a reward. Try not to write off the whole day, week or month, though. Simply draw a line under it and start again then and there. This will stop you from saying things like ‘I’ve had a bad day’ or ‘bad week’. Have a treat and move on.

  • Include the whole family

If everyone at home is thinking about movement and exercise and eating a fresh and balanced diet, it’s easier to create lasting habits. Include partners, siblings and children in meal preparation and daily activity like walking, swimming andtramping.

  • Get professional advice

When it comes to exercise and nutrition, there’s a scary amount of conflicting information online. Speak to certified nutritionists and personal trainers to ensure you’re getting the right advice that’s tailored to you.

  • T Ngarimu is an instructor at Cadence Beats – Group Fitness Studio. T has more than 20 years of experience in the health and fitness industry, previously working as a Personal Trainer, Group Fitness Instructor and as a Manager at Snap Fitness Ferrymead. Her motto for life is ‘karawhiua’, which means ‘give it everything’.